Category Archives: Dubbels

Slow Lane ‘Free Radicals’ BA Dubbel


“Belgian dubbel style ale aged in wine barrels for 25 months with Pediococcus souring bacteria and a Brettanomyces yeast strain that produces cherry, smoky and spicy flavors. Following barrel aging, we racked the beer onto fresh Queen Garnet plums. A rich malty beer with complex dark fruit notes derived from the specialty malts, yeast driven esters and the Queen Garnet plums’ signature dark purple flesh.”

Glassware: Trappist goblet.

Appearance: Somewhere between dark purple and brown with a very quickly fading head. It settles at the rim with next to no lacing as we go.

Aroma: Very impressed by the first couple of whiffs. It has traits of both a Flemish Red and Kriek which only emphasize the quality of it further. It’s interesting we’re actually getting more cherry than plum. The soft woody notes and tannic red wine from the barrels fill it out beautifully. Chocolate, dark fruits and delicate smoky undertones are a mere feather in the cap.

Flavour: One thing we forgot to mention on the aroma was the distinct bretty sourness which brings all the wonderful funky/horsey, barnyard and cheese cave goodness. They’ve blended it impeccably well with the sweet yet tart cherry, plum, oak and red wine tannins and even well enough that it carries all the way into the finish which lingers with red wine vinegar, fruit and musty funk.

Mouthfeel: Fairly smooth then sharp and acidic in the swallow. Medium body. The 8% ABV is very well concealed.

Overall: We must say there’s not a whole lot of “Belgian Dubbel” here. We get more of a lovechild between Kriek, Flanders Red and Oud Bruin. Alas, it’s a very fine offering. Big ups SL!

Mont St.Jean ‘Waterloo’ Belgian Dubbel


“A coffee nose is combined with a tone of roots, but with a strong, disciplined character. Its flavour develops gradually, reminiscent, if you will, of the ardor of the soldiers of the Battle of Waterloo. Strong and reassuring, it provides a conclusion that tends primarily towards the sweet at the finish, a symbol of a well-deserved treat at the end of a busy day.”

Glassware: Trappist Chalice.

Appearance: Deep crimson complexion with a finger of finely beaded khaki head that holds together well. A beautiful cascading lace is weaved down the glass as we imbibe.

Aroma: We know we sound like a broken record but no one can brew Belgian beers like the Belgians. With Dubbels in particular, it’s the way they blend the extreme sweetness with the savoury, roasty notes that sets them apart. The most notable scents here are chewy toffee, plum jam, brown sugar and earthy tobacco with a plethora of ester-driven, toasty and cocoa-esque aromas in support.

Flavour: Not as rich as we had anticipated. It’s distinctly drier with a more sharpened focus on the yeast esters which yield classic banana runts, pear and star anise. As it progresses we get toast and cocoa with hints of dark fruit on the flank. It all converges on the finish and draws out with a complex set of flavours that keep changing and evolving.

Mouthfeel: A nice and creamy yet slightly sticky consistency. Well carbed, medium body and a very neat 8% ABV.

Overall: This is our first crack at this Belgian brewery. It’s well structured and exhibits the right amount of balance, depth and complexity. A fine offering.

2 Halfs ‘De Dubbel’ Belgian Style Dubbel


“This Belgian style Dubbel has caramel and cocoa notes with subtle fruity esters. Mahogany in colour with medium malty sweetness. Perle and Mittelfruh hops give this beer a mellow but spicy aroma.”

Glassware: Trappist chalice.

Appearance: Somewhat deep rusted orange to amber with a finger of khaki head perched on top. Steady reduction and healthy lacing as we go.

Aroma: No where near as layered and intense as a Belgian-brewed Dubbel but it still offers a hearty caramel base, light chocolate and woodiness with the delicate old world hop additions of earthy spice, herbals, pine forest and wet grass. Well tempered yeast esters bring that classic banana and caramelised pear/apple scent as well. Picking up strong coriander as it settles in. Pretty good.

Flavour: One of the things we hate about non-Belgian brewed Trappist ales is the overload of sweetness. Thankfully, this interpretation doesn’t have that. It’s got a good base of earthy caramel malt and it’s nicely balanced by the spicy, herbaceous and woody/piney hops. A touch of dried cocoa and clove develops late and shifts into a mostly malt-driven finish with piney and herbal notes drawing out.

Mouthfeel: Nice and thick, chewy, gelatinous. Medium bodied, nicely carbed. The 7.6% ABV is pretty well concealed.

Overall: This is our first crack at this brewery. We’ve had our eye on them for some time now and we’re pleased to say we’re liking what we’re seeing so far. Trappist style beers aren’t easy to perfect so they’ve done quite a decent job here.

Resin ‘Dubbel Trubbel’ Belgian Dubbel


“Meet DUBBEL TRUBBEL. We’re upping the ante, with double the beer, double the fun… and double the trouble. This full-bodied baby boasts note of raisin and dried fruit. With Belgian yeast esters on the nose, Dubbel Trubbel is the most marvellous of malt brews!”

Glassware: Trappist chalice.

Appearance: Falling somewhere between mahogany and auburn with a short off-white head that slowly dissipated. It settles to a fine overlay and produces magnificent lacing as it subsides.

Aroma: We’re unashamedly critical when it comes to Trappist beers brewed outside of Belgium. Mainly because no one can brew them like the Belgians. Maaaaybe with an exception or two. Alas, we must admit this smells pretty darn good. Nicely balanced caramel/toffee aromas, delicate toasty notes, earthy, well tempered spices, phenols and banana runts. At this stage we’re very much impressed.

Flavour: What we’re really liking early on is the balance. A lot of non-Belgian Dubbels completely screw up that side of things so it’s great to see these guys are on point there. Nice and chewy yet slightly dry and bitter. The spice aspect, which is nicely integrated, adds another layer of complexity. Light caramel sweetness, toffee and gingerbread into a perfectly poised finish that draws out nicely.

Mouthfeel: Kinda light on for the style but we’d rather that than a syrupy mess. Rather chewy, medium body, perfectly carbed and the 6.6% ABV is well disguised.

Overall: Pleasantly surprised. Good can artwork and great follow through with the beer. Definitely wasn’t expecting the level of quality produced so big ups to Resin. Solid offering.

Five Barrel ‘Norvell’ Christmas Ale


“Evocative of the season, winter ales have a tradition in the US, the UK, Belgium and elsewhere. English winter beers are normally called winter warmers, and tend to be dark, full in body, sweet and stronger than average (5.5% ABV and up). They are rarely spiced. American winter beers are usually called Christmas or holiday beers, and are almost always spiced. Belgian winter beers are often slightly stronger (by 1–2% ABV) versions of flagship beers. If they are spiced, the spicing is usually more subtle than American versions. Five Barrel Brewing have brewed a Christmas beer each year since we opened in 2015. This year’s version is a Belgian Dubbel that utilises orange zest and nutmeg in the kettle.”

Glassware: Trappist Chalice.

Appearance: It pours an attractive deep crimson red with a short khaki head. Fair retention and spotty lace left in its wake.

Aroma: We’re always slightly hesitant when Aussie breweries take on the Belgian Dubbel. From memory the last time we were impressed by an Aussie-brewed Dubbel was Hawkers’ Aquavit BA expression and that was some time ago! Smells very spicy, malty sweet, lots of toffee apple, fruit cake and apple pie. Hints of blood plum, dates, banana bread and caramelised pear as well. Not a traditional aroma but not bad by any means.

Flavour: Quite deep, layered and complex. A very short cameo of phenols up front which morph into more of a fruit cake kind of affair. Kinda tangy/kinda tart red fruits, prunes/dates, clove, nutmeg and caramelised orchard fruits across the mid-palate and then very delicate toasted malts, toffee apple and earthy hops leading into the finish. Good length on the back end too.

Mouthfeel: Dense yet slightly creamy and lifted by a vibrant Co2. Medium body and the 7.3% ABV is pretty well placed.

Overall: We’ve been see-sawing the entire time. It’s a rather well brewed beer – nicely balanced and full flavoured etc but it’s so far from a traditional Dubbel that we can’t say we’re totally sold. Not bad.

Abbaye Val-Dieu Dubbel


“The aroma of the brown Val-Dieu is more pronounced, with a coffee/mocha character. The mocha taste will gradually disappear to give way to a roasted malt taste that is neither too neutral nor too strong. It is very lightly spiced, reminding us that it is above all a beer to be tasted. Cellared or at room temperature, it is suitable for all circumstances.”

Glassware: Trappist Goblet.

Appearance: Classic Dubbel pour here – kinda muddy light brown with a short tan head which gradually peels off. It laced really well considering the lack of retention.

Aroma: Smells amazing. Strong candi sugars upfront with yeast-driven esters i.e banana runts, clove, dark fruits and bubblegum in support. Truck loads of caramel/toffee, mocha, cocoa powder and burnt brown sugar for added depth and complexity. Not like it really needs it though! Becomes almost cake-like once it starts to warm up. Man the progression on it is next level.

Flavour: Dead set spot on. There’s this beautiful roasted quality all the way through it which is delicious. Tasting the sweet candi sugars and fruity esters initially then the mocha, cocoa powder and toffee midway. Somewhat of a nutty accent floating around as well. Burnt brown sugar, clove, carob and blood plum finish off this absolutely delectable Dubbel. Excellent length on it too.

Mouthfeel: Quite full and creamy. Pretty chewy. It has the typically lifted Co2 and an extremely well buried 8% ABV.

Overall: The Tripel got a massive tick from us and so does this Dubbel. Perfectly balanced and full flavoured. These guys really know what they’re doing.

Tallboy & Moose X Beerfarm ‘Green Muse’ Wormwood Dubbel


“Green Muse 6.3% ABV Belgian Dubbel w/ Wormwood collab. with Beerfarm (WA) – Business in the front, party in the back…this brew takes a classic Belgian style offroad (with monster-truck tyres on the Ute). The fruity esters and sweet malts greet you as expected and then this beer throws a curveball. Wormwood, often used in absinth and other aperitifs sweeps through with a bold cleansing bitterness. All up the Green Muse presents on the drier side, and rewards many sips with complex flavourful refreshment.”

Glassware: Trappist Chalice.

Appearance: Pours an attractive deep ruby red with light mahogany hues. Just a short off white head comes together but dispersed just as quickly. Nice wavy lace as we imbibe.

Aroma: We wanted to review this literally coz we were fascinated at how the wormwood would be presented. We love Dubbels as well so we guess it wasn’t the sole reason! Classic semi rich malts meet the olfactories instantly followed by the rather savoury and sage-like herbals, peppery spice, earthy notes, subtle toffee and honeysuckle. It does have a kinda green tea character to it as well. Smells good.

Flavour: It comes on with a well tempered malt sweetness but it’s very short lived as the hallmark bitterness of the wormwood kicks into gear. First the peppery and earthy herbal flavours then the abrasive bitterness takes hold. Burnt toffee and toasty malts counteract a little but not enough as it surges into an extremely bitter finish with a delicate malt sweetness on the flank.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and sticky initially then dry and a little coarse in the swallow. Medium body, mild-moderate Co2. The 6.3% ABV is nicely poised.

Overall: Our only other experience with wormwood until today was with good old Absinthe so it’s safe to say the memories are fun (and a little hazy) but the palate wouldn’t say the same. In this case the sweet malts save it from a similar fate. The positive is we can say we’ve tried it.

Van Steenberge ‘Augustijn’ Dubbel


“Augustijn Donker is the logical addition to the existing beers Augustijn Blonde and Augustijn Grand Cru and is a true beer of 8% alc. that appeals both the occasional as the seasoned beer lover! With the grand balance between aroma, taste and after taste, the Augustijn Donker is added value in this segment and ensures that the range of Augustijn beers reflects a delicious spectrum of tastes within the rich Belgian beer culture. The beer is not distinctly sweet, as many would expect from a dark specialty beer. It tastes rather lightly smoked with a touch of nuts and caramel.”

Glassware: Trappist Goblet.

Appearance: Somewhat deep mahogany pour with a thumb of tanned foam atop. The head slowly peels off but leaves a magnificent lace as it ebbs.

Aroma: First impressions are excellent…super rich and complex. Chock-full of dark fruit sweetness and burnt brown/Candi sugars but there’s a big toasty malt profile that comes right over the top. Decadent caramel and toffee, sourdough, yeasty spice i.e clove, nutmeg etc, milk chocolate and raw mixed nuts fill it out even further. Almost getting a touch of honeycomb as well. Next level stuff.

Flavour: Holy moly it’s got everything…rich, roasty, sweet, earthy, nutty, fruity. There isn’t really one stand out flavour it’s just a huge blend of sweet Candi sugars, roasted malt, dark fruits, caramel and toffee, earthy spice, apple/pear, crusty sourdough, chocolate and subtle hints of banana. The evolution of flavour is off the charts…even after a minute or so after the last sip it’s still morphing.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and a little sticky. Well carbed as a good Dubbel should be. Medium-full body. The 8% ABV is very well concealed.

Overall: An extremely well executed Dubbel. Wouldn’t expect anything less from an OG like Van Steenberge. We honestly can’t believe we hadn’t reviewed this beer before. Sensational drop!

St.Feuillien Dubbel


“This brown ale has a marked ruby brown colour with a generous and lasting head. It has a distinctive aroma reflecting the wide range of ingredients used in its production. The fruitiness resulting from its fermentation blends harmoniously with a dominant liquorice and caramel flavour. The body is decidedly malty. The bitterness is the result of a complex alchemy between the fine hops and special malts used. These give St Feuillien Brune a typical dark chocolate appearance.”

Glassware: Trappist Chalice.

Appearance: Light brown with deep ruby red hues. A bit of a gusher…we had to pour straight away to avoid spilling it everywhere! It builds a huge four finger crown which retracts and settles to a bubbling egg shaped island. Laced very well.

Aroma: You just can’t beat a traditional Belgian brewed Dubbel. The balance they hit is incredible considering the amount of syrupy sweetness it offers. Caramel, toffee and butterscotch for days with the yeast esters (banana, clove, bubblegum) backing up. Kind of a dank herbal accent too…reminds us of spearmint or coriander. A bit of aniseed which introduces a hint of cola to the party as well. Gorgeous!

Flavour: Bang on point. Uber sweet caramels and toffee with a hint of earthy spice and candi sugars. A very faint touch of chocolate and toasted malt also balancing out. Dark fruits, yeast esters, brown bread and Noble hop-like herbals all band together and go on for an eternity.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and sticky yet well carbonated. Medium-full body. The 8.5% ABV is ridiculously well buried.

Overall: We haven’t had a Dubbel of this quality for yonks! The non-Belgian examples simply don’t have the depth and balance or character. We guess that’s what 900 years of perfecting your recipe will do. Brilliant.

Red Hill Brewery ‘Christmas Ale’ Belgian Dubbel

91567587_1340276162823192_3039530591394463744_o“A Strong Belgian Ale, deep orange in colour with a lasting creamy head, spicy hop aroma from our own Hallertau and Tettnanger hop flowers, and a complex malty finish. Brewed with almost religious fervour with extra long maturation and dry hopped.”

Glassware: Trappist Chalice.

Appearance: Hazy burnished orange with a finely beaded two finger head perched up top. Excellent retention and lacing as we indulge.

Aroma: Belgian yeast galore – banana runts, clove, white bread crusts, pear/apple, coriander/parsley and a subtle lick of bubblegum. The only downside is this faint inkling of VB which we all know is a bit risky. There’s a lovely zesty-ness happening as well. One thing we dislike about non-Trappist Dubbels is that cloying sweetness but thankfully it’s not present here. Hooray!

Flavour: So we were just going on about non-Trappist Dubbels being too sweet…well, this isn’t sweet enough! Certainly getting the yeast components – banana bread, clove, spicy herbs and pear/apple) but that indulgent caramelised sweetness is MIA. Could also explain the lack in depth of colour. It carries through nicely and finishes with a classic Belgian yeast profile.

Mouthfeel: Dense yet foamy with a slightly lifted Co2. The 8.3% ABV is reasonably well concealed.

Overall: We’re not going to nit-pick coz we know full well this is a bloody difficult style to brew. We just feel the lack of malts (or the right malts) has let it down. The top rung Dubbels i.e Westmalle and Westvleteren have that syrupy caramel sweetness oozing out of them and we feel it’s a miss here. Still, not a bad attempt.

New Belgium ‘Abbey’ Dubbel

65172365_1118621551655322_6265461500714942464_n“The story of New Belgium begins with an abbey: Not only were Belgium’s monastic beers the inspiration behind our Colorado brewery, but Abbey, a Belgian-style dubbel, was one of the first beers we released way back in 1991. Since then, it’s become our most award-winning offering. Sip Abbey, and sip New Belgium’s tradition.”

Glassware: Trappist chalice.

Appearance: Mahogany with ruby red hues. We get a full gaze through the beer when held to the light. Minimal head settling to a halo with some patchy lace as we imbibe.

Aroma: Picking up a lot of the Belgian yeasty qualities such as banana runts, clove, pear/apple and peppery phenols. Moreish wafts of milk chocolate, caramel and dark fruits also getting amongst it. Maybe just a flutter of nutty malt, coffee and bubblegum as well. Love it…very conventional.

Flavour: It comes on with a fusion of Belgian yeasty notes and caramel/toffee sweetness. Dark fruits like raisin, plums, fig etc through the middle picking up a kind of banana split-like flavour as it rolls on. A little cameo of spice, chocolate and cocoa before a yeasty finish is dressed up with hints of toasty malt and coffee.

Mouthfeel: Pretty well rounded. Rather smooth and silky with medium body. Just the right amount of co2 to give it a lift. 7% AbV nicely tucked away.

Overall: That’s a pretty damn fine interpretation of the style. Lots of Belgian yeast character, caramel and dark fruit sweetness but also a nice roasty component as well. Solid offering.

Hargreaves Hill ‘AD’ Abbey Dubbel

64225058_1108521519331992_7902258556374614016_n“Drawing inspiration from the Abbey brewing tradition, we use Belgian Special B malt and a funky Belgian yeast, to create notes of raisins and sarsaparilla.”

Glassware: Trappist Chalice.

Appearance: Deep reddish-brown revealing mahogany hues when held to the light. The head is loose and rocky, eventually retreating to the rim. Healthy lace clings to the glass as it subsides.

Aroma: The first thing that hits the olfactory’s are these intense caramel and toffee overtones. Butterscotch and cocoa then morphing in to more yeast-driven notes of candied banana, honey, nutmeg, caramelized pears, raisin and prunes/dates. Getting an uber rich maple and or treacle sweetness from it once it settles…borderline cloying.

Flavour: That super rich sweetness transitions to the palate. There’s a hint of bitterness but it does little to stem the wave of caramel, toffee, honey and maple sweetness that follows. Very fine hints of toasty malt, cocoa and apple pie forming late as it finishes dry, fruity and spicy. Some good length on it though.

Mouthfeel: This is where it goes down hill a bit…it’s too thin for the style. It also feels kind of saturated from the low co2 and minimal balance.

Overall: Definitely not convinced but in saying that it’s still not a bad attempt. The big difference between this and something like a Westmalle or even our very own Mad Abbot is the balance. Even though it’s not really there it still isn’t a too bad a drop.

Insel Braurei Baltic Dubbel

59392055_1080577912126353_8132901036063981568_nNO DESCRIPTION

Glassware: Trappist chalice.

Appearance: Pours a light brown with a wispy tanned overlay. Tight and fine bubbles which retain and work a healthy lace down the glass.

Aroma: Smells the goods. Layered with milk chocolate, hazelnut, plum, dates, yeasty spice and bubblegum. Once it warms we pick up hints of vanilla and coconut, toffee fudge and fairy floss. Every time we take a whiff there’s something new but we have to move on or it’ll become an essay!

Flavour: A lot less flamboyant than the aroma. Sort of takes more of a traditional approach with poignant yeasty spice and phenols, cocoa powder, dark fruits and rich burnt toffee. Doesn’t really shift far from this line with the aforementioned flavours carrying through to the extensive finish.

Mouthfeel: Nice and full. There’s a hint of co2 there with a promiscuous 8.5% AbV.

Overall: There’s a few firsts here. It’s our first crack at their range and it’s also our first crack at a German Dubbel. Furthermore it’s our first attempt at a “Baltic” Dubbel…although this could have more to do with the breweries geographical location. Being on an island surrounded by the Baltic sea and all!

Hawkers Beer Aquavit BA Dubbel

48272874_999382020245943_2557939735309844480_n“The term dubbel is rooted in a Belgian Trappist beer naming convention which can be traced back to 1856. This brown ale has been aged in Aquavit barrels to produce a complex beer.”

Glassware: Goblet.

Appearance: Muddy chestnut brown with a ring of loosely held bubble around the rim. Some soapy lace left behind as we go.

Aroma: Rich, sweet and chock-full of chewy caramels, toffee, Christmas cake, spice, carob, prunes, oregano and burnt oranges – the latter surely being products of the Aquavit barrels. It’s lovely how the aromas tie together though. Superb.

Flavour: Getting more yeasty notes…estery fruits i.e banana, pear and earthy clove-like spice. Loads of caramel and toffee sweetness, dark fruits and fennel set up for a nice and warming finish. Not overly boozy though, still showing plenty of spice and dark fruit on the back palate.

Mouthfeel: Smooth as silk, chewy almost port-like texture. Full in body with low co2. The 11% AbV is incredibly well masked.

Overall: There’s only a small handful of Aussie brewers who’ve been able to pull off a brilliant Trappist ale. Hawkers have now placed themselves among them. This is a cracking Dubbel, kudos Hawkers!

Kereru ‘Velvet Boot’ Belgian Dubbel

29104189_827204430797037_6024998861771112448_n“An amber Belgian-style Dubbel with an exuberant aroma of rum-soaked banana that gives way to brown sugar, caramel & spice. Brewed with lashings of Belgian dark candi syrup for an authentic complex taste. Serve at 8-10°C.”

Glassware: Trappist tulip.

Appearance: It pours an attractive copper red hue which dons a short beige cap. The head eventually peels off to a fine film but offers excellent lace work down the glass.

Aroma: Incredibly sweet but not cloying. Absolutely saturated in this thick, chewy caramel, toffee and butterscotch which blends with the ultra doughy and sticky raisin, date and rum notes really well. As it warms the estery characters come forward – sourdough, clove, banana etc. Undertones of plum jam, cocoa and stewed fruits. Oh my, absolutely superb!

Flavour: Good transition on to the palate. Tonnes of sticky sweetness – caramel, toffee, raisin, dates, all well supported by that doughy/bready malt. In come the subtle spices, earthy chocolate notes and stewed fruits before a big and well rounded finish with good length on the rear.

Mouthfeel: Velvety smooth (we can see where part of the name comes from). Full bodied, dense and chewy. Mild-moderate co2.

Overall: Magnificent! One of the best non-Belgian dubbels we’ve ever had the pleasure of drinking. Can not fault it.

Brouwerij De Halve Maan ‘Brugze Zot’ Dubbel

27067198_806476446203169_7033801945690186160_n“Brugse Zot Dubbel is a dark brown beer, leaning towards ruby ​​red. Brewed with six special malts, the beer has a unique and rich aroma in which the scent of honey, almond, chocolate and even brown sugar can be discovered.”

Glassware: Trappist goblet.

Appearance: Big and billowing four finger head that surges up and over the rim of the glass. It sits atop a very deep chestnut/brown body with crazy amounts of lace as it ebbs. Very attractive beer.

Aroma: Oh wow, unexpectedly sweet and fruity with a heady scent of either blackcurrant or blackberry leading out. More dark fruits and candied berries as it warms. Sticky toffee and caramel, syrup, spicy phenols, subtle chocolate and timber also coming through. So juicy and sweet but it’s no way cloying. Superb aroma.

Flavour: It’s not coming on as strong as we’d like. Some dark fruit sweetness, brown sugar and faint yeasty notes that impart adjunct spices, Christmas cake and prunes. It starts to fall away mid-palate and finishes somewhat weak, bitter and slightly spicy.

Mouth feel: Creamy texture, nice and vibrant co2 with medium weight. Well masked 7.5% ABV.

Overall: A fairly decent dubbel but it has nothing on the Trappist breweries like La Trappe or Rochefort – it seems to lack that depth and complexity in flavour. Not bad but not great either.

Grimbergen Dubbel

27072982_806287862888694_6395039682140943563_n“Grimbergen Double-Ambrée – dark-coloured ale with the bittersweet flavours of caramel and dried plums, made from double-fermented hops and malts.”

Glassware: Trappist tulip.

Appearance: Deep mahogany colour with a wispy head that peels back to a film. It laces extremely well considering the lack of retention.

Aroma: Dark, malty and yeasty with some bitter chocolate on the flank. Quite the hop profile cutting through – earthy and somewhat floral which is infrequent for Belgian dubbels….nice touch though. Getting that banana runt and clove as we begin to scratch the surface. Underpinned by notes of tobacco, white bread and fig. Very good.

Flavour: Super earthy. Tonnes of fig, tree bark and grains which embrace some of that spicy and slightly fruity Belgian yeast on entry. Picking up plums, brown sugar and raisin through the mid as it delivers a dry estery finish full of pear, apple pie and cocoa on the back end.

Mouth feel: Creamy texture and quite high in co2. Only 6.5% ABV so the booze certainly doesn’t dictate. Medium-full body. Very well structured.

Overall: An extremely well brewed dubbel. Although it lacks a lot of that typical sweetness it makes up for it in the form of this kind of raw and earthy character. It’s no Westmalle but it’s still a bloody decent offering.

Red Hill ‘Dubbel Life’ Belgian Dubbel

22008360_751656841685130_638067550920588303_n“Made with a 100% Belgian Malt bill from Castle Malting creating a beer dark brown in colour with malt flavour of dark fruit and warming alcohol. Our own inhouse (former) chemist, brewer Ajay was in charge of brewing up our own Belgian candi sugar, caramelising the sugar into a rich dark caramel toffee, then cooling it back to a solid rock. This was used in the boil adding caramel, chocolate and nutty flavours and keeping the beer light in body and easy drinking, even at 7.3%”

Served in a Trappist tulip. It pours out a deep amber with a copper tint. It struggled to produce much head as it swells to a finger and immediately retracts to a ring with limited lace work as it ebbs.
The nose offers some nice and traditional Belgian dubbel aromas – caramel, toffee, fig, cocoa, banana, clove and candi sugars. There is one component we dislike though…that is the funky and slightly vinegary character that’s happening. Call us old school but funky, tart, sour notes should be reserved for just that…sours. Not a bad aroma it just left us wanting.
The flavour follows the nose with a good foundation of sweet Belgian dubbel flavours like caramel, toffee, banana, clove, earthy fig and truffle but again we find that slightly tart and vinegary flavour distracting. It’s light in the lead up to the finish and a bit short in the tail as well.
Pretty lean and light on in texture. Slightly lifted co2 with quite a well concealed 7.1% ABV. Pretty smooth overall feel in the mouth.
We absolutely love this brewery and with exception to one or maybe two their beers are top notch. This one though….it’s a bit 50/50. We froth over big, dense and super sweet Belgian dubbels but this one was lacking that rich malt, spicy yeast and bubblegum notes that make them so bloody good. Slightly disappointing.

Red Hill Brewery Christmas Ale

17425051_666679470182868_4161118406755777419_n“In the great tradition of the famous Belgian Breweries, our own special Christmas Ale is now available. This strong Belgian abbey styled ale is one of the brewery’s most highly awarded and requested. Deep orange in colour with a lasting creamy head. Spicy hop aroma from our own Hallertauer & Tettnanger hop flowers with a complex malty finish. Brewed with almost religious fervour, with extra long maturation and dry hopped in serving tanks . . . this one will continue to develop for a long time to come.”

Served in a Trappist chalice. It pours a deep apricot hue with a short lasting head. It gradually reduced to a collar with only scarce lace being managed.
The aroma is nice and yeasty, maybe lacking in the intensity that Belgian dubbels have but there’s still a good showing of rich caramel, toffee, plums, raisin, all spice and Christmas cake. Definitely something a little tangy in here…at times it’s a bit like cointreau but it’s more jaffa-like in its delivery. Just a suggestion of boozy warmth tickling the nostrils. Not a bad aroma by any means.
The mouth feel is dense with this kind of syrupy viscosity. Co2 is kept low with nice warming alcohols around the edges. Medium-full bodied.
The flavour offers a complex integration of spices, caramel sweetness and warming orange liqueur upfront. A dark fruit accent hinges on the boozy plum notes that carry forward in to the mid palate. The 8.3% ABV gradually intensifies as hints of cherries and a sweet bready malt lingers with toffee and caramelized pear on the back end.
We were slightly critical of this beer initially but it has more than come through, it’s quite different to a traditional Belgian dubbel and that’s much of the reason why. Kudos to the brewers for taking the courageous step away from tradition and pulling off an extremely tasty drop. Solid stuff.

Brouwerij Westvleteren Extra 8 Dubbel

16939166_654142121436603_7879342697304430348_n“Westvleteren has the smallest output of the Trappist breweries, with only a small part of their production going very far into the world.”

Served in a Trappist chalice. She pours that gorgeous chestnut brown with a fizzy head that reduced to a collar. A nice wavy lace pattern is left clinging to the glass as we imbibe.
Superb aroma! It’s just oozing with thick syrupy caramel, toffee and butterscotch while decadent wafts of ripe banana, spice and prunes fill it out. So chewy, yeasty and sweet! Hot damn these guys are masters. Impeccable stuff here, easily one of the best aromas you’ll get from a traditional Belgian dubbel.
In the mouth there is a really nice consistency. Dense and creamy in texture, medium-full in body and mild-medium carbonation. Just a hint of bitterness in there to balance out the super silky malts. Again…So impressive.
The flavour profile literally takes every facet of the aroma and lays it on the tongue with such elegance that we’ve almost finished our beers with the review only half finished! This incredible progression of flavour from caramel and toffee to spice and subtle booze and then to punctuate on this estery, somewhat dry, sweet and spicy finish is simply divine! So thick and malty on the back end too.
Absolutely right on the money! In terms of traditional Belgian dubbel this is as close as one can get to the perfect example. The one downside, if we have to nitpick, is the fact that you will part with a good chunk of your weekly earnings to bag one but as the saying goes…”all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. You don’t want to be Jack in this situation.