Belgian Dubbel

Glassware: Tulip
  • Belgium
  • Ale
  • ABV = 6.0 – 7.6% (Elevated)^
  • IBU = 15-25
  • SRM = 10-17
A moderately strong, amber-coloured Belgian ale with rich malt flavour, a fruity yeast character and a light alcohol note.  

Similar in strength and balance to Belgian Blond Ale, but with a richer malt and ester profile. Should not be as malty as Doppelbock. Should not have crystal/caramel malt-type sweetness, like a British Brown Ale.

Appearance:

  • Colour^ = Light amber to amber
  • Clarity = Generally clear

Key Aromas & Flavours:

Aroma
  • Malt = Moderate; richly malty with hints of chocolate, caramelised sugar or toast
  • Hops = None to low; spicy, herbal or floral, if present
  • Yeast = Moderate; fruity esters (raisins and plums most common, pome fruit or banana possible) / low to moderate; spicy phenols (peppery) / none to low; soft perfumy alcohol
Flavour
  • Malt = Moderate; richly malty with hints of chocolate, caramelised sugar or toast
  • Hops = None to low; spicy, herbal or floral, if present
  • Yeast = Moderate; fruity esters (raisins and plums most common, pome fruit or banana possible) / low to moderate; spicy phenols (peppery) / none to low; soft, perfumy alcohol
  • Perceived Bitterness^ = Low
  • Balance = Towards the malt, with esters and phenols adding complexity
Aftertaste/Finish

Moderately dry finish, with a malty aftertaste accented by yeast esters and phenols

Mouthfeel:

  • Body = Medium
  • Carbonation = Medium-high
  • Alcohol warmth = Light alcohol warmth optional

Characteristic Ingredients/Processes:

  • Malt = Pilsner malt, plus caramelised sugar syrup or unrefined sugars
  • Hops = Continental hop varietals
  • Yeast = Belgian ale yeast
  • Other = Spices not typical; if present, should be subtle
  • Process = Traditionally bottle conditioned (ie. refermented in the bottle)

Historical Development:

While dark and strong beers were produced long before, modern Dubbel traces back to the double brown or strong beer first produced at Westmalle in 1922 when the brewery was re-established after World War I. Other examples date from post-World War II.

Most commercial examples are in the 6.5-7% abv range.


Commercial Examples:

Westmalle Dubbel, Chimay Red, Rochefort 6, St. Bernardus Pater 6


^Sourced from the Cicerone Certification Program’s International Certified Beer Server Syllabus (Version 5.0)
All other information is sourced from the BJCP 2021 Style Guidelines.


Discovering Beer is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Cicerone® Certification Program.


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