Monthly Archives: November 2011

Review of Westmalle Tripel

Hello fellow craft beer enthusiasts!!!  For today’s review I’m going to be drinking a Westmalle Trappist Ale Tripel produced by the Brouwerij Westmalle (Adbij der Trappisten van Westmalle) located in Malle, Belgium.

Before I even get to the review I’m going to go ahead and state that this is a great brew.  One that I’ve had a few times before, but have never given a proper review.

Let’s see if we can find any info on this beer from the website,

Westmalle Tripel is a clear, golden yellow Trappist beer that undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle (9,5% alcohol). It is a complex beer with a fruity aroma and a nice nuanced hop scent. It is soft and creamy in the mouth, with a bitter touch carried by the fruity aroma. An exceptional beer, with a great deal of finesse and elegance. And with a splendid long aftertaste.

Now we are talking!!!

This beer stands in at a hefty 9.5% ABV and it comes in a 25.4 oz. bottle.

The Tripel began as a cloudy, orange/dull yellow color that cleared up nicely as the brew started to warm.  The head was white, semi-creamy and soft.  It had a very nice size with decent retention and some adequate lacing left behind after each sip. 

The aroma revealed hints of white grapes and citrusy lemons.  Only a mild touch of sourness was detected along with a more revealing hint of bread and Belgian yeast.  A worthwhile pepper spice added some more complexity along with some herbs and sugars.  A very, very nice nose on this beer.

The taste was both a sweet sugar and sour mix.  Sweet, fruity grapes with a slightly tart lemon savor.  Supplementary white wine characteristics with splashes of alcohol mingled super well with the peppery spice.  The flavor had a facet similar to a well made Pale Ale.  A slight bit of hoppiness with a sturdy punch of bitterness.  As the brew warmed, the yeast and breadiness really started to come forward and complete this well rounded, evenly balanced and complex taste.  Man, this thing tasted nice.

The mouthfeel was medium, crisp, snappy, refreshing (nearly thirst quenching) and very dry with a minute sharpness.  The carbonation was spot on.  A soothing and smooth warmth was felt as I swallowed, which in turn left a suitable amount of flavor behind on the palate.

What can I say?  This is a great beer.  It’s a certified classic in my opinion.  One that should be enjoyed several times throughout the year.  The drinkability is rather high considering the above average ABV, however this brew could also be enjoyed as a sipper on most occasions.  The Westmalle Tripel is most definitely a brew that I will continue to pick up on a regular basis.  If you have not tried it, I would highly recommend that you do so.  I don’t think that you will be disappointed.

What do you guys think of the Westmalle Trappist Ale Tripel????  Do you like it????

Please feel free to leave a comment or let me know via Twitter (@BeerApprentice & @shrews824) or Google+ (Scott Shrewsberry).

Thanks for reading everyone.  I really appreciate it.  Until next time.


Score:  4.35 out of 5
Grade:  A 

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Posted by on November 30, 2011 in Country: Belgium, Westmalle


Review of Corsendonk Abbey Brown Ale

For today’s craft beer review I’m going to be trying the Corsendonk Abbey Brown Ale produced by the Brouwerij Corsendonk located in Oud-Turnhout, Belgium.

I don’t know much about this brew or this brewery and the website was down at the time I was writing this review, so I looked on for a commercial description. 

Has a very distinctive bouquet: yeasty, fruity and slightly smoky. In palate, it has notes of port, raisins and black chocolate. 

Sounds good.  Let’s pour.

This particular beer came in a 25.4 oz. bottle and it had an ABV of 7.5%.

The brew poured a very dark brown to dark burgundy color with some deep ruby highlights showing through the middle and around the edges when held towards the light.  The head was tan in color, soapy and rocky in texture.  It was of a tremendous size that held great retention.  When swirled the head became a touch more creamy and smooth.  The lacing wasn’t bad as it became patchy and prevalent as the beer worked its way down the glass.

The nose revealed some definitive dark fruits.  Raisins, plums and grapes.  A nice dose of yeasty goodness mixed with some light spices of cloves held true to the Abbey Dubbel style.  Very diminutive whiffs of chocolate were accounted for, however they never became a dominant player in the aroma.  No real compelling hints of smoke were found either.  Overall, I found the bouquet to be quite nice and balanced, although I didn’t think that it was very potent or forthcoming.

The taste revealed more grapes, grape skins and plums.  Fairly sweet in that regard.  Nice strokes of bread and yeast pulled some of the sugary aspects off the taste.  The chocolate was, once again, minimal, but I did begin to find a slight nuttiness that seemed to fit the style well.  The spiciness sat right in the middle and towards the end of the drink I began to notice some sort of metallic taste.  It never became off putting or distracting, yet it was noticed.

The mouthfeel was medium, crisp, smooth and dry.  It wasn’t as chewy as I was expecting and it left only an average amount of flavor on the palate.  A nice, soothing and comfortable alcohol warmth was left right at the back of the throat though.  As I continued to drink this brew, it seemed to become a little bit thin on the overall feel. 

In general, the Corsendonk Abbey Brown Ale seemed to be a pretty good brew.  It’s not “world class”, but good none the less.  It was quite easy to drink and I had no trouble finishing this entire bottle.  The appearance, aroma and taste were fitting for the style and I found plenty to enjoy as I sipped on this brew.  It just wasn’t quite as compelling as other Belgian Abbey Dubbels that I have tried are.  With that being said, I would recommend giving it a go if you see it in your bottle shop.  Feel free to let me know what you thought of it also.

As always, thanks for reading and commenting everyone.  It’s greatly appreciated.

Until next time.


Score:  3.75 out of 5
Grade:  B 

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Posted by on November 29, 2011 in Corsendonk, Country: Belgium


Review of Samuel Smith’s Yorkshire Stingo

For today’s craft beer review I thought I would sample another beer from the great Samuel Smith’s Old Brewery (Tadcaster) located in Tadcaster, United Kingdom called the Yorkshire Stingo.

Like all Samuel Smith’s brews, I’m sure this one will be worth it’s weight in gold.

Let’s read the description from the website,

Some of the oak casks at Samuel Smith’s date back more than a century with the individual oak staves being replaced by the Old Brewery coopers over the years. Gradually the casks soak in more & more of the character of the ale fermented in stone Yorkshire squares. Yorkshire Stingo is aged for at least a year, matured in these well-used oak casks in the brewery’s underground cellars deriving fruit, raisin, treacle toffee, Christmas pudding and slight oaky flavours, before being further naturally conditioned in bottle. LIMITED AVAILABILITY.

Let’s pour.

This beer has an ABV of 8.0% and it comes in an 18.7 oz. bottle.

It poured a brownish to dark copper color that seemed a little bit cloudy.  Orange highlights were shown around the edges and around the bottom of the glass.  The head was off white, mostly creamy and smooth with a few large bubbles hanging around.  It was nicely sized from an easy pour and it had above average retention and lacing.

The nose was dominated with characteristics of dried, dark fruits.  Hints of dried apple chips, raisins and plums.  Lying underneath the sweet fruits were very nice “woody” tones intermingled with caramel and toasted biscuits.  As the brew warmed, the fruits started to become more forceful, which created a Christmas”y” type of aroma.  I didn’t detect much (if any) alcohol on the nose, but otherwise very nicely balanced and even I thought.  

Within the taste, I, once again, obtained the dried fruits, but this time I did notice a significant Bourbon flavoring that imparted more of the “woody” tones that I found in the aroma.  Some caramel and toffee were acknowledged, however they seemed to be a bit more relaxed than what I had anticipated.  The taste was rather sweet and fitting and the toasted, dark breads and biscuits helped complete this very good, harmonized flavor.

The mouthfeel was medium to medium/full, chewy, dry and smooth.  Some welcome alcohol warmth teetering on a slight burn was felt at the back of the throat.  The palate was covered justly until the next sip.

Well…. this is another very good, solid effort from the Samuel Smith’s Brewery.  Very enjoyable.  It’s one geared more for sipping in my opinion.  It’s very sweet and it filled me up with ease, so the drinkability factor is not as high as some of their other products, but I could have it again without any problem.  I don’t know that this is a brew that I could drink everyday, but maybe more along the lines of a beer that I could handle a few times a year.  I definitely think that it’s worth a try and one that garners plenty of complexity for a lengthy discussion with friends.  

Thanks for reading and commenting folks.  I truly appreciate it.  Until next time.


Score:  4.0 out of 5
Grade:  B+

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Posted by on November 28, 2011 in Country: England, Samuel Smith's

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