Taxman Exemption Belgian-Style Tripel Ale Brewed With Spices (8.5% ABV)
Pour: 12 oz can into a snifter
Appearance: Pours a medium-gold color with about an inch of fizzy head that dissipates pretty quickly. Very little edging, no lacing at all.
Aroma: Belgian yeast and alcohol, mostly. Hints of coriander, orange peel, and something sweet like rock candy
Flavor: Sweeeeeeet. Fucking hell, this is sweet. Candied lemon/orange up front, Belgian esters and a bit of alcohol burn in the middle, warm sugar in the finish and a sweet buttery/caramel aftertaste. Did I mention that it’s sweet?
Mouthfeel: Medium-to-heavy on the body, verging on the syrupy. Lightly carbonated, mostly dry finish.
So continuing our survey of breweries in the southern part of the state (or south of Indianapolis, anyway), this week’s beer comes from Bargersville, IN’s (pop. <5,000) Taxman Brewing Company. Located a little over half an hour straight down IN-135 from Indy, Taxman was founded in 2014 with an eye towards brewing a variety of Belgian-inspired beers, both traditional and otherwise.
Their Exemption is an example of the traditional tripel ale. The style gets its name from the fact that brewers use three times the amount of malt used in a Trappist ‘simple’ beer. They tend to be sweeter beers due to a combination of pale malts and Belgian candy sugar, which also ups the overall alcohol content of the beer. Exemption’s 8.5% is actually more in the middle range of the ABV scale for a tripel. A quick survey of the style examples on Beer Advocate shows that many varieties end up in the 10% or higher range. As such, tripels tend to be sipping beers.
As for the beer itself…I don’t know. Ultimately, Exemption might be one of those beers where I can appreciated the fact that it’s well-crafted but not really like it all that much. Even by tripel standards it’s a sweet beer, and I personally prefer bitter to sweet. I don’t mind tripels every once in a while as a change of pace, and I’m not one of those people who think Belgian yeasts give beers a bubblegum taste. For some reason, though, this one doesn’t quite work with my palate. I think it might be the body. It feels a bit heavy for the style, and reminds me a bit of drinking flat soda – it’s syrupy and sweet. Still, I’m sure the issue here is my palate and not the beer. It’s quite good for what it is, but it’s just not my thing. It certainly doesn’t out me off Taxman, though – I’ll definitely try to track down something else from them in the near future.