Monday, March 2, 2009
Hoppy American Tripel: First Tasting
I was thinking of doing a second tasting on my Hoppy American Tripel, but then I realized that somehow I missed doing a first tasting on this while it was fresh. It has changed considerably over the last year (namely the hops have really mellowed), but I thought it was too hoppy at first.
Appearance – Brilliantly clear golden orange. Nice creamy white head, with good retention and lacing. It certainly looks the part of a tripel, one of the best looking beers I've made.
Smell – Sweet, fruity, with a hint of clove, but with a fair amount of oxidation (although thankfully dark fruit and no wet cardboard). No more fresh hoppy aroma, but the Belgian character comes through more than when it was young.
Taste – Still sweeter than I like my Belgians (even more so now that much of the hop bitterness has dropped out). Good malty backbone, and nice fruity esters (apples and pears especially). The alcohol has mellowed over the last year, very hidden for 10% ABV.
Mouthfeel – Medium body, nice prickly carbonation. A bit thicker than ideal, but the carbonation helps to keep it in check.
Drinkability & Notes – This beer probably peaked after 6 months in the bottle, but it is still a dangerously drinkable beer. With the light oxidation it almost tastes like a Belgian barleywine. If I were to rebrew this I would lower the mash temp to 147 (to reduce the sweetness and lighten the body), and make sure the yeast was healthier. I would also consider leaving out the dry hops.