This week we see the seasonal release of Tripel on draft at the Schlafly Taproom. Tripel had its beginning as the original HOP in the City beer, all the way back in 1999. From there it became a yearly seasonal release at the Taproom. In 2008, we began bottling Tripel as part of our Bottle Conditioned Belgian Ale Series of beers sold in 750ml bottles.
The Tripel style originated from Trappist monasteries in Belgium. Its golden color can be quite deceptive, because it is definitely a strong beer. The alcohol content of a Tripel typically ranges from 7.5%-10%abv. Another very distinctive thing about Tripels is their yeast-derived flavors and aromas. The Belgian type yeasts used are very distinctive and produce complex fruity and spicy characters.
The recipe for Schlafly Tripel has its roots in a homebrew recipe of Kip Innes. Kip’s homebrewed Tripel took Best of Show at the 1998 Saint Louis Brews Happy Holiday Homebrew Competition. There have actually been very few changes to the recipe since the original was brewed.
Our Tripel clocks in at 10%abv (on the very high side of the typical range.) As you are enjoying this beer, you will notice a complex marriage of fruit (orange, banana, apple), spice (cloves), and alcohol. You will also detect a supportive malt character and a balancing bitterness.
Beers like this are truly a drinking experience. Hopefully you can make a trip to the Taproom to enjoy the draft version of this beer. Also, pick up a couple 750ml bottles. They would make a great gift for the beer lover in your life (or for yourself!)
If you would like to geek out a bit more on Tripels, here is what the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) has to say about them: http://www.bjcp.org/2008styles/style18.php#1c
And if you want to geek out really hard, pick up a copy of Stan Hieronymus’ book “Brew Like a Monk”. It is an amazing collection of knowledge concerning Belgian style monastic beers.