Location: Holland, MI
Beer Apostle' Grade: A-
New Holland's Black Tulip is a Belgian Tripel that was first released in '98. It might be hard to imagine, but back then, waaayy back in the 90s, craft beer wasn't really all that popular, and Belgian beers were better for...well, Belgium! But New Holland stayed its course and now produces one of the more respected Tripel ales on the market.
Mysterious, alluring and seductive, yet tantalizingly elusive; these are the storied characteristics of the Black Tulip.Speaking of mysterious, I am at a loss in determining the correct ABV for Black Tulip. New Holland's website has it listed at 8.8%. Beeradvocate and RateBeer list it at 9%, and the label on the bottle claims a 10.5%. I'm taking my wife's advice and assuming bigger is better in this case.
Appearance: An opaque copper with minimal head that fades quickly.
Aroma: Bubble gum, Belgian spices (clove, coriander, lemon, honey). Alcohol scent is detectable, but not overly strong.
Taste: Banana and alcohol is a pretty good synopsis here, though that's a bit minimalistic of me to leave the description at that. The banana flavors, which is common with some Belgian yeast strands, is front and center on the palate. Once the beer heads to the back, I pick up apple and lemon notes. These fruity flavors blend nicely into a white-wine-like finish that gives a mild booze warmth in the back of the throat. There's that 10.5% we were talking about!
Mouthfeel: Smooth, crisp, and creamy. Everything is perfectly balanced about the body of this beer.
Overall: For the style, this is an excellent beer. There's not much I can complain about besides, maybe, the overt booziness. But, come on, is that really something to complain about? I can see why Black Tulip received a perfect rating of 100 by the Beeradvocate "Bros," but yet received scores of 87 and 84 by the Beeradvocate and RateBeer public, respectively. I instinctively respect this beer because I know it's true to the style; however, I wasn't blown away of transformed at any point during the consumption of this beer. It's good. Just good.
I want to thank Ryan L (@ryan_leisure). for sending me this beer. I have heard so many great things about New Holland beer; I'm very grateful for having the opportunity to sample and review Black Tulip. Cheers to you, Ryan!
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