Vancouver Island Brewing – Cassis & Elderflower Belgian Tripel


Vancouver Island Brewing – Cassis & Elderflower Belgian Tripel Review

Vancouver Island Brewing has become known in recent years for experimentation, and a good example of this is their Cassis & Elderflower Belgian Tripel. Released earlier this fall, it’s a brew that involves the use of sugar and blackcurrant for a hybrid Belgian flavour you won’t often find in a can.

“Tripel” is a name used in the Low Countries (mostly Belgium) for a alcoholic beverage that nominally exceeds “Dubbel” in strength. That “goes to 11” extra fermentation could be achieved by using more malt than usual and coaxing the yeast with some sugar. Accordingly, VIB’s Tripel recipe makes use of sucrose.

As for the other additives: elderflower is known for rounding out and softening the sharp flavours in some cocktails and alcoholic beers. It’s a classic flavouring for a Berliner Weisse. In turn, the word ‘Cassis’ denotes the use of blackcurrants in beer, again generally seen in Belgium. Here, VIB uses fruit concentrate for that job, as well as other unspecified natural flavours in the recipe.

The result pours a brilliant, deep ruby red; a startling colour to come out of a can of 7.9% alcohol beer. It’s like a dark pink grapefruit, and certainly not the colour of your standard amber-copper Tripel, like a Westmalle.

On the nose, there’s fruit and white wine, reminiscent of a sangria-like punch. However, despite the addition of sucrose, it’s not “sweet” in the normal sense. The sugar is there to make the yeast work, and this vinous beer indeed seems to be highly attenuated, being somewhat dry and mildly astringent on the palate.

The beer has mild bubblegum esters and is slightly peppery due to the somewhat high alcohol.

If you, like us, are always looking for that new flavour you haven’t had in a BC beer yet, the Cassis & Elderflower Belgian Tripel needs to make its way onto your “must-tick” list.

  • (4.4)
  • (4)
  • (3.8)
  • (4)
  • (4)
    Overall Enjoyment

About This Beverage

  • Colour: Deep ruby red
  • Head Size & Retention: Some head, minimal retention
  • Carbonation: Well Carbonated
  • Clarity: Slight Haze
  • Balance: Balanced Malt/Hop
  • Drinkability: Definitely Drinkable
  • Enjoyment: I would recommend this beer to a friend
  • Malt Characteristics: Juicy Malt
  • Other Flavours/Aroma: Lactic (acidic like sour milk or yogurt), Floral, White Wine, Pomegranate, mild bubblegum esters
  • Palate: Juicy, Vinous, Mildly Astringent


Involves the use of sugar and blackcurrant for a hybrid Belgian flavour you won’t often find in a can. Reminiscent of a sangria-like punch.


  • Interesting flavour
  • Not as challenging as you’d expect for a Belgian Tripel


The mix of flavours may put off some Belgian beer aficionados

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