Food, Beer, and Travel

a dump from the mind of Jon Piper

Posts Tagged ‘dubbel’

Westmalle Dubbel

Posted by jwpiper on January 10, 2009

I’ve enjoyed plenty Wesmalle Dubbels in and around Belgium. It’s a wonderful complement to many meals and its pervasive availability make it a good stand-by. I’ve been told that asking for a Trappist bier without further specification will produce a Westmalle Dubbel.

The versatility of this beer demands having some on hand, and if it’s not too rich for your blood, it makes an excellent cooking beer – for example in this recipe for Carbonnades Flamandes.

Matt C. and I split a 33cl bottle between two Westmalle glasses at cellar temperature. It opens with a forceful hiss – indicating its desire to get out of the bottle and into my glass. The bubbles which spill out if not poured within moments of opening convince me of the need to oblige.

Appearance
4
Tootsie roll brown with some amber notes and a substantial off-white head which turns to lace.
Smell
4.5
The smell is apples, apples, apples: green, fresh, and sour. Also, a sweet biscuity yeast is present. Delicious.
Taste
4
First is that green apple, though less sour than on the nose. Then there are sweet malts, and it’s complex with an almost nuttiness and yeasty goodness. Very interesting and impeccably balanced. Just a touch of bitterness carries more green apples through the finish. The final finish is bready yeast.
Mouthfeel
4
Medium-bodied, dryish, airy, and effervescent. A very nice clean feel.
Drinkability
4.5
It is the easiest Trappist to drink. Well, maybe the Westvleteren Blonde, but that’s tough to compare given the lack of availability.
Overall
4.15
An incredible, perfectly balanced, versatile beer. I love this offering from Westmalle.
Price
$4.65/330ml. That’s the US price. I’ve been able to find it at $3.55CAD in Ontario. At the US price, it’s tough to justify to be honest. But at the Canadian price, it’s tough not to.
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Barrel House Belgian Winter Ale

Posted by jwpiper on January 5, 2009

This beer tasted reasonably good paired with the Carbonnades Flamandes this weekend. Even though I knew it was the dog of the group by itself, I thought I’d give it a chance to go along with the leftovers. Poured into a sniffer at about 40 degrees.
Appearance
3.5
Pours an amber browm with essentially no head.
Smell
3.5
The smell is filled with sweet fruit: like cooked figs. Some roasted smells in the sweet malty aroma. Also a bit nutty.
Taste
3
The flavor is a bit more one-dimensional and a bit thinner than the aroma. Very much dominated by the cooked fruit sweet malts. Somehow, eating with the Carbonnades brought out the roasted flavors – some coffee notes. This disappeared into a distant memory once I finished with the dinner and focused on the beer. The flavors are actually pretty decent, but it’s tough to get into such a one-dimensional beer.
Mouthfeel
2.5
The mouthfeel is pretty syruppy and thick. There is not very much carbonation in this beer.
Drinkability
2.5
With the mouthfeel and one-dimensional flavor, it will be tougher than I’d like to get through the full 22 oz.
Overall
3.1
Not an excellent beer, but not too bad if you can find someone to to share it with and the moment calls for something sweet.
Price
$25/12-bottle case ($2.08/22oz) in the quantity my friend bought it at. Tough to hate it at this price. But tougher to love it… period.

I’m a bit happy that I didn’t make the Carbonnades with this. It was sweet enough as it was, and this would have removed the complexity that Westmalle Dubbel gave it.

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Ommegang (Abbey Ale)

Posted by jwpiper on December 30, 2008

I’ve been wanting to try Ommegang’s dubbel for a while now. And I’m looking for a more available and inexpensive beer (than Westmalle Dubbel) to use in Carbonades Flamande which I plan to make for some friends this weekend. In that spirit, I’ve split a 750 with my wife, poured into a Westmalle chalice at about 50-55 degrees.

Appearance
4.5
Nice very dark brown color, opaque even when held up to a light. Develops a decent 2cm off-white fluffy head which remains as a thin layer. There is a nice trailing lace when drinking, but it doesn’t seem to want to stick to the glass more than 1cm above the beer.
Smell
4
Wonderful smell of tart green apples, some sweet caramel. There’s even a winey acidity… like a savignon blanc. Not overwhelming, but very present. Actually remeniscient of Westmalle dubbel, if a bit stronger and simpler.
Taste
3.5
First sip is sweet malts, the apples aren’t nearly as strong as on the nose. Thin finish. More tastes leave an musty impression: definite bready yeast. It lacks some complexity. Alcohol is well hidden. There is a bit of tartness. The hop profile is minor – very little bitterness, but perhaps some citrusy contribution. Definite refreshing apple aftertaste. There is nothing offensive here. Well balanced flavors, not too sweet, but light-bodied. I’m leaning towards 3.5 because it is a bit thin. Actually a little closer to a 3.75 rating.
Mouthfeel
3.5
The mouthfeel is fairly dry and effervescent. Nothing terribly special and also a little thin. Actually closer to a 3.75 rating.
Drinkability
4.5
The light-body (probably most people’s medium body, but I stick to the high gravity beers usually) makes this one very drinkable. The refreshing apple reminds you to take another sip if it’s been too long, though the sip is a touch dissapointing. This would make a great session beer.
Overall
3.9
An excellent example of the style from Ommegang. I’d like to put some down in the cellar for a year or two and see if the complexity builds.
Price
$6/750ml. A good value.

Might be worthy for the Carbonades, but I’d add more and reduce it if substituting for a Westmalle Double. No worries about bitterness building when cooking with this.

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