Westmalle Tripel: The Gold Standard

Featured Beverage

Westmalle Tripel: The Gold Standard

Provides a safe haven in troubled times

Article originally published in GTG Downtime-Extra! Aug 2011

Safe Haven

Vital Statistics:

Creator:                 Cafe Trappisten Westmalle
Style:                   Clear, golden yellow Trappist beer
                         Undergoes secondary fermentation in the
Strength:                9.5% ABV
AI Value:*               10.5
Killer App:              Restores liquidity in seconds
Medicinal Qualities:     I feel better already
Tasting notes:           Smooth and powerful, but not too flash:
                         a V8 of a beer!
Grey Scale Rating:**     Platinum
Wt Relativity Index***   10

Brew Basics


The brewery refers to the Westmalle Tripel as ‘the mother of all tripels’ and it’s considered to be the original tripel style beer. The beer was first produced in 1934 and the current formula hasn’t changed in over 50 years

What’s so special?

Essentially, to be called Trappist the beers must be brewed within the boundaries of the monastery or under the direct supervision of the monks. The brewery also has to be run with a monastic ethos and any profits over and above those needed to run the monastery must be used for charitable and social causes

Its good to know that with every sip you are helping a worthy cause!

There are seven Trappist breweries, six in Belgium (Achel, Chimay, Orval, Rochefort, Westvleteren and Westmalle) and one in the Netherlands (La Trappe)

More info: Westmalle Abbey

  * AI, or Alcoholic Index is a key parameter in the temporal equation defining (perceived) Drink Time
    Ref. ‘Quantum Qorner’ Alcohol Induced Time Dilation Effect
 ** The official GTG product review rating scale:
    Coal (pants) Charcoal (bearable) Gravel (average) Ash (good) Platinum (ace)
*** Westmalle Tripel Relativity Index: higher resolution drink-specific rating comparing beverages to the benchmark Westmalle Tripel,
    which itself rates the theoretical maximum of 10, with Platinum rated brews being in the range 9-10
    For more information on the GTG reviewing system see Downtime Review Guide: Reviewing Principals and Ratings Systems
Watering Hole

Hallowed Ground: Cafe Trappisten, Westmalle

A mention has to be made of the ‘Cafe Trappisten’ located opposite the Abbey at Westmalle. Despite occupying a disconcertingly modern building (not unlike that at Westvleteren) and being less-than-convenient to get to* (ditto Westvleteren again…there’s a trend here) the Cafe is a great place to while away an afternoon getting to know the beers and to confuse the locals by indulging in noisy conversations with everybody around the table communicating solely by means of ‘Texting out of Context

And, perhaps due to it’s proximity to the Abbey, it’s a place that helps remind you to keep an open mind in all things, as the staff kindly introduce you to the joys of mixing together the Tripel and Dubbel to create the very pleasing Westmalle ‘Half and Half’ (or Trubbel, as we call it) – something we would never have dared to do off our own bat!

Better than it looks

Sibling Rivalry

Or, closer to home (for some) you can find sanctuary here: Lowlander Grand Cafe

* GTG Health Advice: please Drink Aware – make sure you use the loo before attempting the long bus ride back to Antwerp!

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