Westmalle Tripel, Westmalle
Added: Wednesday, January 3rd 2024
Westmalle Tripel is one of the finest if not the finest of the Belgian Trappist beers. Monks at the Abbey of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart near Antwerp built their abbey at the end of the 18th century and they added a brewery in 1836.
From the middle of that century the monks started to sell their beer commercially as they needed income to fund their religious work in the community.
In the 1930s a new brew house was added, its Art Deco design standing out from the austere Gothic buildings of the monastery. Classic copper vessels are set on tiled floors and the brew kettle is fired by direct flame that gives a defining toasted malt and butterscotch character to the beers.
The monks use Bavarian and French summer barley that are kilned at a low temperature for the pale, golden Tripel – darker malts are added for the 7% Dubbel. Hops for Tripel are Bavarian Tettnanger, Czech Saaz and Styrian Goldings. Candy sugar is added during the boil with hops and the beer has a slow second fermentation in tanks before it’s bottled with priming sugar and re-seeded with fresh yeast.
Tripel was introduced after World War Two and it’s become the benchmark for pale, fruity and hoppy beers. It’s orange coloured with a floral, Saaz-inspired aroma with citrus fruit, followed by a tangy, fruity palate with big spicy hop notes. The finish is long and lingering with warming alcohol, resiny hops and a tantalising herbal notes.
It’s available from Morrison’s or online from Belgian Beers and Beer Merchants.