Tripel-off, Semi-Final Game 1: Westmalle vs. De Dolle

Graphic: Westmalle vs. De Dolle -- semi final.

We’re now into the semi-finals of our Tripel-off. First up: De Dolle Dulle Teve vs. Westmalle Tripel, the reining world champ.

You might recall that this was­n’t the orig­i­nal match-up but Ray had a cun­ning plan to keep the tast­ing just a tiny lit­tle bit on the blind side for Jess.

  • He changed the line-ups with­out telling her.
  • He put Dulle Teve in a West­malle brand­ed glass, and West­malle in a more gener­ic Bel­gian ves­sel.

Two beer bottles side by side.

Both had huge, gor­geous, bil­low­ing white heads of foam. Both looked about the same colour, with Dulle Teve per­haps just a touch dark­er, more orange than yel­low.

Our first sips were of Dulle Teve.

Jess: Oh, wow.

Ray: Same.

Jess: That’s just a love­ly beer, but… Hmm… Have you put some­thing oth­er than in the West­malle glass? Are you play­ing mindgames?

Ray: Yes, bust­ed. That did­n’t take you long to work out. It is great, though. It’s love­ly. I would describe my reac­tion as swoon­ing.

Jess: [West­malle] has a much bet­ter aro­ma, though. Fresh and flow­ery. This one [Dulle Teve] smells fruity but much more restrained.

Ray: [West­malle] is more ele­gant and lighter bod­ied. A classier beer. But.. Is there a sort of savouri­ness at the end?

Jess: I’m detect­ing a burn. Too much of a burn. It seems very boozy.

Ray: [Dulle Teve] seems almost trop­i­cal­ly fruity. Again, great. Such wow fac­tor.

Jess: Fun­ny thing is, the more I drink, the bet­ter the first one [West­malle] tastes. It reminds me of Duv­el. Boozy, but also very drink­able. I think… I think I pre­fer it, on bal­ance, but only just.

Drink­ing these two beers togeth­er was real­ly inter­est­ing as each did strange things to our per­cep­tion of the oth­er (com­pare with our first-round tast­ing notes here and here) and both seemed to morph fur­ther into dif­fer­ent beers in the time it took to drink them. If beer-and-beer pair­ing was a thing, this is a com­bo we’d rec­om­mend.

Decid­ing a win­ner real­ly was dif­fi­cult. In the end, though, we both agreed that by the nar­row­est of mar­gins West­malle had the edge.

That means, much as we expect­ed from the start, it will be in the final, fac­ing off against either Lost & Ground­ed or Karmeli­et.

We’d like to thank Patre­on sup­port­ers like Dar­ryl Cham­ber­lain and Bryan Rob­son whose sup­port paid for the beer and access to the nice font in the head­er image.

4 thoughts on “Tripel-off, Semi-Final Game 1: Westmalle vs. De Dolle”

  1. To be hon­est, I wish you had done this as a round robin, com­par­ing each beer against all oth­ers in turn.

    1. We did it this way because (a) it’s fun to try new approach­es and (b) it’s easy to find time and ener­gy to taste two tripels where­as a big round-table taste-off would require writ­ing off half a day, and prob­a­bly end­ing up rot­ten hun­gover.

      1. It’s fun read­ing, and I appre­ci­ate the dif­fi­cul­ties of oth­er approach­es – it was only a com­ment, not a crit­i­cism.

        Mind you, you should have had a tele­vised draw with VIPs… 😉

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