Black Abbey Dubbel

Next month I'm going to Brussels, Belgium for a long weekend. A conversation at a home brew tasting session led to a crew from Irish Craft Brewer deciding to go to Cantillon's public brew day on March the 7th. The flights are booked and I'm very excited. I've only passed through Belgium before and I can't wait to sample all the wonderful beers in Brussels. For a brewing nerd like me a day watching a traditional brewery like Cantillon do it's thing sounds great.

So to celebrate I decided my next brew would be a Belgian style Dubbel.

There's lots of malt character in a Dubbel so this would have to be an all grain brew to get the taste I want. I had some Belgian trappist style ale yeast and some Caramunch malt. So I was actually able to use the right ingredients and not substitute some of them for once.


3.4kg Maris Otter Malt
500g Caramunch Malt
450g Crystal Malt
450g Light Brown Sugar (added at end of boil)

60 minutes: 30g Perle 7.1%AA
15 minutes: Rind of 1/2 an orange
2 tsp Coriander Seed
1 tsp Irish Moss

Yeast: Safbrew S33 (2 packs rehydrated before pitching)

Mashed at 67 degrees celsius for an hour

The wort volume was about 20 liters with a mash run off gravity of 1.052. My brewing calculator says that is what I should get if I have an efficiency of about 75% which seems reasonable to me. After the boil I had about 18 liters but the gravity seemed pretty high so I topped it up to about 20 liters. The original gravity was 1.060 so it should turn out nice and strong.

Traditionally there isn't much hop aroma in a Dubbel so there are only bittering hops in this recipe. It felt a bit odd not to put hops in at the end so I decided some spices might be good. It put in a little grated orange rind and some coriander. These shouldn't be noticeable in the final brew but should add something in the background.

I used Safbrew S33 yeast which according to the website is good for trappist style beers. I'm fermenting it in a warm room upstairs with a sleeping bag around it so that hopefully it'll have a nice fruity estery taste.

I'm going to call this one Black Abbey Dubbel. As I mentioned before I lived beside the Black Abbey in Kilkenny and since many of the beers in Belgium are still traditionally made my monks I thought it suited. I can always dream of running the Black Abbey Brewery one day.

The brew day was about 6 hours from start to finish which was quicker than the last time. I think I'm really getting the hang of the all grain brewing. The results are worth it too.

5 Responses to "Black Abbey Dubbel" (Leave A Comment)

Barry M says
February 12, 2009 at 1:08 PM

Looks nice Laura. It's been a while since I made a Belgian-inspired brew, and it's probably about time I introduced my German colleagues to the delights of a strong, sticky tripel or something.

Kieron (n1mbus) has been trying to tempt me to go to Brussels too. It's about 5 hours by train from here, but as I seem to be doing alot of travelling lately I'd feel guilty leaving Adepta at home for a weekend, and with Adeptling in tow, there'd be no point in bringing them on a big pub crawl :D

Bionic Laura says
February 12, 2009 at 1:55 PM

The Adeptling sounds cute.

I love all the Belgian beers I've had and I can't wait to try more. Especially Saison. I'm sure a tripel or something would be very eye opening to your German colleagues.

Iamreddave says
February 13, 2009 at 2:36 AM

The wort tastes lovely. Quite sweet as well so it could be quite high alcohol when its done.

Boak says
February 14, 2009 at 4:54 AM

You're a Radical Brewing fan too, then? I find it inspiring but also a little infuriating in its rather idiosyncratic layout...

Bionic Laura says
February 14, 2009 at 9:56 AM

I love Radical Brewing. I emailed Randy Mosher to say how much I enjoyed it, he even emailed back.
My copy is a bit battered but thankfully I haven't managed to singe this one.

I like the way he encourages you to experiment and try all sorts of mad things. To me there's no point brewing exactly to style or trying to recreate beer you can already buy.