The Belgian Dubbel and How to Brew It

Belgian Dubbel

Continuing with our Belgian binge, today we are moving on to the Belgian Dubbel. The Belgian Dubbel is a deep reddish ale with a complex, rich malty flavor that is complimented by dark, dried fruit esters and a slightly dry finish. The style guidelines are below.

  • Original Gravity: 1.062 – 1.075
  • Final Gravity: 1.008 – 1.018
  • Alcohol by Volume: 6.0% – 7.6%
  • Bitterness: 15 – 25 IBU
  • Color (SRM): 10 – 17

Belgian Dubbel Ingredients

Malt

In comparison to the Belgian Blond and Belgian Single, the Belgian Dubbel has much more complexity. For the base, use an even mix of Maris Otter and floor-malted pilsner. This will give you a strong bready, grainy, biscuity base to build on. For the specialties, you’ll want to add some Munich, Special B, Victory, and chocolate malt. The Munich malt builds up the malty flavor you want to showcase. Special B adds caramel and raisin-like notes. The victory will bump up your biscuity and toasty notes, and the chocolate malt will add color and some additional complexity.

Hops

The Belgian Dubbel has a medium bitterness with a slightly dry finish. You can use any continental hop to achieve this. Hop aroma and flavor is typically low to absent, so you can get by with a single bittering hop addition. If you wanted a slight hop flavor, add a small amount of the same hop you used for bittering at 20 – 30 minutes left in the boil.

Yeast

For the Belgian Dubbel, the following are good choices.

  • Belgian Abbey Style Ale – 1214 (Wyeast)
  • Belgian Ardennes – 3522 (Wyeast)
  • Belgian Ale Yeast – WLP550 (White Labs)
  • Abbey Ale Yeast – WLP530 (White Labs)

Water

Last but not least, the water. For all beers I brew, I use a reverse osmosis filtration system and build up my water profile from scratch. My water profile looked like this:

  • Calcium: 50 ppm
  • Sodium: 15 ppm
  • Sulfates: 75 ppm
  • Chloride: 65 ppm

Recipe

The following is a 5 gallon version of a Belgian Dubbel. The numbers for this beer are listed below.

  • Original Gravity: 1.065
  • Final Gravity: 1.008 – 1.018
  • Alcohol by Volume: 6.8%
  • Bitterness: 20 IBU
  • Color (SRM): 19.4

Grain Bill

  • Maris Otter – 4 lbs 8 oz (37.1%)
  • Floor-Malted Pilsner – 4 lbs 8 oz (37.1%)
  • Munich Malt – 1 lb (8.2%)
  • Victory Malt – 1 lb (8.2%)
  • Special B Malt – 8 oz (4.1%)
  • Chocolate Malt – 2 oz (1.0%)

Hops/Miscellaneous

  • 8 oz of amber candi sugar at 10 minutes
  • 1.2 oz of Tettnang at 60 minutes (16.6 IBU)
  • 0.4 oz of Tettnang at 20 minutes (3.4 IBU)

Yeast

Belgian Ardennes – 3522 (Wyeast)

Mash

Add your salts and pH adjustment, if needed, and fill your mash tun to the required volume and temperature for your mash to drop to 152 degrees Fahrenheit. For me, the strike water was 3.6 gallons at 163 degrees Fahrenheit. After 60 minutes, raise your mash temperature to 168 degrees for mash out. After mash out, begin to sparge until you reach a pre-boil gravity of around 1.058. For me, it was 4.5 gallons.

Boil

Boil the wort for 90 minutes and add the hops at 60 and 20 minutes. Stir in the sugar at 10 minutes. Also at 10 minutes, I added a yeast nutrient, and at 5 minutes I also added whirlfloc tablets as my clarifying agent. Once the boil is complete, whirlpool the wort for 10 minutes and then let it wind down for 10 minutes.

Fermentation

Knock the wort out in your heat exchanger so that the pitching temperature is 64 degrees and measure your gravity/pitch the yeast. Initial gravity should be around 1.065. I let this free rise to 67 degrees as fermentation starts. Hold the temperature at 67 degrees for 5-7 days until the primary fermentation starts to slow down, and then let the temperature free-rise up to 72 degrees. Hold it here for a day or two to make sure fermentation completely finishes. Once fermentation is complete, cold crash to 33 degrees, hold it for at least a day, and then transfer to the brite tank to carbonate it to 2.6 vols. After 3 days in the brite tank, keg it, and enjoy!

If you decide to try this recipe, or another Belgian Dubbel recipe, feel free to send us a comment and let us know how it went! And if you want to see more recipes like this, sign up for our newsletter below to be notified when a new post is released. Cheers!

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