04 December 2013

Abbey Lite

Keyte Oosténdse Tripel is a bit of a misnomer as it comes from Brouwerij Strubbe in Ichtegem, some way south of Ostend. The strength is low for the style at 7.7% ABV and it's a little bit past the drink-by date. I'm not sure if it's the latter that adds a sourness to the taste. Unsurprisingly it's lighter and less boozy than most tripels but most of the typical flavours are there in miniature: the honey, the cereals and the spicing. The light texture and acidity adds a pleasant white wine element as well. Tripels tend not to be known for their refreshment power, but this one does a pretty good job of it.

The dark 9.2% ABV beer in the series is called Keyte Oosténdse Dobbel-Tripel, the brewery seeming to want no truck with those heretical Dutch monks and their so-called "quadrupel" style. It's a lovely clear dark mahogany with just a skim of off-white head. The flavour? Well, "sweet" doesn't begin to describe it. It delivers an assault of plum and fig but while most beers of this type have a big bready texture to offset the sweetness, this is actually quite light of texture, perhaps even watery, which gives the sweet fruit licence to run rampant. The alcohol is fairly assertive as well, so once you've recovered from the jarring sugar, there's a blast of heat singeing the sinuses. Hard work, this stuff, and not the sort of strong dark beer one can get comfortable with.

Strubbe seem to have mastered the art of giving a light texture to strong complex beer but I'm not at all sure that this is a useful talent.

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