Belgian Tripel is a well-loved beer type that stands out for its high alcohol content and unique flavor profile. This beer type is a favorite for those who enjoy bold and complex flavors in their beverages.
The taste of a Tripel is slightly spicy with noticeable sweet flavors, making it an interesting and enjoyable drink for beer enthusiasts. In this article, we’ll dive into the world of Belgian Tripels and explore their unique features, food pairings, history, and more.
Belgian Tripel Features
Belgian Tripel is known for its fruity esters, spicy phenols, and sweet finish, which set it apart from other beer types. Here’s a quick rundown of its features:
- Strength (ABV): 7.1-10.1%
- Bitterness (IBU): 20-45
- Color: pale to pale gold
- Taste: slightly spicy, sweet, and complex
Food Pairing With Belgian Tripel
A Belgian Tripel’s unique flavor profile makes it a great companion for various dishes. Some food pairings that go well with this beer type include:
- Pasta dishes
- Pork or Beef Ribs
- Poultry, like chicken or turkey
Belgian Tripel History and Origins
The Belgian Tripel has a fascinating history that traces its roots back to Belgium’s Trappist monasteries/breweries. These monasteries, dating back to the Middle Ages, were known for brewing and selling their own beers to support the monks and their charitable efforts.
Although the term “Tripel” was not initially used to define this specific style, it was derived from the brewing process in which the monks used up to three times the amount of malt compared to the simple “single” beer.
The modern Belgian Tripel, as we know it today, emerged in the 1930s when the Westmalle Trappist Brewery released its first version of a Tripel. This beer, known as Westmalle Tripel, quickly gained popularity and became the benchmark for the style.
Around the same time, brewer Hendrik Verlinden collaborated with the Witkap-Pater brewery to create the Witkap Tripel, another significant milestone in the history of Belgian Tripels. Over time, other breweries began to create their own interpretations of the Belgian Tripel, contributing to its evolution and diverse range of flavor profiles.
The brewing process of a Belgian Tripel is similar to other Belgian beer styles but with a few unique twists. The process typically starts with a high-quality pilsner malt, which is mashed and then boiled with hops. Belgian candi sugar, a type of sugar commonly used in Belgian brewing, is often added during the boiling process to increase the beer’s alcohol content and contribute to its signature sweetness.
A key aspect of the Belgian Tripel brewing process is the use of Belgian yeast strains, which impart the beer’s characteristic fruity and spicy flavors. These yeast strains are known for creating a relatively dry and highly alcoholic beer. The beer is then allowed to age for several weeks or months before being bottled and distributed.
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Popular Belgian Tripels
Some of the best examples of Belgian Tripels and the renowned brewers who brew them are:
- Allagash Tripel from Allagash Brewing Co.
- Tripel from Green Flash Brewing Co.
- PDA from Black Bottle Brewery
- Westmalle Tripel from Brouwerij der Trappisten van Westmalle
- La Fin du Monde from Unibroue
Serving and Storing
Belgian Tripel Belgian Tripels are best stored at a temperature of around 50-55°F (10-13°C), which allows the beer’s complex flavors to be fully appreciated. They can be stored for up to a year or more, depending on the specific beer and storage conditions. Proper storage will ensure that the beer maintains its quality and flavor over time.
When serving a Belgian Tripel, it’s ideal to use a tulip-shaped glass or a chalice. These types of glassware allow for better head retention, enhance the beer’s aroma, and accommodate the higher alcohol content. Pour the beer gently into the glass at a slight angle to create a perfect head and enjoy the unique flavors of your Belgian Tripel.
Belgian Tripel vs. Belgian Dubbel
Comparing Belgian Tripel to Belgian Dubbel, another popular Belgian beer style, reveals some key differences between the two.
- Color: Belgian Tripels are generally lighter in color, with a pale to pale gold appearance, while Belgian Dubbels are darker, with a reddish-brown hue.
- Flavor Profile: Belgian Tripels have a slight spice and sweet flavor, while Belgian Dubbels are characterized by a more malty and fruity taste.
- Brewing Ingredients: Both beer styles use Belgian yeast strains, but Tripels often include Belgian candi sugar to increase alcohol content and contribute to their sweetness.
- Malt Character: Belgian Tripels have a lighter malt character than Belgian Dubbels, which tend to have a more pronounced maltiness.
Belgian Tripel vs. Belgian Golden Strong Ale
Belgian Tripel and Belgian Golden Strong Ale are two medium strength styles that share some similarities but also have distinct differences.
- Color: Both Belgian Tripels and Belgian Golden Strong Ales are light in color, ranging from pale to pale gold.
- Flavor Profile: While Belgian Tripels have a slightly spicy and sweet flavor, Belgian Golden Strong Ales are often fruitier and drier.
- Brewing Ingredients: Both beer styles use Belgian yeast strains and may include Belgian candi sugar, but the specific ingredients used can vary between the two styles.
- Malt Character: The malt character of Belgian Tripels is generally lighter than that of Belgian Golden Strong Ales.
Belgian Tripel Festivals and Events
Belgian Tripels are showcased at various beer festivals and events around the world. Some of these events include:
- Belgian Beer Weekend in Brussels, Belgium
- North American Belgian Beer Festival in Westland, Michigan, USA
- Zythos Beer Festival in Leuven, Belgium
- Brussels Beer Challenge in Brussels, Belgium
Belgian Tripel FAQs
What Is A Belgian Tripel?
A Belgian Tripel is a high-alcohol, pale-to-pale gold beer with a slightly spicy and sweet flavor profile.
How Strong Is A Belgian Tripel?
Belgian Tripels typically have an ABV (alcohol by volume) of 7.1-10.1%.
What Food Pairs Well With A Belgian Tripel?
Belgian Tripels pair well with pasta, meat, and poultry dishes.
How Is A Belgian Tripel Brewed?
Belgian Tripels are brewed using high-quality malt, Belgian yeast strains, and often include Belgian candi sugar to increase alcohol content and contribute to their sweetness
What Glassware Is Best For Serving A Belgian Tripel?
Belgian Tripels are best served in tulip-shaped glasses or chalices, as they enhance the beer’s aroma, improve head retention, and accommodate the higher alcohol content.
What Is The Difference Between A Belgian Tripel And A Belgian Dubbel?
Belgian Tripels are lighter in color and have a slightly spicy and sweet flavor profile, while Belgian Dubbels are darker with a more malty and fruity taste.
How Long Can You Store A Belgian Tripel?
Belgian Tripels can be stored for up to a year or more, depending on the specific beer and storage conditions.
What Temperature Should A Belgian Tripel Be Stored At?
Belgian Tripels should be stored at a temperature of around 50-55°F (10-13°C) to preserve their quality and flavor.
What Is The Difference Between Belgian Tripels And Pale Lagers?
The main differences between Belgian Tripels and Pale Lagers are their flavor profiles, alcohol content, and brewing processes. Belgian Tripels are known to be a strong beer with a high alcohol content, complex sweet and slightly spicy flavors, and pale-to-pale gold color. On the other hand, Pale Lagers have a lower alcohol content, a lighter, crisp taste, and a clear, pale color.