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A Triple Point Twisted, Trappist Tripel Tipple

2nd June 2021

A Triple Point Twisted, Trappist Tripel Tipple

After choosing the name Triple Point for completely unrelated reasons, it keeps tempting us to “play around” with triple versions of some cracking beer styles (and tongue twisters). And where better to start than a twist on the “mother of all triples” a Belgian Trappist Tripel.

The Trappist Abbey in Westmalle was founded in 1836 and first brewed a “table beer” in the same year. By 1856 they had added a stronger brown beer known as Dubbel (“double” in Dutch) and then in 1936 they added an even stronger (9.5%) pale ale which they called Tripel (the first of its kind). Generally, the more malt is added to a brew, the more fermentable sugar is collected and the greater the alcohol strength of the finished beer. A middle-age tradition was to indicate beer strength on casks with a single X for weakest, XX for medium and XXX for the strongest beers. Three X’s became synonymous with the word “tripel”.

Tripel Alcohol

Tripel Karmeliet

Tripel Karmeliet was launched in 1996 and has received great acclaim ever since. It is a favourite of ours and it was to this beer that we turned, quite literally, for the source of our own Tripel.

At its heart a Tripel is a pale ale. And it has to be pale. To achieve that we need the palest ale and lager malts, though malt alone tends not to get us to the lofty heights above 9% alcohol. One of the distinctive characteristics of a Tripel is the use of Candi sugar. Fully fermentable, adding no colour, yet leaving an aroma reminiscent of candy sweets which beautifully complement the typical pear, apple and peach fruit aromas so characteristic of the Belgian ale yeasts. In our case we selected and cultivated the Tripel Karmeliet yeast from a handful of bottles (nothing went to waste!). It was this yeast that gave us a three stage (another Tripel!) fermentation to achieve the final 9.3% ABV.

Tripel Alcohol

Fermentation Curve

We haven't seen a fermentation curve like this before. Have you? After decades of training, maybe this yeast just knows that it needs to have 3 goes at a Tripel.

Like all good pale ales, there’s a balance between malt and hop character. In fact, the bitterness IBU’s (International Bitterness Units) of a Tripel equates to that of many an IPA, so it’s got sufficient to balance the malts, sugar and alcohol without being cloying. Typically, the hops used will be understated, noble European varieties such as British, Belgian or Slovenian Goldings, Czech Saaz or Hallertau varieties. Added at the start for bitterness and a little late aroma for a balanced, integrated character. There is certainly no dry-hopping in the classic Tripel.

Having seen very few craft variants of the Tripel style, the opportunity of play a twist with the hops seemed too good to miss. We had managed to get hold of a small amount of Australian Galaxy (no mean feat) paired with New Zealand Wakatu and Wai-iti for late boil and whirlpool additions. The passionfruit and peach, floral and lime characters mingle with pear, pineapple and peppery spice aromas from the Karmeliet yeast for a complex, mellow yet assertive flavour we hope you will love.

Tripel Alcohol

What Would The Trappists Say?

We have tried to carry this theme through to our packaging. An abbey style image with gold letters acknowledging the source of our inspiration (and yeast), but then instead of a traditional bottle, a somewhat irreverent New World can. What would the Trappists say?

With a low yield, the majority of our New World Tripel will be available in 440ml cans, however we have snuck a portion into our 400L Sauvignon Blanc wine barrels for a bit of extra maturation. Watch this space to see how that goes.

Santé!

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