It is 1934 and Father Ignatius van Ham is a happy monk.
It has taken almost 100 years to get here but, under his supervision, the Westmalle Abbey and brewery is in the throes of finally adding a third beer to its repertoire.
The process had been long and slow, requiring the addition of a new brewery with tanks for maturation and clarification, storage rooms for bottle conditioning and, of course, countless attempts at creating the perfect recipe.
But, as he stares at the clear golden ale in his glass it all seems worth it.
He slowly lifts the beer to his nose with a sense of trepidation. Ahhhh there it is, he thinks to himself, as subtle wafts of banana, candied citrus, cloves and tropical fruits rise into his nostrils. Then, he takes a sip, and is immediately transported to a heavenly world of taste sensations. It’s a big beer for sure. The alcohol is right up there but the balance of sweet and bitter is nigh on perfect, with the hops absolving any sins of sweetness at the finish and allowing for a purity of flavour that carries on and on, seemingly in perpetuum.
Some moments later he returns to earth, having been lost in a paradise of the senses and ponders on a title for this Godly creation. It is, of course, the third in a holy trinity of Westmalle brews and is an order of magnitude “bigger” than the Dubel. Tripel… he thinks to himself and sits back and takes another swig.
Suddenly he wonders if the hops are just a fraction too present? He decides he will give this recipe a good run for the next twenty or so years and see how it is received. After all, he is in no rush.