Instead of that juicy, yet shallow potential, I chose a few rich, luscious Dubbels to feature back to back and get a feel for the traditional Abbeys alongside the new vanguard. Have mercy! (points to who knows who said that.)
Dubbels date back to 1836 and the Westmalle brewery, when they made a darker, stronger brown ale as a variation to their Wit. The name dubbel became a convention post World War II to differentiate this new style of beer. (Westmalle will be reviewed later this month)
Maredsous 8 (Dubbel) 8% ABV: Mmm. I like this beer. Baked fig tart. And those wonderful Dalmation fig preserves. Rich and luscious, but not overbearing. Smooth. Dried fruit, dark caramel and caro syrup on the nose, with cocoa on the palate. A more drying, tannic finish than the nose would suggest. But this is a welcome aspect, and like acidity in wine, it makes you want to drink again. But don't mistake me, there a definitely lingering notes of that dried fruit on the finish. As it warms, a bit of sweet cherry on the nose! Nice. I would definitely recommend this for a Dubbel.
St. Bernardus Prior 8 (Dubbel) 8% ABV: Dark amber color, with almost a purplish hue to it. Aromas of dates, toasted malt, brown sugar, dried cherry, prune, and grape greet the nose. Follows through for a sweet and rich, yet smooth palate. From start to finish, this beer maintains each and every aroma and flavor. This is an example of a beer that tastes EXACTLY the way it smells. No surprises, no rough edges, this a classic Dubbel for beer lovers and neophytes alike.
Goose Island Pere Jacques (Dubbel) 9% ABV: Pours a pretty brown/orange/amber color. Aromas of sweet spice, orange and orange peel, dark brown sugar, a bit of white pepper, and oddly enough, a touch of melon. Hmm. It's not on the nose, but baked bread emerges on the palate, particularly the entry.
As it warms, more maple syrup notes surface, but a mild hop bitterness lingers in the finish. With its dark flavors, this would pair nicely with a Brown Sugar and Nut tart with citrus zest, cookies, and even simple Fig Newtons.
Find yourself some Dubbel Trouble and let me know your favorites!