Honey Dubbel

Queen Freyja, the first of my queens.

On December 29th I brewed the last beer of 2018. This beer was inspired by two things – my recent foray into the hobby of beekeeping, and my desire to brew a 12% ABV quad in the new year. Thus the honey dubbel was born – a lower gravity dubbel, brewed with honey in place of the sugar normally used in the style.

I am quite new to the beekeeping game, having started in May 2018 with a single hive. But even given my newness, I had a great year. I split my first hive (raising my own queen – Gersemi, daughter of Freyja), and even ending up with 8 kg of honey for my own use. So keep an eye on my blog for an upcoming video and a few more recipes using this unexpected bounty.

As far as dubbels go, this is a tame recipe. The malt and hop character has been restrained, in order to accentuate the honey character. The gravity is also kept on the low end, to allow the beer to act as a starter for my upcoming quad. Lastly, the yeast I used is not a traditional dubbel yeast, as I wanted my favourite quad yeast for my upcoming brew. Despite these deviations from the norm, this beer turned out wonderful.


Recipe

Recipe Specifications

It was so unseasonably warm that the bees were flying!
  • Boil Size: 30.48 L
  • Post Boil Volume: 24.48 L
  • Batch Size (fermenter): 21.00 L
  • OG: 1.053 (pre-honey), 1.064 (est. post-honey)
  • Color: 13.2 SRM
  • IBU: 16.2 IBUs
  • Est Mash Efficiency: 80.6 %
  • Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Water Profile:

  • Calcium: 52 PPM
  • Sodium: 28 PPM
  • Chloride: 60 PPM Cl
  • Magnesium: 8.1 PPM
  • Sulfate: 49.6 PPM
  • Bicarbonate: 110.4 PPM

Ingredients:

Amt          Name                                 %/IBU
3.00 kg Pilsner (2.0 SRM) 51.0 %
1.50 kg Munich 10L (10.0 SRM) 25.5 %
0.45 kg Caramunich I (51.0 SRM) 7.7 %
0.12 kg Special B (180.0 SRM) 2.1 %
15.00 g Target [9.25 %] 0 Boil 60.0 min 16.2 IBUs
0.80 kg Honey [2 days into primary] 13.6 %
Starter Belgian Dark Ale (Wyeast Labs #3822)

Mash & Sparge

Single infusion mash, 67.0C, 60 min. Batch sparge with 76 C water

Fermentation

I chilled the wort to 19C, at which point I pitched a 1.5 L starter of 3822. To preserve the honey character, I waited until 2 days after the yeast pitch to add the honey. At this point I also began ramping the temperature until I reached 24C. This temperature was held for 1.5 weeks, at which point I allowed the beer to return to cellar temperature (~16C) for an additional week. The beer was then carefully racked into a keg and force-carbonated, and the yeast recovered and stored for brewing the quad.


Tasting Notes

Appearance: The beer is highly carbonated, and pours with a thick white head that lasts for the pint, leaving trails of Belgian lace behind. The body of the beer is a deep red with a touch of haze.

Aroma: The peppery aroma of the yeast dominates the aroma, along with a more subtle clove and fruit aroma. The honey character is also very apparent, and blends nicely with the spice of the yeast.

Flavour: This beer came out exactly as I hoped. Up-front is a wonderful Belgian yeast character – peppery, with a touch of clove and a balancing fruitiness. The beer has a nice malt character, dominated by the floral flavour of honey, but with hints of caramel and raisins. The aftertaste starts with the clove/pepper phenols from the yeast, and then fades into a lingering touch of honey.

Mouthfeel: Like most dubbels, the mouthfeel is medium but leaning towards dry. The beer is whetting and thirst-quenching.

Overall: This is a great beer – complex and flavourful, with a wonderful aroma. As I had hoped when formulating this recipe, the beer accentuates the honey and yeast, with the hops and malts playing a supporting role. The only flaw in the beer is the slight haze – which is directly a result of me forgetting to add gelatin to the keg. A fantastic beer, and one to add to the “brew again” folder.

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