Homebrew Review: Bourbon Dubbel

Homebrew Review: Rose-Cheeked & Blonde
Rose-Cheeked & Blonde ale on the right, Bourbon Dubbel on the left.

Next Brooklyn Brew Shop recipe I brewed was their Bourbon Dubbel. For this, I soaked oak chips for 24 hours like the recipe said, but instead of bourbon I used a rye whiskey because I had that on hand. I don’t remember what brand, though.

So, really, this one was a Rye Dubbel.

Anyway, the brewing went well, this being my third attempt, until I got it into the carboy. It looked brown. Like, not a good brown. Like the type of brown that’s the color of a dying lake. So, I was wary of that.

After 6 weeks of fermenting and bottle conditioning, I tried one. Here’s what I experienced:

  • Smelled like a musty forrest.
  • Looked like UNCLEAN toilet water.
  • Tasted like a dirty lake.

So, not great. I think I tried another one a couple nights later with the same results. They both made me feel like I’d just been camping for a month and needed a shower more than anything. The taste was strong, but also it was just SO FULL of alcohol. NOT GOOD.

So I put the other seven bottles I had down in our unfinished, cold basement and let them sit. My plan was to taste another one after 6 months of aging. So, at the beginning of October I cracked one open. I figured it wouldn’t have changed too much. Here’s what it was like:

  • The color was no longer a terrible, cloudy brown, but a really clear brown. Like, you could see right through it. Just really nice looking.
  • It no longer smelled really terrible. Now, more like a subtle oak flavor.
  • It tasted really fantastic. Not too much alcohol taste, but enough of the rye whiskey flavor. Some of the oaky-woody-forrest, but not in an overbearing way.

I’m not really sure what this was SUPPOSED to taste like, but it’s really good. I’d say the Bourbon Dubbel (or, Lake Dubbel) is probably the best beer I’ve made. Of course, it needed six months to get there, so not a whole lot of immediate satisfaction. And I don’t plan on trying another one for another 6 months. SO HARD TO WAIT.

Next homebrew review coming soon…Spring Lager.