Tag Archives: golden ale

Beer Reviews: Duvel Special Edition Tripel Hop

I am a fan of Duvel Golden Ale. So much so, in fact, that the Belgian Ale has now become my default choice at restaurants if I’m not in the mood to explore the many new and untried beers on my to-do list. This fanaticism of mine came to a head at the grocery store, when I saw this bottle for sale. “It’s Duvel!”, I argued to Tara, believing that alone gave me the right of purchasing this nearly $20 750 ml bottle of beer. “Look! It’s a Tripel Hop!”, I said with an authority that was completely baseless. She rolled her eyes and I placed the bottle in out grocery basket.

When I see the phrase “Tripel Hop”, my mind reaches to the American philosophy of hops, which boils down to “the more, the better!” I am not a fan of this approach, and hoped that Duvel had a different approach to the phrase.

They do. The name refers to the three different varieties of hops used in the brew: Saaz from the Czech Republic, Styrian Goldings from Slovenia and Amarillo from the United States. Additionally, the ale is dry-hopped, meaning that the hops primarily used for aroma are added after the wort has cooled but while the beer ferments. The result? A well balanced golden ale, perfect for those who like hops, but don’t want to be beat over the head with them.

Note that this is a special beer, one that is not always made available by the folks at Duvel. It is marketed on a per year basis, similar to that of wine. The version I had was brewed in the spring of 2010.

The review:

Appearance: Pours with a fluffy foam, nearly meringue-like, with the beer itself starting with a champagne coloring until some of the suds subside, leaving a hazy gold, close to, but with not quite the same intensity, as the coloring of a standard Duvel.

Aroma: A nice balance of the floral, yet spicy. Styrian Golding Hops mixed with the malty foundation that Duvel is known for. This isn’t an over-hopped IPA. Here the hops work with the rest of the beer, rather than dominating it.

Taste: Just a hint of initial bitterness, followed by a nice floral/green apple taste on top of the bready malt, and a bit of pepper. A nice, dry finish, not harsh at all. As with the aroma, there’s balance here.

Mouthfeel: It has the thickness of a golden ale, but it works okay here. The carbonation plays on the tongue nicely, and the flavor has enough character to make it feel full bodied.

Rating: An outstanding beer, and one worth seeking out again. It’s a complex beer, flavor-wise, but it’s balanced so well that it seems as the effort to go into this beer was effortless. However, at $20 for a 750ml bottle, it can be pricey. I would buy again, if I had two other people to share the bottle with. At 9.5% ABV, it can pack a punch to the unwary.


Beer Reviews: Duvel

Duvel Belgian Ale

I realize now that most of my reviews are essentially pleas to those of you mired in the swamps of the MillerCoors and InBev/Anheuser-Busch to TRY SOMETHING ELSE. This review is no different.

From strictly an appearance perspective, Belgian Golden Strong Ales look remarkably similar to the lagers we all know and consume, at least at first glance. Yes, there are some differences, especially in the head and head retention, but for the most part, those who only take a quick look at their beer before drinking are unlikely to notice too big of a difference.

This makes Belgian Golden Strong Ales (BGSA) the perfect beer to use as a first step away from light Lagers and pilsners. BGSA’s are full flavored, bold, dry, and crisp. These are characteristics that MillerCoors & Budweiser love to claim for their beers. Once you have tasted a BGSA, you’ll realize that their claims are, at best, empty promises.

Duvel is the beer that is considered the best example of BGSA and it does not disappoint. When beer fanatics talk of Belgian Beers, Duvel almost always enters the conversation. There is a good reason for this: Duvel is the beer that most wish that Budweiser, Coors, or Millers would be.

I highly recommed this beer. Period.

Appearance: Clear Bright gold, could almost be mistaken for a lager, if it wasn’t for the thick white head that holds retention for quite some time. Unsurprisingly there’s a fair bit of Belgian lace.

Aroma: Strong yeast aroma, with hints of lemon and banana. Good foundation of malt make this a very bold smell.

Taste: Light malt that comes across quite peppery, and a little heat from the higher ABV. Finish is a clear malty taste that seemingly goes on for quite some time. Some beers talk of being liquid bread, Duvel is one of a few that can actually come close to tasting as such.

Mouthfeel: Lively on the tongue with a copious amount of carbonation and a dry aftertaste that compliments rather than annoys.

Drinkability: One of the better benchmark beers out there, this beer is a standard drink for beer fans for good reason. Quite pleasant and memorable. This is a goto beer in the best possible sense.

Rating: A