The style belongs to the so-called Trappist family of beers. Whilst these derive in general from Monasteries and not to a specific geographical context, it was in Belgium that the sensory profile we associate with this type of beer took shape. Its popularity has, however, led to its widespread dissemination in both production and consumption terms, across the global stage.
Characteristics (visual, scent, flavour): Its colour varies from intense amber to full copper with garnet highlights. It is generally clean in appearance with a considerable head of dense, compact and significantly long-lasting beige-coloured foam, frequently generating what is called ‘Belgian lace’ in the glass. Its aromas are significantly intense and complex; they feature caramel, honey, hazelnut and toasted almond nuances, and fruit aromas such as banana, apple, plum and raisins and spices such as cloves, pepper and liquorice. The beer’s flavours echo and rework its aromas in the context of considerable structure, a medium-robust body, medium-high carbonation and a lean-dry finish which balances the beer’s alcoholic and sugary roundness, shored up by its pleasant alcoholic warmth. Due to the strength of its ethyl alcohol style, Dubbel is best consumed with dishes served in the middle and end of a meal.
- Storage: As a high fermentation beer it does not need to be kept refrigerated but storage temperatures must not exceed 18-20°C. Beyond this (unless it is pasteurised) a new fermentation may begin in the bottle with unpleasant consequences.
- Serving temperature: from 12 to 14°C in a goblet with a wide bowl. Initially the glass must be tilted 45° and then straightened up to favour the formation of a good head of foam. We recommend checking the bottom of the bottle carefully: versions that are not fully filtered may contain sediments, given the presence of yeasts. One option is to leave a centimetre of sediment in the bottle, rotate the bottle lengthways and serve the deposit in a separate glass, to appreciate the qualities provided by the yeasts.
- Alcohol by volume: 6-7.5% Vol.
The full body and powerful taste of this style pairs well with Grana Padano PDO Riserva aged over 20 months: specifically its high alcohol content and carbonation complement the lipid fraction of the cheese, its soft mouth feel works to balance its umami and its toasted aromatics echo and meld with its fragrant characteristics. All to ensure pleasant results and an intense equilibrium.
Curious factsThe Dubbel name began as a monastic label referring originally to the custom of the monks to produce three beers in increasing strengths: Enkel, Dubbel (specifically) and Tripel. The modern ‘regulations’ refer back to the version devised by the Trappists at Westmalle Abbey in Belgium, (province of Antwerp), starting from the mid 19th century.