Belgian dubbel alternative recipes

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giuzep89

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Hello friends,
I'm gonna attempt making a classic Belgian dubbel soon. I just finished a tripel and am quite satisfied with the results, so this feels like a natural follow-up. On a very broad scale i see 2 different approaches to it, sometimes as clone recipes for the same beer (say, Westmalle or La Trappe):

1) Pils malt, Sugar (Candi or the like), a caramel around 40-50°L, and a touch of caramel 100+
2) Pale ale malt, sugar, a touch of very dark roast malt.

I suppose that permutations of the above occur commonly too, i just quickly glanced at some of them. My personal goal would be making a complex, bright, fruity, yeasty, toasty beer, WITHOUT bitterness, smokiness. The Bernardus pater 6, Affligem dubbel or the Witkap Pater dubbel are some of my favorites.
Love to hear your ideas!
 

CascadesBrewer

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I recently bottled my 3rd iteration of a Dubbel. I started out based on this recipe: Dubbel Entendre Recipe

My view on the style is that it can be very similar to a Quad, but with a lower ABV (and sometimes a lighter color). It seems fairly common to get some color and complexity from either dark Candi Syrup (the D-180 from Candi Syrup, Inc. is wonderful) or some Special B, or both. A while back I brewed a Quad that was based around D-180 syrup (no darker grains, just some Pale, Wheat, and Munich) and it turned out wonderful. For this latest batch, I wanted to lean more on Special-B:

2.5 Gallon Batch:
  • 4 lbs 4 oz (65.4%) Weyermann Pilsner
  • 1 lb (15.4%) Weyermann Munich - 6L
  • 6 oz (5.8%) Dingemans Special B - 150L
  • 6 oz (5.8%) Weyermann Caramunich - 45L
  • 8 oz (7.6%) Dememera Sugar - Boil 60 min
  • 0.25 oz - Northern Brewer - 14.9 IBU - 60 min
  • 0.5 oz - Hersbrucker - 5.1 - 10 min
  • WLP530 - Abbey Ale
Some people like to ferment at a cool temp (say 64F) for the first 3 or 4 days. I have found that I want to push up the temp during active fermentation with WLP530 to get the yeast character I want. I am not sure if this applies to similar strains as I have been focusing on WLP530. So I pitch at 68F, let rise to the mid 70F's during active fermentation, hold at 78F to complete fermentation.

This batch has been in the bottle for about 3 weeks, but the carbonation is not up there yet. So far the bottles that I opened have been pretty solid, and I expect it will be a wonderful beer in another month or two. The last version was a similar recipe, but fermented cooler and just lacked much Belgian-ish character.
 

AlexKay

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I've been fiddling with dubbel recipes for a bit, and here's where I've gotten so far. It veers a bit into quad territory, but it was very good. The big difference compared to Cascades's recipe looks to be in the base malts. I'm an MO guy.

2.5 gallon batch:

5.5 lbs. Maris Otter
1 lb. Victory
1 lb. white wheat malt
0.5 lb. Special B
0.5 lb Chocolate
0.25 lb. Caramel 120L
1.0 lb. D90 candi syrup (at flameout)
8 g Magnum (10.6% AA) @ 60 min.
14 g Willamette (6.0% AA) @ 20 min.
Imperial Triple-Double (which is the same as/similar to WLP530, I think?)

Fermented at a steady 70 F.

You could definitely try cutting back on both the total amount of malt and the bittering to get something easier-drinking.
 

CascadesBrewer

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The big difference compared to Cascades's recipe looks to be in the base malts. I'm an MO guy.
I could see that. I am using Pilsner mostly because that is what many people say "should" be done (and gasp...I used German vs Belgain!!). On the other hand, I am throwing stuff like Vienna, Munich, Caramunich, and Special B to add malt complexity. I could see using a base malt with a little more complexity as well.
 

DBhomebrew

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I've brewed a bunch of this guy's UK styles. He's definitely not a 100% purist when it comes to terroir, etc., but I've enjoyed each of the dozen or so that I've tried. Other than his Belgian Pale, I haven't ventured to that side of the Channel.

 

madscientist451

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The Bernardus pater 6, Affligem dubbel or the Witkap Pater dubbel are some of my favorites.
Love to hear your ideas!
Thanks for posting, never heard of the Witkap Pater dubbel, so I looked it up and it sounds interesting, if you try to make it, please post the results here.
Candisyrup.com has lots of Clone recipes that they've developed, of course they all feature their products, but that's ok:


In the book "brew like a monk" there's a somewhat complicated recipe that looks interesting and its reproduced here:

 
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giuzep89

giuzep89

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I brew a dubbel based on the Averagely Perfect Dubbel recipe. It tastes great. I'm a big fan of simple, straightforward recipe's. I'm not sure adding a large number of different malts has a significant positive impact on a beer.

Averagely Perfect Dubbel

Good luck.
I'm not experienced enough to be able to assert that with confidence myself, but my intuition says you're right
 

PberBob

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The ale in my profile pic is my take on a dubbel. I like to use about 250 gm of D-180 and mostly 2-row pale malt, I tried using half D-90, half D-180 when they were out and 180 is much better. Light touch of Special-B to avoid too much bitterness edge IHO. Amarillo hops and 3522 Ardennes yeast at 65-72 F. I did a batch cooler at 62-66 and lost the ester complexity.

Belgian Dishwater
 
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giuzep89

giuzep89

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The ale in my profile pic is my take on a dubbel. I like to use about 250 gm of D-180 and mostly 2-row pale malt, I tried using half D-90, half D-180 when they were out and 180 is much better. Light touch of Special-B to avoid too much bitterness edge IHO. Amarillo hops and 3522 Ardennes yeast at 65-72 F. I did a batch cooler at 62-66 and lost the ester complexity.

Belgian Dishwater
Is the special B preferable to other dark caramel malts because it yields less bitterness then?
 

PberBob

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Is the special B preferable to other dark caramel malts because it yields less bitterness then?
Yes, it has a smoother flavor and gives some red color depth. But I get equivalent or better with just D-180. To me, the yeast makes the most difference.
 

cmac62

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In my last dubble, which turned out really good, I used 2lbs of the #5 in this thread 20 lb of sugar and a jar of yeast nutrient instead of the candy sugar and


6 lbGerman - Pilsner381.644.4%
4 lbAmerican - White Wheat402.829.6%
0.50 lbGerman - CaraMunich I34393.7%
0.50 lbAromatic Malt35203.7%
0.50 lbAmerican - Midnight Wheat Malt335503.7%

I fermented it with Lollimand Abbyale at room temp of about 70* F. Had great color and flavor. The Abbyale gave enough of the classic belgian character without killing you with it. :mug:
 
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giuzep89

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Thanks everyone so far for all your amazing contributions. I see them combined together often, but what if you needed to pick EITHER aromatic malt or caramunich, which one would you pick and why?

This in case of a grain bill like pils+caramunich OR aromatic + candi sugar + special B
 

CascadesBrewer

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This in case of a grain bill like pils+caramunich OR aromatic + candi sugar + special B
In my mind these are quite different grains and could be added together if desired. I use Dingemann's Aromatic to provide a strong biscuit/cracker type character. I like it more than Victory or Biscuit malts (which I tend to put in the same category). I treat Wyermann Caramunich very similar to English Crystal malts. It adds a little sweetness and color with a touch of raisin but brings a bit more toasted character than a Briess Crystal. In my recipe, I add some Munich to bump up the malt complexity.
 
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giuzep89

giuzep89

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In my mind these are quite different grains and could be added together if desired. I use Dingemann's Aromatic to provide a strong biscuit/cracker type character. I like it more than Victory or Biscuit malts (which I tend to put in the same category). I treat Wyermann Caramunich very similar to English Crystal malts. It adds a little sweetness and color with a touch of raisin but brings a bit more toasted character than a Briess Crystal. In my recipe, I add some Munich to bump up the malt complexity.
Good that you mention that though, because I'd like to stay clear from toasty flavors for the most part, I like the idea of a fruity, raisiny and malty dubbel
 
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