Dismiss Notice
Curious about recent updates to the site and app? Check the Announcements forum for updates.
Dismiss Notice
Love Belgian Beer?

Join us Sep 17 in Portland, Maine for Return of the Belgian Beer Fest, featuring hundreds of authentic Belgian beers and Belgian-inspired offerings.

Tickets + more: beeradvocate.com/belgian

Westmalle Trappist Tripel | Brouwerij Westmalle

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
95
world-class
1,705 Reviews
Westmalle Trappist TripelWestmalle Trappist Tripel
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Westmalle
Belgium | website

Style: Tripel

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-06-2000

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,705
Ratings:
4,394
Avg:
4.28
pDev:
10.05%
 
 
Wants:
404
Gots:
773
For Trade:
5
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,705 | Ratings: 4,394
Photo of Chrysostom
4.66/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

As always, I review to style (ala BJCP) modified by personal taste (contra BJCP), or else certain beers, excellent exemplars of styles I do not prefer, would receive worse marks than poor examples of my favourite styles.

As always, this review is live, not from notes. Trendy. Hipster-approved.

This, Westmalle, is the original Tripel. All other Tripels derive from this. Now, without further ado, a review.

Presentation: 750mL corked and caged bottle, served at 50ºF, corked with Westmalle's notoriously hard-to-remove plastic/rubber cork. Poured in to Chimay chalice/goblet. This beer was aged for about one year before drinking.

A: Crystal-clear (after a year of aging) straw yellow colour, like unto an American Lager, with a two-finger, foamy head on a moderate pour which surprisingly slowly recedes in to a cap and ring, and which leaveth little lacing. Two The clarity is surprising, but to be expected after such aging. Trappist are just /supposed/ to be cloudy. Looks like a clear Duvel. Or, for that matter, a Budweiser. On second and third pours, has a slight cloudiness (rating increased), very similar to Duvel, with some white lees in the glass.

S: Citrus, apricot, apple, white wine (Chardonnay, this time), some wet dog or farm, some typical Belgian spice. Very minor alcohol. Sweet, malt, and hops come through all at once. Quite malty. Some noticeable Belgian funk. Mild alcohol.

T: Citrus, sour apple, Chardonnay (including the alcohol), fresh-cut grass and subdued Belgian funk. No spice apparent. No hops up front - malts dominate with a breadiness - but citrus-y hops hit pretty strongly on the mid-palate and finish. Clean finish, coats the mouth mildly, but there's obviously some hopping going on. Some crackers in the finish. Similar to the Chimay White but a bit bolder. Crisp.

M: Loose, spritzy carbonation with a bite. Pulls the beer together well.

D: High.

O: The quintessential Tripel. Try it.

To style: 98/100
To taste: 90/100

 1,970 characters

Photo of MrMichael
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance
Golden color that was slightly cloudy when poured. Lots of foam on top

Smell
The smell was great. There was a nice mix of fruit and hops.

Taste
This beer tasted light, clean, and had a nice fruitiness to it. I could happily sip it all evening

Mouthfeel
Effervescent and crisp with lots of tiny bubbles

Overall
Outstanding. My bottle came from a Belgian sampler case and I will probably buy an entire case of this the next time I go in.

 450 characters

Photo of bum732
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a golden yellow, some yeast floaties, nice creamy head leaving tons of lacing. Smells of medicinal phenols, a nice earthy grassiness, touch of clove, soft sweet breadiness, honey, touch of vanilla, absolutely blissful. Tastes of creamy clove like malt with lots of phenolic layers throughout. Some grainy sweetness that is immediately followed by a clean bitterness. Finishes fairly dry with an earthy note. Alcohol is present, but not overwealming. Nice full creamy mouthfeel, just enough carbonation to make it pop.

I still find it amazing such a full bodied beer can be dry at the same time, just unbelievable. An amazing brew, truly the standard for all Tripels and by far the best i've ever had.

 707 characters

Photo of BelgiumBill
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I received a 750ml bottle along with a very nice Westmalle chalice glass as a gift. The glass is very heavy, has a 33cl line with ample room to spare for the head. Best chalice I own.

The bottle was marked with a bottled date of 11/4/11. It was caged and corked. I served it at 40 degrees.

Poured it into the chalice a pale golden color with medium haze and a thin white head. There were many streams of carbonation rising in the glass along with some yeast settling in the glass.

S- biscuit, citrus, some savory spice.
F- Very complex with several varieties of citrus, grains, and spice. The flavors were consistent through the taste rather than certain flavors appearing only on the finish.
M- moderate to high carbonation kept the mouthfeel clean and crisp. The 9.5%ABV was well integrated.
O- Outstanding with great complexity, classic Belgian yeast. I recommend serving it warmer - 50 degrees or above as this is when the flavors and aromas emerged more fully.

 968 characters

Photo of bosco7
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I thought I should review a classic/style-defining beer to mark my 200th review.

Pale orange color with a luscious velvety head that leaves quality sticky lacing. A little hazy.

Orange peel, lemon pulp, green apple skin, rose petal, earthy hops, spicy pepper. Very perfumey with less banana than I remember. The bottle is about a year or so old.

Sweet start with some orange zest, slight banana, sugary, and light caramel flavors. Perfumey, green apple, rose, some vanilla, and minty flavors towards the middle of the sip. Spiciness is most pronounced in the finish white pepper comes to mind. Some warming alcohol notes in the finish as well. Assertive bitterness and a dry ending.

This beer is an absolute pleasure to drink. Complex as hell(especially with a couple months in the cellar) and very drinkable despite the ABV. Simply exceptional.

 851 characters

Photo of drperm
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: I knew I was in for a winner when I saw it swirling in my Chimay goblet. Nice and unfiltered, like a dark witbier.

Aroma: It's like candy in the glass. Cotton candy, white chocolate, light caramel, raspberry, vanilla, lemon, wheat, homemade bread dough rising.

Taste: This beer explodes with flavour. Citrus, candy (but thankfully not too sweet!!), nice light hopping, toffee, caramel, allspice, bubblegum, nutmeg, a tart finish. It's a hair thin (but at 9.5% ABV it can be as thin as it wants!).

Palate: SO smooth, it's dangerous. I can taste the warming alcohol on the way down, but it is not at all harsh or unpleasant.

Overall: It definitely smells sweeter than it tastes. This is an all-around winner and underscores the qualities that make Trappist beers so special.

It is *excellent* with dhal. It proved a seamless match with the pear and chive chutney (loved those chives), and would be stellar with mango chutney as well. The sweet + curry equation is key. It was one of those times that I had the meal first and needed to pick a brew -- I took a chance and it worked!

This was a fairly fresh bottle. I've got another one of those that I purchased at the same time. I'm going to cellar it and see how the difference stacks up in a couple of years.

 1,275 characters

Photo of KarlHungus
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This brew pours a cloudy semi-transparent pale orange color. The one-finger head is white and creamy. Lacing is thorough. The aroma is huge, juicy orange peel, spices. The taste is full and juicy. Orange peel dominates the sip leading into a tangy finish, and onto a warm alcoholic aftertaste. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and fairly smooth. Overall, this is a very good tripel; one of the better ones I have had.

 415 characters

Photo of jrenihan
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Best before on bottle is May 19, 2012.

Pours a light golden colour with a full, frothy white head that settles down but stays present throughout. Lots of carbonation is visible.

I can smell belgian yeast, banana, and maybe a faint whiff of strawberry. Light fruits generally are very present. Very nice.

Taste is moderately sweet and quite fruity. A bit of spice, and some bitterness is also present. Alcohol is noticeable at the end. No particular fruit sticks out for me- the flavours are well balanced and it is very enjoyable.

Mouthfeel- full bodied, and very well carbonated. Looking at the beer, I thought the carbonation would be too much for me, but I guess the appearance was deceiving. Feels great.

Quite drinkable, given how enjoyable it is, but the 9.5% is not exactly hidden. I wouldn't try (or want) to drink this quickly.

A very very good tripel!

 867 characters

Photo of JaimeLondon
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Incredible tripel of 9.5% ABV, of an opaque ocher color and a big and persistant whitey foam.
Smell and taste are characterized by delicious and unexpected sweet tones; they're also full of grainy tones and it's easy to feel the yeast.
Body, carbonation and bitterness are at perfect level, I believe this beer has the best feel of all I've tasted.

 348 characters

Photo of Radome
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from bottle into a goblet.

A - I had a gusher of foam immediately upon opening the bottle. This is probably because of shaking in my car, since I bought it out of a store cooler and immediately took it home and opened it. Color is golden with an orange tinge. The foam is thick and fluffy and off-white in color. My sample had yeast particles suspended in it, but I blame that on the car shaking again.

S - Wonderful aroma that is a mix of cotton candy sweetness, fruitiness (apple?), alcohol and subtle spices. Around the edge I get hints of musty old barrels or corks, like walking through a wine aging cellar.

T - Very complex taste. Has a hop bitterness foundation, but its not the focus of the beer. Malt and fruitiness is up front, then alcohol and candi sugar sweetness in the middle. There are low hops flavors and subtle spices in the end. Outstanding.

M - Medium body, some alcohol burn appropriate for the style and the alcohol level. Carbonation is very high, but the bubbles are small and it gives the beer a creamy, fluffy feel. Just a bit of a mouthcoating feel, but it fades quickly without being cloying.

D - Overall a beautiful, masterfully made beer. Complex aromas and flavors without being cloying or heavy. This beer works well with food or on its own as a night cap.

 1,301 characters

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled in a Westmalle chalice.
Pours a cloudy yellow orange color with visible yeast particles. The head starts of really big but becomes thin and patchy quickly, lacing is rather subdued. The aroma is of citrus fruits, perfumey malts, and herbal hops. The taste is sweet and spicey. Malts and kandy sugar mingle with a tangy citrus quality and very clear apple notes, its almost cidery. Theres great hop definition and a subtle phenolic character as well. Alcohol is evident but, like all good Belgium brews, definitely masks its full girth. The mouthfeel is smooth and luscious from a massive amount of fine carbonation bubble. This is a classic Belgium beer.

 664 characters

Photo of puckjer
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

wow, best belgian tripel i have ever had. beautiful golden orange color with a tight white head that laced all the way to the bottom of the glass. the complexity of flavors in this beer are truly remarkable. there is definitely something to be said about old world beers like this that have been superiorly perfected over time. like one of the other posters said, drink this in solitude and slowly to truly enjoy all that it has to offer.

 438 characters

Photo of Digimaika2
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Attractive cloudy golden hue with a solid two fingers worth of bubbly stark white foam head. Very good retention and good lacing.

S: Strong orchard fruits (pear & apple) in addition to tropical fruits (banana & pineapple), yeast, spices (pepper & cloves), and an underlying buttered bread aroma. Also picking up a gummy candy-like scent. Can't believe how much fruit is in the aroma, and both tropical and orchard varieties. Wonderful and diverse smell.

T: Sweet pear, tangy and tart pineapple, bitter pepper, floral elements, and a bread-like malt backbone. Fantastic contrast between sugars and bitters with a great equilibrium reached. Alcohol hardly evident.

M: Full bodied with a moderate carbonation for the style. Incredibly oily and viscous with a slight chewy texture and lingering dryness that works.

D: An exceptional tripel. The balanced quality of this coupled with the potent fruit elements makes this a winner for me.

 942 characters

Photo of TurdFurgison
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this from an 11.2oz bottle into my Watou chalice. Poured cloudy orange-yellow, with yeast clumps included, and sticky white head which formed into islands within several minutes.

The smell is awesome, bready yeasty tripel aroma. Of course this is the original, so you'd expect this to fit the profile...

Taste is out of this world. Fruity esters and some very mild alcohol bite compete with the bready aroma.

This is very easy to find in Northwest Columbus, but on the expensive side (generally $4-$5 per bottle). Even so, very good and I will not hesitate to buy more. If I ever get to Belgium, I'll try to taste some fresh bottles.

 649 characters

Photo of santa109
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served at 52 degrees. Best before date on the bottle is 15/10/2009.

A: Poured a nice golden color with a finger of thick foamy head into a chalice. Head retention is really good thanks to a healthy supply of bubbles. It leaves lacing throughout.

S: Wow, this is the quintessential tripel aroma for me, oozes with citrus. Pale malts are also noticeable and Belgian yeast is also very apparent.

T: Delicious citrus twang accompanied by a hint of spices. Yeast is apparent and there is also a slight medicinal character. Quite the interesting brew. When it warms up a little, the medicinal character becomes even more apparent and this beer truly becomes something special.

M: Slightly crisp at first and then it feels much more creamy and mellow. The thick head accentuates this creamy effect.

D: Alcohol is barely noticeable and the incredibly addictive taste make this a very drinkable beer. It's a good thing that the label states the alcohol volume because it's very well hidden.

Overall, this beer defines what a tripel should be. It goes down so smoothly and each sip is more enjoyable than the previous one. I'm so glad to have 10 of these left.

 1,156 characters

Photo of gonzo138
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- pours into the goblet a darker gold than most tripels, a white head with fairly low retenention for a belgian ale, but laces very nicely

S- citrusy sweetness, spicey, crisp, classic tripel smell

T- a little bitter, sweet, spicey, goes more or less hand in hand with smell

M- very dry, very carbonated, taste remains in mouth for a good amount of time

D- A great brew, problaby my favorite tripel, something I would recomend and have bought repeatedly

 465 characters

Photo of smilingPolitely
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Such an enjoyable brew!
Pours with a nice creamy head, and deep yellow color - slightly cloudy. Nice mellow aroma, and amazingly smooth taste with sweet undertones and even balance all the way through. Silky mouthfeel but not too heavy at all.
A great drink for a relaxing evening.

 281 characters

Photo of doopydoogle
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Cloudy golden with hints of beige and grey. A creamy white head that has real staying power

S - Blueberry, grapes, candi sugar, pears, papaya, vanilla, biscuits, taffy, currant, some malt, caramel, toffee, sponge

T - Slight fruity sweetness which is followed by a surprising bitter that carries through til the end accompanied by malt tones and caramel. Spices and booze are predominant with subtle caraway and anise. Yeasty breadiness comes out under the fruit and provides a hearty base.

M - Velvety carbonation and a wonderful mouthcoating.

O - An excellent brew. Given that its relatively dry and pretty bitter, this one definitely goes to the top of the list for Belgain Tripels.

 692 characters

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

A - pours a hazy yellow with a large fluffy head sitting on top. Head last through the entire beer and lacing clings to the sides on the way down. Perfect.

S - spicy with bits of citrus exactly what is expected.

T - starts with sweet fruitiness followed by the spicy peppery and clove overtones. Finish with a combination of alcohol and medicine. A bit of breadiness but not nearly as heavy as in other brews.

M - clean and dry. carbonation is lively on a palate. aftertaste sticks on the sides of the tongue, but more of a feeling than a flavor.

D - yeah... if I could afford it.

 584 characters

Photo of sendsilk
4.68/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Clean but much lighter in color than I would expect from a tripel trappist. Poured with about a 1 -1/2 finger head that dissipated rather quickly. No sediment or residue in my bottle.

S- Clover and some orange and spice. My sense of smell is not the best but it definitely smelled of citrus/orange.

T- Surprisingly clean as I have grown used to St. Bernadous 12 which is far heavier (but an awesome beer). I am pleasantly surprised by the lightness of this. Completely satisfying and a great body to it but not overwhelming. Orange and clove taste with the alcohol being covered over for the most part. Delicious and refreshing. I will have to check out more trippels as I have become accustomed to quads.

M- Don't really know how to rate this. Very nice. No lingering aftertaste. Clean but with substance. Do yourself a favor and try it.

D- Absolutely!! One of the top 5 beers I have ever tried (and I have tried a lot). Would definitely recommend this to everyone I know and will be picking up more tomorrow. I bought 25 or so singles to give them a whirl and this is my third on and the best so far.

 1,109 characters

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

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into a Trois Pistoles chalice. Slow pour yielded a creamy, thick pale head. Glowing golden orange color with a good amount of fine yeast sediment. Great retention with plentiful foamy lace left on the sides of the glass - this is definitely a Trappist ale.

Nose is of bready belgian malts and pungent yeast.

Tastes of biscuity light malts, coriander, apricots, lemongrass. A nice mild bitter stale grassy hops aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is very creamy and smooth. Carbonation is champagne-like. This is very drinkable for the alcohol content. Every sip left me wanting more. This high ABV drink went down very fast.

Absolutely sublime tripel.

 672 characters

Photo of rjlemos
4.68/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

What am I supposed to say about a Belgian Trappist Tripel ? That's awesome. Really awesome. Something totally singular, unique. Well, let's try to be technical...

A- Superb. It pours dark gold, but muddy. Great head, dense, that lasts forever.
S- Complexity !
T- Delicious. It goes realy nice and well, complex, but it starts to get goddamned strong in the end. The alcohol reveals itself and the aftertaste is really intense !
M- Great. It fills up your mouth and shows how strong it is !
D- It's not a beer to drink liters. In fact, it's really hard to drink quite much considering the amount of alcohol in it. It's a gourmet beer, not a six pack lousy soapy lager... but it goes really well. It's not a beer for sissies, you really have to be able to handle that !

Really great and unique ! We can say this is one of a kind, for sure.

 848 characters

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

What a great beer.

My sample poured with a head that emerged well above the rim of the glass.

The aroma was of fruit, esters, spice, clove, and bananas.

The color was a murky yellow; kind of a golden straw color. Seemed to have a yeast and chill haze.

The carbonation was heavy but not spritzy; felt like the soft natural carbonation of proper bottle-conditioning.

It's amazing how fast you can drink this one, even though it's 9.5% alcohol. What danger!

 470 characters

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

Read a thread about tripels and had a sudden craving. Picked up this 330 ml bottle at Green's for $4.49.

Poured into a tulip glass, golden and clear with a thick egg-shell head of fat bubbles that settle out to a nice raft of foam. Beads of bubbles continue to run up the sides in a perfect line, like something out of commercial. Why can't American brewers get this sophisticated carbonation?

Aroma of sweet pilsner malt, flour-dusted biscuits, and spicy-floral hops. Not much in the way of fruity esters, but a distinct yeasty note.

Dry and balanced right out of the gate. Every time a bit of sweet malt starts to come through, the spices and minerally tang beat it back. Some apple esters start to peek through gradually, along with white grape. Tannin-like bitterness lingers pleasantly.

Mouthfeel is where the monks seem to have a direct line to God. Spritzy and champagne-like, with a slightly chaulky, but not grainy note. Dry, bright, clean and refreshing. Fills the mouth, but light in body. Totally alive on the tongue.

Truly world class beer. Perfect for summer food or most any time you want to indulge yourself. Give this to your wine-loving friends and see what they think.

 1,192 characters

Photo of Mosstrooper
4.68/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from 11.2oz bottle into 330mL St. Bernardus chalice.

Appearance: Pours bright, hazy golden-orange color with a large white head that has very big bubbles in it and dissipates slowly, leaving behind spotty lace.

Smell: Smells of green apple and yeast, with some biscuity, floral, and grassy notes in the background.

Taste: Begings with a tart green apple flavor and some spice, rounding out to some breadiness and finishing with yeast with medium hop flavor. Some notes of citrus/citrus peel as well.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with carbonation that stings a bit initially, but rounds out and feels more natural. Finishe swarm and sort of dry.

Drinkability: An exceptional tripel- all of the typical tripel flavors are here, but unlike most tripels, none overpowers the other. This is a deceptively easy-drinker for its high ABV, but it's definitely a beer worth savoring.

 879 characters

Westmalle Trappist Tripel from Brouwerij Westmalle
95 out of 100 based on 1,705 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.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe