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2018 Dubbel 3.0

The finished beer
I've brewed plenty of Belgian-style Dubbels over the years, from a variety of recipe sources. None of them has ever really blown me away. If you've ever had a cellared bottle of Bornem's "Double" then you know what my ideal Belgian Dubbel is like. If I could brew something close to that, I'd be happy and have my "house" Dubbel recipe.

My goal is a deep ruby color with a lingering whipped-creamy head. The aroma should suggest noble hops, a touch of caramel, and dark fruit. The flavor should be slightly sweet, a pilsner malt backbone with hints of chocolate and plenty of prune, raisin, and plum flavors. It should finish clean with no lingering cloying sweetness and no lingering hop bitterness.

With these goals in mind, I've started from the ground up for this recipe. I'm using a base of Pilsner malt and Munich to provide some sweetness. To that, I'm adding Special B malt and Dark Candi Sugar rocks to provide the dark fruit flavors, Caramunich for some caramel, and Belgian Chocolate malt to darken it and add the chocolate notes. The Ardennes yeast strain will hopefully bring in some fruity and spicy notes. The Clarity Ferm is something I typically add to ensure that a friend of ours who is gluten-intolerant can enjoy the beers I brew.

Ingredients

4 pounds Belgian Pilsner Malt
2 pounds Munich I Malt
6 ounces Special B Malt
6 ounces Dark Candi Sugar rocks (dissolved in starting water)
4 ounces Caramunich Malt
1 ounce Belgian Chocolate Malt
1 ounce Styrian Celeia hops pellets @ 2.8% AA (60 min.)
0.51 ounces Czech Saaz hops pellets @ 3.0% AA (15 min.)
1/4 tsp. Yeast Nutrient
1/2 vial White Labs Clarity Ferm
1/4 tsp. Brewtan B in the boil (15 min.)
1 packet Wyeast Belgian Ardennes 3522 yeast
3 gallons plus 32 ounces starting water in the keg

According to the PicoBrew recipe crafter, the beer should have the following characteristics:
  • BJCP Style: 26.B Belgian Dubbel
  • Batch Size: 2.5 gallons
  • Original Gravity: 1.068 SG (1.071 SG actual)
  • Final Gravity: 1.018 SG
  • IBUs: 20
  • SRM: 29
  • ABV: 6.6%
The mash schedule will be:
  • Dough In at 102F for 20 minutes
  • Mash at 120F for 15 minutes
  • Mash at 159F for 60 minutes
  • Mash Out at 175F for 10 minutes
The boil schedule will be:
  • 90 minutes: No additions
  • 60 minutes: Styrian Celeia hops added
  • 15 minutes: Czech Saaz hops, yeast nutrient, and Brewtan B added
The wort will then be chilled to a yeast-safe temperature and the yeast pitched into it. The Ardennes yeast likes temperatures in the 65F to 76F range, but I've heard stories that it does well even up into the lower 80's. My plan is to let it free-rise and only to introduce cooling if the beer climbs into the 80F range.

Post-Brewing Notes and Observations

10/20/2018: The brew finished 3 SG points higher than anticipated. It came out of the chiller at 82F, which was a bit high for the yeast, so I left it to cool a while before I was comfortable pitching the yeast. The yeast packages were a bit old and didn't seem to be swelling anyway, so waiting a while would give the yeast a chance to "wake up" if it was going to. I set aside some dry yeast to use if the liquid yeast didn't make it. I plan to give the yeast at least 24 hours to become active before pitching an alternative yeast.

11/1/2018: I bloomed a half-teaspoon of gelatin in distilled water, heated it to the 155-160F range, and treated the beer before cold-crashing it.

11/4/2018: I bottled the beer today, using 5 carbonation tablets (high carbonation) per bottle. Yield was 22 bottles. The bottles were placed in a 76F "hot box" to bottle condition.

11/27/2018: This is one of the better Dubbels I've brewed, but it's still not precisely what I want. I suspect that if I'd had the right yeast (I wanted Wyeast 1762) that would have helped. A couple of ounces of Melanoidin malt would have changed the consistency of the foam to what I wanted and maybe added more redness to the color. But I am still not quite hitting the dark fruit notes I want from the beer. I may try adding raisins to the next version. I've had several American-made Dubbels that weren't as good as this one, but I'm sure I can do better.

It's got a good head, but it doesn't quite match what I wanted


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