Art by John Neville
A double or dubbel is a monastic style - brown malty, spicey and fairly strong in the range of 8 to 9%. The Beer Advocate describes the style this way:
The Belgian Dubbel is a rich malty beer with some spicy / phenolic and mild alcoholic characteristics. Not as much fruitiness than the Belgian Strong Dark Ale but some dark fruit aromas and flavors may be present. Mild hop bitterness with no lingering hop flavors. It may show traits of a steely caramel flavor from the use of crystal malt or dark candy sugar. Look for a medium to full body with an expressive carbonation.Examples of other dubbels tippled hereabouts include Allagash of Maine, Westmalle and Rochefort 8 both from Belgium.
- Ommegang: This ale pours a really lovely deep deep orange with red notes and has a massive rocky orange cream head. On the nose there is alcohol, a touch of methol, sweet malt and burlap. The first sip is bright effervescent orange peel with twiggy mint hops edge all through a spicy creamy sweet raisin bread of a beer with dryish end. Intensely attractive ale. Interesting to note I described this beer differently a year ago. If I read either description I can recognize both. It is a funny thing about describing flavour that it is an evocative process, comparing the "X" in the present to the "Y" of memory. Plus bottle variation is possible. This bottle is quite tangy. Likely the last glug will be different when I get the yeasty swirl. The 2% of BAers who do not like this must have issues.
- Stoudt's Abbey Double: 2001 vintage. Vineous Ovaltine, malteeser aroma. Very sharp for a dubbel. Red mahogany with a thin white rim. Cherry juice and malteeser with burlap and spud. Acidic and not rich yet not so sharp as to be off. A bit like a La Choulette beer yet more sharply acidic. In his Great Beer Guide, Michael Jackson said of this brew...
Her Abbey-style Double has a syrupy richness, with suggestions of vanilla and a medicinal phenolic finish.Reading the high and low reviews amongst the BAers confirms the tart aspect is present with others yet not consistent. I wonder if this is a bottle past its prime yet I still enjoyed it. Sharp like some lambics yet complex.
- Brother David's Double: From the Anderson Valley Brewing Company in Boonville Californian. Deep mahogany with a thick rim and foam of mocha head. Malty more than spicy, this beer could be an imperial brown ale except that there is that burlappy thing. Not to be a style nerd but this is a little too biere du garde and not enough dubbel - except maybe for the treacle and fresh autumn apples notes. Still a loverly ale with a chocolate, potato peel, dry fruit thing happening. A litttle heady and funky. Brother Dave must have had pretty good taste. The BAers are not unanimous.