Westmalle Trappist Tripel | Brouwerij Westmalle
From a 330ml bottle served warm at 14 degrees Celsius into a TeKu glass. Two dates: bottled on 29/10/2018 as well as best before 29/10/2020 – Westmalle has the gold standard for labeling their product clearly. I picked up this bottle from the LCBO about a month back and just never got around to reviewing it... I suppose mostly because I had new, fresher specimens that were more time sensitive as this had already spent months in the bottle. Since I've had this beer on multiple different occasions, my expectations are above average.
The beer pours a brilliant gold with 6.5cm of dense, mousse-like, white head that settles into a thick cap within 6+ minutes. Exceptional lacing with persistent head retention. Highly effervescent. This would be world-class if it wasn't for the particles from the sediment. I must say, the bubbles are really tossing those particles around the glass making me think of a beer globe... the most beautiful one I've ever laid my eyes upon. You know what, I'm calling it world-class.
Strong intensity with sweet-ish balance. The aroma is layered, perfumy, and inviting. Pronounced esters reminiscent of apples, pears, sweet orange, and mild banana. Moderately low peppery phenols and some clove. Hints of vanilla. Some notes of supporting honey-like malt along with mild, earthy, noble hops and a touch of ethanol at the back. The dry nose is reminiscent of sugar cookies and fruity esters. How I wish more beers had the depth and complexity of this one.
Follows the aroma with strong intensity, great balance, and moderate perceived bitterness. The palate opens up on the sweet side with a complex fruit bill of apples, pear, banana, and sweet orange. The flavour artfully transforms into a less sweet center where malty notes of honey and bread crust intertwine with noble hops, more sweet orange, and some ethanol. The yeast never leaves the stage by staying in the mix with a peppery, phenolic quality. Is that cloves that I'm tasting? The relatively long finish is strong and balanced with notes of sweet orange, clove-like phenols, bready malt, some earthy hops, and a kiss of ethanol. I've forgotten how much of a joyride a sip of beer can be.
Medium-full body with high carbonation. The mouthfeel is smooth, creamy, and round with a pleasant, mouth-coating quality. Restrained alcohol warming of moderate strength and a medium-dry finish. No astringency or harshness of any kind. Man, this beer has a strong presence on the palate and it bows out eloquently. The Belgians are spoiled.
Westmalle's Tripel is a world-class beer demonstrating excellent craftsmanship. It blows my mind how this has held up against the conditions of travel and storage. It's pretty much flawless in every aspect of beer. Gorgeous looks with strong, balanced, yet nuanced flavour paired with an exceptional mouthfeel. Highly recommended to anyone interested in anything related to beer – ha! Westmalle's Tripel is a must try and worth seeking out. I'm already looking forward to my next serving of this.