Adelbert's Brewery - Tripel B
- ABV: 9.3%
- Bottle Size: 750-ml
- Serving Temperature: 45–55° F
- Suggested Glassware: Tulip, Teku, Goblet, or Chalice
As with each of the Adelbert’s Brewery beers, their Tripel B (aka “Bad Boy Brew”) includes a story of its own. This one’s goes as follows: “Del was one of those mischievous young men who liked to push the social conventions of the 1970’s. His college years were a whirlwind of girls, parties, road trips, and an occasional study session. He was a ‘bad boy’ with a great heart, and knew how to have a good time wherever he was, making friends far and wide.”
The Tripel B itself also offers an appealing tribute.
We found ourselves continuously going back to this beer, partly because it fascinated us as a tripel, and partly because we found ourselves even more enamored with it when approached without thinking of it as a tripel. That characteristic peppery and phenolic yeast contribution, a large structural element of most traditional tripels, is certainly there. But there’s also quite a bit more happening here in the mid-palate, with textured toastiness and caramel present. We also soon found ourselves noticing that this was balanced rather differently than most tripels.
So let’s roll with this as a firmly categorized Belgian-style something. It looks stunning in the glass: a brilliant orange that pours nice and clear early on, despite its bottle conditioning. The foam is equally on-point: white and fluffy with miniscule bubbles, almost like mousse. When even looking at the color of this, one starts to get a hint of some of those effects of using the decoction-mash approach. This beer is 95% Pilsner malt, normally yielding a quite pale beer, even with dark specialty-malt additions as that last 5%, but this instead looks nicely bronzed.
A proper decoction mash will often impart more color and flavor qualities into any particular beer. From the aroma forward, there’s a real nice complexity here in that center of things, far more than just Pilsner malt. The nose immediately offers up toffee and soft butterscotch, the latter in an entirely non-diacetyl sort of way. There’s very endearing caramelization, vanilla, a pleasantly herbal (even basil-like) hop character, plus the peppery and clove-ish yeast quality. Everything seems to play out without clutter, with harmony, and the impact stays nicely dry.
In the mouth, the carbonation steps up and takes a key role here, providing some lift up and above those core caramelized notes. The more we sample this, and particularly more as we’re giving this a full chance to warm towards the upper end of that recommended range, we find this having more common ground (in terms of balance, at least) with something like Belgian-style blonde ales: an expressive spicy hop character matched to modest yeast bitterness and a lightly rounded malt core. The upfront bitterness of most tripels never manifests, while there is far more spaciousness here for one to dig in on the malt front: almonds, caramels, vanilla.
We’re just hugely impressed by this beer, and we’d again encourage our Club members to let this warm up before diving in. Those caramelization layers are slightly subtle, and their effect at fridge temperature seems a bit overly candied. This beer’s softer and more engaging after it’s warmed up.
That caramel will increase in prominence over time, but the bottle conditioning of this beer means that it should continue to age very nicely. Adelbert’s recommends three to five years, and suggests food pairings such as roasted turkey, earthy cheeses, or cheesecake.
Adelbert’s Brewery began shipping beer back in 2012 and hit our radars shortly thereafter. In the relatively short amount of time since they opened, they’ve managed to share some truly expressive and unique beers with the Rare Beer Club, including their Scratchin’ Hippo Bière de Garde, which we featured back in September 2015. We’re excited to share another of their creations with our Rare Beer Club members this month: their delicious Belgian-style tripel called Tripel B.
The brewery itself was started by Scott Hovey and is named in tribute to his brother, George Adelbert Hovey (1953–2000). “Del,” as he’s referred to on the labels, is commemorated with a different brief story about him attached to each of the brewery’s beers, the names of which include Philosophizer, Rambler, and Travelin’ Man. As Scott puts the ethos, “[I’m] immortalizing my brother through my different beers.” Looking through those stories tends to make one think about their interactions with beer in a way they perhaps often don’t.
Scott specifically wanted to make beers that could age at Adelbert’s. The focus is on Belgian-style, bottle-conditioned ales with an extra emphasis on ingredient sourcing and process. The majority of their barley is floor-malted and sourced from the Czech Republic, from a malting house just outside of Prague that dates back to the 1300s. Their specialty malts are purchased from Belgium, and they employ a labor-intensive decoction-mash technique for producing their beers.
Adelbert’s has already established a strong reputation for itself in Texas and beyond, and you can find out more about visiting the brewery in person at www.adelbertsbeer.com, including updated hours, tour information, beer lists, and more. The brewery’s limited output only sees light distribution in a handful of states, and it’s a pleasure to extend their reach a bit further through The Rare Beer Club. We encourage everyone to raise a toast in memory of Adelbert.
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