Friday, January 15, 2010

199. St. Bernardus Tripel

“Bringing heavenly nectar within reach”

Brouwerij St. Bernardus is located in Watou, Belgium. St. Bernardus Tripel is a Belgian Abbey Ale. It has a candy sweet, grainy, and estery nose; there are hints of banana, light amounts of clove, and some general fruitiness—all in all, a rather bright and fresh smelling beer. It is a golden straw color with a spritzy white head. St. Bernardus Tripel starts sweet but dry on the front—there is sweetness from the malt but also some either yeast ester or phenolic flavors balancing out the sweetness, including some spiciness and light pepperiness—before moving into a fruity and lightly spicy middle. As well, it does slightly undry for a moment in the middle, allowing the sweetness to emerge again and marry well with the banana and citrus flavors. The dryness returns at the end, opening the palate up for the slight bitterness and remaining fruitiness that closes out the beer. St. Bernardus Tripel has a light body and a lively mouthfeel—it has a very effervescent, crisp bite via the carbonation, and a bright presence overall. Elli thinks this is beer is far far far too Belgian for her liking. Which I can understand, but also categorically dismiss. Belgian beers are supposed to be Belgian. And this one is Belgian in all the right ways—it’s not like this is Blue Moon, or anything like that. The lively, refreshing flavors nicely mask the alcohol content—this in no way tastes like an 8.0% ABV beer—and the body is light, crisp, and complex. Yummy.

From the bottle: “Brewery St. Bernardus was founded in 1946 in Watou, Province of West Flanders in Belgium. These exceptional quality ales are brewed by using only the finest malts, local grown hops, yeast and artesian water pumped from a depth of 500 feet. After the brewing process these traditional ales are matured in tanks for three months before being bottle conditioned. The result is a naturally ‘living ale,’ which can be aged for up to 5 years and will satisfy the taste of even the most discriminating connoisseurs.”

From the St. Bernadus website: “This beer, with high fermentation, has a pale amber colour and a flowery, fruity taste with a harmonious balance between sweet and sour (8% alcohol content). This beer has a thick and vivid froth and strikes by its balanced taste with a delicate bitterness.”

ABV: 8.0%


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