Bornem Dubbel

bornem-dubbelBrewer: Brasserie Van Steerberge, Ertvelde, Belgium
Style: Dubbel
ABV: 7.2%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: This abbey ale is made in the traditional Belgian double-style, employing a rich, darkly roasted malt base that undergoes primary fermented in the barrel. It undergoes secondary fermentation in the bottle (or the barrel) with active yeast culture.

Tasting Notes: This beer is rather mild and easy drinking as dubbels go. It has all the expected elements, like a rich, sweet malt base, notes of dark fruits, brown sugar, some minerals and and some yeastiness. But it finishes quite mild and does a pretty good job of concealing its alcohol. Glad I found it!

Appearance: Deep brown, translucent, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Smooth, rich malts, dark fruit, brown sugars, minerals
Taste: Smooth malt, mineral tang, mild brown sugar, raisins, dates, yeast, mild hops
Aftertaste: Lingering malt flavor, fruit and sugars, minerals
Overall: 8/10

Category 12 Induction Dubbel

c12-bottle-shot-INDUCTIONBrewer: Category 12 Brewing, Central Saanich, BC
Style: Dubbel
ABV: 7.5%
IBUs: 19

Description: The latest from C12, and a testament to their commitment to Belgian-style ales, is a traditional Dubbel. And consistent with this, the brew is made using plenty of dark malt, handcrafted dark candi syrup (which they made themselves), and a mild hopping.

Tasting Notes: The Induction was actually a little different than what I am used to. Whereas your usual Dubbel has some very syrupy and sweet malts with plenty of dark fruit flavor, the Induction is a bit lighter and has a flavor profile that starts smooth and subtle but ends with notes of phenols (aka. tannin) and caramelized sugar. A bit different, but definitely interesting and creative!

Appearance: Brown/ruby red, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, minerals, fruity esters, caramelized sugar
Taste: Smooth malt, syrup, tannin, hint of dark fruits and caramelized sugars 
Aftertaste: Lingering dark malt flavor and tannin, relatively clean finish
Overall: 8.5/10

On a side note, this is my 500th post on the GCBS! Woohoo!

Whistler Unique Brew Limited Ed. Small Batch Dubbel Down

Whistler_dubbeldownBrewer: Whistler Brewing, Whistler, BC
Style: Dubbel
ABV: 7.5%
IBUs: 24

Description: As part of their Unique Brew Limited Edition Small Batch series, this beer is available only in Boston Rounds and only for a limited time. A Belgian-style Dubbel, this beer is fermented using Belgian yeasts to create a rich, dark, malt-forward ale.

Tasting Notes: It’s been awhile since I’ve had anything from Whistler and I was pleasantly surprised to see some limited edition Boston Rounds at my local store. And this beer was good as Dubbels go, with plenty of the rich, sweet malt characteristics of this Belgian style. Brown sugar, molasses, and dark fruits combine with a slight tang and some alcoholic warmth that made me smile.

Appearance: Dark brown/amber, translucent, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Strong malt, brown sugar, molasses, raisins, dates, alcohol
Taste: Rich malt, hint of brown sugar, mineral tang, raisins, dates, alcohol
Aftertaste: Lingering mineral tang, alcoholic bite and warmth
Overall: 8.5/10

Ommegang Valar Morghulis Dubbel Ale

ommegang_valar_morghulisBrewer: Ommegang Brewery, Cooperstown, NY
Style: Dubbel Ale
ABV: 8%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: As part of Ommegang’s limited edition Game of Thrones theme, this beer’s name is a tribute to the world of A Song of Ice and Fire, specifically the continent of Essos where these words are a popular saying (meaning “all men must die”). This beer is brewed in the Belgian Dubbel-style, employing a dark, rich malt base and fermented in the bottle with active yeast cultures.

Tasting Notes: This is my third sampling from the GOT lineup, which has now grown to five beers. And it was really quite good, and consistent with what a Belgian Dubbel usually has to offer. The dark malts possess a rich, brown sugar-like sweetness and a slight mineral tang, plenty of yeasty goodness and some trace amounts of spice. And of course, there were lots of dark fruit esters to accompany it. It was smoother than I am used to, but this was hardly a bad thing. Looking forward to the next two!

Appearance: Deep amber.brown, clear, thick foamy head, good carbonation
Nose: Smooth malt, yeast, oak, hint of spice, cherry and dark fruit, minerals
Taste: Rich malt, mild tang, brown sugar, plums, raisins, yeast, hint of clove, minerality
Aftertaste: Lingering malt, yeast, and mineral finish, quite smooth
Overall: 8.5/10

Westmalle Trappiste Dubbel

Westmalle-dubbelBrewer: Westmalle
Style: Double Ale
Alc/Vol: 7%

Description: An Abbey ale, brewed by Trappist monks since 1856, Westmalle Dubbel is a double fermented ale that is one of two beers that is brewed year round and commercially available. In 1926, the monks changed the recipe to its current, heavier-tasting recipe.

Tasting Notes: This beer is one of the best Dubbel’s I’ve ever tasted, even after many years of sampling. Like a barley wine, it has a strong malty flavor that is rich, sugary and loaded with fruit. The lacy head and yeasty flavor are distinctive and firmly identify this beer as a Trappist product. However, unlike barley wines or other strong ales, at no point is the malt flavor or alcohol content overwhelming or coarse. While I have always been partial to their Tripel, this one is still a top contender for a spot on my all-time favorites list.

Appearance: Dark brown, opaque, strong, lacy foam and good carbonation
Nose: Rich malty nose, light hop aroma, raisins and sugars
Taste: Strong malt backbone and yeasts, notes of brown sugar, raisins, figs and oak
Aftertaste: Lingering yeast, malt flavor and oak
Overall: 10/10

Corsendonk Pater Dubbel

corsendonk_paterA familiar name popped for me at the liquor store during my most recent visit. It goes by the name of Corsendonk, a Belgian brewery that I first encountered during my extensive time in the fine bistros of Vineyards and Pub Italia back in my hometown of Ottawa. I couldn’t remember the last time I had a beer by this brewery, or even which kind it was. So naturally, I snatched up one of their fine, 750ml corked bottles as soon as I could and set down to (re)sample it. In this case, it was the Corsendonk Pater, a double-fermented ale done in the traditional Belgian style of top-fermented, bottle conditioned beer.

I’ve had my share of Belgian dubbels in the past, but rarely have they been light, refreshing, and an fine example of clean drinking. But that’s the world of Belgian brewing, where a country with centuries of brewing traditions which boasts more breweries per square kilometer produces can still find ways to surprise you. So here’s what I thought of this traditional, yet surprising Belgian brew:

Appearance: Orange-brown, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Light, sugary malts, bouquet of raisins, apricots and yeast
Taste: Light, sweet malts, notes of raisins, plum fruit, champagne-like effervescence
Aftertaste: Very clean, mild taste of yeast and lingering malt
Overall: 8.5/10

Initially, I was hoping for something a little more sugary, and with stronger traces of raisins, plum fruits, and even spice. Basically, the stuff one expects from a strong Belgian ale. And yet, I couldn’t complain. Not only was it was refreshing and clean, the subtle nature of the taste was also quite pleasing. Moreover, it reminded of several other Belgian beers, such as Belle-Vue Gueze and others that incorporate champagne yeast into the fermentation process. At once bubbly, fruity, clean and mellow, this dubbel was quite the addition to my list of Belgian beers to sample!