Untappd is a popular geosocial networking service and mobile phone app that allows its users to rate the beers they’re drinking, and share those check-ins and their locations with friends.
And with 2021 now in the rear view mirror, Untappd recently named the platform’s most popular Belgian Tripels, a beer style with roots that date back to sixth century Europe when monks brewed beers as a way to generate income and lessen the dangers of tainted water.
Allagash Brewing, who make an authentic tripel, explain the beer’s rich history and characteristics this way…
“Tripel is a beer style with roots in the Belgian Trappist beer tradition; only beer brewed by a protected and certified order of abbey monks may be called Trappist. Secular breweries will use the moniker “abbey-style” to reflect beers brewed in the Trappist tradition.
Generally, a lineup of Trappist beers would consist of a few styles: a single, a dubbel, and a tripel. At some breweries, you’ll even find quadrupels, also known as “quads.”
“The name tripel was generally used for the strongest beer in a monastery’s repertoire. The story goes that barrels were traditionally marked with X’s to signify strength, so three X’s would be for that abbey’s tripel. Belgian-style tripels come with a high alcohol content, you’ll often find tripels in the 8%-10% ABV range.’
“This style is notable for how much flavor springs from so few ingredients. The key to that burst of flavor comes from something called ‘esters.”
“Esters are the “fruity” part of a beer’s aroma. These fruity aromas are a result of fermentation—when yeast eat sugar, they create alcohol, carbonation, and esters. Tripel is a beer full of ester aromas and flavor, so much so that the esters primarily define the style.”
Belgian Tripels are generally golden-colored. They smell sweet, are complex and nuanced, but surprisingly, drink dry.
The most famous tripels still come from Europe, but four American craft breweries (including Allagash), did make this list.
And now (drum roll please)…
Untappd’s 12 Best Belgian Tripels of 2021
- Tripel De Garre – Brouwerij Van Steenberge
- Curieux – Allagash Brewing Company
- Tripel Karmeliet – Brouwerij Bosteels
- Trignac XII – Kasteel Brouwerij Vanhonsebrouck
- La Fin du Monde – Unibroue
- Triple 5 – New Glarus Brewing Company
- Barrel & Bean – Allagash Brewing Company
- Bourbon BA Tripel – vandeStreek bier
- Paix Dieu (Décembre 2020) – Brasserie Caulier
- Merry Monks – Weyerbacher Brewing Company
- Noir et Bleu – Big Oyster Brewery
- Westmalle Trappist Tripel – Brouwerij der Trappisten van Westmalle
Founded by Greg Avola and Tim Mather in 2010, Untappd’s check-in’s provided the data used in this ranking.
(H/T to Allagash Brewing for their considerable contribution to this piece)