|We also made Grand Marnier Glazed Brie with Prosciutto|
With that in mind, the folks over at Allagash in Portland, Maine had the same idea back in 1994. Their passion for Belgian style beers was somewhat unusual for the home-brewing movement of the time. Well before we had cloned Fantome yeast, they were providing high quality Belgian Wit beers, Dubbels, and Tripels.
Having recently procured one of their flagship brews Allagash Tripel, I was quite pleasantly surprised. Although not what I would consider Rochefort 10 or St. Bernardus Abt 12 quality, it was overall an excellent beer. At 9% alcohol by volume it’s somewhat strong, but that is fairly typical for a Tripel.
Like many reviews, let’s go through the relevant body parts in order of exposure.
The Eyes: Like any bottle conditioned beer, Allagash Tripel is quite cloudy. It has a nice golden color with a bright white head. Unlike many of the other Belgian ales I have had it didn’t leave any lacing on the glass (Lacing is when the head leaves a residue on the glass, which some think indicates higher quality oils in the hops. I’m actually not sure what does it, but most of the better beer does have a thick frothy head which remains for quite some time.) I’m mixed on whether a good beer has to have this or not, I’m not trying to shave with the lather.
The Nose: This beer has a pleasant sweet bouquet evoking citrus, peaches, and grapefruit. I didn’t smell any spices, and the hops were not noticeable. It was very similar to the smell of Duvel.
The Mouth: Allagash Tripel is very pleasant to drink. The initial taste was sweet and light, with a mildly bitter aftertaste. It reminded me a lot of Ruby Red grapefruit. The bitterness was more along the lines of orange peel than hops. Although 18 proof, there was no noticeable alcohol flavors.
And we’ll end our progress through the human digestive track here, less we become uncouth. Rest assured, there were no ill-effects to the lower extremities as a result of this fine Belgian replicant (sic – Blade Runner.)
Overall: This is a good Tripel; if you told me it was Belgian I’d believe you. At my local shop the price was comparable my old standbys (St. Bernardus, Rochefort, Duvel, or Orval), so it would be a tough call but I think it stacks up quality-wise. If I lived closer to the brewery and could get this on draft, I’d be “all up in there.” This is definitely better than many of the other American Tripels out there.