Those Benedictine monks have been brewing up unique beers since 1836 with an unsurpassed focus on labor, prayer, and charity. Westmalle is located in the province of Antwerp in the Flanders region of Belgium. They produce three distinct beers: a Dubbel, a Tripel, and a patersbier.
Today’s beer is the Tripel. First introduced in 1934 it has an alcohol content of 9.5 percent with IBUs around 37 and has a good portion of pale liquid sugar added to the wort. The recipe was slightly changed in 1956 but has remained unchanged since then making it the mother of all Tripels.
The pour reveals a warm liquid gold amber glow with a vigorous and towering head of off-white foam. This beer is brilliantly clear and the monks did not hold back on the carbonation level at all. I tried pouring this gently but the beer reacted as though I had tipped it bottom up to let it glug out. The aroma is mostly sweet consisting of toffee, bubble gum, booze, and clove.
Tasting brings a decidedly different story with big notes of whole grain bread and booze dominate the overall flavor. The bitterness is noticeable but kept pleasantly in balance with the malts. The booze, however, is too strong for a 9.5 percent beer. If I were to taste this beer blind I would have guessed it to be more in the 12 percent range. The mouthfeel is absolutely top notch; it’s pillowy and very effervescent making for a lively drinking experience.