Friday, January 15, 2010

Westmalle Dubbel

Ah Westmalle, the trappist abbey that gave us the terms dubbel and trippel to describe our beers. Tonight I have decided to review the first and my personal favorite of the trappist dubbels.

The dubbel from Westmalle is incredibly complex, it mixes some nice fruity esters (similar to plum or raisin) with some spice I can't quite put my finger on, along with a wonderful malty characteristic and a little hoppiness in the end it really shines out as a bacon of what the Belgian's can accomplish in their brewing.

One of my favorite characteristics of this brew is also a favorite of mine with good wines (reds mainly,) the temperature it is served at has a profound effect on it's flavor. Refrigerator temps tend to make it taste sharper bring out a little more of the hop characteristics and move the malts and fruity esters aside. When you let a glass of this sit for a little while two wonderful things happen, 1 the glass warms and it allows the flavors to meld, 2 the beer oxidizes a little and brings out the spice more. My serving suggestion is to get yourself a nice chalice style glass, or at least something with a nice wide mouth, pour it trying to leave a little at the bottom (this is a bottle conditioned brew and there are active yeast as well as something called trub that lies on the bottom) and just let it sit for maybe 5 minutes. I know 5 minutes seems like a long time but your mouth will thank me.

As far as the yeast and trub go, I for one kind of like the flavor it brings but many people do not. My suggestion for dealing with it is to try leaving it at the bottom of the bottle, then once you finish your glass pour the remainder in and give it a taste, that way you can decide for yourself. the yeast and trub are not harmful in anyway, in fact brewer's yeast is rather good for you, well at least hippies think so and they brought us granola so who knows.