Name – Triple
Brewer – Brakspear
Classification – Strong Ale
Strength – 7.2% ABV
Verdict - At A Glance
On the eye – Dark oak. That very ancient dark oak which I image High Court Judges prefer their dinner served upon.
On the nose – Sharp fruits and deep malts.
On the tongue – Remarkable. That's lazy writing and very unhelpful, I know. But, nevertheless...
On the subject – Oxford's Brakspear have produced a beer whose complexity of flavour is almost outdone by the complexity of its brewing process. But don't let the science put you off!
On the market – Widely available in the UK. Picked mine up at Sainsbury's.
On the whole – 8.5/10
Whoever said beers over 6.5% ABV could never be among the best ales available?
Well.... I did.
Quite embarrassingly recently, as it happens.
Well, I suppose this year of beer sampling was always going to be a learning process.
Can you sense my crude attempt to hide my unrelenting shame?
Anyway, moving rapidly on...
Those of us crying into our ale over the new government proposal to increase tax on all beers over 7.5% ABV can take some comfort that a bottle of this distinguished brew will narrowly miss out on any price rises.
At a mere 7.2%, Brakespear's ludicrously complex 'Triple' just slips under the bar, as will anyone foolish enough to drink more than one bottle in any great hurry.
But let me move swiftly (as swiftly as I'm able after 500ml of this powerful juice) away from the issue of strength, because what this drink does best - is use a clever trick to almost entirely mask its potency. That trick comes in the form of the most wonderfully abundant array of flavour themes of any beer I can recall.
The sheer amount of individual flavour characteristics flourishing in this beer is nothing short of astounding. Its high-end sweetness simultaneously collides and complements its deeply malted base notes, and the myriad flavours found in between these extremities is staggering.
I found sherbet sweetness, playful traces of peach and honey, oats, cola cubes, tobacco, pine needles... the hand written notes I penned eventually decay into a flatline – symbolising the futility of trying to identify every last nuance contained within this brew.
It is, in a word, remarkable.
For a drink experience that will leave you satisfied, quenched, challenged and pleasantly bewildered, look no further than a bottle of this.
If, on the other hand, you require a beer that will see you through an evening – you must simply ignore what this potion's seductive subtleties would try to make you believe – and instead you should trust in me...
If you're having more than one - Triple is not your tipple.
For anyone strong-willed enough to stick with a single - go ahead and simply savour.