SweetWater 18 Belgian-Style Tripel Ale

SweetWater has produced some middle of the road beers. As a result, I was reluctant to buy this, but I have literally tried most of the beers on the shelf of my distributor who I seem to rave about a little too much. I swear, he's not paying me for it. I'm pretty sure he doesn't even know I run a blog. I figured this bottle has very different style about it, so maybe they put more effort into it. I know, it's unwarranted optimism, but that's what I'm giving them.

In the deep amber mist of the cloudy beer, there be dragons of seawater, malt, and citrus. The frothy foam that floats atop the beer waits for ages before skulking back into the murky depths of the beverage. Eventually, the suds become a scant quarter of an inch of industrious bubbles.

First sip is unexpectedly fruity, with apricots and peach fuzz giving the beer a character unlike those that had come before it. That's not to say that it's a fruit drink - it's clearly beer, with the malt and grains whipping around the bottom and the hops jumping up and down near the back of the group as if to say, "I'm here! Don't forget about me!" A full swig will dissect the beer and tell us what it's all about.

Tip-in is sweet malt and grapes, with carbonation adding the faintest glimmer around the edges. The middle is laden down with toffee, caramel, and oranges. It has a heavy feeling about it that was not evident in the sip, and it is a contrast to the relative light feeling of the tip-in. As the finish approaches, the apricots and earth and grains all ease themselves in with a calmness that defines the beer itself. It is a very, very good and smooth beer.

Bottom Line: Rich and smooth like a billionaire industrialist (not Donald Trump).

4.0/5

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