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Eric K
11/24/05 03:25 PM  
Belgian Dubbel, an elusive style
I've been a BBB member for over 3 years and have yet to contribute. I can't hold back anymore;I need some belgian homebrew interaction (all my homebrew buddies brew American or British ales and think I'm over the top). Steve G, N8 and Matt S, great threads! I have the utmost respect for your dedication to Belgian beer. I feel at home.

Anyway, Belgian Dubbel seems like one of the most elusive styles. I've brewed Trippel's, Bier de Garde's, Bier de Mars, Farm-house ales, pseudo-Trappist's, Abbey's, Saison's, Wits, and Peche-lambics, but every attempt at my Dubbel seems like a miss.

Pierre Rajotte (Belgian Ale Style Series) feels that a Dubbel should be a dry or full bodied ale with a sweet malty, nutty aroma. The color should be brown to dark brown and attained with dark sugar rather than roasted malts. Hops used as a complement. What are your thoughts? Have anyone brewed a truly great dubbel?

Here's my latest recipie for a Dubbel. I'm really shooting for a dry, malty, nutty flavor profile with a bit of spicy hop for a backdrop. I may also combine A WLP Wit starter with the WLP Trappist yeast. Any thoughts or comments would be greatly appreciated. Note: I could use as single infusion mash at 148-152F, but I have nothing else to brew on the same day, so why not spend more time mashing and get a more complex brew.

Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving,

Eric K

Winter Dubble

A ProMash Recipe Report

Recipe Specifics


Batch Size (Gal): 10.00 Wort Size (Gal): 10.00

Total Grain (Lbs): 23.00

Anticipated OG: 1.073 Plato: 17.74

Anticipated SRM: 26.2

Anticipated IBU: 20.8

Brewhouse Efficiency: 82 %

Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Pre-Boil Amounts


Evaporation Rate: 10.00 Percent Per Hour

Pre-Boil Wort Size: 11.76 Gal

Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.062 SG 15.22 Plato

Formulas Used


Brewhouse Efficiency and Predicted Gravity based on Method #1, Potential Used.

Final Gravity Calculation Based on Points.

Hard Value of Sucrose applied. Value for recipe: 46.2100 ppppg

Yield Type used in Gravity Prediction: Fine Grind Dry Basis.

Color Formula Used: Morey

Hop IBU Formula Used: Rager


% Amount Name Origin Potential SRM


39.1 9.00 lbs. Castle Pilsner Belgium/France 1.037 3

21.7 5.00 lbs. Marris Otter Great Britian 1.038 3

21.7 5.00 lbs. Vienna Malt Germany 1.037 3

8.7 2.00 lbs. Biscuit Malt Belgium 1.035 24

8.7 2.00 lbs. Candi Sugar (dark) Generic 1.046 275

Potential represented as SG per pound per gallon.


Amount Name Form Alpha IBU Boil Time


2.00 oz. Hallertauer Whole 4.00 12.8 80 min.

2.00 oz. Czech Saaz Whole 4.30 6.6 30 min.

2.00 oz. Ultra Whole 2.75 1.4 5 min.



White Labs WLP500 Trappist Ale

Water Profile



Profile known for:

Calcium(Ca): 0.0 ppm

Magnesium(Mg): 0.0 ppm

Sodium(Na): 0.0 ppm

Sulfate(SO4): 0.0 ppm

Chloride(Cl): 0.0 ppm

biCarbonate(HCO3): 0.0 ppm

pH: 0.00

Mash Schedule


Mash Name: 4-Step Grant

Total Grain Lbs: 21.00

Total Water Qts: 31.23 - Before Additional Infusions

Total Water Gal: 7.81 - Before Additional Infusions

Tun Thermal Mass: 0.00

Grain Temp: 65.00 F

Step Rest Start Stop Heat Infuse Infuse Infuse

Step Name Time Time Temp Temp Type Temp Amount Ratio


Protein Rest 5 30 126 126 Infuse 134 31.23 1.49

Beta Amylase 20 20 136 136 Direct --- ------- ----

Beta-Alpha Amylase 20 20 148 148 Direct --- ------- ----

Alpha Amylase 2 20 20 156 156 Direct --- ------- ----

Total Water Qts: 31.23 - After Additional Infusions

Total Water Gal: 7.81 - After Additional Infusions

Total Mash Volume Gal: 9.49 - After Additional Infusions

All temperature measurements are degrees Fahrenheit.

All infusion amounts are in Quarts.

All infusion ratios are Quarts/Lbs.



2 lbs dark candy sugar at 110 min into boil.

also added starter of WL Wit

11/24/05 10:57 PM  
Re: Belgian Dubbel, an elusive style
I have to admit, I'm not a brew software guy. Just got back from Eulogy in Philly so please escuse my typing!

I find Dubbel to be really elusive. I plan to give another go at one in a couple weeks, but I respect the problems you've had. I'll contribute to this thread in a more meaningiful way in a couple weeks, hopfully with news of my brewing sucess! But it will be a dubbel, so no promises!

Hang in there Eric, maybe in a few months I'll try to get a swap together for this style. Comparing your results with other brewers can go a long way towards understanding. Steve

12/12/05 04:12 PM  
Re: Belgian Dubbel, an elusive style
Erik, did you ever brew this? I should have asked, if every attempt at a dubbel has been a miss (I know the feeling) is it really a good idea to be formulating 10 gallon batches? I'd like to suggest only making 5 till you have a reasonable confidence level in your final product.
Eric K
12/13/05 02:02 AM  
Re: Belgian Dubbel, an elusive style
Hey Steve,

I did brew the recipe (winter dubbel) with some modifications; I added 0.88 pounds of dark brown sugar to the boil kettle at 20 from end of boil. The OG was 1.070, with a kegging FG of 1.012. The ABV should approximate 8% after conditioning. I gyled the each with 1qt wort from the same batch for a natural carbonation.

The green beer taste was fruity and malty, but the color was way off. The predicted SRM was a bit over 17, but the actual color after fermentation was more like a 7. The color was similar to a pale ale. I guess I should off added some dark roasted malts to the mash after all.

I typically brew 10gal batches because I have a large friend base to support. I'm none the worse if I miss the mark on my recipe; I just serve the batch to my friends during my frequent BBQ's. Good batches are bottled from the keg for competitions.

I think I missed the mark on this batch in terms of color. I'll call it an abbey ale and redesign the recipe. Special B may be the ticket.


Eric K

12/13/05 07:23 AM  
Re: Belgian Dubbel, an elusive style
If you think you got everything else but just missed the color DO NOT tweek it with Special B!! That malt will have a big impact on the finished beer. Add a little bit of chocolate. Far more color, far less impact.
Eric K
12/13/05 11:39 AM  
Re: Belgian Dubbel, an elusive style
Good point Steve! Special B has a rasin, caramel, fig like flavor, which may overpower any nut-like flavors. I will probably add 4-6 oz of Carafa II in my next batch, but I'll wait to tweek the recipe until I tast the final product. It should be aged well by March.


Eric K

12/13/05 01:16 PM  
Re: Belgian Dubbel, an elusive style
Yes, Special B is wonderful but very distinctive. It doesn't take much to over do it. Carafa is a good malt, but be carful with it. It can be very bittering.
Jim Keaveney
12/13/05 02:32 PM  
Re: Belgian Dubbel, an elusive style
Hmmm...I think of Carafa as less bitter than say, chocolate. It is sometimes referred to as de-bittered black malt because the husk which imparts the bitterness is removed. I use a fair amount if it in a schwarz that is not bitter at all. Maybe you were thinking of black patent?
12/13/05 02:57 PM  
Re: Belgian Dubbel, an elusive style
Well, no but maybe thats brand specific. The stuff I got was German and super dark, I think it was in excess of 600L. I bought a pound or so from the guy who used to be in Princeton and he warned me about its bitterness. He was right, used sparingly it had a nice coffee character but if you started using like a pound in 5 gallons it could get really assertive. It was sort of like a supped up roast barley. I guess yours came from Home Sweet Homebrew, do you know who the maltster is?
Jim Keaveney
12/13/05 03:07 PM  
Re: Belgian Dubbel, an elusive style
Sure. It is made by Weyermann but they have 3 grades of darkness. I just looked it up and realized they have both a regular and "special" version which is the dehusked one I was talking about. I have never seen the version that still has the husk. I would think the "special" version would suit Eric's purposes quite well.


12/14/05 11:07 AM  
Re: Belgian Dubbel, an elusive style
Hey, that looks like nice stuff, thanks Jim. I plan to make a Baltic porter with some oak cubes soaked in Don Julio 1942, I bought black patent malt. This stuff looks better, think I'll look for some.
Jim Keaveney
12/14/05 11:13 AM  
Re: Belgian Dubbel, an elusive style
Steve: If you have no luck finding it let me know. I can likely get some from Home Sweet Homebrew.
12/14/05 12:04 PM  
Re: Belgian Dubbel, an elusive style
Have you used 1, 2 or 3? HSHB didn't have a few things I was looking for so I plan to do a little mail ordering. I really like this place in Ohio, plus the have the Carafa special II.
Jim Keaveney
12/14/05 03:48 PM  
Re: Belgian Dubbel, an elusive style
I have used the II and the III. Obviously the "effect" is more intense with the III, but you can use less of it than the I or the II if your single goal is color. If you want more of the aroma and flavor I would use the II in more judicious amounts.
Eric K
12/22/05 12:21 AM  
Re: Belgian Dubbel, an elusive style
Ok, If I were to brew a dubbel, what would be the archetype to follow?
12/22/05 07:08 AM  
Re: Belgian Dubbel, an elusive style
Archetype? I guess you're asking how much to use and how it effects everything else? From an achedemic perspective (all I got, I've seen the numbers but never the actual grain) I think your original 4 to 6 ounce plan sounds pretty good. Sorry for distracting from that! My guess based on Jim's description of taste would be that there is little danger of pushing the flavor profile some place strange using that amount, and 413 - 450L is pretty reasonable so darkness should also be under control. But be sure you get the carafe style Jim described, the other kind may yield a not so pleasent surprise.
Eric K
12/22/05 02:13 PM  
Re: Belgian Dubbel, an elusive style
By archetype I mean "the beer brewed by a specific brewery that best represents the style of a Belgian dubbel". For example, a Chimay Red may be the perfect dubbel to design a recipe around if I were to make the quintessential dubbel. This is a bit of a twist to my original post, but I think my creation of a dubbel would be a lot easier if I had a target to shoot for. I've only tasted so many dubbels, so it would be great to hear from everyone on this. What is the archetype (i.e., the model, standard, original, the classic) dubbel? Personnel bias will obviously play a hand in answering this question, but thats to be expected.

12/22/05 04:25 PM  
Re: Belgian Dubbel, an elusive style
Ah, you mean the benchmark. For me its Westmalle.
Jim Keaveney
12/22/05 04:31 PM  
Re: Belgian Dubbel, an elusive style
I haven't really commented on the recipe because I have never brewed a dubbel. But I am wondering why the use of Wit yeast? It seems counterintuitive to me for 2 reasons: 1) flavor and 2) may make the beer lighter in color with yeast in suspension.

On the other question, I dont really care for Chimay's "Dubbel" but I like Westmalle's quite a bit.

Eric K
12/22/05 07:51 PM  
Re: Belgian Dubbel, an elusive style
I never did use the Wit Yeast. It was a thought that went by the wayside during the brew day. I didn't think the flavors would match-up to a dubbel; too tart.

Hmmmm, Westmalle. I'll have to find a bottle for a tast test. Steve, can you describe the caracteristics (i.e., color, aroma, and flavor profile) that seems so appealing?

12/23/05 09:58 AM  
Re: Belgian Dubbel, an elusive style
Wow, I didn't notice the wit yeast part, good catch Jim. That would have been a huge mistake IMO if your heart was set on something recognizable as a dubble.

Westmalle was the first, it has the general bready character that is sometimes what people mean when they say something tastes "Belgiany". In addition to the mild chocolately impact one might expect from a little bit of dark grain, it has what I have thought of as a brandyish character, most people call it "rumy". Anyway, Ratebeer people would be way better at this than me, I'm not big on flamboyant descriptions.

I'm with Jim on the Chimay dubbel, I'm not really sure what in their line up could be thought of as one. The White is sold as a triple and the GR is way to strong to be a dubbel. That leave the Red, which might be the most complained about Chimay of the bunch.

Eric K
12/23/05 11:19 AM  
Re: Belgian Dubbel, an elusive style
Thanks for all the input! I'm off to brew a batch of roggen bier. I have 3 days off and I plan on brewing two batches a day. My other styles include a British bitter, oatmeal stout, IPA, Belgian dark strong ale, and a Munich dunkel.
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