Idle Hands brewery in Everett, MA makes a variety of Belgian-style craft ales. The co-founders, husband and wife team Christopher and Grace Tkazh, decided to focus on Belgian style beer due to its diverse flavor profile and the interplay between these ales with an array of different foods. Idle Hands beers often feature a classic Belgian style with a twist, typically the inclusion of non-traditional adjuncts, or the addition of American hop varieties. These updates lead a series of handcrafted year-round and seasonal ales, available on draft and in 22 oz. bottles. One of Idle Hands signature year-round brews is Triplication, their take on the Abbey tripel style. The tripel is a lightly colored ale that is typically high in alcohol due to the addition of Belgian candi sugar to the mash. The flavors of a tripel can range from slightly fruity to coyingly sweet to dry. This style has become increasingly popular among American craft brewers because the esters from the yeast along with the malt and sugar backbone can complement American hops to form a highly nuanced and fun to sip beer.
Idle Hands Triplication pours a hazy gold with a sustained white head. The first smell is the Belgian yeast, contributing fruity esters, earthy tones and must. The yeast is present, but not as strong as you might find in other Belgian style beers. The hops are also evident on the nose, with citrus notes that interplay with the fruit from the yeast. The taste is balanced. The yeast contributes fruit flavors; apple, pear and peach, along with some clove. The hops are also evident, bringing in pine resin and lemon notes. The solid hop bite complements a mild malt backbone, just a touch of sweetness to balance the bitterness from the hops. The beer is crisp and very easy to drink, with a light and fully carbonated mouthfeel. This drinkability is a little dangerous, as Triplication weighs in at a whopping 9.0% ABV. Be very careful with this beer, delicious, easy to drink and high alcohol can be an inviting, potentially problematic combination. I like tripels as a style, but find that many leave an overly sweet aftertaste that necessitates slow sipping, but the perfect balance of yeast, sugars and hops in Triplication makes it a stellar Americanized version of this Belgian Abbey staple. This beer deserves a place amongst the cannon of the great beers in Massachusetts. Hoppy Boston score: 5.0/5.