Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Ollie's Darwinian Dubbel

This was an experiment in mixing yeasts. Simply put, I wanted to know what would happen if you used both a Belgian and British yeast strain in the same brew.

I figured there were essentially 2 possible outcomes:

1) A sort of hybrid beer would result, ideally like an abbey-style beer (sweet, spicy, and fruity) but somewhat less so. Drier, per the addition of British yeast.

2) The yeast strains would compete for resources, and one will be much more successful at it.

Either way, I figure this would be instructive and in all likelihood produce a beer that I would like.

As the eventual name of the beer indicates, the result seems to have been the latter, with the Belgian yeast (in this case) the victor. There may be a subtle effect of the British stuff, but if you handed me the result and told me it was an abbey/dubbel style, I wouldn't question it.

Obviously, the control experiment* would be to repeat it without the British yeast and see if it tastes the same. And I may very well do this, as I really, really like this beer.

The result is reddish light mahogany with a creamy head that laces the glass nicely all the way down. Ripe fruit and a little spice on the nose, plums, candi sugar, cloves, and cinnamon on the pallate, and a pretty dry finish. Alcohol very much relegated to the background. Fantastic with Thanksgiving dinner, or as a nightcap.

Enough bragging. Here's the recipe, should you choose to try your own experiment.

Ollie's Darwiniam Dubbel


0.5 lb 2-row Belgian biscuit
0.5 lb roasted barley (300L)
1.0 lb Weyermann Cara Red (15-20L)
1.0 lb Caramunich III (53-60)


6 lb Munton's Amber

Everything else:

0.5 lb dark candi sugar
1 oz Tettnang, 4.9% alpha
2 oz Saaz, 3.8% alpha
2 cinnamon sticks
1 Tbs cloves
1 Tbs nutmeg
1 tsp lemon peel

Grains were steeped 30 minutes in about 2 gallons at 150ºF, sparged and brought to a boil. Extract and sugar were added and brought back up to a boil. Tettnang was added for 60 minutes, Saaz and the spices for 15.

The wort was cooled and diluted to approximately 5 gallons and pitched with "Propagator" packs of Belgian Abbey II and London ESB from WYeast. OG was 1.065. Ambient fermentation temperature was about 65ºF (hot damn I love having a basement now!) The beer was racked to secondary on day 7 and bottled on day 14. FG was 1.018, 6.5% ABV.

*Actually, the proper control experiment would be to divide the same batch of wort and pitch different yeast combinations into each vat side-by-side, but that would be a bit expensive and space consuming at this point. Did I mention this is just my hobby?


  • At 8:20 PM, Blogger chris said…

    Save a bottle for me for the next time we meet up.

    I'm still working my way up to all-grain. I bought the ingredients, now I just have to make time to do it.


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