The second beer we are BrewViewing for BREWERY OF THE MONTH – October 2015, is for ST. BERNARDUS WATOU TRIPEL. Classic in every sense of the word, Watou Tripel is an Abbey Ale that is certain to please enthusiasts of the Belgian Tripel style. Again, it was one of those beers that we had not tasted for at least 5 years… what a great revisit!
BEER STYLE AND COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION FROM ST. BERNARDUS
Style category: Abbey / Trappist-style Tripel
Watou Tripel is a traditional abbey ale brewed in the classic “Triple” style of Belgium’s Trappist Monks. This golden pale ale is mellow-sweet with lightly perfumed aromas and some spicy yeast notes. Rich and fruity with a soft mouth feel. (7,5% ABV)
2006 World Beer Championship – Silver Medal
OUR BREWVIEW OF BROUWERIJ ST. BERNARDUS WATOU TRIPEL
APPEARANCE / THE POUR:
7.5% ABV. We poured it at 48°F (verified with a VacuVin snap thermometer on the bottle) in the signature St. Bernardus open-mouthed goblet. It poured a medium golden / light peach color, with an SRM value around a 5. It easily poured a voluminous light tan colored, dense, creamy 3-finger head with tight bubbles. Rim color variation- slightly lighter than the beer body.
The meniscus is medium to slow rising- The Brussels lacework the beer leaves behind as the head collapses, is patchy, spider web-like density- (we ensured this was a “Beer Clean” glass). There is a very heavy cloudy haze to the beer, due to the bottle conditioning (second fermentation with yeast in the bottle). This particular bottle had a good deal of yeast in suspension when poured into the glass. This was not a defect of the beer. This particular bottle had been sitting in the MIXED SELECTION box on the shelf for at least a year under good temperature conditions. After 10 minutes, there was still a 1/8″ head; we poured the rest of the yeast into the bottle, in which the beer became super cloudy.
AROMA / BOUQUET:
Upon the initial opening of the bottle and glass pour, you can immediately smell the signature St. Bernardus yeast- super bready, with a sweetish bubblegum, butterscotch candy bouquet. You also get notes of bruised peach and older apricot. It has aromas of freshly baked buttermilk bread. There are also hints of tropical fruit- (mango), this beer is all about the yeasty, spicy phenols. There is a slight hint of hop aroma in the background. When we poured the rest of the yeast into the beer, the butterscotch esters intensified.
The initial sip is bready, heavy in the spicy yeast phenols. Vanilla undertones, tropical fruit- mango, papaya. This not a dry tasting tripel- it is very rich in the malts. This beer is a true pleasure to drink…
MOUTHFEEL / PALATE:
Medium (bordering on heavy bodied due to the yeast suspension), there is a real creaminess to the mouthfeel. There is almost no tickle at the front of the tongue, it hits more the sides and the back top of the mouth with it’s mild effervescence. For a beer being almost 8% ABV, the drinkability is very high, and drinks like a beer with a bit less alcoholic strength… amazing. The aftertaste is fresh yeast, freshly baked biscuit topped with butter and peach marmalade. The creaminess really invites the drinker to try that next sip.
FOOD PAIRING SUGGESTIONS:
APPETIZERS: We highly suggest rich, washed rind cheeses, Trappist cheeses for sure with crusty peasant bread.
ENTRÈES: The classic Moules-Frites, (with the mussels cooked with the beer) Flemish hare, Waterzooi van Vis, The Dogfish braised in Sint Bernardus Tripel with a creamy herb sauce at t’Hommelhof would be an excellent choice.
DESSERTS: Butterscotch bars, butterscotch cheesecake, butterscotch fudge. Or, simply get your hands on some hard butterscotch candies, let one roll around in your mouth and sip on the Watou Tripel… heavenly.
St. Bernardus Watou Tripel is a sumptuous beer. It is a beer that definitely improves in aroma and flavor as drinking time goes on.
Another world class beer for sure, as all St. Bernardus beers are. We obtained it as part of the St. Bernardus Mixed Selection 6-pack, purchased at our local Liquor Barn.
Drinking this beer again was a great revisit- and has certainly become one of our favorite Tripels. We need to try the corked, 750 ML version of this beer without a doubt, as we have only ever had it in the 11.2 oz. bottle.
As we mentioned before, Watou Tripel will please the most discerning of drinkers who enjoy the Abbey / Trappist Tripel style. Seek this one out for sure, highly recommended- it is another must have. That’s t for now… we’ll see you on the next BrewView for St. Bernardus!
St. Bernardus Watou Tripel is available in the United States from D&V INTERNATIONAL.