My how those three words go beautifully together.  Duvel – The classic Belgian Strong Pale.  Triple – No matter how you slice it, it’s three times that of a single.  I’ll just assume that’s good.  Hop – Better than a skip and far superior to a jump, but in our world, it’s what gets us out of bed in the morning.  Come to think of it, hops are probably the reason we’re still in bed this morning (And the grain, yeast, and water that helped to wash those hop oils down I suppose).  Even though those three small words may not seem like much to most folks, they sure as hell roped me into a pricey purchase at the local purveyor of suds.  This shit better be good.

I’ll just assume that everyone reading this site has had the classic Duvel before.  If not then run, run, run as fast as you can and don’t come back until your thirst has been quenched.  No, Duvel is not the greatest beer in the land.  At least in my opinion it’s not.  Duvel is however an absolute classic that every beer connoisseur simply has to try at least once and preferably hundreds of times.  Again, you probably already know this so I’ll stop rambling.  If you’ve had the classic Duvel though, chances are you wouldn’t hesitate at picking up a triple-hopped version of said delicious brew.  According to the little pamphlet dangling from the bottle, Duvel Moortgat brewers used Saaz, Styrian Golding, and Amarillo hops in this version.  They also dry-hopped it and brought the alcohol up a bit from 8.5% to 9.5%.  The resultant brew has leapt from its previous Strong Pale Ale category and landed right in the middle of the Belgian IPA category.  Nicely done Duvel, nicely done.




NOTES:  750ml Corked Bottle.  Elegant packaging with a nice pamphlet laying out their brewing process.  Brewed May 18th, 2010

STYLE: Belgian IPA

ABV: 9.5%

APPEARANCE: Loud “Pop” of the cork, even with gentle prying.  No beer volcano though.  Straw colored, golden haze.  Um, looks like Duvel.  From the looks of it, they should call this the Champagne of beers.  I wonder if that’s already taken?

HEAD: Solid 1 inch.  After 5 minutes, solid 1 inch.  After 10 minutes, solid 1 inch.  Thick and bubbly.  Unreal

LACING: Blanket of lacing left over the entire tulip glass.  Tight knit bubbles up and down the sides

NOSE: Bits of funky, piney hops up front followed by the unmistakable horse blanket and musty cellar scents.  First swish of the glass reveals some medicinal alcohol.  Hops are very fresh, not overpowering in the least

TASTE: Slightly bitter and dry with a very light tartness that barely sneaks in and out.  Grassy and bitter in the finish.  It’s earthy for sure, hoppy for sure, but the balance is phenomenal.  Not really a balance of sweet and sour or sweet and bitter, but more of a balance of earthy tones with lip-smacking dryness.  Some citrus, but not too much.  Some fruitiness, but not too much.  Belgian yeasty flavors mingling around with piney hops.  In a word, complex.

MOUTHFEEL: Creamy, chewy, coating, much thicker than the classic Duvel

DRINKABILITY:  Tough call.  On one hand, it’s one of if not the best Belgian IPA’s I’ve ever had.  On the other hand, the bitter finish and overall dryness throughout made me want to grab something else, like a malty Brown Ale, to balance things out.  Although, it’s not like I didn’t finish the entire bottle with a huge grin on my face.  Overall, it’s one tasty brew.

RATING: 3.5 Hops

Editor’s Note:  For additional Duvel Tasting notes, check out an old post on the draught only Duvel Green.


10 thoughts on “DUVEL TRIPLE HOP

  1. Nice review…. I did not want to pay the premium price for a taste so I am glad you checked it out for me.. Thanks for the low down… I will go on a search and drink mission now…

  2. The brewer talks a little bit about the production of this beer here.

    I’m not completely sold on this Belgian IPA thing. I like Belgian beers and I like IPAs, but there aren’t any Belgian versions that come near my favorite West Coast-style offerings. In general the piney hop notes seem to play better with the yeasty tang than tropical fruit ones; at least to my palate, this is an emerging style that hasn’t found it’s legs yet. The obvious beer to bring up is Flying Dog’s Raging Bitch which has achieved unpredicted mainstream acceptance and commercial success, but I would rarely choose it over readily-available IPAs like Founder’s Centennial or Lagunitas IPA.

  3. I think the problem is that the best Belgian IPAs are, shockingly enough, made in Belgium. Aside from the above Duvel, there’s Houblon Chouffe, De Ranke XX, Piraat, and Urthel Hop-It. Most American breweries are still a bit shaky with the style. Though I thoroughly enjoy the Raging Bitch, Green Flash’s Le Freak, and local favorite, Terrapin’s Monk’s Revenge.

    Between a great IPA and a great Belgian IPA, I’ll almost always choose the former, but the latter, particularly at a well-maintained Belgian beer bar, can be extraordinary and FAR more complex than even the the best American IPAs.

  4. One man’s “more complex” is another man’s muddled; I’ve yet to taste proof that grapefruit pith notes and Belgian yeast funk are meant to be together.

    But with the success of Raging Bitch, it’s a style we’ll continue to see refined, both from experimental American brewing efforts and hop-forward twists on traditional Belgian recipes.

  5. Some of them are a lot better than others, Slouch. The good ones are out there, trust me. To me, for it to be successful, the hops still have to come out ahead, which means a very generous hopping rate.

    Three Floyds recently made a GREAT hoppy one called Eben-Emael that was draft only. http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/26/69873

  6. You’re killing me, Anonymous. I complain about not be able to find any Belgian IPA’s I like, and you suggest a Three Floyds draught-only brew. I’ve never had any Three Floyds beer. You’re just being cruel.

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