Review of Independent Fermentations Honey Tripel from Independent Fermentations in Plymouth, MA.
Beer Type: Tripel ABV: 9.0% IBUs: 20 Tried from bottle.
Their Description: “Honey Tripel is similar to a Belgian monastery style tripel but with Massachusetts made honey instead of the more commonly used sugar. Sugar is used in this style to keep the body light and the finish dry. Honey does the same thing but adds some great aromatics. The hops stay in the background to let the honey and yeast-derived flavors come through. The barley and wheat malts are almost entirely Massachusetts made and about half the hops are Massachusetts grown.”
The Reality: This beer pours dark orange and unfiltered with a floral scent. It has a crisp dry carbonation (as a good tripel should) and starts with a malty flavor laced with wild floral notes that eventually morph into a smooth tangy bitterness that is lovely. The aftertaste has subtle tropical fruit hints. the mild bitterness is unexpected from a triple, but actually balances the whole beer better than if it weren’t there.
Final Verdict: It wouldn’t hurt for someone to drop a line to the Belgian monks and let them know that using honey to make a tripel is a good idea. I really like the floral notes (I was told he used wildflower honey) and the smoothness that honey brings to this beer. This beer also has nice complexity with a slight tang and bitterness that really completes the experience. I’m looking forward to trying more beers from this relatively new brewery going forward (read my brewery review). I also wouldn’t mind seeing honey added to more traditional beer styles, after all, no one complained when we added honey to Cheerios or roasted peanuts. People did complain when we tried to add honey to face cream, but that was just a “honey boo boo“.