12 x 330ml Dubbel Date
Big Ideas Series 15 Dubbel Date (6.7%) x12
Description and Tasting Notes
A brown beer in the Belgian style with the trademark fruity Abbey Ale flavour profile and fortified with Iranian dates in the kettle.
Pours an inviting tawny brown with a tight creamy head and unmistakably Begian aroma - unctuous honey and vanilla sweetness and a big hit of banoffee pie. If you hover over the glass the malt bill is all there in front of you, along with a hint of liquorice from the Iranian Sayer dates. It’s soft and honey-like on the palate, balanced with moderate bitterness and floral/citrus sharpness from the Celeia and Perle hops. Sweet shop candy with notes of plums and banana hit the spot and give way to a lingering fruity, cereal, honey-nut baklava finish.
What The Hell Was I Thinking?
I love Belgian beer, and I love the way it frequently seems to overlap with Scottish beer. There’s a lot going on in the Venn diagram of Belgian Dubbel and Scottish Export - malty, sweet, fruity, balanced, refreshing and delicious if done well, cloying, bland and over-sweet if not. The Belgian version pushes the fruit a bit further into the foreground, adds some spice maybe, and is a bit more relaxed about ABV; it’s basically the perfect winter beer.
Like most (all?) good Belgian beers, the yeast does the heavy lifting in a Dubbel and I’d been really happy with the strain I’d used for the Christmas Ale. So that was the starting point. I’d also happened to be reading Brew Like A Monk, a superb reference for brewing Abbey-style beers, and in there is a recipe for a Dubbel brewed with raisins… which led me to dates, then a date pun, then another (there’s going to be a Dubbel Barrel in a few months). And once you have a good pun or puns, you have to brew the beer - that’s the rules. This is the first fruit addition I’ve done, if you don’t count spruce tips, and I like what it adds here - dates seem like a natural partner for a Dubbel. The final piece of the jigsaw was down to timing; the busy festive period meant that sales sped up, production consequently slowed down and this beer ended up conditioning all through December and into January, allowing the flavours to meld and mature, just as the monks would’ve intended.