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.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Tripel Karmeliet

This is brewed by Brouwerij Bosteels and it's sort of been calling to me from a basement shelf for quite a while. Now that I'm all psyched about having perhaps really nailed a refined, elegant tripel with no bells or whistles, it's worth remembering that some brewers go a very different route. Tripel Karmeliet is brewed with malted oats, raw oats, malted barley, raw barley, malted wheat, and raw wheat. At least that's what I gather from Brew like a Monk. It's also heavily spiced.

Their yeast could be more flocculant... This bottle has had a cloud of chunky, linty looking stuff kicking around the bottom which has never really settled out, despite having sat since spring break. When I opened it (or, rather, when it opened itself when I looked at the champagne cage slightly askance) the cork blew out. This is a wildly carbonated, heavily sedimented beer but I don't regard that as a flaw really. The carbonation is essential to lighten up the body, particularly since this is lightly hopped. In fact, you'd never guess that this is 8% a.b.v.--feels more like 7. Actually, I think there's a typo in Brew like a Monk; either the alcohol percentage is wrong or the gravity is. Remind me to email Stan Hieronymus.

The spicing is nice. I'm thinking the ususal suspects, like coriander and some kind of orange peel, are definitely there. But there's some other stuff too. Lisa pointed out a certain heat factor; I noticed that too and I'm thinking that they use quite a bit of grains of paradise, a brewing spice I really love. A little chamomile seems like a possibility as well--there's a little dried flowery thing going on too. As I drink more of this stuff, it's having a kind of gorgeous numbing effect. What's that? Beyond alcohol... Clove? Wow. I'm promoting this onto my top Belgians list.

This is a tremendously fun beer and I guess what I'd take away from it as a brewer is that one could easily concoct a multi-grain tripel, hop it lightly, spice it freely, carbonate the snot out of it, and wind up with something really yummy. I just might do that...


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