What’s in a Name – The Belgian Dubbel

A frequent question asked in the taproom is “what’s a Dubbel?” and how does it differ from a Tripel or even a Quad? Though the name is shrouded in mystery, sources say its origin stems from the Trappist Abbey of Westmalle in 1856.  Dubbel literally translated means Double, but double of what? Some attribute the name to alcohol content. Others attribute the spread of the style name to the popularity of the beer in the monestaries. The monks originally brewed a lower ABV bruin before creating the higher ABV Dubbels. This seductive, mild-hop bitterness beverage is usually marked by dark color and fruit flavors. The Belgian yeast generates fruity esters including banana notes, but can also contain hints of chocolate, caramel, and malty sweetness.
Dubbels, like most Belgian-style beers, are traditionally bottle conditioned, though they can be force carbonated for draft.
The Belgian Tripel and Quad are considered to be sisters of the Dubbel.  Traditionally a Belgian Dubbel is darker in color and lighter in alcohol, than the Tripel, which is lighter in color but higher in alcohol.  Both are noted for their full-bodied and distinctive bold flavors., and higher alcohol by volume.