Doctor Duvel

I'm like a sommelier, but for beer.

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Location: Upstate New York, United States

Favorite Beers: Orval, Samuel Smith, Duvel, Hennepin, Oude Gueze, Chimay, Dogfish Head, Anchor Steam, and anything made by Trappist monks.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Tripel, early returns

Thought I'd sample my Tripel as long as I'm wasting the evening. Lisa feel asleep early and I'm procrastinating cleaning up my office.

This has a deep, golden color and an unflappable, egg-whitey head. I brewed this 4/23 and it's been in bottles for a good six weeks. Alcohol is 9.8%. Fermented all the way from 1082 to 1011, which I think speaks well of my mashing instincts. Looks like I mashed at 145-146. Nose is driven by the yeast character (Wyeast 3787), which I know well from other brews. It's a mixture of creamy richness and herbal dryness--I also pick up some nice pear fruit. The palate is clean and full at the same time. Whether it will eventually attain the sort of spectacular poise of something like Westmalle Tripel, I don't know. At the moment, it tastes big, but also hides the alcohol fairly well. The maltiness is very clean, which I take as a good sign as well. Probably this will come into its own next spring and the challenge will be not to sample it too often. But, then, I have like two-and-a-half cases I think. I like the finish--I hopped it just a tad higher than is typical of the tripel recipes I reviewed, which I think reins in the maltiness a little more neatly. Anyway, it's a tad raw, but totally tastes like a tripel, so, who's complaining?

I have a hunch, by the way, that my problem as a brewer of Belgian style beers, is that I should let the yeasts do the talking and not get too carried away with the specialty malts. Note to self: Restraint. Keep it simple. It's amazing how many great beers are brewed with just Pilsner malt. Or Pils plus just one or two specialty malts. No need to resort constantly to a half-pound each of four other malts, as tends to be my wont.


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