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Old 12-05-2012, 04:46 PM   #1
beerlover89
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Dec 2012
London UK
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Hi, new member here!

I am very into strong dark beers and particularly Belgians. My favorites include Chimay, Affligem dubbel and my new favourite is St. Bernardus Abt 12.

I have only just now had the idea of making my own, as these beers are quite expensive, plus I like the idea of home brewing!

My question is can I make a dubbel style/dark belgian beer using a simple home brew kit/standard 30 litre fermenter or would I need any additional expensive/specialist equipment?

Is this style of beer difficult for beginners? And lastly, if I started within the next few days, could I have something drinkable ready for Christmas?


Thanks for your help!

 
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Old 12-05-2012, 05:24 PM   #2
TwoGunz
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Jan 2011
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The dark strongs which you're so correctly a fan of (because they're fantastic!) are considered big beers in that they have a high ABV. You don't need any special equipment to brew big Belgians but you do need to take a bit extra care with the yeast, although yeast is always key, and big beers tend to need age to mellow out. So having one ready by Christmas will probably leave it tasting very hot and sharp.

 
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Old 12-05-2012, 05:40 PM   #3
solbes
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Yes by all means you should make your own Dubbel. A standard bucket works well for a 3-4 week primary. A glass carboy helps bulk age and clear the product, although it is not strictly necessary. Christmas is too soon I think to be ready, unless you possibly force carb in a keg. You have 3 weeks, which would even make a wheat beer unachievable (2 weeks primary and only 1 week bottle carb).

No its not especially difficult for beginners. I would recommend liquid Belgian yeast. And the fact that most dubbels are 1.060+ gravity, I highly recommend a 2.5-3 liter yeast starter with the liquid yeast.

As for recipe, extract is fine. I would look for a recipe with some Special B as a specialty grain. And also add 0.5 - 1 lb of D or D2 Dark Candi Syrup. Some good recipe's here, or take a look at the Northern Brewer extract recipe online. Sub in the dark candi syrup though. And lastly, welcome to the site!
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Old 12-05-2012, 08:05 PM   #4
DromJohn
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While I haven't made a dubbel, I've made a very good quadrupel, an AHS Abt 12. It's my best brew. Side by side, it tasted very similar to a St. Bernardus Abt 12.
Quads, therefore dubbels, are well within the range of a new brewer if you have the patience to let them condition.

Austin Homebrew has a lot of dubbels including a Chimay Red clone.
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Old 12-05-2012, 09:20 PM   #5
beerlover89
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Dec 2012
London UK
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Thanks for the replies, glad to know it's possible!

So if I order a standard bucket or carboy with an airlock, hydrometer, thermometer and bottles I should only need the grains/yeast etc.. on top of that to make this style of beer? Would I need to use carbonation drops when bottling?

DromJohn, your quad sounds exactly like what I'm looking for, how long did it take you to brew it? Do you have any more info or a recipe/method for it?

Thank you.

 
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Old 12-07-2012, 07:20 PM   #6
BandAidMan
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Mar 2012
Fitchburg, WI
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I made a 3 gallon dubbel batch in September that is just getting ready for optimal consumption now. Because the dubbel is fairly big but with modest hops, the alcohol is more evident. I have been sampling it and each month the alcohol mellows out more. Something to consider.

 
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:57 PM   #7
billl
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Pretty much any style is fine for a "new brewer". After you get the process down, they are all pretty much the same.

That isn't the same thing as saying that it is a great idea to make a dubbel your very first beer. They aren't really any harder to make, but any mistakes you do make get amplified in a higher ABV beer. You also don't really know what the finished beer tastes like for a LONG time, so you end up brewing 10 more beers before you found out if your first was any good.

So, it would be good idea to brew a medium gravity beer or 2 that you can drink young. That way, you get the mistakes out of the way before you start investing 6 months in a batch.

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Old 12-08-2012, 06:03 PM   #8
TwoGunz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billl
So, it would be good idea to brew a medium gravity beer or 2 that you can drink young. That way, you get the mistakes out of the way before you start investing 6 months in a batch.
Great advice

 
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Old 12-09-2012, 04:49 PM   #9
beerlover89
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Dec 2012
London UK
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Thanks for all the advice!

I think I would be better starting off with a kit from 'Brewferm', they have a good range of beers and quite good reviews from what I've researched.

If I bought a standard bucket, I could ferment a beer every week or so and have a perpetual system going...

 
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Old 12-10-2012, 08:00 AM   #10
Pratzie
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My third batch ever was the Belgian Dubbel kit from NB. It'll be ready to drink after a 3 month bottle age of Christmas this year. Just two pieces of advice... One, make a yeast starter. When i pitched mine, i had an inch of krausen after 8 hours. If its a 5 gallon batch and ur using a 6.5 gallon carboy or smaller, be prepared to use a blow off tube. I used my 6.5 better bottle and the airlock blew off around hour 12... thankfully i heard it and throw a blow off tube and bottle of Star-San quickly but i almost lost all my marbles freaking out about it.
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