Latin for “wheat,” Triticus is a strong and dark Wheat Wine style ale that’s light and lively on the palate. The blend of 50% wheat malts, including caramel and chocolate, provides color and depth of flavor. Complex hopping and dry-hopping lends a delicate spiciness and just enough balance to complement its strength. Harpoon originally brewed Triticus in 2005 with guest brewers Jason and Todd Alstrom, founders of BeerAdvocate.com, as part of Harpoon’s 100 Barrel Series. This is the re-release as part of the Leviathan series of brews. Leviathan beers will be brewed in 120-barrel batches. The beers will be available in 4-packs and on draft for distribution, excluding the Triticus which will be available on draft only.
I was lucky enough to try the Triticus on draft at the Burlington Vermont Brewers Festival. It poured a dark chestnut color with a subtle touch of orange when back lit with the Burlington sun. The head was toasty cream, thick and persistent.
At first whiff, it resembles a barley wine with a touch of chocolate – or caramel wheat. Strong feel of dark fruit. No real feel of the high alcohol is to be found in the aroma.
The taste is chocolate, bread, caramel, and perhaps even a bit fruity. Hops are well defined and somewhat more noticeable than I would have anticipated in the flavor. There is no mistaking that german hops were used. A rye or smoked quality is clear in the flavor and works to help mask the rather high ABV. As a matter of fact, there is very little about this strong brew that would even indicate that it is such a high alcohol beer.
Mouthfeel is full, but not overwhelming considering the look and what you may expect. Coats the tongue and fades quickly, the briefly lingering aftertaste is pleasant and smoky.
Overall, perhaps the best brew I have tasted from the folks at Harpoon. I am eager to get a log of it on tap at our pub soon (there is very limited distribution). I am now also intrigued to try the rest of the Leviathan series as they become available. According to the Harpoon website, the next in the series is an Imperial IPA set to premier this September.