Just like you, but different
Got a really pleasant surprise package from the nice people at Harrington’s Breweries, a bottle of a limited (I’d say one off) “The Forgotten”
Unique beer, unique music, unique numbers and that unique moment at a party.
As you can see from their youtube video it mentions in words that it’s a Belgiam Tripel, but the brewer calls is Belgium Ale in the video. Who knows, I’m easily confused.
So a 500ml bottle of an 8.7% ABV beer, so that’s 5.6 standard drink units of a beer that 261 calories a serve size.
What I do think is that this might be based on, or even some of, is their Belgium Tempest, which starts at a 7.2% ABV. I’m joining dots here that might not be able to be joined. I don’t doubt they ‘forgot’ it, after all it’s only a commercial amount of beer.
A Belgium Tripel brewed in 2012 and set aside with the intention of ageing for one year…
Shakes & aftermath… Another year, rebuilding & relocating… Put aside and forgotten…
Until now. Age has done us proud – this Monk’s brew has softly matured spicy, slightly peppery, tones on a gentle sweet citrus orange malt layer.
So then what else could possibly go wrong?
Well the beer is presented in a wonderfully shaped bottle, very continental long body, short neck.
On opening then I was slightly disappointed with the lack of any real stand out aroma. I press on.
Pour is a watery muddy affair, and although it looks well carbonated a head mysteriously and not unusually fails to appear. Aroma in the glass is somewhat more, and some familiar sweet and spicy notes.
First taste is promising, a wash of alcohol isn’t well hidden, but there is that familiar warm sugar in this, and a finish that is surprisingly dry. It does though, at the moment, not offer a lot of body, not a full mouthfeel of billowing softness. It is surprisingly easy on the palate though and very sippable.
But you feel there is something missing, after all it’s a great back story, a really good story for me this really does lack body and fullness that you’d probably expect from something as mature and aged as this beer is.
I’d have thought more fruits, more sweet malts, and perhaps some heightened spice notes. But then I show;don’t think too often.
For that though it isn’t undrinkable or bad as a beer, it’s one of those expectations and delivery gap things. The aroma in glass before you sip promises something deep and rich, the mouthfeel however is a bit thin and lacking.
I hate being harsh about beer that I feel should be nicer or better, but I’m writing as I drinking these are my thoughts uncoloured, Annoying though because this does have small flashes of the things that you look for in a good Tripel, or Belgium beer, the astringent, perhaps the bubblegum, the malts.
The second half of the the bottle, the second glass, much darker and a head! I didn’t see a thing about having a sediment or being ‘en lees’ but whatever happened it got a much more pronounced aroma and a slight bigger mouthfeel, became a much nicer experience.
The pdubyah-o-meter rates this as 7 of its things from the thing. That makes it ‘Good’ on the random scale. In places this is like a familiar friend, but the overall experience leaves you a bit empty and wanting a bit more, it’s just not rewarding enough a beer until the second half, when it came to the party as it were, perhaps just a little late.
The double dip review
Am I enjoying it? I love a Belgium beer, and this is nice in places, I’m not not enjoying it, I’m just not loving it.
Would I have another? Probably not, but it reminds me that I like Belgium beers.
Would I share with a friend on a porch and set the world to rights? Based on the story and the lovely bottle I would share this, but I think it’d be an interesting conversation about the style.
Belgian-style ales seldom fit neatly into classic beer styles, but this category represents those “session” ales (in Belgium this means under 7% abv!) that do not fit other categories. Colour ranges from golden to deep amber, with the occasional example coming in darker. Body tends to be light to medium, with a wide range of hop and malt levels. Yeastiness and acidity may also be present.
Like other abbey ales, Tripels are strong, yeasty-malty beers. But they are also pale, and have a notable hop profile. Hop bitterness may be higher than a typical abbey ale, up to 35IBUs. But the finish is where the hops really shine, as tripels should finish fairly dry. Otherwise, maltiness is still essential to the style, and the assertive yeast note typical of all abbey ales will be more apparent in tripels, since they do not have the rich dark malts to distract the palate. Alcohol flavours feature more prominently in Tripels that in just about any other style.