Belgian Dubbel Review

Here’s a beer that was brewed back in March. As I am nearing the end of the first keg, it’s clear that it is time for a review. Kegs of 7% beer sure go slow, but in this case I’m not complaining (though not too long ago I dumped several gallons of IIPA out of boredom). The beer was inspired by the delicious Dubbel from Westmalle. It turned out similar in some aspects, but the yeast (Wyeast 3787) produced a beer that was much cleaner than I had intended. The thing I love most about Westmalle Dubbel is the ester profile, so this was somewhat disappointing. On the other hand, the yeast did contribute a spiciness to the beer that is interesting and enjoyable. I have since set up a fermentation chamber with temperature control so I don’t expect my yeast will surprise me as much in the future.

The caramunich malt and dark Belgian candi sugar in this recipe contributed some nice dark fruit flavours to the beer. Combined with characteristics from 3787 there is a wine-like element to it. I’ve read that some Belgian strains are similar to yeast used in wine production, and you can definitely see similarities here.

The 3787 was slow to finish. I thought it had stopped 1014 after a couple weeks (which was high), but when I went to keg it, it had actually dropped another 3 points. The yeast flocculated like a champ, and I plan to use it again in the future in a more controlled setting. The Belgian candi sugar was added during the boil, but it would probably be better to add it a couple days into fermentation (may have caused some yeast laziness).

I only had German malts on hand when crafting this one. There are some differences compared to the Belgian malts that would be used in an authentic Belgian Dubbel, but not significant concern to me (for now).

Other than that, aesthetically the beer is dark with a very thin, persistent beige head with minimal lacing. I very much enjoy drinking it! This one will definitely receive a re-brew sometime next year with changes made only to the fermentation temperature and perhaps timing of the Belgian candi sugar addition. Recipe included below.

 

IMG_9538

 

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
11.5 gal 90 min 22.5 IBUs 24.7 SRM 1.064 1.010 7.1 %

Fermentables

Name Amount %
Pilsner (2 Row) Ger 20 lbs 83.33
Caramunich Malt 2 lbs 8.33
Candi Sugar, Dark 2 lbs 8.33

Hops

Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Saaz 2 oz 60 min Boil Pellet 4
Tettnang 2 oz 15 min Boil Pellet 4.5
Styrian Goldings 1 oz 10 min Boil Pellet 5.4

Miscs

Name Amount Time Use Type
Whirlfloc Tablet 2.00 Items 15 min Boil Fining

Yeast

Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
Trappist High Gravity (3787) Wyeast Labs 76% 64°F - 78°F

Mash

Step Temperature Time
Mash In 150°F 75 min

 

  3 comments for “Belgian Dubbel Review

  1. January 22, 2016 at 11:23 am

    Did you over-pitch the yeast by chance? I recently attended a lecture from a White Labs scientists who said commercial breweries under-pitch belgian yeast strains on purpose – under-pitching increases the yeast flavors and aromas. https://onepotbrewing.wordpress.com/2016/01/21/under-pitching-yeast-to-get-more-flavors/ I know nothing about this, it’s just what I heard from this lecture.

    • Justin
      January 22, 2016 at 12:55 pm

      I have played around with pitching rates a little bit (with my Hefeweizen), but I generally aim for a standard pitching rate. I’ll probably rebrew this beer this spring, with yeast harvested from a trappist single brewed immediately prior (I still need to do some more work to quantify exactly how much yeast I’m harvesting). I do think temperature was the main culprit here for the yeast flavour profile, as I had let this beer ferment in a cold spot in the basement… and it was colder than expected (in the 50s). I’ve since read “Brew like a monk” and will incorporate some of the details in that book on pitching rates and fermentation schedules.

      • January 22, 2016 at 4:18 pm

        I would agree with that. For Belgians, I do think that raising the temperature is important in getting that huge banana aroma and flavor.

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