Belgian ale really is, for me, the perfect nightcap. Pour me a Karmeliet or a Piraat any day of the week and it will be the perfect drink - no distractions, just sitting at the desk with the notebook and the beer, enjoying the fine fruits of someone's fine labour. As such, a beer that is actually called Nightcap (Slaapmutske in Dutch) should be pretty well suited to the job, which is why I picked up a bottle of the Slaapmutske Tripel in Abbot's recently. Well, that and the fact that the moon on the label is sporting a bitchin' cap. Either way, it's name and it's children's-book-illustration label promised a lovely Belgian ale to have before bed, and that's just my sort of thing.
The Slaapmutske Tripel sure pours like a nice nightcap - it's amber/honey tone and bubbly three finger head all remind me of the glorious Piraat (honestly, I'll shut up about it eventually). On the nose, however, it's much different. This smells less like the tripels I'm used to and more like a Pale Ale or IPA - fruity hops live here, and quite a few of them. Citrus and peel are balanced by the muted caramel and yeast maltiness you'd normally expect from a tripel, and it makes for an interesting bouquet. The taste is not much different, with orangey bitterness at the front and a sweet, malty finish. It's nice, but it's not as complex as I'd like. Well, either that or it's just hoppier than I'd like. It's got a medium to full body that does carry everything quite well, so you do get to enjoy the flavours.
Overall, there's nothing really wrong with this beer, but I think the reason I didn't feel much about it is because I was expecting (and hoping for) something a bit more like an Abbey or Trappist tripel. All the same, it's definitely worth a go at the very least.