The dubbel (also double) is a Belgian Trappist beer naming convention. The origin of the dubbel was a beer brewed in the Trappist Abbey of Westmalle in 1856. The abbey had, since 10 December 1836, brewed a light coloured beer that was quite sweet and light in alcohol for consumption by the monks. The new beer, however, was a strong version of a brown beer. In 1926, the formulation was changed and it became even stronger. The first written record of its sale by the abbey was on 1 June 1861. Following World War Two, abbey beers became popular in Belgium and the name "dubbel" was used by several breweries for commercial purposes.
Westmalle Dubbel was imitated by other breweries, Trappist and secular, Belgian and worldwide, leading to the emergence of a style. Dubbels are now understood to be a fairly strong (6%-8% alcohol by volume) brown ale, with understated bitterness, fairly heavy body, and a pronounced fruitiness and cereal character.
Chimay Red/Premiere, Koningshoeven/La Trappe Dubbel and Achel 8 Bruin are examples from Trappist breweries. Affligem and Grimbergen are Belgian abbey breweries that produce dubbels. Ommegang and New Belgium's Abbey Ale are examples from the USA.
- Geert van Lierde et al., In het Spoor van de Trappisten ISBN 90-261-0704-8, page 25
- Jef van den Steen, Trappist - Het Bier en de Monniken ISBN 90-5826-214-6, pages 33 & 41
- Belgium's Great Beers
- A history and guide to Trappist breweries in Belgium
- Another history and guide to Trappist breweries in Belgium
- The Belgian Beer Board
- The Belgian Beer Pub Map
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