Belgian Dubbels are malty and complex with distinctive flavors and aromas. A beginner-friendly beer to make. Belgian beers are known for their unique characteristics. Especially when it comes to the flavor compounds usually expressed through fermentation. They’re usually described as esters which are fruity notes and phenols that have a spice forward profile. And while esters and phenols may be seen as off-flavors in cleaner styles like lagers, they fit right at home with Belgian beers.
Dubbels are one of the more famed beers brewed by Trappist monks. The Dubbel originated from Westmalle Abbey in 1856 when they attempted to make a stronger version of the brown ale. From there its evolved into the beer we know today.
For more information on Trappist syle, beer check our Trappist Single Monk Beer Style.
Our plan is to brew up one batch and then split it into two kegs. One we will keep as plain Dubbel and the other will dose with some frozen cherries.
For this recipe, we’re making a 5-gallon batch using the brew in a bag method. To start heat up 6 gallons of water to 158 F. Once the water is heated up we add the grain bag and the grains.
- 64% Belgian Pilsner Malt
- 24% White Wheat
- 4% Special B
- 8% Candy Sugar at the end of boil
We plan to mash at 152 F for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes we pull the grains out. We rinse the grains with 1 gallon of warm water. We bring the wort to boil for 30 minutes. Once the boil has started we add 1.5 oz Willamette hops. They add a faint herbal and spicy quality.
At 15 minutes mark, we add a Whirlflock tablet for clarity and a wort chiller. Then at the end of the boil, we turn the heat off and add in the final ingredient, the candy sugar. Adding it now does two things. Since the heat is off it won’t scorch and taste burnt. And also it will easily dissolve since the wort is still warm.
Adding the cherries
Once the wort is cooled down to 67 F we transfer it into a fermenter. For the yeast, we have decided on While Labs Abbey Ale yeast. This is a great yeast for a range of Belgian beers and it has a good amount of ester and phenol production. The goal is to ferment this around 69 F for 7 to 10 days. Another reason we love Belgian beers is that they are great for beginner brews. You don’t need to worry too much about temperature control.
After 10 days we split the beer. In one keg we will add the beer. And in the other keg, we will add a pound of frozen black cherries. For the fruited version we will add the cherries into a sanitized mesh bag and then add it to the keg. After one week these beers were ready to drink
There is a slight difference the cherry one has much more of a red hue to it whereas the regular Dubbel version has more of caramel color to it. They are not the typical dubbel color. Usually, a Dubbel is a deeper color with a slight red hue and we would just associate that to the cand sugar we used.