Brewery’s Description: First brewed 1996; claimed to be based on a recipe from 1679 which used wheat, oat and barley.
Tripel Karmeliet is a very refined and complex golden-to-bronze brew with a fantastic creamy head. These characteristics derive not only from the grains used but also from restrained hopping with Styrians and the fruity nature (banana and vanilla) of the house yeast. Aroma has hints of vanilla mixed with citrus aromas. Tripel Karmeliet has not only the lightness and freshness of wheat, but also the creaminess of oats together with a spicy lemony almost quinine dryness.
For my next Artisanal Imports beer review I chose Tripel Karmeliet, one of my go to Belgian Tripels. As mentioned in a recent blog post (Homebrew Wednesday #8), this Tripel’s flavor profile represents a lot of the characteristics that I prefer when drinking Belgian beers (specifically Tripels and Saisons / Farmhouse Ales). Meaning, it’s yeast character complements the citrusy hop notes and the sweet bread-like malt character by adding a crisp phenolic spiciness that lends complexity and drinkability to the drinking experience. Also, it prevents the beer from being too sweet and one note.
Moving onto my tasting notes…The bottle I enjoyed poured an attractive straw to light gold color with a big white head from bottle conditioning. On the nose lemon and orange peal are at the forefront with a good amount of perfumy and spicy phenols and some malt sweetness rounding things out.
These characteristics followed into the taste, but in reverse order. Sweet malt (not too sweet) was followed by a bit of lemon and a hit a spiciness that lingered along with a bit of alcohol esters / heat. Then as the beer warmed up the yeast character became increasingly fragrant and pronounced and a floral note joined the spiciness I picked up earlier.
This medium bodied Tripel was quite drinkable and had an added smoothness from the added oats. As mentioned earlier its spice / yeast character cut through the malt sweetness and kept this beer refreshing and easy drinking. Rating: 8.5/10- definitely one of my favorite Tripels.