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Belgian Dubbel Help

OK, so for my third all grain adventure, I thought I might try a Belgian Dubbel. My first question is, can I cap like I would any other beer (hand capper)? If not, this project is dead on arrival (at least for now). If so, let’s move on to the recipe.

I’m not all that familiar with yeast in general, let alone Belgian yeast in particular. That said, I’m currently leaning towards Wyeast 3522 (Belgian Ardennes), as I like the description (in particular, subtle spicy notes, highly flocculent). Thoughts?

Also, am I using enough dark candy syrup and special B? I originally had both a bit higher, but it risks going too dark for the style according to hopville. I’m not hugely concerned with nailing all style parameters, but thought I’d start out within them and adjust from there. Also, thoughts on Belgian Biscuit vs. Munich?

Batch size
5.0 gallons

Grain Bill
82% (10 lbs 8 oz) Belgian Pale
12% (1 lb 8 oz) Belgian Biscuit OR Munich
4% (1 lb) Belgian Candi Syrup-Dark
2% (5 oz) Belgian Special B

OG
1.071 (1.070 w/Munich)

SRM
16 (15 w/Munich)

Hops
1.0 oz Tettnang leaf (60 min)
1.0 oz Saaz leaf (15 min)
1.0 oz Spalt leaf (15 min)

IBU
23.9 (24 w/Munich)

BU/GU
0.34

Yeast
Wyeast 3522 OR 1214? 3787? Other Suggestions?

Our host has a great Dubbel kit. I’ve made it several times (bottled) with great results. It makes a fine, well balanced dubbel…fan fav here. Here’s their recipe and schedule and is a good place to benchmark for your first Dubbel:

Suggested fermentation schedule:
–1-2 weeks primary; 2-4 weeks secondary; 2 weeks bottle conditioning
MASH INGREDIENTS
–10 lbs. Belgian Pale malt
–0.5 lbs Belgian Caramunich
–0.25 lbs Belgian Special B
MASH SCHEDULE: SINGLE INFUSION
Sacch’ Rest: 151° F for 60 minutes
Mashout: 170° F for 10 minutes
BOIL ADDITIONS & TIMES
1 oz Tradition (60 min)
1 lb Dark candi sugar (15 min)
1 oz Hersbrucker (10 min)
YEAST
WYEAST #1214 BELGIAN ALE YEAST.
Optimum temperature: 68-78°F
BELGIAN DUBBEL (All Grain)
BOIL ADDITIONS & TIMES
–1 oz Tradition (60 min)
–1 lb Dark candi sugar (15 min)
–1 oz Hersbrucker (10 min)
YEAST
–WYEAST #1214 BELGIAN ALE YEAST.
Optimum temperature: 68-78°F

cheers and good luck.

Cool, that’s a good comparison. I’ll look into some of those other specialty malts and maybe make some adjustments.

On the yeast front, any particular thoughts on 3522 vs 1214 vs 3787? I’m leaning towards the former based on descriptions, but would love to hear feedback from people who have actually used any of them (or, better yet, all of them).

Also, thoughts on Munich vs. C-60, both in general and for this particular style?

I’ve only used 1214 on my dubbels. On my last batch, my son in law, a beer snob, said the result was very chimay-like. I didn’t believe him until we did a side by side comparison of one of mine that had aged over a year. He was right. There was a very subtle difference between the two when compared side by side…not so much when stand alone.

good luck.

:cheers:

I say go with the Munich, not biscuit. Use 3787. I find 3522 too tart for the flavors of a dubbel and 1214 always throws too much banana/bubblegum for my tastes. 3787 is Westmalle yeast and you can’t find a much better dubbel than that. C60? No way!

Awesome, thanks to you both.

Munich vs. C-60 was supposed to read Munich vs. Biscuit, seeing as how I wasn’t even considering C-60 as an option. Oops!

Fortunately, you covered both. Munich it is! I’ve never used it, which is good, and I like the idea of malty but not so sweet, which is how I’ve read it described.

Oh yeah, will a starter be necessary for a 3787 smack pack and an OG of ~1.070?

You should make a starter.

OK. Mr. Malty recommends a 1/2 gallon starter if I aerate/shake intermittently, and almost a gallon if I just leave it be. Does that sound about right?

Yep, sounds good to me. The ROT I use is that if the OG is over 1.040, I need to make a starter.

Right on.

I can already anticipate that I will have a hang up about how the “beer” from the starter will affect the flavor of the wort I’m trying to ferment. I’m guessing this is in RDW… territory, eh? If not, my next concern would be getting all the slurry out if I drain off the starter “beer”. I suppose I could use sanitized water to dilute the cake?

[quote=“ickyfoot”]Right on.

I can already anticipate that I will have a hang up about how the “beer” from the starter will affect the flavor of the wort I’m trying to ferment. I’m guessing this is in RDW… territory, eh? If not, my next concern would be getting all the slurry out if I drain off the starter “beer”. I suppose I could use sanitized water to dilute the cake?[/quote]

Put the starter in the fridge couple days before brewing. That will cause the yeast to drop to the bottom of your container and you can decant all but a cup or so of the starter wort. Use that to swirl up the yeast to get it out of your starter container into the wort. You could use sanitized water like you say, but I’ve never bothered.

I made a 3 gal dubbel to serve as a starter for a Begian IPA. I used 3522 bc the end goal was to make a belgian IPA. I will agree that it’s not the best choice. Like you, the description sounded to me like it would be good for a dubbel. I found it to be too tart and too neutral.

Also I didn’t like what the biscuit malt did to the recipe so another vote for munich. I think caramunich would have also been a nice addition.

After three months it tastes pretty good. Lost most of that tartness but also lost some of the spicey yeast character… Take the advice you received above and you’ll do better than me!!

[quote=“ickyfoot”]Awesome, thanks to you both.

Munich vs. C-60 was supposed to read Munich vs. Biscuit, seeing as how I wasn’t even considering C-60 as an option. Oops!

Fortunately, you covered both. Munich it is! I’ve never used it, which is good, and I like the idea of malty but not so sweet, which is how I’ve read it described.[/quote]

Never used Munich!!! Oh boy… you don’t know what you’re missing. LOVE MUNICH!!! I just bought a sack of Munich and Vienna. Both great base malts with a lot of maltiness. I’m about to brew a Dusseldorf Altbier with 1/2munich and 1/2vienna. And plan on brewing an all Munich IPA at some point. Then there’s Oktoberfest… oh the greatness of Munich.

As you can see, I like Munich!

Thanks NewToTheBrew!

dobe, awesome re: Munich! I’ve only brewed 7 batches to date, and only 2 of those were all grain, so there’s a lot I’ve never used before :slight_smile:

I generally like somewhat drier beverages, but I really like a fair bit of malt presence. Based on your comments and other descriptions I’ve read around the web, I think I might find that I really like Munich, too.

So, is a dubbel fair game for the 3 week primary, 2 week bottle conditioning schedule? Or, does it need a little more time since it’s a little bigger? The NB recipe posted above implies it doesn’t need an extended schedule, but I thought I’d ask.

Also, does White Labs have a 3787 equivalent? Would WLP530 do? It’s listed as Westmalle Abbey Ale Yeast on Mr. Malty
http://www.mrmalty.com/yeast.htm
. As I recall, the LHBS has White Labs, but not Wyeast, and I prefer not to order online unless I have a fair amount to buy at once.

Really hoping I can brew this up this weekend!

just one brewer’s experience: I’ve brewed on short (3-5 weeks) and long schedule (6-8 weeks). Long always turned out better. Longest turned out best (3months+).

cheers

Yes WLP530 Abby Ale would be the White labs substitution. And yeah a 3 week primary should be good. I think you may need a little more time to bottle condition though. To me, 2 weeks is the minimum. IMO a beer like that would need 4-6 weeks to really get good.

OK, thanks. I will really try to get this brewed up this weekend so I will have enough homebrew on hand to carry me through the longer conditioning. Or, maybe I’ll brew something more standard this weekend to buttress supply and brew the dubble next weekend.

Re: WLP530 vs. Wyeast 3787, has anyone done a side-by-side and determined that the flavor profiles are essentially the same? Not that it really matters since I’ve never used either, just want to know what to expect, and whether or not there’s any reason to order 3787 and wait for it, or if I should just pick up WLP530 at the LHBS for instant gratification (i.e., so I can hurry up and wait right away :wink: ).

[quote=“ickyfoot”]OK, thanks. I will really try to get this brewed up this weekend so I will have enough homebrew on hand to carry me through the longer conditioning :wink: . Or, maybe I’ll brew something more standard this weekend to buttress supply and brew the dubble next weekend.

Re: WLP530 vs. Wyeast 3787, has anyone done a side-by-side and determined that the flavor profiles are essentially the same? Not that it really matters since I’ve never used either, just want to know what to expect.[/quote]

I have not used 530, but I have used 3787 several times. It likes to eat! If you mash low it can attenuate well into the 80% range. I made a Belgian Tripel (mashed at 147Ff for 90min) that attenuated 89%! My one problem with that yeast is that I don’t like to ferment it at the lower end of the temperature range as I do with most yeasts. You don’t get that nice Belgian flavor profile when it’s too cool. I’d recommend fermenting in the middle to upper end. Somewhere in the mid to upper 70’s if at all possible.

Good luck! Hope your brew day works out well.
:cheers:

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