Style Details

Bel­gi­an Tripel
Trap­pist Ale
BJCP Style Code
26 C
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.
Com­plex bou­quet 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. The malt cha­rac­ter is light, with a soft, slight­ly grai­ny-sweet or slight­ly honey-like impres­si­on. The best examp­les have a seam­less, har­mo­nious inter­play bet­ween the yeast cha­rac­ter, hops, malt, and alcohol.
Mar­ria­ge of spi­cy, frui­ty and alco­hol fla­vors sup­port­ed by a soft, roun­ded grai­ny-sweet malt impres­si­on, occa­sio­nal­ly with a very light honey note. Low to mode­ra­te phe­nols are pep­pery in cha­rac­ter. Esters are remi­nis­cent of citrus fruit such as oran­ge or some­ti­mes lemon, and are low to mode­ra­te. A low to mode­ra­te spi­cy hop cha­rac­ter is usual­ly found. Alco­hols are soft, spi­cy, and low in inten­si­ty. Bit­ter­ness is typi­cal­ly medi­um to high from a com­bi­na­ti­on of hop bit­ter­ness and yeast-pro­du­ced phe­n­o­lics. Sub­stan­ti­al car­bo­na­ti­on and bit­ter­ness lends a dry finish with a modera­te­ly bit­ter after­tas­te with sub­stan­ti­al spi­cy-frui­ty yeast cha­rac­ter. The grai­ny-sweet malt fla­vor does not imply any resi­du­al sweetness.
Medi­um-light to medi­um body, alt­hough ligh­ter than the sub­stan­ti­al gra­vi­ty would sug­gest. High­ly car­bo­na­ted. The alco­hol con­tent is decep­ti­ve, and has litt­le to no obvious warm­ing sen­sa­ti­on. Always effervescent.
Over­all Impression
A pale, some­what spi­cy, dry, strong Trap­pist ale with a plea­sant roun­ded malt fla­vor and firm bit­ter­ness. Quite aro­ma­tic, with spi­cy, frui­ty, and light alco­hol notes com­bi­ning with the sup­port­i­ve clean malt cha­rac­ter to pro­du­ce a sur­pri­sin­gly drinkable bevera­ge con­side­ring the high alco­hol level.
Typi­cal Ingredients
Pils­ner malt, typi­cal­ly with pale sugar adjuncts. Saa­zer-type 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. Spi­ce addi­ti­ons are gene­ral­ly not tra­di­tio­nal, and if used, should be a back­ground cha­rac­ter only. Fair­ly soft water.
Ori­gi­nal­ly popu­la­ri­zed by the Trap­pist monas­tery at Westmalle.
High in alco­hol but does not tas­te stron­gly of alco­hol. The best examp­les are sne­aky, not obvious. High car­bo­na­ti­on and atte­nua­ti­on helps to bring out the many fla­vors and to increase the per­cep­ti­on of a dry finish. Most Trap­pist ver­si­ons have at least 30 IBUs and are very dry. Tra­di­tio­nal­ly bot­t­le-con­di­tio­ned (or refer­men­ted in the bottle).
Com­mer­cial Examples
Aff­li­gem Tri­pel, Chi­may Cinq Cents, La Rul­les Tri­pel, La Trap­pe Tri­pel, St. Ber­nar­dus Tri­pel, Unib­roue La Fin Du Mon­de, Val-Dieu Tri­ple, Watou Tri­pel, West­mal­le Tripel
Ori­gi­nal Gravity
1.075 - 1.085 SG
Final Gra­vi­ty
1.008 - 1.014 SG
4 - 7 SRM
7.0 - 9.0 %vol
20 - 40 IBU