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Old 08-19-2012, 07:43 PM   #1
lowtones84
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Default Dubbel Vision

It's not Foreigner inspired, I promise.

I've been thinking of doing a Dubbel for a bit now, but I really don't have experience with Belgian beers other than saisons. I want it to be somewhere in the 6.5%-7% alcohol range so I can have a couple without getting crazy if I want to and also so it doesn't take forever to bottle condition. Westmalle and Rochefort are the examples I would be going after to some extent.

I like the dark fruit notes as long as they are in balance with the maltiness and I also enjoy a bit of rummy flavor. I would want the hops to be present but only enough to compliment the malt. I know that a lot of people use Special B for the dark fruit notes. Could I get this with just the right yeast in a homebrew environment or no? Also, could I get the color I want with sugar that I carmelize myself and/or turbinado sugar instead of buying dark candi sugar? I would like to keep the grain bill to 4, maybe 5 malts maximum, and I would probably be looking at 8-12% sugar.

Lastly, this will be a three gallon batch since I'm experimenting and happen to have a 3 gallon carboy. It will be in secondary in this three gallon carboy for three months because I will be out of the country for that long.

I know it's all kind of vague, but any starting point would be great! I do have Brew Like a Monk as a resource as well. Any preliminary thoughts/ suggestions? Thanks!

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Old 08-20-2012, 08:59 PM   #2
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No thoughts on this? I was going to use mostly Belgian pilsener with some munich, caramunich, special B, and perhaps chocolate malt. Home caramelized sugar and/or turbinado sugar.

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Old 08-20-2012, 09:34 PM   #3
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I'm no pro by any means when it comes to brewing Belgian beers but I just brewed a Trappist quad with Wyeast 3787 and it fermented like a beast! The yeast took the temp up to the low 80's which definitely helped with the fruit flavours...Just not sure if its a combo of dark candi sugar and the esters to get that plumb like taste. The darker sugar should add colour.

I think you should go with what you got. What are you going to hop with? Saaz and goldings?

Im interested in hearing about how it turns out!! I wanna brew a dubbel next Hopefully there's more replies!

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Old 08-20-2012, 09:54 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lowtones84 View Post
No thoughts on this? I was going to use mostly Belgian pilsener with some munich, caramunich, special B, and perhaps chocolate malt. Home caramelized sugar and/or turbinado sugar.
I think you're on the right track. I'd use the dark candi syrup rather than make my own. I've read that the syrup gives more of the rummy and dark fruit notes than carmelized sugar. If you want to make your own I'd look at a thread here titled "Making candi syrup we've been doing it wrong", or something like that. I'd go with a Carafa dehusked for color rather than chocolate to avoid any bitterness, or just eliminate the chocolate altogether. There's a recipe by Jamil called Black Scapular Dubbel that I've modified slightly and the results came out great. Used Wyeast 3787, as I like Westmalle Dubbel, and aged it for 6 weeks at 50F after fermentation was finished.
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Old 08-20-2012, 10:39 PM   #5
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Cool I'll see if dehusked carafa is available rather than chocolate. I'm more familiar with White Labs so I was going to use WLP 530 Abbey Ale which is supposedly the Westmalle strain from White Labs. My plan right now is Tettnang and Saaz for hops. Since I'm doing a 3 gallon batch, trappists tend to underpitch and the OG I'm looking at is roughly 1.060 I'm thinking no starter, though I may get the yeast going with a bit of cooled wort during the brewing process. Thanks for the input guys!

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Old 08-20-2012, 11:56 PM   #6
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Dubbel is all about the yeast and the sugar added. Maybe the characteristic flavor depends 80% on yeast and 20% sugar. This means that temperature control is going to be important if you want to tweak it to what you want to get. Wyeast 3787/WLP 530 (Westmalle yeast) is a great choice...tastes great, and ferments great; be careful of blow-off, it is a monster. Start temps lower, say 65F, maintain around 68-72 depending on what flavor profile you want (generally the cooler the spicier, the warmer the fruitier), and ramp up after day 3 to about 76-78F to get final attenuation. You want a good percentage of simple sugar to ensure the beer is "digestible" as the monks say. Keep the IBU's low at 15-30 with smooth continental bittering hops, with most of the hops added for bittering at the beginning of the boil, some for flavor in the middle of the boil, and generally no late additions. Keep the grain bill simple. You can make an excellent dubbel with 90% pilsner malt and 10% dark sugar syrup. Another great grain bill is 45% pils, 45% pale ale, 10% dark sugar syrup for a little richer malt backbone. Try it with the available commercial sugars D2 or D180 or make some of your own. I prefer D2. Be aware that the home-made syrup typically doesn't have the same fermentability as the commercial products.

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Old 08-21-2012, 03:47 PM   #7
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I hear you on a really simple grain bill, but at the moment I just don't trust in my abilities and my setup to get the desired results using just pilsener malt and dark candi syrup. I'm going to try the typical homebrewed type version first, but if that doesn't yield the results I want I'll start playing with simpler grain bills. As far as the yeast and fermentation temps go thanks for the advice, that's right about what I was considering. Here is my idea so far, I scaled down to a 3 gallon batch using beersmith, hence some weird numbers. I do have the ability to measure down this specifically though.

4 lbs. 3 oz. Pilsener (Castle)
14 oz. Munich
9.5 oz. Special B
5 oz. Caramunich
2.5 oz. Carafa I, dehusked
9.5 oz turbinado sugar (or homemade caramelized. I'm going to start trying some things while my supplies ship)
.9 oz. Tettnang (60 min)
.5 oz. Saaz (15 or 10 min)
WLP 530

Est OG- 1.059 Est FG- 1.007
24.4 IBU, 22.4 SRM

I know some of the numbers are a little out for BJCP considerations, but I was looking more at the numbers for Westmalle Dubbel from Brew Like A Monk and my color isn't even as dark as their's. I've already ordered everything but all the grains are in 1 lb. or 1/2 lb. increments and the hops are each a 1 oz. bag, so I still have some wiggle room if anyone has any suggestions. Thanks again!

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