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Lagering a Dubbel

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ivars

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Apologies in advance if this should have been posted elsewhere - still getting used to the Forum. I have had a few goes at a Dubbel and it's pretty much my favourite style. "Brewing Classic Styles" points out that one of the keys to a good Dubbel is fermentation temperature control: pitching at 18°C, raising to 21°C over a week and holding till finished. Their recipe uses Wyeast 3787 which is too phenolic for my liking so I use 1214. They say to "....carbonate the beer to approximately 3 to 4 volumes and allow to lager for 1 month at .... 7°C to 10°C." I do understand that this temperature is rather high for "lagering". I now have the ability to control temperatures but never having lagered before, my question is: does the beer carbonate when stored in the bottle at this temperature or would people allow it to carbonate first and then lager? I guess I don't really understand what conditioning at this temperature achieves. Hope someone can help me out.
 

iralosavic

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I expect it would still carbonate, but very slowly as a lot of the yeast would floccuate at those temperatures. My preference would be to allow a month at 18c after bottling. 3787 is Westmalle and 1214 is from Chimay, which is still fairly phenolic and fruity, but you want these things in a Dubbel.
 

JDW81

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It will still carbonate, but will take considerably longer than at fermenting temperatures. I shouldn't really matter though as Dubbels aren't really a grain to brain in 14 days kind of beer. The idea of "largering" at those temperatures seems to be trying to mirror what would be fairly standard cellaring temperatures. Whether or not you can call it largering is another conversation.

IMHO If you are able to hold it at those temperatures for an extended period of time (months, not weeks), the beer will actually age better than if it were held at fermentation temps (this is based on my own experience across a number of styles). Conditioning at lower temps helps slow the normal ageing process that occurs naturally in all beers. It reduces/slows the effects of oxidation and helps the yeast to not throw off anything funky, which can occur if conditioning occurs at a higher than optimal temperature. Other than that, I'm not sure why it makes a difference, I just know from experience that it does.

JD.
 

iralosavic

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As JDW says, because the appropriate length of time to condition a Dubbel is so long (I'd go 4-6 months or longer), there's no rush to reduce the temp down until after carbonation. I'd also call 10-12c cellaring. It's also the appropriate temperature to serve a Dubbel at.
 

ivars

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JDW81 said:
It will still carbonate, but will take considerably longer than at fermenting temperatures. I shouldn't really matter though as Dubbels aren't really a grain to brain in 14 days kind of beer. The idea of "largering" at those temperatures seems to be trying to mirror what would be fairly standard cellaring temperatures. Whether or not you can call it largering is another conversation.
Cheers for that. I wasn't able to find much to help with lagering ales but what you say makes sense. The use of the term in this context by Zainasheff did seem a bit odd which was why I baulked at using it myself - even though I'm a noobie. It's all sitting at 10°C now - let you all know how it turned out in a few months. :icon_cheers:
 

ivars

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JDW81 said:
It reduces/slows the effects of oxidation and helps the yeast to not throw off anything funky, which can occur if conditioning occurs at a higher than optimal temperature. Other than that, I'm not sure why it makes a difference, I just know from experience that it does.
Just a quick progress report. Based on advice here, I stored 3 dozen @ 10°C and left 2 doz at room temp as a "control". The son and I decided to test the early results today at day 18. Turns out that there is little or no difference in the level of carbonation ... and ... the dubbel stored at 10°C has a much smoother and more stable head than the control. It also pours much clearer than the one stored at room temp. We think that the flavour is more developed with no "funky" overtones. I'm now a total believer and the balance which was subjected to room temp has been moved to 10°C for the duration. What a great forum this is!
 

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