Belgian ales have a very sharp, distinct taste to them and the yeast plays a very important role in the flavor. The home brew shop had recipes for four different types of Belgian ale--Dubbel, White, Saison and Tripel. I decided to go with the Tripel. The decision was made somewhat arbitrarily. This particular style has one of the highest alcohol contents which wasn't the reason I picked it, but I wanted to try to make something that packs a wallop. The beers I've made up until now have been fairly mild and smooth. It might be a nice change of pace to make something that puts hair on my chest.
A couple of commercial brands of Belgian style beer that I enjoy are Duvel and Chimay. Both have a very strong, heavy flavor to them. They are beers that are better savored slowly than consumed quickly. They tend to be very flowery and aromatic as opposed to something like a german lager or pilsner which is very clean and crisp.
Tripels tend to be a little bit stronger and a little bit paler that most Belgian beers. When I went into the home brew shop and said I wanted to brew a tripel, the guy gave me a high gravity trappist yeast that he said was pretty high octane stuff. The yeast needs to be really resilient to withstand the alcohol it gives off which, in this case, will be somewhere around 8%-9%. The most important thing is that the final product tastes good. I will be taking copious notes on the entire endeavor that I will share here as I move forward. Wish me luck.