Tripel Karmeliet | Brouwerij Bosteels

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Tripel KarmelietTripel Karmeliet
4,227 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 4,227 |  Reviews: 1,356
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4.75/5  rDev +11%

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4.34/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a slightly hazy yellow-gold with two fingers of white head that recedes into a thin layer with no lacing.

S: Belgian spices with tart, light fruit aromas similar to white grapes and pears. There are sweet candy sugar and bready aromas toward the finish.

T: Light spice notes up front followed by tart fruit flavors and some slight candy sugar notes. The finish is champagne-like with dry fruit and bread characters. Very tasty.

M: Light body with high carbonation, this beer is perfectly attenuated, leaving it light, crisp, and dry despite its high abv.

O: One of the best tripels out there, I think. It's very tasty and has the perfect body needed for a great Belgian.

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3.07/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

This 750 ml corked and caged green glass bottle was purchased in April at Pere Marquette Expeditions in Ludington, MI, supposedly on the same day that it came in. However, if I'm reading the "best before" date correctly as December 21, 2010 then this is quite an old bottle. Shame on you, local distributor. This bottle is being served at 50 degrees Fahrenheit and is being poured into a Duvel tulip glass.

The cork comes off easily and a lively stream of champagne-like bubbles rushes to the surface, aggravating the layer of sediment at the bottom of the bottle, effectively distributing it back into the beer. A moderate pour into the glass yields an explosive two-finger head. An effervescent stream of bubbles aggressively ascends from the nucleation point of the glass, the likes of which I have not seen in this particular vessel. As a result, head retention is very good. Patchy lacing sticks to the wall of the glass. The beer is light-golden in hue, and apart from the chunky sediment now reintroduced into the beer, it looks very clear. The sediment is an unfortunate detriment to an otherwise fine looking brew.

The aroma is giving off mostly lactic sour notes, though a tempered wheaty snap waits subversively in the wings. It is a little peppery and closer examination reveals faint remnant of the classic banana and clove combo. The scent of solvent-like alcohol eventually surfaces. Mostly however, it smells like lambic or perhaps saison. This is my first experience with Tripel Karmeliet, and I was not expecting a sour by any description on the label. Could it be a pleasant surprise, or perhaps an unfortunate infection?

Though the taste is not overtly sour, there seems to be something amiss with this bottle. Again, this is my first experience with this beer so I won't know for sure until the next one. On the front end, sweet tropical fruitiness dominates. There are hints of pineapple, but those hints are quickly overtaken by a banana flavor so intense and artificial, you'd swear that you were drinking Laffy Taffy. It blends into a solvent-like alcohol flavor that has obviously mellowed with age, but is still potent enough to be off-putting. As expected, there is no apparent hop bitterness; but this beer is in desperate need of something to balance, or at least challenge, the onslaught of banana. Now I'm kind of wishing that it was a sour.

As a bright point, I must say that this beer feels really good in the mouth. The velvety feel of alcohol gives this a nice weight that isn't too heavy. The violent carbonation had spent itself within minutes. Thus, the stinging carbonic bite I was expecting simply did not manifest. It warms the throat, perhaps a touch more than I would care for. However, it's not a deal-breaker.

This is one odd tripel. If you had given this to me blindly and told me that it was malt liquor, I would say "Bravo! This is fantastic." However as an authentic Belgian tripel it is an unbalanced mess and a disappointment to boot. On top of that, it had me all fooled into thinking I was going to be treated to a nice gueuze, which I am now craving. At $11 a bottle, there are much better triples to be had, but I am also inclined to give this one a second chance. After all, if I am reading the date correctly, this beer is a year and a half beyond peak freshness.

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Tripel Karmeliet from Brouwerij Bosteels
Beer rating: 4.28 out of 5 with 4,227 ratings