Anderson Valley Brother David’s Triple Abbey-Style Ale – 10% ABV
Another fine craft brewer from Boonville, California, Anderson Valley Brewing Company started out as a vision in 1987 and grew by leaps and bounds in the years since. I’ve had the chance to enjoy the Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout that Anderson Valley offers. I believe it has already been reviewed by Irving. When I was beer shopping, I noticed another one from this brewery – Brother David’s Triple. Sounds interesting enough, and it has what appears to be a Trappist monk on the bottle. Ok, I’ll buy. This Abbey-style Tripel Ale came in a 22 oz bomber. Very classy and old-world looking label design, might as well examine the goods.
Upon pouring Brother David’s triple into a weissen glass, what we see here is a nice thick white head that rests atop a clear amber/copper, almost brown colored body. I can immediately detect the aromas of fruit and yeast, like freshly cut fields of grain. Some apple is present, along with some spicy element, that stick out over a malt framework. Definitely a sweet smelling brew here. Not that I didn’t expect it, after all there is a ton of sugar that has to go into brewing a beer of this alcohol level. This one carries a 10% ABV. However, many times that transfers to a strong malty flavor. It’s often the type of yeast and malts that are used, and the way the yeast interacts with the wort that defines what you should expect from the taste later. Obviously this varies from beer to beer, so you have to try various styles and flavors to get a good sense of what your comfort zone is. I think I’d like to taste this to see if the aromas translate to the flavors. Let’s go…
On my first sip, I get a zippy light fruity taste. What my mind conjures up is a combo of green apples, bananas and green or white grapes. Maybe some bubblegum sweetness in there as well. Very light and refreshing. There is a slight burn from the booze element of this, giving you a nice warming effect that you normally notice immediately from beers of a much darker variety. Again, not that this was to be unexpected, it is 10% after all. But I didn’t think it would be as noticeable as it was. Quite boozy for something this light, but I have to admit that the strength of this thing crept up on me more than I anticipated. The burn kept coming with each sip, but I soldiered on like a dedicated trooper. Brother David’s triple built upon itself, getting a little more intense with each pull. The finish is mostly the alcohol burn. This has a medium body, but I’ll be honest, this seems quite boozy for the style. I expected it to be a little more light and refreshing than “strong like bull” through the end.
I’ve had other Belgian-style tripels and while this one isn’t bad, it doesn’t quite stack up against the others I’ve had. A noble effort for sure, and a winner if your focus is on the ABV and not the overall delivery. Would I drink it again? Probably. Would I recommend it over another of its kind? I don’t know. The thing that does it for me is that while it was nice and refreshing at the start, the boozy burn kills it like a shot of bleach would do to a food stain on your shirt. I like my beers strong and bold, and this one had it in spades, but I’m still not sold on it. Beware this one is a little strong on the throat and it translates to your chest and stomach as well. Like most everything else I’ve reviewed, my final answer is this – Everyone has a different taste. Give Brother David’s triple a shot, you might enjoy it. You won’t know for sure unless you do.