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Dubbel

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A Dubbel is a dark, rich, malty beer developed at Belgian abbey breweries in the nineteenth century.

Contents

History of Dubbel

One of the traditional beer styles brewed in the abbeys of Belgium and central Europe, the dubbel was first brewed in or around 1856 in the brewery of Westmalle abbey in Belgium. The name referred to the fact that the beer was twice as strong as the abbey's other standard offerings at the time. Both the rich, malty, low-hopped strong beer and the name caught on at other abbey breweries.

Brewing Dubbel

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Dubbel wort is generally of a medium-high gravity which can present problems to many varieties of yeast.Using a starter to reconstitute yeast from a preferred commercial dubbel works well in most cases. Risks involve the possible presence of wild and/or conditioning yeast. Adding one tablespoon of yeast energizer to the starter just prior to pitching will help ensure a quick start if sufficient yeast cells have been acquired.

Competition Styles

Both the BJCP and the GABF recognize this style.

BJCP Style Guidelines

Belgian Dubbel

18B. Belgian Dubbel Vital Statistics
BJCP Style Guideline Definition (2004)
IBUs: 15-25 SRM: 10-14 OG: 1.062-1.075 FG: 1.010-1.018 ABV: 6-7.5
Aroma: Complex, rich malty sweetness; malt may have hints of chocolate, caramel and/or toast (but never roasted or burnt aromas). Moderate fruity esters (usually including raisins and plums, sometimes also dried cherries). Rarely esters will include banana or apple. Spicy phenols and higher alcohols are common (may include light clove and spice, peppery, rose-like and/or perfumy notes). Spicy qualities can be moderate to very low. Alcohol, if present, is soft and never hot or solventy. A small number of examples may include a low noble hop aroma, but hops are usually absent. No diacetyl.
Appearance: Dark amber to copper in color, with an attractive reddish depth of color. Generally clear. Large, dense, and long-lasting creamy off-white head.
Flavor: Complex, rich malty sweetness; malt may have hints of chocolate, caramel and/or toast (but never roasted or burnt aromas). Moderate fruity esters (usually including raisins and plums, sometimes also dried cherries). Rarely esters will include banana or apple. Spicy phenols and higher alcohols are common (may include light clove and spice, peppery, rose-like and/or perfumy notes). Spicy qualities can be moderate to very low. Alcohol, if present, is soft and never hot or solventy. A small number of examples may include a low noble hop aroma, but hops are usually absent. No diacetyl.
Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium-high carbonation, which can influence the perception of body. Low alcohol warmth. Smooth, never hot or solventy.
Overall Impression: Complex, rich malty sweetness; malt may have hints of chocolate, caramel and/or toast (but never roasted or burnt aromas). Moderate fruity esters (usually including raisins and plums, sometimes also dried cherries). Rarely esters will include banana or apple. Spicy phenols and higher alcohols are common (may include light clove and spice, peppery, rose-like and/or perfumy notes). Spicy qualities can be moderate to very low. Alcohol, if present, is soft and never hot or solventy. A small number of examples may include a low noble hop aroma, but hops are usually absent. No diacetyl.
History: Originated at monasteries in the Middle Ages, and was revived in the mid-1800s after the Napoleonic era.
Comments: not specified
Ingredients: Belgian yeast strains prone to production of higher alcohols, esters, and phenolics are commonly used. Soft water. Complex grain bill: Belgian pils or pale base malt, Munich-type malts for maltiness, Special B for raisin flavors, CaraMunich for dried fruit flavors, other specialty grains for character. Dark candi sugar for color and rum-raisin flavors. Noble-type, English-type or Styrian Goldings hops commonly used. No spices.
Commercial Examples: Westmalle Dubbel, La Trappe Dubbel, Corsendonk Abbey Brown Ale, Grimbergen Double, Affligem Dubbel, Chimay Premiere (Red), Duinen Dubbel, St. Feuillien Brune, New Belgium Abbey Belgian Style Ale, Stoudts Abbey Double Ale

GABF Style Listings

Belgian Style Dubbel

61A. Belgian Style Dubbel
GABF Style Listing (2007)
This medium- to full-bodied, dark amber to brown-colored ale has a malty sweetness and nutty, chocolate-like, and mild roast malt aroma. Flavor and aroma may also have a raisin-like cocoa character. A faint hop aroma is acceptable. Dubbels are also characterized by low bitterness and no hop flavor. Very small quantities of diacetyl are acceptable. Yeast-generated fruity esters (especially banana) are appropriate at low levels. Head retention is dense and mousse like. Chill haze is acceptable at low serving temperatures. Often bottle conditioned a slight yeast haze may be evident.
Original Gravity (ºPlato): 1.050-1.070 (12.5-17 ºPlato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (ºPlato): 1.012-1.016 (3-4 ºPlato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume): 5.2-6.0% (6.5-7.5%)
Bitterness (IBU): 18-25
Color SRM (EBC): 14-18 (28-36 EBC)