Dubbel, Westmalle Dubbel
Added: Thursday, May 1st 2014
Westmalle is the second biggest of Belgium’s Trappist breweries. It was founded by monks in 1794 fleeing the French Revolution and the abbey was completed in 1804. A brewery was added in 1836 to supply the monks with beer to supplement their meagre diet but in 1865 the brewery was extended to enable beer to be sold commercially to finance a Trappist community in the Belgian Congo.
In 1932 the abbot of Westmalle branded the products “Trappisten beer”, the first time the term was used. He also added a new, bigger brewhouse with striking Art Deco design, a startling contrast to the austere Gothic buildings that surround it. The brew kettle is fired by direct flame, which gives a toasted malt and toffee note to the beers, as some of the malt sugars are caramelised during the boil with hops. The brewing water is hard and the monks use Bavarian and French summer barleys that are kilned at extremely low temperatures to produce Pilsner-style pale malt. Whole flower hops are a blend of German Tettnanger, Czech Saaz and Styrian Goldings, added three times during the boil. The two beers produced are Dubbel and Tripel and candy sugars are added to both beers during the brewing process: in the case of Dubbel, the beer’s colour comes from dark sugar and some highly-kilned dark malt.
The beer is russet-coloured with a chocolate, fruity and spicy aroma and palate. The fruitiness is complex with hints of guava and other tropical products. The finish is dry and malty, with rich fruit and continuing chocolate notes from the dark malt.
Westmalle Dubbel is widely available in many supermarkets as well as specialist beer shops and online retailers and is currently on special offer in Waitrose at £1.83 a bottle. Also available from: