Wednesday, June 10, 2009
A not so bitter little gnome
When I spied La Chouffe's Houblon IPA Tripel I imagined is was in the same vain as Duvel Tripel Hop, the beer I rang in 2009 with. Lots of hops and alcohol on the label suggest a similar drinking experience to the Duvel beast but this didn't prove to be the case. I over chilled the beer in the kitchen fridge, as opposed to the more temperate climes in my beer fridge. The chilling happened because the bottle is green and my beer fridge has a glass front and sits next to a window. This combined with the promised hop content of the beer make me very wary of the demon skunk aroma. Thankfully I avoided any unpleasantness, but ended up with a very hazy, thick, soup like liquid which could have passed for freshly squeezed orange juice given the heady citric fumes stemming from the glass. It is not hugely bitter but does give up plenty of alcoholic warmth. This is not a triple IPA in the American mould at all; there would have to be an order of magnitude increase in the bitterness for that. I don't like to pin down beers into categories and styles, but the concept of a triple IPA is entirely American and it seems strange to me that La Chouffe would make a beer, call it a triple IPA and then make it dissimilar to the expected beer style. Why not just call the beer something else? The Duvel tripel hop does not proclaim to be an IPA of any sort but I recall noting it was in fact like a very well refined big hitting IPA. Curious. Perhaps La Chouffe are hoping to penetrate different markets. As the beer warmed up much more complexity came forth mainly in the form of chewy malt, balancing things out nicely. This is a tasty beer but won't go down well with BJCP types.