Beer: Wild Tripelle
Brewery: La Sirêne Brewing (Melbourne, Australia)
Style: Belgian Tripel
8% ABV / N/A IBU
La Sirêne Brewing’s Wild Tripelle took a little while to make it across the Pacific Ocean. By the time this hit shelves last year, it was already aging. This beer is specifically a 2016 vintage, which the Australian brewery allowed to ferment naturally, and then age in oak barrels, for 20 months. By the time I sampled it, it was basically three-and-a-half years old—not a bad thing for fermented beers, where additional magic happens in the bottle. There’s probably a tipping point where the brew becomes undrinkable, but if you have the patience to cellar sours and farmhouse ales (in bottles) for a while, it can be a transformative experience.
36+ months in, the Belgian tripel base of the Wild Tripelle is pretty muted. It looks like a tripel, and it certainly has its booziness, but the fermentation and the aging process have created something very different from the Belgian brewing tradition. In dubbels, tripels and quads, malts are typically the star of the show; with Wild Tripelle, you can’t really even taste the malt. It’s all about the funk, produced through natural fermentation—literally bubbling in an open tank—and a hint of additional earthiness imparted by the oak from the barrels.
The dominant flavors of Wild Tripelle are lemon/orange/citrus, with an aroma that smells somewhat of fresh baked bread, likely due to the wild yeast strain. It’s simultaneously “meh” as a Belgian tripel and novel as a farmhouse-style ale. Is this what Belgian beers would taste like with the introduction of a little bacteria and some dedication to aging? If so, that would be a welcome shift. Perhaps Wild Tripelle’s only strike is that it could’ve used more aging, particularly in port wine barrels, or even better, Madeira barrels—the dry Portuguese wine it already close resembles.
For more info, check out La Sirêne Brewing here.