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Old 02-02-2009, 02:29 PM   #1
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Default Dubbel questions

I'm about to order the ingredients for a Belgian Dubbel but wanted to clear some things up first.

I plan to bottle-condition it and I'm assuming that I'll need to add yeast at bottling time. What is the easiest/most fool-proof method for bottling a ~7% ABV beer that's been in a secondary @ 50o F for a month? I haven't bottled in...almost forever.

Do I use the same yeast? If I try to use a 'regular' ale yeast at bottling is it just gonna peter out due to the high alcohol?

Is it preferable to add the corn sugar (or dark syrup if I decide to go to the trouble) after fermentation takes off? I realize it's probably not necessary @ ~7% ABV but will it make for healthier yeast? Will it make the yeast tend to ferment the 'more difficult' sugars a little more? I'm wondering if the yeast see all that simple sugar (at pitching time) and decide to take the lazy route and don't fully ferment the more complex sugars...is that even an issue?

Lastly, when reading articles I've read that you can use pale or pils as the base...but then you need Aromatic, Biscuit, Special B, Munich, Caramunich, Crystal and also people use brown malt and even small amounts of roasted barley. Thanks for narrowing it down. I don't think I need every one of those (but some are essential I imagine...like Special B). I've also read that the Crystal might not be the best choice. In any case, which do you consider essential to a dubbel and which if any do you think are not (perhaps even not appropriate)?

Any help appreciated. Thanks!

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Old 02-02-2009, 06:00 PM   #2
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I would expect the yeast to still be active. I have never had to add more yeast to bottle. You should be using a yeast appropriate to the style so it can handle the higher alcohol levels you can find in a dubbel.

I see pils as a common base malt which I believe calls for a protien rest as well. A dubbel is dark dark dark so something has to bring it. Dark belgian candi sugar as well. Look over some of the recipes in the recipe forum for tips to the odd malts that would be appropriate.

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Old 02-02-2009, 06:25 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IowaHarry View Post
I would expect the yeast to still be active. I have never had to add more yeast to bottle. You should be using a yeast appropriate to the style so it can handle the higher alcohol levels you can find in a dubbel.

I see pils as a common base malt which I believe calls for a protien rest as well. A dubbel is dark dark dark so something has to bring it. Dark belgian candi sugar as well. Look over some of the recipes in the recipe forum for tips to the odd malts that would be appropriate.
I will agree with the yeast still being active. I've had good luck with bottle conditioning up to about 10% with the Belgian yeast strains I've used. My favorite for this style is the 530 from White Labs.

Pils is more true to style, but I find that pale malt works ok in a dubbel. Pils is more necessary when you're making a delicate beer. However, if you do use pils, you don't need a protein rest. A single step mash is perfectly fine. I would suggest a longer boil due to the increased DMS levels in pils.

As for ingredients... You're fairly right on with the specialty grain. Look at any recipe and you'll see that. I've never used roasted barley in mine. Seems a little out of style to me.

Adding sugar can be done at boil in a recipe like this. You're going to get good attenuation, especially if you ramp up your temperatures over time. I wouldn't bother with corn sugar if you are going to use sugar. Just use regular table sugar. If you're going to use dark syrup, I'd suggest the regular dark candi syrup. The D2 is way too fruity for a dubbel. If you are thinking about using it sometime, though, I would say go for it. It adds a great level of complexity.
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Old 02-02-2009, 07:17 PM   #4
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Thanks for the responses. I had intended to use Pils and skip the protein rest for the reasons you stated. Thanks for the boil time tip.

I plan to use either Rochefort (WLP540/Wyeast 1762) or Westmalle (WLP530/Wyeast 3787) yeast. I was leaning towards the Rochefort at this point.

Quote:
I wouldn't bother with corn sugar if you are going to use sugar. Just use regular table sugar. If you're going to use dark syrup, I'd suggest the regular dark candi syrup.
Some threads/people say it doesn't matter where others say the dark syrups def add some flavors that regular corn/table/rock candi sugars don't. If the dark syrup makes a difference then I want to use it.

Quote:
A dubbel is dark dark dark so something has to bring it.
I thought the Special B did the heavy lifting regarding color?

Just as a quick test I ran this grain bill thru an online calculator and got an SRM of 26 (20 is supposedly max for the style):
10# Pils
1# Aromatic
1# Biscuit
1/2# Special B
1# Dark Candi Syrup

1.071 OG @ 75% efficiency (5 gal. batch)

If I sub 1# of cane sugar for the dark syrup it's SRM = 17 (which appears to be perfectly in-style). Even half syrup/half cane is SRM = 22 which is still too dark. How the heck do you get a decent amount of Special B and dark syrup in there without getting too dark?

Does that grain bill look OK for a 5 gal. batch? Does anybody think Munich malt is a must in a dubbel?
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Old 02-02-2009, 08:08 PM   #5
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I like a little munich from time to time. It will add a red tint to the beer and a bit more of a malty, sweet profile. If you are going to add munich, I'd cut the special b to 1/2 pound and use 1/2 pound of munich.

Using Dark syrup, you're going to get darker beer. I made a dark strong sort of a beer with a bottle of D2 and it went from light amber to looking like a dark strong. If you are concerned with being exactly to style, then you may want to limit it, but the flavors the syrup imparts are really awesome.

And yes, the Special B will darken it up just fine.

Edit: I also see a difference in flavor when it comes to the syrup. Not so much the candi rocks.

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Old 02-03-2009, 01:47 PM   #6
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True dubbels use dark syrup for MOST of the color. Don't go overboard with a bunch of different malts...Pils or pale, a little special b, a little aromatic and dark syrup, allowing the yeast to provide flavor. Also use some corn or cane sugar to lighten the body. Don't use roasted barley. Dubbels are dark reddish or brown, but not inky black.

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Old 02-03-2009, 02:41 PM   #7
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Thanks gtweath...that's exactly what I was looking for. So simplifying the grain bill:

11# Pils
1# Aromatic
1/4# Special B
1/2# dark candi syrup
1/2# cane sugar

1.071 OG @ 75% efficiency (5 gal. batch). Predicted SRM = 17. At 78% apparent attenuation that should be ~7.1% ABV.

No Biscuit, no Munich, and only 1/4# Special B.

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Old 02-03-2009, 06:35 PM   #8
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A pound is a lot of aromatic - I'd cut that to half. Anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 of special B should be good.

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Old 02-03-2009, 07:20 PM   #9
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Thanks Shawn...I've never used Aromatic that I can remember.

The thing about 1/2 pound of Special B is that if I also use dark candi syrup I can only add about 1/4 pound of it before the whole brew is too dark. I originally had 1/2 pound Special B but gtweath said that MOST of the color should come from the dark syrup so I had to cut it back to 1/4 pound.

Here's a recipe I found that is allegedly JZ's from Brewing Classic Styles:

6.75 gallon batch, 85% efficiency, OG - 1.065, FG - 1.012, ABV = 7.0%, SRM = 22

10.6 lbs. Belgian Pils
1 lbs. Belgian Munich
.5 lbs. Belgian Aromatic
.5 lbs. Belgian Caramunich(R)
.5 lbs. Belgian Special B
.75 lbs. Dark Candi Syrup
.5 lbs. Cane Sugar

Yeast: White Labs WLP530 Abbey Ale

However, at SRM = 22 this is above the guidelines for color. That looks like 81.5% apparent attenuation...do these Belgian yeasts really pull that off?

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Old 02-03-2009, 07:26 PM   #10
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I used half a pound of aromatic in an amber, and it was tasty but on the extreme side of the spectrum. I'd be wary of going higher than that.

Regarding color, I wouldn't worry too much about the style guidelines unless your main aim is to win competitions. "Style" for Belgian ales is a slippery concept: in fact many of the finest Belgian brews are way outside the BJCP guidelines!

Belgian yeast can attenuate incredibly well if you treat them right: good pitching rate, good temperature control (rising toward the end of fermentation), and a highly fermentable wort (low mash temp and lots of sugar).

I've never managed to get 81% attenuation, though! Jamil does well not just because he has good recipes, but also because his process and fermentation management are spot on.

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