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Tripel

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A Tripel is a strong, spicy, golden beer developed at Belgian abbey breweries in the early twentieth century.

Contents

[edit] History of Tripel

The Westmalle abbey in Belgium, which had developed the first Dubbel in the 1860s, developed a new beer in 1934 that was even stronger, with a rich golden color. They initially named this their Superbier, but it was quickly renamed as a "tripel." As with the dubbel, the name and the style of beer quickly caught on in other abbey and, eventually, secular breweries in Belgium and beyond.

[edit] Brewing Tripel

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[edit] Competition Styles

Both the BJCP and the GABF recognize this style.

[edit] BJCP Style Guidelines

[edit] Belgian Tripel

18C. Belgian Tripel Vital Statistics
BJCP Style Guideline Definition (2004)
IBUs: 25-38 SRM: 4.5-6 OG: 1.075-1.085 FG: 1.010-1.016 ABV: 7.5-9
Aroma: Complex with moderate to significant spiciness, moderate fruity esters and low alcohol and hop aromas. Generous spicy, peppery, sometimes clove-like phenols. Esters are often reminiscent of citrus fruits such as oranges, but may sometimes have a slight banana character. A low yet distinctive spicy, floral, sometimes perfumy hop character is usually found. Alcohols are soft, spicy and low in intensity. No hot alcohol or solventy aromas. The malt character is light. No diacetyl.
Appearance: Deep yellow to deep gold in color. Good clarity. Effervescent. Long-lasting, creamy, rocky, white head resulting in characteristic "Belgian lace" on the glass as it fades.
Flavor: Complex with moderate to significant spiciness, moderate fruity esters and low alcohol and hop aromas. Generous spicy, peppery, sometimes clove-like phenols. Esters are often reminiscent of citrus fruits such as oranges, but may sometimes have a slight banana character. A low yet distinctive spicy, floral, sometimes perfumy hop character is usually found. Alcohols are soft, spicy and low in intensity. No hot alcohol or solventy aromas. The malt character is light. No diacetyl.
Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body, although lighter than the substantial gravity would suggest (thanks to candi sugar and high carbonation). High alcohol content adds a pleasant creaminess but little to no obvious warming sensation. No hot alcohol or solventy character. Always effervescent. Never astringent.
Overall Impression: Complex with moderate to significant spiciness, moderate fruity esters and low alcohol and hop aromas. Generous spicy, peppery, sometimes clove-like phenols. Esters are often reminiscent of citrus fruits such as oranges, but may sometimes have a slight banana character. A low yet distinctive spicy, floral, sometimes perfumy hop character is usually found. Alcohols are soft, spicy and low in intensity. No hot alcohol or solventy aromas. The malt character is light. No diacetyl.
History: Originally developed at the Trappist monastery at Westmalle.
Comments: High in alcohol but does not taste strongly of alcohol. The best examples are sneaky, not obvious. High carbonation helps to bring out the many flavors and to increase the perception of a dry finish.
Ingredients: The light color and relatively light body for a beer of this strength are the result of using pilsner malt and up to 20% white candi sugar (sucrose). Noble hops or Styrian Goldings are commonly used. Belgian yeast strains are used - those that produce fruity esters, spicy phenolics and higher alcohols - often aided by slightly warmer fermentation temperatures.
Commercial Examples: Westmalle Tripel, Chimay Cinq Cents (White), Val-Dieu Triple, St. Bernardus Tripel, Affligem Tripel, Grimbergen Tripel, La Trappe Tripel, Witkap Pater Tripel, Corsendonk Abbey Pale Ale, St. Feuillien Tripel, New Belgium Trippel, Unibroue La Fin du Monde, Brooklyn Triple, Dragonmead Final Absolution

[edit] GABF Style Listings

[edit] Belgian Style Tripel

61B. Belgian Style Tripel
GABF Style Listing (2007)
Tripels are often characterized by a complex, sometimes mild spicy character, but no clove-like phenolic flavor. Yeast-generated fruity banana esters are also common, but not necessary. These pale/light-colored ales may finish sweet, though any sweet finish should be light. The beer is characteristically medium bodied with a equalizing hop/malt balance. Traditional Belgian Tripels are often well attenuated and bottle conditioned beers aged for a long period may be very well attenuated. Brewing sugar may be used to lighten the perception of body. Its sweetness will come from very pale malts. There should not be character from any roasted or dark malts. Very low hop flavor is okay. Alcohol strength and flavor should be perceived as evident. Head retention is dense and mousse like. Chill haze is acceptable at low serving temperatures. Traditional Tripels are bottle conditioned and may exhibit slight yeast haze.
Original Gravity (ºPlato): 1.070-1.092 (17-22 ºPlato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (ºPlato): 1.012-1.018 (3-4.5 ºPlato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume): 5.6-8.0% (7.0-10.0%)
Bitterness (IBU): 23-33
Color SRM (EBC): 5-8 (10-16 EBC)