Tripel Karmeliet | Brouwerij Bosteels

1,321 Reviews
Tripel KarmelietTripel Karmeliet

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Bosteels

Style: Tripel

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.40%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
3 grains - barley, wheat, oat. Styrian hops.

Added by kbub6f on 04-27-2001

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,321 | Ratings: 4,085
Photo of BretSikkink
4.7/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed from 11.2 oz. bottle into St. Bernardus chalice.

From one glance I thought the beer seemed light for a tripel. A thinnish lacing remains from a vibrant, creamy head over which I poured the yeast sediment.

I thought the nose was thin for a second but the chalice brought out a more complex bouquet than I originally expected: some acidic phenols, touch of hops, grains, just a hint of sweetness - honey I think. Fruity as well; some vanilla and some citrus.

I enjoyed the taste quite a lot. There are definite traces of the grains used in the brew and the fruity quality of banana or clove in the yeast. It tastes lighter than a lot of tripels, in fact it has the drinkability of a witbier. The alcohol content and phenols become more and more apparent as time passes, takes on a lemony flavor here. There's a little sharpness in the mouth that gives the illusion of thinness that's the cause for the 4 in mouthfeel, but the overall satisfaction of squeezing 8% out of this brew more than makes up for it. Highly recommended. I still like it over Westmalle's Tripel after a couple tastings of each.

Update March 2007: A little bit to add to my previous review. I have upped the appearance to 4.5 after having more experience with the tripel style. The fluffy white head is spot-on perfect, just gorgeous architecture spilling over the top of my gold-rimmed Rochefort chalice. Near perfection. Little bubbles stream from bottom to top for several minutes, this very active head eventually reduces to a frothy top-coat although the lacing is very persistent.This time around I noticed the wheat characteristics more than the oats, barley makes itself known. I didn't mean my references to witbier and hefeweissen characteristics as slanders, this is a much more complex brew than those two style, but the drinkability is where I made the connections. There was very little sediment in this bottle, I don't remember my old review..the light brown bottle was completely clear when I got done pouring this one. I also bumped up mouthfeel and taste for this review, the wheat characteristics make it full yet very smooth, and the taste is among the best I've ever had for the style, absolutely rivaling St. Bernardus and Westmalle for supremacy in the category. I loved it before and I appreciate it even more now. All in all this is one spectacular beer, absolutely stunning with the combination of flavors and big abv. Highly recommended to Belgiophiles as well as someone looking for their first Belgian brew.

 2,526 characters

Photo of garymuchow
4.23/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Recieved this bottle as a gift. Many thanks my brother.

Poured with an enormous head after a very loud pop from removing the cork. The aroma offers quite a bit of intensity and complexity. Lots of emphasis on malty and sweet fruitiness, some of citrus, other of banana. Phenols appear too with a soft spiciness, and include a peppery tone.
Brilliantly clear of dark gold. Head shows a variety of bubble sizes and leaves lacing even before drinking. Attractive.
Even with the complexity of flavors I'm struck by the dryness that seems more intense in the middle of the drink and actually quite short at the finish. There is a stinging biting quality when first supped, but it softens quickly, yet the carbonation is still somewhat filling. Warmth from alcohol noted on tongue and in stomach. Flavors are similar to the aroma, but less intense. Nice fruitiness (seems lemony) right up front. The fullness from the carbonation seems to inhibit the ability to taste the details. It's very soft, but I wouldn't say effervesent. Phenols softly appear in flavor too.
Very well done. I like the bitey, spicely aspects. Many Belgians seem to fade on me as I drink them, but this one seems to hold together better than most.
Went nicely with some chedder cheese and pepperoni.

 1,274 characters

Photo of mjc410
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Eulogy, poured into a generic heavy goblet. Forms very little head, has a bright golden color like Pilsner Urquelland slow columns of bubbles rising.

Smells grainy, mildly hoppy, perhaps some coriander like a Wit.

Tastes peppery-sweet with coriander. Moves to spicy alcohol, with a noble hop finish.

Mouthfeel is medium thin, with light carbonation.

This is somplex, and yet easy drinking.

 412 characters

Photo of sewald
4.64/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An awesome tripel. Got it from a local market and also drink it regularly at a local pub.

This beer is really complex. It portraits a somehow light body, however it feels very tasty and robust. It has fruity aromas of peach and sweet smells of caramel. Although it has a strong smell of alcohol, it doesn't feel like that when drinking (though it has 8% ABV).

Beautiful creamy head. Not as thick and majestic as a Duvel, but it's there. Fills the mouth with some yeast and malt (wheat) taste. Really a great beer, it has so many attributes that it's hard for me to describe them all here... Hmm I guess I have to go there and have another one in order to take some more notes. :-)

 687 characters

Photo of Golden2wenty1
4.53/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up the gift pack (4 small bottles and a big ol' goblet) at Riley's as a thank you to expatsteve for his clutch ticket to the Great Taste of the Midwest for my girlfriend.

Pour: caramel blonde with hazy clarity, forget fingers - a hand of snow white foam with streams of carbonation leading to fantastic retention and some spotty lacing - a real looker.

Nose: fizzy lemon-lime, grainy and toffee/caramel malts with a bit of yeasty clove in the finish.

Taste: apricot, light citrus, lemon grass booze, toasted grain/nuttiness, tart kiwi fruit on the back of the tongue, light spice and a dry alcohol finish.

Feel: light bodied with tickling carbonation and ephemeral, evaporating booze

Drinkability/Overall: Truly the gold standard of the class, this has mellowed on the shelf at Riley's for some time, and it shows in the understated, ultimately controlled complexity. Just beautiful to watch/smell/taste/feel.

 931 characters

Photo of expatsteve
4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank this with Golden2wenty1 - thanks for throwing this one my way, along with the Karmeliet goblet.

Appearance: Nice apricot amber, with a big 1 inch head. Thick sticky lacing, low/medium viscosity. Low visibility.

Aroma: Golden raisins, Meyer lemon oil, and a little pine. Breadiness, peach, golden syrup and some spiciness as it warms.

Taste: Bread, pine, brief apricots and a touch of lemon rind. Not too sweet, with some mild sours on the back palate. Apple skins and caramel developments round out an exceptionally well balanced beer.

Mouthfeel: Constant light carbonation, with a great raspy dry finish built around refreshing tartness. Perfect balance of understated smoothness and an assertive finish.

Drinkability: Great. Fruity without being too sweet; tart in places without being overwhelming. Not as assertive as Westmalle, but allows for a much deeper range of developments. Perfectly balanced and a pleasure to drink.

 949 characters

Photo of Brian700
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a nice golden color with a big white head that settled down do a mallow-like lid on my beer.

The aroma is of cider and pear and just flat out sweetness.

The flavor is very sweet with some apple notes and a lot of pear flavor. It is real sweet with some alcohol presence but not real warming. This is a pretty tasty brew.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

This is a pretty drinkable beer and I would recommend it.

 464 characters

Photo of Viggo
3.63/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy yellow/gold, huge fluffy white head forms, nice lace, good retention. Smell is sweet, grainy, some orange, spices, wheat, little yeasty. Taste is sweet, orange and spice again, yeast, some alcohol, and a wheat dryness in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with high carbonation. A decent tripel, but too sweet for me. I don't think it should be as high as it is, but enjoyable.

 403 characters

Photo of clickpush
3.97/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pour: 33ml bottle to tulip glass. Fills half the glass with three fingers of pillowy, long lasting, bubbly white head and half the glass is a light amber bodied beer. Some visible bubble streams.

Nose: Tons of activity going on here. Notes of lemon, ginger, cloves - smells very similar to a hefe weizen. Can pick up some black pepper hints in the yeast and some candy smells (candi malts?) characteristic of the tripel style.

Mouth: Strong carbonation upon the entrance, immediate anise flavors mixed with a sweet touch of a citric taste. The mouthfeel is stupendous, transforming from a strong bubbly entrance to a creamy finish with spicy, herbal yeast notes and a touch of alcoholic warmth. Unfortunately, the swallow is also a bit metallic and astringent, making the after taste less than desirable.

 810 characters

Photo of Drew966
4.6/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is a review of a 750ml corked and caged green bottle of Tripel Karmeliet. It opened with a nice pop, always a good start. It pours a light orange color with a huge white head into my Tripel Karmeliet glass (a very cool glass at that). It has a citrusy/lemon dominated aroma, with a little bit of the alcohol noticeable. The flavor is light, even delicate. No off flavors at all. Citrus is noticeable in the flavor, the hops and malt are hiding in the background. This is a magnificently well balanced beer. Nothing about the flavor hits you over the head (unlike most American big beers), but it's darn good. The alcohol is barely noticeable, other than some warming. Very drinkable, highly recommended.

 708 characters

Photo of Daredevil
3.4/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I do love Belgian beers for being different from the usual "beer taste" ... however this one was (for me) slightly disappointing in taste ...

it pours nicely with a firm head, the colour looks elegant, not as muddy as most unfiltered brews ... the smell is appetizing too although not very strong ...
the taste is dominated by walnuts and sandalwood with a light almondy finish, which in itself would be great, however paired with some citric acidity which does not seem to match (at least doesn't for me) .... some might like the refreshingness, for me it lacks the sublime harmony you would find in the great trappist brews ....

 635 characters

Photo of DaveFL1976
4.03/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'd have to pretend that I was from Missouri and say "show me" if anyone said they had a beer that held its head longer than this Tripel Karmeliet. Okay, that was a cheesy intro, but the fact remains that this beer has one tenacious head. So much so that I got tired of waiting for it to settle and just dove in. It's not one of those Overly Carbonated, Big Bubbled heads, either. It's one of those thick, malty sticky heads. Nice. This wonderful head sits upon a body of a hazy straw-like colour. If The body was more appetizing looking, the appearance would be a 5. But regardless, a 4.5 is pretty darn impressive.
Smell is Banana, sweet, clove or corriander, and clean and appetizing. 4.0
Well it's really good. But really, really sweet. This would be a fantastic dessert beer. But as far as a drinking beer, it's awful lop-sided in the sweetness rather than letting the hops balance out the brew. 4.0
Mouthfeel is nice and creamy. A bit overly carbonated maybe. Okay, perhaps too much carbonation. But they're little bubbles and not those big champagne-like bubbles. You knwo what I mean? 4.0
Drinkability, given all my praise, is a 4. I couldn't puch it any higher. The taste is too sweet, but I guess that sweetness comes from the wheat which helps this fantastic head.

try it.

 1,290 characters

Photo of JohnY
4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A great belgian blonde. Poured into a large wine glass. Formed a nice white head that went straight to the top of the glass. Champagne like in mouth feel. Coriander and spice on the nose, great yeasty smell as well. Pale yellow in color. Well balanced with a slightly spicy kick. Not overly alcoholic tasting for it's high abv. Another great Belgian beer.

 355 characters

Photo of Dewey0603
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This pours a yellow straw with with a giant white foamy head. And like other Belgiums, this has a ton of carbonation. The smell is full of candy sugar,coriander, and bakers yeast. The taste is very sweet with candy sugar along with lemon zest, and some honey. The beer is so sweet that the sugar overpowers almost all the other flavors. The m/f is light and almost champagne like. The flavors mix well making this a very drinkable beer. For a high alcohol beer,this is very mellow and easy to drink. Another excellant Belgian.

 526 characters

Photo of ccrida
4.04/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on draft in the official, over-sized Karmeliet snifter, which is incidentally my favorite beer glass of all-time, Belgian or otherwise. Pours a beautiful golden straw color, with moderate haze and an unusually large, milky head, for which the snifter was artfully designed, making for a stunning presentation. The head is very slow to subside, leaving behind a thick, luscious lace. Candi-sugar really dominates flavor the flavor of this one, in both aroma and taste, with some citrus and sour apple esters. There are no noticeable hops, although the Wheat and Oats on the grain bill are clearly evident in the body. Personally, I'd have preferred more grain over the candi-sugar, which I feel makes the Karmeliet a bit too sweet on the finish. Still, the body is typically digestible for a strong Belgian, making for a smooth, easy-drinking, and deceptively dangerous beer. Overall, the Karmeliet is a great beer that is very enjoyable, so long as you don't overdo it!

 976 characters

Photo of WanderingFool
4.03/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This slightly hazy straw colored beer forms a very white frothy head on top when poured into the glass. The foam slowly dissolves back to the beer leaving behind some clumps of lace on the side of the glass. A mildly fruity aroma with notes of apples, grapes and hints of bubble gum, yeast and toasted malt hovers over the beer.

Each sip of this medium bodied beer is soft on the palate with just a mild fizz on the tongue. The flavor is well balanced with light flavors of white wine, bubble gum and toasted malt. It begins with a mild apple flavor. Bubble gum and yeast move in towards the middle and it finishes slightly sour. There's a nice light toasted malt flavor in the background holding it all together.

I thought this beer was well balanced and very refreshing. It reminded me of a white wine, however I found the carbonation fizz to be a bit overdone for this beer.

 883 characters

Photo of BillyB
3.95/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I tried two different bottles from two different stores. The first one was flat. Not a bit of life or carbonation. Some nice faint aromas and a slight complex taste but just flat. Old or bad bottle I guess.

Luckily I tried it again from another store. Whew! Huge white head with a bright golden appearance.

Yeasty, honey, spicey, citrusy aromas.

Sweet taste with a subtle hop bitterness. Mainly fruity, biscuity flavors.

Light crisp, bubbly mouthfeel.

Very drinkable. The moral to the story; Always give something (or someone)a second chance.

 557 characters

Photo of KlausKinski
3.58/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Massive head, golden appearance.
Yeasty smell.
Sweetish start, it develops fruit Aromas in the middle and brings through a little bitterness which is also dominant in the aftertaste.
At all a good, natural beer: Interesting, complex , but also quite drinkable.

 264 characters

Photo of haz77
4.53/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured into a tulip a clear orangey-straw colour with a massive meringue-like head, which seems to take forever to fall, probably due in part to the large amount of carbonation. Clumps of lacing are left everywhere and retention is excellent. Looks about as perfect as is possible.

S - Cloves, light/tropical fruits, phenols, bready yeast, honey. Superb.

T - There's a lot going on. Honey upfront, then the fruits begin to dominate. Spicy alcohol marks the back, but the ABV is well masked. Slightly dry finish and aftertaste.

M - Exceptionally smooth and effervescent. Medium to full body which is offset brilliantly by the foil of high tingling carbonation. Well balanced.

D - Highly drinkable for a beer of this strength. A favourite tripel and easily one of my favourite beers.

 789 characters

Photo of veggiemafia
4.55/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL, corked and caged.

Clear golden beauty with a foamy, rocky nice Tripel head.

Smell is spicy, with notes of hay and fresh cut grass, but not in a 60 Minute kind of grassy hops way, also with lemon, very prominent spice from the yeast, and some grainy character as well.

Taste is where this shines. Everything from the smell just brought out more. Intense lemon flavor and intense spice. Really nice bitter spine, presumably from the oats. Everything is really well balanced and just exceptional.

Mouthfeel is great, fluffy and light, but still very substantial. Very alive with nice tripel carbonation.

I could drink this as long as I could drink any tripel.

The Bosteels family scored with this one.

 724 characters

Photo of silver0rlead
4.32/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear gold color with a thin white head that dissapates quickly. The aroma is bright and intense with notes of lemon, hay, candy sugar, herbal hops, corriander, anise, bread dough and alcohol. The flavor starts out with an intense lemon tartness, followed by candy sugar, herbal hops, yeast, spices and some alcohol. This beer reminds me of Westmalle tripel with it's intense lemon flavor. The mouthfeel is medium with moderate carbonation; drinkability is good. A very good tripel, solid in all aspects.

 512 characters

Photo of dfried
3.81/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer had a coppery/amber appearance with a great head with a lot of larger bubbles and lacing. Very good overall appearance. the smell was a syrupy, about what you would expect from a tripel. I really liked the taste, it was sweeter than most triples almost like a white wheaty ale, with hints of citrus. Definitely a bit heavy which usually brings the drinkablility down a bit.

 383 characters

Photo of supercolter
3.83/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Ok for appearance- beautiful dark golden... yum, pours with a great deal of head that lowers slowly, leaving the oily spiderwebs on the side of my chalice. Very impressed.
Smell was good as well, pretty complex... alot of oat and grain, a hint of citrus and alcohol
Taste was above average, but I expected to taste more of the complexity I smelt
Mouthfeel was good felt very smooth on the tounge.
Drinkability, not the most drinkable, but again tripels are probably the toughest to rate in this category...

 510 characters

Photo of HaVoKnYnJ
3.04/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

OK, I can only assume this big green bottle of golden goodness (seriously, aren't green bottles taboo in beer circles?) was mishandled, as there was a TON of crap floating around in this beer. However, I poured as carefully as possible, and ran the last 2-3 inches of the bottle (not the final cm or 2) through a coffee filter, for the final pour.

This was a bottle I got for Christmas 05, and has been stored in a cool dark place since then. I split the bottle with my brother, a budding beer snob. A quick whif of the bottle after removing the cork smelled like skunked heineken. Fighting my urge to pour the bottle into the sink, i poured a little bit into a chalice-y type glass (no glass 'flute' to hold...more of a red wine kind of thing), which produced a thick white head. A sip revealed the beer was still good, just a bit off in odor.

Taste was thick, with lots of citrus and yeasty tones. I wouldn't say I could taste more of one citrus over any other, though there were no sharp tastes (a la grapefruit in an ipa), but they were well balanced by the yeasty flavors, as well.

Basically, I want to try this beer again, as I think it was pretty good. Especially with the suspicion that the bottle may have been around too long, or mishandled at some point, I think it says a lot that it was still a solid experience.

(edit: I just saw the bottle looked NOTHING like glass with graphics applied directly on a translucent label.... did I have a really OLD bottle, or did I have a NEWly redesigned bottle? Anyone know?)

 1,564 characters

Photo of Hautacam
4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Burp Castle, NYC. Served in a Karmeliet chalice. Looks great....clear dark gold.... huge white head that coats the chalice and slowly lowers to a film.
Smell is honey-malt and alcohol. Faint fruit.
Taste was not as complex as other's reviews state....not sure why..??
But, mostly, it's sweet malt and alcohol right up front...that may not sound too good, but there is some pear and banana in the background...and for whatever reason, this brew was awesome !! It didn't gain any new flavor in warming....but tasted better. Can't explain, but so what....this is goood stuff. I love tripels, and the more complex the better....but this one was so simply appealing, I had to have two....even though there were other really interesting beers that I haven't tried yet on tap.
The mouthfeel was heavy, syrupy...medium carbonation.
I will definitely try a bottle...and look forward to finding it on tap again. Highly recommended...IMHO.

 943 characters

Tripel Karmeliet from Brouwerij Bosteels
4.24 out of 5 based on 4,085 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.