Westmalle Dubbel is a dark, reddish-brown Trappist beer with a secondary fermentation in the bottle. The creamy head has the fragrance of special malt and leaves an attractive lace pattern in the glass. The flavour is rich and complex, herby and fruity with a fresh-bitter finish. It is a balanced quality beer with a soft feel in the mouth and a long, dry aftertaste. The Dubbel contains 7% alcohol.
Since 1856 the monks have also been brewing a dark Trappist beer along with their table beer. Since the recipe was modified in 1926, they have been brewing slightly heavier beer. This is the foundation of today’s Dubbel.
The 33 cl bottles are distributed individually, in baskets of six or in 24 bottle crates. The Westmalle Dubbel is also the only dark Trappist beer available on draught in some 300 selected hotels, restaurants and cafes, from kegs of 30 and 50 litres. Dubbel Trappist continues to ferment, making the draught version slightly sweeter than the bottled version.
Dubbel Trappist is also available in 75 cl bottles, in which the beer matures differently than the smaller bottles. You will particularly notice a more subtle aftertaste.
Jef van den Steen on Westmalle Dubbel
“Westmalle Dubbel can be described as two beers with one name.
The beer is available in kegs as well as bottles. (...) Both beers have a reddish, deep-brown colour and are crowned with an abundant head which is more yellowish than white. But it is the aroma that really distinguishes the two versions. The aroma of the bottled beer is characterised by esters and fruitiness, with fragrant bursts of ripe bananas. The draught beer is less fruity, thus allowing the coffee-flavour of the dark malt to become more prominent. Even a slight aniseed aroma can be discerned. The bottled beer is surprisingly dry, making it easily drinkable, while the draught version is more robust, smooth with the rich flavours of caramel and roasted malt. The aftertaste of the bottled beer is drier, fruitier and slightly bitter, while the draught Dubbel leaves a more superficial and sweeter impression.”
Bron: Jef van den Steen, Trappist, Davidsfonds, Leuven, 2003, p. 42.
Bob Magerman on Westmalle Dubbel
(7% alcohol)The draught beer has a less sophisticated fragrance, is not as full but has a much stronger finish with a freshly bitter aftertaste. The bottled version is much grander than the majority of abbey beers, however, the draught beer clearly has even more personality. It is a refreshing and tasty beer that can really be appreciated on a summer terrace. So you should take care. The 25 cl glass in which this draught Westmalle Dubbel is served is an excellent idea: it is an exact copy of the original 33 cl goblet, only smaller.”
Bron: Bob Magerman in Belgisch Bierboek, Lannoo, Tielt, 2002, p. 207.