Straffe Hendrik Tripel

Straffe Hendrik Tripel is a strong Belgium beer from the Brouwerij De Halve Maan which has been brewing beer since 1856. So what is this strong Belgian Tripel beer like?

The Straffe Hendrik Tripel beer is a decent beer. Strong and full bodied it pours and amber gold with a generous head. On the nose it is strong on caramel malt with a slight banana aroma and a hint of spice in the background. The taste is sweet caramel malt up front with a spicy bitter edge that carries a a nice warm feel with it. It’s a good full body beer that gets a score of 4.7 out of 5.0.

I like it, a beer that has plenty of flavour, it feels complex yet simple at the same time.

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Straffe Hendrik Tripel Beer Review

Belgian beers are known for being good, so I am looking forward to trying this one. It sits in a small 330ml brown bottle with a green and gold label. On the label is says Straffe Hendrik Brugs Tripel Bier 9°, and yes, this beer is 9% ABV, so just the one.

The bottle top is pretty cool, green with a half moon face on it. I pour it a little aggressively and it produces a three finger head. A second more careful pour produces a one finger head.

The beer is a clear amber gold with good carbonation going on. In the second glass I swirl what is left in the bottle and pour and the beer turns hazy, from the sediment left in the bottle.

So it’s a bottle conditioned beer, or as the brewery puts it ‘bottle refermentation’.

Time for a sniff and a taste.

Drinking Straffe Hendrik Tripel

There is plenty of aroma on the nose, a strong caramel malt bursts out of the glass. There is a slight aroma of banana and then a little spice in the background. Overall it smells pretty good.

The taste, like the smell is dominated with a caramel malt that has a sweetness to it. A nice bitterness kicks in to balance the sweetness up front which carries a warm spicy edge with it. I am getting ginger and a little pepper spice, bit not getting any banana flavour, which I am pleased about.

The beer has a full body and feels quite complex, yet simple at the same time. It doesn’t feel like it is 9% ABV, but it has depth.

For me this Tripel beer is very good, smooth, full and balanced, it gets a rate my beer score of 4.7 out of 5.0.

M’Lady is not so enthusiastic, saying “Firstly it doesn’t taste like it is a 9% Vol beer, it has a nice sweetness up front, but then a spicy heat that gets me in the throat. I’m not that keen, it’s not a bad beer, just not for me.” Lou scores it a lower 3.5 out of 5.0.

If you like a strong Belgian beer with plenty of depth and flavour, then you will like Straffe Hendrik Tripel, I know I do.

Brouwerij De Halve Maan

The De Halve Maan Brewery was founded in 1856 by Leon Maes, but he was also known as Henri the first. The first four generations of the brewery all shared the first name Hendrik or Henri.

In 1867 the running of the brewery was taken over the sons Henri the second and his brother Achere. However they both died at a young age and their wives who did not want to let the brewery go, took over.

In 1919 the brewery enters its third generation with Henri the third. And he starts producing bottom fermenting beer as well as a Bock and a light lager.

In 1945 Henri the third starts distributing water, cola and lemonade, but continues brewing beer too. In 1958 Henri the fourth took joint control with his father Henri the third and they ran the brewery together.

Jump to 1981 and the daughter of Henri the fourth, Véronique Maes became one of the first female brewers. Together they launched the beer Straffe Hendrik, a tribute to all the Hendriks or Henri’s in the family.

The brewery is now in its sixth generation being run by Xavier Vanneste the son of Véronique. He took over in 2005 and has modernised and expanded the brewery to the point of its standing today.

A large bottling plant being one of the new parts to the brewery which is over 3km away from the brewery. A little inconvenient, so they built an underground beer pipeline from the brewery to the bottling plant, pretty amazing.

De Halve Maan Beers

The brewery does not have a vast range of beers, I found ten on their website. So there might not be loads of beers, but they do look interesting, and there are some I definitely want to try.

Here are a few at the top of my list.

Straffe Hendrik Quadrupel

As the name suggests this beer is one up on the Tripel and said to be the first ever Belgian Quadrupel. It is a rich dark beer brewed with a mix of special malts.

It is said to be a rich dry beer with hints of coriander, dark fruits and roasted chestnuts, with a treacle aftertaste.

There are two reasons why I think you would only drink one bottle of this beer. The first is I think it will be quite rich and intense, and the second is because it is 11% ABV, it’s definitely a sipper.

Brugse Bok

Brugse Bok is a German and Dutch style seasonal Bock beer. A maroon tinge to this beer with a an aroma of strong malt, dark fruits and a little spice.

The flavour is a full on malt turning into a light bitterness with a hint of caramel and raisin. Sounds pretty cool to me, but again not a session beer with its 6.5% ABV strength tag.

Definitely a beer I would like to try.

Blanche De Bruges

Blanche De Bruges is a light blonde wheat beer. A full bodied wheat beer which includes aromas and flavours or coriander and orange peel.

The taste experience is smooth with a spicy tang and a bitter aftertaste which sounds pretty good to me. At least this one sits on the fence of session with its straight 5% ABV.

Another beer I will be on the look out for.

Final Thoughts

So the brewery has got a rich history and has come a long way since its birth in 1856. Although I have only had one of their beers so far, it is a really good beer.

So I am impressed with Straffe Hendrik Tripel and will not hesitate to drink it again if I get the chance, especially if I ever see it on tap. I will also being keeping an eye out for their other beers too.

If you have tried this Tripel beer, then do share your thoughts below, let me know what you think of it.

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