This is our second review of a beer hailing from The Little Brewing Company, having previously looked at the tripel. Though, conversely, it’s quite possibly our first review of a dubbel. And we’re all for trying new things here at Drunkspec!
So [it probably goes without saying that] this ale is made in the style of the traditional beers brewed in the Trappist monasteries of Belgium. In broad terms, a dubbel is usually understood to be a relatively strong, dense brown ale, often with robust fruit and malt characters. The Little Brewing Co. describe theirs as “… a dark, rich, luxuriously strong ale… with excellent head retention and a thick creamy head.“
But, wait, there’s more:
The aroma is “malty with complex fruity esters, raisins, plums, spice, chocolate and a distinct rum character”, while the flavour is “rich and malty with dark fruit characters (raisin, plum) rum and chocolate. Medium/full bodied with a warming mouth feel.”
… or so they say…
On the pour, it’s just short of amazing, as much as I hate to admit that “excellent head retention and a thick creamy head” might be right on the money. It’s most definitely thick, and creamy and delicious looking. I just want to lick it straight out of the glass.
It’s a dark, very cloudy amber and the aroma is one of sweet, fleshy stonefruit. Think peach, nectarine maybe some tropical mango. There’s light hints of spice in there too but I can’t quite discern which.
To taste, the sweetness – commensurate to the beer’s alcoholic pungency – is the overarching sensation on the palate. It’s a rummy kind of sweetness that rounds out on the back of the palate to a contrasting and slightly burny alcohol kick – you know what I’m talking about: it warms you up from the inside out. I’m inclined to say that there may be a bit of all spice in there too at the end. Then again, it could just be the bitey-ness of the alcohol I’m feeling.
If there’s any fruitiness in the flavour, it’s incredibly subtle. For me it’s more a sugar-y kind of sweetness. The bitterness is also subtle and subdued, as per the style. Though, somewhat surprisingly, it holds its own and lingers in contrast to the abovementioned sweetness.
In my opinion, it’s a well-made beer and has all the elements you might expect from a dubbel. It’s perhaps somewhat of a niche market for The Little Brewing Co. but so long as they continue to make good quality beers which do well to replicate their intended styles, it stands to reason that they’ll do well in the Australian craft beer market. It’s a thumbs up from me.
- Genre: Belgo
- Regionality: Port Macquarie, NSW
- Strength: 6.9%
- Rating: 2 / 3 taste + 1.5 / 2 ancillaries = 3.5 / 5
- Plus: It’s a pretty good replica of the style
- Minus: It’s not really a beer to be drinking in spring in Queensland