Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Sprecher Series, Part Two ... the Dubbel

A Wisconsin brewery decided to brew the series of Belgian beers.  The first of the series, which I have already reviewed, is the enkel.  Historically, an enkel is a light beer brewed by trappist monks from a basic recipe.  It was the beer that they would have in the monastery, rarely making out of the building for other people to enjoy.  

The next beer in the series is the dubbel.  This beer appears to have originated with the Trappist Abbey in Westmalle.  The monks brewed a stronger version of a Belgian brown ale, which, unlike the enkel, was sold to the public in 1856.  Other breweries followed, producing their own dubbel style beers.

I have reviewed only one dubbel on this blog in the past, Sierra Nevada's Ovila Dubbel.  The beer had a caramel color, with aromatic and taste elements of apples, caramel and raisins.  The question is whether one could expect a similar experience drinking Sprecher Brewery's Dubbel.

According to the Beer Judge Certification Program, a dubbel pours a "deep reddish-bronze" color with an aroma that provides hints of "chocolate, caramel or toast," as well as "[m]oderately fruity esters (usually including raisins and plums, sometimes also dried cherries)" and even banana or apple.  The flavor provides hints of the same elements as the aroma, with some spice or pepper notes. 

With this background, we turn to the Sprecher Brewery's dubbel.  The beer pours a dark brown in color, but there are hints of bronze or copper in the appearance.  As the beer warms, hints of caramel and fig greet the nose, with a slight cherry element too.  The fruits -- figs and cherry -- carry through to the taste of the beer.  These elements are joined with notes of plum and caramel, both of which are brought forward by the malts used in the beer.  Those malts are accompanied by a slight hop presence.  However, as one would expect with a dubbel, the hops play a secondary role, giving some balance to the sweetness of the malts and providing some dryness to the finish.

Overall, this beer fits squarely into the dubbel style.  The contrasts between the enkel and dubbel illustrate the progression in the Belgian beer styles.  The reviews of other beers in the Sprecher Series will be forthcoming, until then ...


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