Witkap Pater Triple

by: BeerAdvocate on 11-08-2006
According to their importer, Vanberg & DeWulf, Brouwerij Slaghmuylder is a 135-year-old brewery and the last surviving one in the town Ninove, Belgium—a town that boasted 13 breweries less than a century ago. That the brewery (which opened in 1860) is still run by three direct descendants of the original founder, Emmanuel Slaghmuylder, just makes it more special. Their Witkap Pater line of beers includes an Abbey Stimulo (Single), Dubbel and Tripel. This week, we’ll try the Tripel.

Witkap Pater Triple, a Tripel Belgian Ale from Brouwerij SlaghmuylderThe name “Tripel” stems from part of the brewing process in which brewers use up to three times the normal amount of malt. Traditionally, Tripels are bright yellow or gold in color—a shade or two darker than the average Pilsner. Head should be big, dense and creamy. Aroma and flavor are complex—spicy, phenolic, yeasty, fruity and estery with a sweet finish. This sweetness comes from both the pale malts and the higher alcohol. It’s very bitter for such a strong beer with such an unexpectedly light body; but at times, the bitterness is barely perceptible amid the even balance of malts and hops. Its lighter body comes from the use of Belgian candi sugar, which not only lightens the body, but also adds complex alcoholic aromas and flavors. Small amounts of spices are sometimes added as well. Tripels are notoriously high in alcohol; yet the truly well-crafted ones sneakily cloak this character, making them true sipping beers.

The Taste
Available in an 11.2-ounce slender brown bottle, the label notes that this is an "Unfiltered/Bottle Conditioned" beer. In typical Belgian bottle-conditioned fashion, 10 seconds after we pop the crown off, the beer slowly starts to foam its way out of the bottle. Poured into a goblet, the beer offers some amazing head retention and rings of white lace sticking to the glass after each sip. Good clarity, with a dull golden color.

The nose contains apricots and pear, faint ground white pepper, chalky yeast and an aroma of shortbread biscuits.

It’s very crisp and lively with a smooth back and moderate body. Spicy phenols wrap around its dry maltiness, which is similar to crusty bread, highlighted by some pithy notes of green banana. Spicy hops, with a flare from the alcohol, provide a nice bite along with a moderate grassy bitterness. Earthy on the palate with a flash of honey-like sweetness. Yeasty and fruity undertones layer middle to end. Finishes dry.

Final Thoughts
It’s a tasty little Tripel; even at 7.5% alcohol by volume, it won’t knock you out. Serve cool, not cold, and decant slowly as to keep the sediment in the bottle. Try pairing with aged cheddar cheese or grilled salmon, both of which offer unique and complementary experiences.

For more info: witkap.be

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