Updated notes, 03/30/2022
Sixteen years between these notes! Wow. The bottle pictured is from the latest tasting, and you’ll see that the name has been simplified to Houblon Chouffe these days. I’m not sure when that happened, but it makes sense because the original name (referring to three types of hop), had the confusion of the word ‘Triple’ in the name.
Over the years the style has grown on me, but if I’m completely honest I’m just as happy keeping traditional Belgian styles and IPAs in entirely different camps. I still enjoy beers in this broader category, but I can get my hop and bitterness fix elsewhere.
The light grapefruit is still there, and it is satisfying and substantial. Once Ia year is good for me, and maybe if I analyzed the last sixteen years maybe I’ve had a couple of bottles each year. About right for me.
Original notes, 04/23/2006
OK, here we go with this unique marriage of styles.
Appearance is a straight 5. No doubt. Attractive, hazed orange body topped with a massive foamy and rocky head. The head subsides slowly to leave what looks like beaten egg whites, dense, creamy and pillow-like and the lacing is some of the best I can recall EVER seeing!
Aroma is typically Belgian with the spice and yeast overtones coming through strong. Surprisingly a distinct lack of hops in the nose.
Well, it’s certainly hoppy in a way that Belgian beers are not, and in that respect it is very reminiscent of a De Ranke XX. An amazing amount of grapefruit citrus tastes, but surprisingly not hop tasting. The Tripel undertone is constant, and as the beer warms the sweetness begins to come through. At this stage the grapefruit bitterness is only really present in the sharp and short finish.
Mouthfeel is a bit soapy and to be honest the whole thing sits a bit awkwardly.
For me this ends up being a little bit caught in no-mans land. An odd marriage of competing styles, that while definitely interesting, fails to pull it off. It ended up tasting a bit like a tripel with some artificial bitterness added. All rather odd and the drinkability really suffers as a result.