Hof Ten Dormaal - Tripel
- ABV: 8%
- Bottle Size: 750-ml
- Serving Temperature: 40–47° F
- Suggested Glassware: Chalice, Goblet, or Tulip Glass
Hof Ten Dormaal’s Tripel is brewed with barley malt, wheat, and sugar, the brewery’s house yeast strain, and a combination of Magnum and Hersbrucker hops. It’s a beautifully handled tripel that showcases the farm brewery’s exceptional locally grown ingredients.
This tripel pours a bright, hazy golden-yellow color capped by some significant white foam; mousse-like head on this one, demonstrating excellent retention and lacing. Aromatics show plenty of honey, white pepper, and a range of tree fruits from the initial pour. Nicely toasty and rounded malt presence, and the yeast character is lemony while providing peppery, saison-like vibes to this beer throughout. Lightly sweet almond and vanilla notes add further depth. The approach shows a generous, beautifully developed tripel with some charismatic, crackly core malt character—amplified as this is allowed to warm up a bit.
Medium-full to full body, with plenty of accentuated golden malty sweetness and honeyed notes from the start. But there’s also some really nice bitterness here courtesy the Magnum and Hersbrucker hop additions: herbaceous, minerally, and providing a subtle underpinning that results in a solid balance to this beer’s construction overall. Alcohol stays nicely tucked away throughout. Some really enjoyable elements from the expressive yeast, with notes of white pepper and clove working well alongside additional core notes of almond and hints of vanilla. An exceptionally satisfying take, highlighting delicious ingredients grown on-site.
It’s quite rare to find beers made with so many ingredients the brewery’s actually grown (and in this case, malted) itself, and Hof Ten Dormaal’s execution of the classic tripel style makes us want to try everything this traditional, farm-based brewery’s created so far. Lasting finish of pepper, toasty malts, and a lingering herbal bitterness. Carefully layered detail throughout.
At 8% ABV, this tripel is sturdy and potent enough to stand some cellaring time. That said, the subtle hop bitterness will ease up slightly over time, letting perceived sweetness amp up a bit. Personally, we’d enjoy this sooner rather than later for best results. For pairings: look to traditional tripel pairings such as various seafoods with lemon and butter, or creamy cheeses, which both will work well alongside the pepper and honey and moderate mineral bitterness.
The farm brewery Hof Ten Dormaal is situated in the fields of Tildonk, Belgium, on an old farm estate that dates back to at least the 13th century or so, back when it was the main farm for the manor of Lauwendries. Farming and brewing remain closely linked at the brewery, as was often the case for traditional breweries in Belgium and far beyond, wherein the surplus production from the year’s harvest would at least partly go into brewing beer during the cool months. That tradition lives on with the current owners, the Janssens family, overseen by father Andre Janssens and two brothers, Jef and Dries, their goal being to create unique and innovative beers made almost exclusively from ingredients grown on-site (aside from a few of their more out-there special ingredients—frequently sourced from surrounding farms).
Hof Ten Dormaal grows their own hops and grains in the brewery’s surrounding farmland, and the spent grain goes to feed their own on-site farm animals (which include the brewery’s particularly intelligent and obliging Belgian draft horses). The brewery even has its very own maltery—described as the smallest in all of Belgium.
The brewery’s main releases include a number of traditional Belgian styles that incorporate the farm brewery’s locally produced ingredients—including this month’s featured Tripel, a witbier, a saison, and an oude kriek, as well as some more out-there renditions. Their Wit Goud (“white gold”) swaps in dried chicory roots in place of the usual hops. Their Lente Lambiek uses the brewery’s own coolship and local wild yeasts; after a year of aging in oak barrels, they add elder and apple blossoms, red currants, gooseberries, and meadowsweet, after which the beer gets aged for another 18 months, before refermentation in the bottle. And their Zue van Tildonk traditional lambic is released both on its own or with additional fruits incorporated—such as cherries, raspberries, gooseberries, and Barbera grapes.
The bucolic farmhouse brewery’s summerbar is currently open for limited hours on Fridays (5pm–9pm), Saturdays (noon–9pm), and Sundays (noon–6pm), featuring adorable waterside seating that gives one a pleasant view of their surrounding farm operations (and often some friendly livestock). The brewery’s physical store is open most days from 10am through 5pm, with ordering info and discount codes for their webshop available through the main site.
Individual tours are available each Saturday at 3pm for a nominal fee (6 Euros per person for a 30-minute tour; notify the brewery in advance). Group visits are available throughout the week by reservation: 15 Euros per person for groups of a minimum of 10 people (or for 150 Euros for smaller groups), and these tours go for an hour and a half or so, including a tour of the malthouse, brewery, and farm, plus a guided tour of five different Hof Ten Dormaal beers. And for the fullest experience: there’s a “hamburgerbuffet”. Available throughout the week by reservation only, this package is 32 Euros per person with a minimum of 10 people per group and goes for about 2.5 hours or so. This includes an aperitif and snacks, tours of the malthouse, brewery, and farm plus an extensive beer tasting (as above), along with a (you guessed it) hamburger buffet: featuring meat from the farm brewery’s own cows, and frozen desserts with the brewery’s cherry beer, coffee, or digestif beers. For additional info (some of which may require careful use of Google Translate), head on over to hoftendormaal.com.
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