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Brouwerij Corsendonk (Brasserie Du Bocq) - Corsendonk Agnus Tripel

Brouwerij Corsendonk (Brasserie Du Bocq) - Corsendonk Agnus Tripel

Beer Club featured in Rare Beer Club

Style:

Belgian Tripel Ale

Country:

Belgium

Bottle size:

750-ml

Alcohol by Volume:

7.5%

Brouwerij Corsendonk (Brasserie Du Bocq) - Corsendonk Agnus Tripel

  • ABV:

    7.5%
  • Bottle Size:

    750-ml
  • Serving Temperature:

    48–52° F
  • Suggested Glassware:

    Tulip, Goblet, or Chalice

We were excited to taste the Corsendonk Agnus Tripel and it didn’t disappoint. This tripel is brewed with all natural ingredients, including a malt bill composed of 93% barley (a blend of Plaisant and Triumph) and 7% wheat, along with Styrian Golding, Hallertau Hersbrucker, and Kent Challenger hops. Very little of this impressive offering from Corsendonk makes its way across the pond to our shores, and what little distribution it sees is limited to just five states.

As with many traditional Belgian Tripel ales, there is a sense of history to experience along with the flavors. Belgian monks have been brewing “Single,” “Dubbel,” and “Tripel” beer for ages. The Dubbels and Tripels were brewed as a means to cover their living expenses, upkeep, and maintenance of the building and grounds of their Abbeys, keeping the Single beer for themselves as sustenance. The “Single” beer, a pale colored ale, was historically the lowest in abv, think 5-ish%. The dark amber or brown colored “Dubbel” was up to about 7% abv, and the “Tripel” beers, being the highest of the three in abv, came in usually around 7.5% to 9% abv. Tripels are typically complex with mild spicy flavors, yeasty aromas, fruity esters, and malty essence. They are very approachable and drinkable, tending to have a dry finish that won’t fatigue the taster’s palate. Many will also display a firm bitterness and pronounced hop expression that will satisfy the biggest hop-head but not turn away the basic lager drinker.

Corsendonk Agnus pours a bright pale golden amber with a hint of haziness. It has a thick pillowy white head made up of tightly grouped tiny bubbles which is retained for a great amount of time and leaves behind church window like lacing with every sip. Though slightly opaque, the golden hue invites your eyes to explore its depth as it is quite visually appealing. Once the glass is close to our noses we’re greeted with a full spectrum of classic spice and fruit notes. Subtle white pepper, giving way to coriander and fennel seed, the impression of vanilla beans, with dried field herbs and garden flowers making up the initial wave of aromas. The next wave is made up of candied lemon rind aromas, with hints of tangerine, followed by crushed white grapes, and freshly peeled banana. A third wave of toasty malt reveals the foundation all these aromas are built upon. The spice, fruit, and malt aromas are accentuated by floral, bready yeast and piney hop esters that wash over the olfactory senses paving the way for the flavors to make their mark.

The first sip brings all the aromas together in a tightly layered complex fashion. White pepper is noted but not pronounced, leaving the coriander and fennel seed to express themselves, and allowing the vanilla notes to be subtle and slightly sweet. Touches of dried herbs and a slight grip of piney hoppy bitterness come in mid palate all the way through the finish. The candied lemon rind and fleshy tangerine add a perky citrus acidity that keeps our senses heightened, while the slightly underripe freshly peeled banana ushers in the vinous crushed white grape flavors. Toasty malt and lively yeast drive home the quality of this medium bodied beer and creates a delicate finely bubbled mousse on the palate. A long, clean, dry finish is held in place by just enough bitterness to leave you anticipating the next sip all the way to an empty glass. Better get a few of these…

With all due respect to the “Best before date” on the bottle, Corsendonk Agnus can be confidently aged 5-8 years in a dark place without high temperature fluctuations. Of course, you can enjoy it now with grilled fish or poultry, or try it with Belgian moules et frites as recent traditions would suggest.

Like most Belgian abbey-style beers, the roots of Corsendonk go way back. The Priory of Corsendonk was founded in 1398 by the daughter of John III, Duke of Brabant in the Flemish town of Oud-Turnhaut, and the monks of this monastery brewed beer as was customary throughout Flanders and Europe in general. The monastery, and its beer, flourished for almost 400 years until it was closed by Austrian emperor Joseph II in 1784. In the wake of the French Revolution in 1789, the monastery and all its property was seized and sold off. The monastery saw new life when its buildings were restored in 1968, evolving into a conference center, hotel, and restaurant complex over next several years.

Similarly, the priory's beer has experienced a restoration as well. A new breath of life came to Oud-Turnhaut and its brewing tradition when Sir Henricus Keersmaekers founded a new brewery there in 1906, and he kept the abbey beer tradition alive. But, when the family brewery closed in 1953 it appeared the beer would again be lost to history, and indeed it was for almost three decades until Henricus' grandson, Jef Keersmaekers, revived the brand yet again in 1982. Because the family no longer owned a brewery, Jef partnered with another family brewery, Brasserie du Bocq, to brew the Corsendonk beer.

Brasserie du Bocq was founded by Martin Belot in 1858 in the tiny town of Purnode in the Walloon province of Namur. Originally brewing was a winter hobby while his farm was not producing and his workers idle, but due in no small part to the outstanding well water found on the farm, the beer was commercially successful. There were many beers on offer from Brasserie du Bocq, such as strong beers, seasonal beers, and celebratory Christmas beers. Today, the Keersmaekers family has taken over the brewery from the sixth generation of the Belot family, producing all the Brasserie du Bocq brands alongside the Corsendonk beers. A traditional Belgian brewery, all du Bocq's beers are bottle-conditioned, experiencing a secondary fermentation in the bottle to naturally carbonate the beer.

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