I am a seasonal drinker and I don’t care. By seasonal drinker, I mean that I tend to drink beers that correlate with the season. Saisons and Pales in the spring, IPAs and Pilsners in the summer, malty Lagers and dark Belgians in the fall and of course Stouts and Porters in the winter. When everyone is pouring pumpkin pies into a glass, I like to sit back and enjoy a great Belgian Dubbel. Curl up in front of a fire place with a nice book, blanket and a Dubbel….or just forget the fire place, book and blanket and drink a Dubbel. This is a style that really has a lot to offer those who appreciate subtleties in flavor and aroma.
A Belgian Dubbel should have a few of the key aspects that make this style what it is.
Aroma: You should get hit with a great amount of rich malt sweetness that resembles caramel, toasted bread and even chocolate. Next should be a big presence of fruity esters of cherries, raisins, plums and even prunes. A slight peppery or spicy phenol might be present especially if a little higher ABV. You might get a little alcohol warmth but should never be harsh.
Appearance: It should be beautiful….aka….dark amber color with some nice ruby/garnet highlights. Should be clear and have a long lasting and pillowy off-white head.
Flavor: Complex malt characteristics of rich sweetness with some hints of caramel, chocolate and toast. Big fruit phenols of raisin, dried fruit, plum and even clove. Medium-low hop presence and should never be bitter.
Mouthfeel: Medium-full mouthfeel that lingers. Medium-high carbonation that carries the beer well.
Typically between 6.5-7% ABV but can be pushed a little.
I have been working on my Dubbel recipe for some time now. I think I have gotten it to a point that I really like. It scores well in competitions and is a hit at homebrew meetings. Do yourself a favor and put down the pumpkin beer and join me this Fall by brewing and enjoying a beautiful Belgian Dubbel.
Hermen’s Belgian Dubbel
90 minute boil time (you can do 60 minutes if you want)
est. ABV: 7.3%
9.5# Pale 2-Row
1.5# Light Munich 20L
.5# Special B Malt
.25# Crystal 80
3oz Chocolate Malt
1# dark candied syrup (you can use sugar but the syrup is the way to go) at the end of the boil.
.50oz Target at 60 minutes
.50oz Willamette at 10 minutes
.50oz Liberty at 5 minutes
2 liter starter of Wyeast 1214
Single Infusion Mash at 150 for 60 minutes. Ferment steady at 68 degrees. Use a blow-off tube. Do not rack to secondary. Bottle condition or keg. Enjoy!