Josh Weikert's picture

Orabelle

February, 2016
Judges Rating: 
86
Aroma: 
21 / 24
Appearance: 
6 / 6
Flavor: 
35 / 40
Mouthfeel: 
8 / 10
Overall Impression: 
16 / 20

Lots of breweries chase that elusive goal: that wonderful, delicate, flavorful, and drinkable Belgian-style Tripel, but most miss to some greater or lesser degree. This is a good beer, but it too doesn't quite hit the mark.

The beer pours a pale gold with a low white head and a slight haze (not terribly uncommon in the style, and it is an attractive-enough beer). The aroma is heavy on the esters, with bubble gum and banana taking up most of the space. There's a faint grainy character underneath and a light, alcohol-driven perfumey character. Nice, but a little heavy on the sweet estery notes.

The flavor echoes some of that aroma, and the banana is moderately strong. The issue here is that most of the subtler flavors are overtaken by the alcohol, and the flavor is characterized by a subtle burn from the alcohol, making it seem a little solventy. Bitterness is low, and the finish is semi-sweet to balanced – nothing to write home about. A light body with medium-high carbonation leads into significant warming in the finish.

There's nothing really wrong with this beer. A bit of alcohol heat is normal in the style, as is an active fermentation profile, but it just doesn't really come together for me. You might disagree, and Great Divide has certainly made enough great beers to try and give this one a shot, but you should go into it with lower expectations than normal: against some of their other beers (which have been among the best ever brewed), this just seems to be "average." Saying that though, it's still pretty good!