Posts Tagged 'belgian dubbel'

AG#17 – “Hard Rain” Dubbel


Sitting here after a rather stressful brew day, sipping on a glass of the Westmalle. It’s not like I remember it; it’s much drier than I expected it to be. Surprising too how highly carbonated it is. Plenty of that raisin flavour going on. Though from my memory, I think I might prefer the Chimay! It’s got more fruitiness which I think complements that raisin character in dubbels. The goal for this recipe is to make what would be considered a classic Dubbel. I’ve used the Zainasheff recipe, with only some very minor adjustments. I’ll be using Saaz for the bittering addition, because it’s used in a lot of Belgian beers and I have plenty in stock.

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 27.90 l
Post Boil Volume: 23.40 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.063 SG
Estimated Color: 48.3 EBC
Estimated IBU: 25.8 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 73.0 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes


4.300 kg Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (3.9 EBC), 69.4 %
0.450 kg Munich Malt (17.7 EBC), 7.3 %
0.250 kg Wheat Malt, Bel (3.9 EBC), 4.0 %
0.225 kg Aromatic Malt (51.2 EBC), 3.6 %
0.225 kg Caramunich Malt (110.3 EBC), 3.6 %
0.225 kg Special B Malt (400.0 EBC), 3.6 %
0.300 kg Candi Sugar, Dark (541.8 EBC), 4.8 %
0.225 kg Corn Sugar (0.0 EBC),  3.6 %
37 g Saaz [4.80 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 25.8 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins)

10 g Coriander Seed, Boil 5 mins
1.0 pkg Trappist Ale (White Labs #WLP500) (400ml slurry from Patersbier)

Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 6.200 kg
Mash In           Add 15.89 l of water at 74.6 C          68.0 C        60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun, , 18.19l) of 77.0 C water

Mash Day 05/07/2014 – Mashed in at a temperature of just underd 72C. Mash temperature settled at 65.8C, so not too far off my target of 65C. Got my usual pre-boil volume of 25 litres and then I realised I hadn’t adjusted my pre-boil volume for a 90 minute boil! So I just made the change and BeerSmith and added some top-up water to account for the bigger evaporation loss.

Boil Day 06/07/2014 – Bit of a disaster. Just set up the boil outside and the torrential rain started. I used the patio parasol to cover the boiler and it did a pretty good job, so I was just too wary of it. So I split the wort into two buckets again, and moved the whole operation inside. Pain in the ass boiling inside, can’t believe I did it for so long. Wiping down condensation and the rest of it. I need to plan these brew days around the weather in future. I also had a nightmare separating the wort from the trub and hop material. The bazooka screen clogged almost immediately again and I had to resort to use a paddle to get the wort through the bazooka. The net effect of that is lots of trub in the fermenter, which I really did not want on this beer. Pity, the beer was sparkling otherwise.

Pitched the slurry and snapped on an airlock this time, as the weather is too warm at the moment and I don’t want to take the risk of things getting under the lid and into my beer. Started off the fermentation cool, but might move to a warmer room later. Will take a temperature reading tomorrow and decide.

At least my gravity was as expected!!

07/07/2014 – Bubbling away like mad.

10/07/2014 – Bubbling has slowed down a good bit now.

20/07/2014 – Racked about 4.5 litres along with 235ml of concentrated sour cherry juice to a demi-john. Just eyeballed it really. Also bottled with 127g of corn sugar (13.5l at 3.2 vol). Got 11 x 500ml, 1 x 330ml and 9 x 750ml bottles. Great aroma.

10/08/2014 – Bottled into 500ml bottles (8 bottles with 2 carb drops each). I’ve never put 2 carb drops into a 500ml bottle before, so I hope it will be alright. But I wanted a good level of carbonation in this Belgian beer. I was really curious to have my first taste of this. It’s a little too sour, I think. There’s a decent cherry flavour, but the sourness is too much. Though maybe the sourness will diminish over time. It’s incredibly clear in the bottle though.

13/08/2014 – I checked these bottles this morning and the sugar still lying at the bottom of the bottle. Did i age it with the cherry juice for too long so that all of the yeast dropped out? Or did the recent hot weather kill the ale yeast altogether. Either way, I might end up having to reseed these bottles.

22/08/2014 – I normally wouldn’t be opening a bottle of homemade Belgian beer so soon after bottling, but this particular bottle has been in the fridge ‘lagering’ for the last 3 weeks or so. It’s extremely promising, and far too drinkable, even at this early stage. It’s got a little too much banana esters at the moment and the alcohol level just slightly too hot. But more than happy with this, should be tasting fantastic in another month.

31/08/2014 – Had the single 330ml bottle that I filled with this beer. And poured it into my new Chimay glass. Tastes really good, though I think I got a little too much yeast from the bottom of the bottle though. The bottle hadn’t been in the fridge long too. Might explain why the carbonation wasn’t quite as lively as I expected. Still good, though.

23/09/2014 – Tasted my first bottle of the cherry version, and as I feared, it is woefully under-carbonated. Only the quietest of hisses when I popped the cap on the bottle. I do have the option of re-seeding the few bottles I have with some US-05 but for 6 or 7 bottles, is it really worth it? more importantly, I’m not sure if I like the beer enough to go to that effort. But maybe I’d like it more if there was some lively carbonation. There’s a nice cherry flavour there, but lots of acidity that will only become more apparent if the residual priming sugar is fermented out by the US-05. Probably not worth it..

16/11/2014 – I’m not sure I like this. It was definitely the beer in my 2014 Belgian series that I was expecting to like the most, but it’s just not doing it for me. The carbonation is probably a bit lower than it should be, but the head formation is really poor. Barely a finger of foam when first poured, which gradually dies away, especially if not in a nucleated glass. It seems really attenuated and too dry to me, but maybe this is a good thing? I wasn’t particularly enamoured with the Westmalle Dubbel the last time I had it, so I think I’ll do a side-by-side tasting with a commercial beer to see how the home brew stacks up.

09/01/2015 – Did a side by side tasting with a bottle of Chimay Red

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