Tripel Karmeliet - Brouwerij Bosteels

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Tripel KarmelietTripel Karmeliet

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BA SCORE
95
world-class

3,588 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,588
Reviews: 1,246
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 10.28%
Wants: 251
Gots: 592 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Bosteels visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Tripel |  8.40% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: kbub6f on 04-27-2001

3 grains - barley, wheat, oat. Styrian hops.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,588 | Reviews: 1,246
Reviews by gjh:
Photo of gjh
4.82/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I love this one. Poors a nice deep cloudy golden color. Head has bigger bubbles than I would expect, but settles to a nice tight head although not much of one. The smell and taste are very compatible - both have a nce mixture of fruit and spices. Considering the ABV, there is no alcohol taste - just citrus and spices, with a yeast undertone. This make for an excellent dessert beer or on a hot, mid-summer day. Although, I prefer to drink this one all year round.

More User Reviews:
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.88/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Tripel Karmeliet looks magnificent in the glass. The explosive, toweringly majestic crown of richly creamy, cream colored foam sitting atop the sparkling amber liquid is a sight to behold. It's been a while since I've laid eyes on a better looking beer. Elegant, arching fingers of lace point to the glass contents as if to say 'now here's a fine looking ale'.

The nose is intensely spicy and abounds with cardamon, white pepper and clove. Drunken golden fruits (apples, pears, peaches) are present as well, but take a backseat to the spices. This is another one of those Belgian tripels, or BSPAs, or BSDAs, that has a spicy alcohol presence in the nose that is so well-integrated as to be an essential, welcome part of the whole.

Wow! Just Wow! Tripel Karmeliet may not have the no-holds-barred, hold-onto-your-hat gusto of a De Dolle Dulle Teve, but it is one amazingly delicious beer. Think of it as the Mad Bitch's more attractive, nicer sister. Sweet, tangy, bitter, fruity, spicy, warming, soothing... where do I begin?

The most impressive thing about this Brouwerij Bosteels offering is... well, two things. One is the vividness of the various flavors. I taste brandy-macerated, spice-sprinkled orchard fruits with such intensity, it's as if I'm eating them rather than drinking beer. Two is the pitch perfect melding of the various flavor notes in the mouth. While they're easily appreciated on an individual basis, I prefer to let the beer wash over my tongue and to allow the whole damn shootin' match to work its magic.

I'm looking for flaws, but I'm convinced they don't exist. Any change would be for the worse. More or less of anything would be too much or not enough with regard to the tripel perfection that sits before me... not for very much longer, I might add. The finish is an extension of what came before in terms of flavor, with the potentially drying aspect of the alcohol offset by a mellow sweetness.

The mouthfeel is easily the equal of any Belgian tripel that I've ever had. It's actually on the full side of medium, but is rendered light and silky by a perfect amount of soft carbonation. It's yet more evidence that the brewery has paid attention to every aspect of this beer and has fine-tuned it until it hums with the precision of a Swiss watch.

While my experience with Belgian tripels is still somewhat limited, I've found a 'tripel triple' that I really like: De Dolle Dulle Teve (Mad Bitch), Westmalle Tripel, and now Tripel Karmeliet. Each has its charms, but at the moment, this beer is my clear favorite. From where I sit, Tripel Karmeliet is the quintessential Belgian tripel and is the unqualified best.

Photo of Nightwing
3.75/5  rDev -12.4%

From bottle. Aromas of vanilla and citrus. Pours a hazy pale with white head. The first taste was was quite sweet, but after a few sips it seemed more of a medium sweet. Medium body, somewhat creamy texture, quite lively carbonation, a dry finish. Overall a nice beer, but could the carbonation could be toned down somewhat.

I'll have to revisit this one in the future.

Photo of kelkauz
5/5  rDev +16.8%

Delish so good

Photo of biegaman
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

You can always count on a Tripel to provide an abundance of rocky white head. Tripel Karmeliet delivers immediately and throws in a team of untiring acrobatic bubbles to boot. This fairly pale yet golden beer beams with brightness even despite its slight haziness. Between the sturdy crown and powerful resplendence there's few things that look more appropriate in a chalice.

The bouquet packs such a rush of bright citrus flavour you'd swear it was brewed with orange or lemon zest. Alas, such is just the wonder of Belgian yeast. Still, this aroma is good as sunlight itself and, combined with the scents of grass and feed stable grains, it practically screams of summer months in the countryside. There's a lot of tropical banana flavour in there too!

Not every producer that puts so much detail into their label art pays the same attention to the actual contents of the bottle - Tripel Karmeliet, however, absolutely does. This flavour is layered with cereal-, citrus-, and spice-driven flavours. It has a richness and elegance that can confidently be claimed among the style's best and is really rivaled only by a select few other Belgian producers (i.e., Westmalle).

Not only are there lemon drops as far as the eye can see, but orchard fruits like pear and apple also factor in by the bushel full. White pepper and lemongrass ensure a mix of both spicy and savory components, both of which work well with the dry and earthy tastes of farm-fresh hay, oats, and wholesome, bready malted barley. There's definitely no shortage of graininess!

For as long as I've been reviewing beer (over a decade now) I've always considered Karmeliet my absolute favourite Tripel. While the recipe seems to have changed a little in recent times (much lighter, more citrus-forward) it's still undoubtedly among the best regularly available tripel and probably THE one I'd point to for those aiming to learn about or emulate this great style.

Photo of oberon
4.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light golden with a huge blooming head that leaves big globs of lace down the glass,big spicey aroma peppery and yeasty a touch of smoke and orange.Yeasty up front on the palate with a spritzey lemon note with the spiciness more subdued compared to the aroma,pretty refreshing for a beer with such a high alcohol content.A well made Tripel worthy of high marks.

Photo of Popsinc
3.42/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: First of all, one of my favorite glasses around. Just an over-sized glass with great markings. Excellent to look at. A clear golden pour with a very generous head.

Smell: Hints of caramel and summery fruits...apricot etc but nothing overpowering or really in your face.

Taste: The taste is light and malty with a semi sweet fruitiness. Some hints of caramel, wheat and roasted malt.

Mouthfeel: A little bit too smooth and dull. Lack of a lively body.

Drinkability: the beer itself is decent....alittle better than average maybe. But it is the glass that makes me want to try another.

Photo of RoyalT
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – Yellow color with a quick head that builds fast but easily dissipates.

Smell – Yeasty aroma with a hint of fruit and citrus mixed with some light spices.

Taste – The spiciness really comes through in the taste, but this is no lightweight. The yeast comes up quickly, and it’s a unique flavor that’s sprinkled with more spice and a soft, fluffy feel. Venom’s, “powdered sugar and soft coriander,” analogy fits well here.

Mouthfeel – The carbonation is right on. The smoothness is amazing.

Drinkability – This is a well put together brew, but it’s not your average Abbey Trippel. This has more fruity spices than normal so might disappoint the non-adventurous drinker.

Update – This was one of the first reviews that I posted on the site back in August of 2003. Now that it’s been a little over two years I thought I give this a go again.

First off, the head was much better and showed good retention. After tasting and reviewing a boatload of Tripels (OK, 42 to date) I really appreciated the rank odor and sharp flavors of this Bosteel offering. I jacked nearly all of the scores up my 0.5 point and hogged the entire champagne bottle to myself.

Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.68/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My favorite tripel to be sure.

Appearance: Wonderfully clear straw gold with rising streamers of effervescent carbonation. Huge white dollup of whip cream on top. Retention is perfect. Lacing is gorgeous. Carbonation is champagne like.

Nose is complicated with farmyard grains, lemons, poppy seeds, cardamom, peach syrup, apricots, canned mandarin oranges, vanilla, medicinal alcohols, etc…

Tastes takes all the qualities of the nose, adds mango, soda, more spices, pepper, and a mild astringent finale. All are perfectly balanced with one another.

Mouthfeel is smooth yet lively and very full.

Drinkability is out of this world. 8%...no way.

I love it, love it, love it.

Photo of kaimcm
4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into branded and outrageous Karmeliet goblet.

A: Deep honey color with a light wash of reddish orange. Huge snow white head that looks exactly like meringue. Outstanding. Glass has a germination point in the center of the bowl that produces a constant and beautiful stream of rushing bubbles to the surface. In this Karmeliet glass this beer looks perfect.

S: yeast, clove, grains of paradise-plywood type aromas, sublte pear and more evident apple

T/M: Very effervescent, champagne like carbonation. Lively, prickly in the mouth. Smooth and sweet malt up front followed closely by some alcohol and yeast spice thats refreshing. Body is well balanced but not overly full. Green apples, some green grape vinous qualities as well. Finish just keeps on drying and evolving, so much so that its a little odd for the style. I would expect a little more sugar at the end, this is almost remiscent of a Strong Pale. Plenty of yeast spice though, very well done for the style. Clove from the nose, a little pepper, more dry wood notes. Overall a little dry for a triple but extremely well done. Delicate and complex.

D: The abbey styles are all meant to be digestive and highly drinkable and this one is spot on. An excellent beer that I am thoroughly enjoying and will make a point of revisiting.

I love glassware of all kinds and have tons, but I have never had a beer in its respective glass look better and be better presented than this. Funny thing is that the glass alone is almost silly looking.

Photo of hopsleeroy
4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2 oz that was shared with a buddy. On the brighter golden side with a 3 inch head that took a while to come done. Plenty of lacing-looks delicious! Smell of phenols-cloves and banana but not like a hefe-more subdued. Taste was top notch. The "3 grains" produce a very smooth beer. Alot of tripels are too sweet and have too stong an alcohol flavor for me. This hides the alcohol so well that I would never have guessed it was 8% and although it tasted sweet-the wheat character was evident which helped balance. Hops are low but present and feels very smooth in the mouth. Give this one a shot.

Photo of SIRIUS2
4.36/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 ml into a chalice style glass.

A: A careful pour produced a crystal clear honey colored brew with a bit of an orange hue. Fantastic frothy white foam head at least a 1/2" thick that reduces to a tight lumpy foam that hangs in there for the whole glass. I can't imagine a more picture perfect look for a triple!

S: Pungent citrus & spice smells are foremost, with a light maltiness that lies in subtlety just beneath.

T: Nice complexity of fruit, herbs & spices, malts, and something like brown sugar taste - without the sticky sweetness. The fruits were sort of a citrus-meets-fig flavor that melds fantastically well with light caramel toasted malts and some very pleasant spices. Coriander seemed likely but not alone as there are indications of other flavors as well.

M&D: Despite the complexity, the overall flavor profile is relatively light to medium in body. The carbonation is rather lively, albeit in streams of fine bubbles, and adds to the levity of the mouthfeel. Everything comes together wonderfully to produce a highly drinkable and very enjoyable brew. One of the best triples I've had.

Photo of steelerguy
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Clear straw yellow, high carbonation, huge frothy head that doesn't want to go away.

S - Crisp and tart apple, some sweetness like a pear, with some light spice and a touch of yeast.

T - Very clean, tastes how it smells but even better. There is a bit of green apple, sweet pear, spice almost like a bit of white pepper. Ends with a touch of yeast and hint of alcohol.

M - Light body, finishes clean, the carbonation tingles and the alcohol warms.

O - What a great surprise. Doesn't have as many dimensions as many Belgian tripels but when you make something simple this good, don't mess around with a bunch of tricks. Great beer.

Photo of blackearth
4.31/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased a 750 ml bottle at Flannery's II in Oconomowoc, WI. Poured into my new Tripel Karmeliet goblet, this beer shows a golden straw body with an enormous, puffy white head. Aroma is of yeasty lemon peel and sparkling wine. Mouthfeel is effervescent and very carbonated. Spicy yeast esters are the initial flavors. Even with all the bubbles, the wheat and oats give it a smooth finish with a bit of alcohol warmth. This is good out of the bottle, but I think it's better on tap.

Photo of newk340
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: a semi-translucent pour with a thin white cloudy head that leaves spotty lacing.

S: very faint hints of yeast, wheat, and malts. nothing overpowering.

T: some initial smoothness of a fruit medley that digresses to a sweet belgian finish, a tapestry of wheats and grains.

MF/D: smooth throughout, a sessionable tripel, pleasing from the initial taste to the exhale.

Photo of skybluewater
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750. Pours into a Duvel tulip a hazy golden color. Smell is fairly muted, with some lemon and a bit of wheat (overall, a typical tripel aroma). The taste is spicy, with a medicinal quality (although not at all bad, as the Unibroue 2004 was), and a wheaty tang. Alcohol is quite present, and the taste is rather funky. I like it. Mouthfeel is nice and full, if slightly syrupy. Despite the alcohol, the taste is very drinkable.

Overall, this is a great tripel, and at 7 bucks for this 750, it's an amazing value. Tasty, soothing, warming, refreshing: This is a perfect beer for an almost-spring night. (If I find more, I'm definitely stocking up.)

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap 4/23/05 at Lunar Brewing during the BA Gathering. Poured into an awesome large Tripel Karmeliet glass...a bright golden color with a huge three finger creamy white head that is in for the long haul. Awesome! Aromas are grand with a lovely spiciness with cloves and coriander. A myriad of fruit tones waft up into my nose...tropical and sweet. Great to just sit and smell.

First sip is a rush of sweet light malty goodness. There's a divine balance between the sweet fruity flavors (tropical fruits, bananas, citrus) and the spiciness that has some coriander, clove and cracked black pepper to it. A nice hint of Belgian yeastiness on the way down brings it all together nicely. Sublime stuff.

Mouthfeel is creamy, smooth and rather light on the palate. A refreshing, satisfying brew. I could easily drink loads of this if given the chance...especially off tap in the proper glassware. A treat of a tripel and highly recommended.

Photo of 3HovsepiansBrews
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - orange/yellow with a white head.

S - yeast, fruity esters, and earthiness from the hops.

T - citrus and some grass/floral/herbal notes. The finish is crisp/clean and a refreshing lemon with a slight bitterness.

M - Light body, crisp and well carbonated.

O - this is a great tripel. It is very drinkable, lightly flavored and lightly aromatic. It is really refreshing.

Photo of shapudding
4.09/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured clear and golden with tons of carbination. Nice, fluffy beaten eggwhite head. Scents of chardonnay and white grapes. The carbination bites you tongue. Vineous taste, almost champangne. Citrus and freshness. Front of the label at first makes me think, great another one in german where I can't learn anything about the beer just by looking, but like I keep telling my beerbuddy, blitheringidiot, "find the freaking website if ya need to know". There is a bit of info on the back though. Decent taste but just a bit too sweet for me to have more than one...

Photo of generallee
4.62/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 11.2oz bottle into a chalice. The back label has a best before date of 03JJ and it was sampled on 6-23-09.

Appearance: The body has a golden color with a cloudy haze. Inside there are little bits of tasty yeast floaters. The head on top is tall, long lasting and bright whit in color. As I drink it leaves some spotty lacing on the glass.

Smell: Right from the pop of the cap the aroma creeps out of the bottle. It has a bright nose with hints of lemon zest, fruity and funky Belgian yeast.

Taste/Mouth: The flavor has sweetness up front with complex grainy malt flavor and a hint of clover honey. The middle sees fruity and funky yeast and mellow warming alcohol taking over and drying out the overall character. It then finishes bone dry with only a hint of herbal hops. The palate is medium bodied with good carbonation.

Notes: This is an outstanding example of the style and a very satisfying beer.

Photo of Doomcifer
4.66/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours bright golden. Very clear until the yeast comes in. Yummy yeast. Nice head that dies out kind of quickly. Smell is deliciously complex. Very fruity smelling, yeast, pears, honey, melon, candy sugar, apples, bananas, clove, other spices. Glorious!!!
Taste is also pretty impressive. More fruity ala pears, melons, banana, etc....clove, coriander, candied sugar, honey, very quaint alcohol detected when I try to find it. Only 8% abv, which is low for a tripel, but very well hidden nonetheless. The low alcohol content makes this one even more drinkable than it already is due to the flavor and aroma alone. Mouthfeel is above-medium body, definitely has some body to it. Very refreshing. Finish is semi-dry. Not nearly as dry as some other tripels. This is probably my favorite of the style. Excellent representation.

Photo of Jason
4.22/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 11.2 oz brown slender bottle with a freshness date on the back label.

Appearance: Slightly hazed pale amber with a thinnish white lace.

Smell: Touch of honey like sweetness, soft vanilla and medicinal phenols that are a little herbal. Malt is evident and yeast gives an earthy character to the aroma.

Taste: Prickly carbonation with a warming and spicy alcohol wakes the palate up, medium to full in body donning a syrupy sweet mouth feel. Estery and fruity of mangos and star fruit, mild peppery taste in the middle. Hops are insignificant and are only in play to balance this big brew. Phenols are present and do leave a medicinal herbal flavour but not overdone at all. Some husk from the drying grain is in the finish and the warmth of the alcohol get more and more towards the bottom of the glass.

Notes: Quite the alcoholic brew, big boisterous and complex. Perhaps over the top but still a brew to reckon with. A good cheese pairing would be with a nice creamy Danish Blue and some rye crackers.

Photo of merlin48
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle, served slightly chilled into my St Bernardus goblet. Pour is a clear, honey gold, with a large, rocky, white head. Thousands of tiny bubbles are in a hurry to reach the surface. Sheets of Brussels lace coat the glass, as the head recedes. Aroma is apricots and mango, some musty yeast, and a restrained spiciness of coriander and vanilla. Mouthfeel is fizzy, with a bite of alcohol. Taste is quite different from other Abbey Tripels, and that's what makes this one so interesting. Tropical fruits and bubblegum seem to prevail all the way through, but the oats and wheat add a totally new dimension to my perception of a Belgian Tripel. The yeast is bready in the taste, and the spice flavors are very subdued. The taste keeps reminding me of apricot flavored oatmeal. The alcohol is noticeable, but warming.
This is incredibly complex, and supremely enjoyable. I will definitely be getting some more bottles of this, as I fear I may have underrated it on my first sampling.

Photo of Billolick
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Small Belgian style bottle, classy looking label. A best before date was on the label, but it was too faded/washed away to decipher. Poured into a super nice looking tripel Karmeliet glass, very clear and golden, luxorious and stately looking. White head, nicely developed lacing. Nutty nose, very fruity, lemony,yeasty and spicy stuff. Snappy dry finish, intense flavors, simply lovely stuff. Seek and enjoy.

Photo of tigg924
3.65/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a goblet

Appearance: gold in color, clear, 1/2 inch head

Smell: lemon, wheat, orange

Taste: orange, lemon, coriander, malt, touches of hay and alcohol

Mouthfeel: sweet with an alcohol burn and bitter backbone, light body with medium carbonation

Drinkability: I find this to be an above average tripel, but there are several others I prefer in the style. I would not turn this down, but also would probably not get this again.

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Tripel Karmeliet from Brouwerij Bosteels
95 out of 100 based on 3,588 ratings.