Dubbel Trubbel

Dubbel Trubbel

(5 gallons/19 L, partial mash)
OG = 1.071  FG = 1.011
IBU = 26  SRM = 18  ABV = 8.2%

A recipe for a spiced dubbel.

4 lbs. (1.8 kg) Belgian pale ale malt
0.5 lb. (0.23 kg) Belgian Special B malt
1 oz. (28 g) roasted barley
6 lbs. (2.7 kg) amber liquid malt extract extract
1 lb. (0.45 kg) amber Belgian candi sugar (or 2 cups brown sugar)
8 AAU Brewer’s Gold hop (60 min.) (1 oz./28 g at 8% alpha acids)
1 g black pepper, ground (0 min.)
1 cinnamon stick (0 min.)
1 g grains of paradise (0 min.)
Wyeast 3787 (Trappist Style High Gravity) or White Labs WLP530 (Abbey Ale) or Lallemand Abbaye or Safale BE-256 yeast
2/3 cup corn sugar for priming

Step by Step
Heat 2 gal. (7.6 L) water to 165 °F (74 °C). Crush grains and mix in, mash temperature should settle around 153 °F (67 °C). Hold 60 min., then removed grains and wash with 3 gal. (11 L) at 169 °F (77 °C).

Add malt extract and candi sugar to the kettle and bring to a boil. Add hops, then boil 60 min. Turn off heat and add pepper, cinnamon, and grains of paradise. Give the wort a long stir to create a whirlpool and let settle for 15 minutes. Cool and transfer to your primary fermenter. Add enough water to make up 5.25 gal (20 L). Chill to 68 °F (20 °C), pitch yeast, and seal.

Ferment as close to 70 °F (21 °C) as you can manage. Rack to secondary if you prefer after about two weeks, cool to 55 °F (13 °C) for six weeks. Prime with corn sugar and bottle or keg and force carbonate.


Grains: There’s just something about Belgian grains. Sure, go ahead and substitute British or American pale ale malt, but I wouldn’t! Special B is a highly caramelized crystal-type malt. Dark crystal isn’t quite the same. Be very careful of the roasted barley — it is not entirely typical or appropriate in a Belgian recipe, but I like what it adds here.

Sugars: Candi sugar is beet sugar, so its flavor profile is different from cane sugar. Brown sugar will work, but you are adding molasses with brown sugar. It would work if Belgian candi sugar is hard to acquire.

Spices: This is just one of many combinations possible. The idea is to strike a balance, find a contrast that stands out. It should be fairly sharp, pronounced, but not overwhelming. If you’ve never tried using grains of paradise, which is a relative of cardamom, you are in for a pleasant surprise! The pepper and grains of paradise are small enough to settle out with the rest of the trub, but you will probably want to fish out the cinnamon stick, or you can try to put the whole mix in a fine-mesh muslin bag.

Issue: December 1998

Here is my recipe for a spiced dubbel, not patterned after any one commercial example but rather an amalgam of several but with a bit of a twist. It is moderately strong, medium dark, spicy from both the yeast and the flavorings added. I recommend aging it well, trying it several different times over the course of a couple of years. In effect you will probably find that you have brewed several different small batches in one, as the flavors really evolve over time.