Dubbel Trubbel

20 litres; partial mash; OG = 1073; IBU=28; SRM = 28 (calculated, actual values may vary)

A moderately strong, medium dark Belgian ale. Spicy from both the yeast and the flavourings added. Aging it well is recommended, trying it several different times over the course of a couple of years. In effect you'll probably find that you have brewed several different small batches in one, as the flavours really evolve over time.


  • 1.8kg pale malt (preferably Belgian)
  • 230g Belgian Special B (or dark crystal malt 90 - 120 °L)
  • 1 teaspoon roasted barley
  • 2.7kg unhopped amber malt extract syrup
  • 2 cups brown treacle sugar
  • 8 AAUs of any English-type bittering hop (such as Brewer's Gold) 60 minutes (30g of 8% alpha acids)
  • 1 packet of rehydrated Safale T-58 (slightly peppery) or S-33 (fruity)
  • Spices &/or Herbs:
    • 1g ground black peppercorns
    • 1 small cinnamon stick (±75 - 100cm)
    • 1g Grains of Paradise

Brewing instructions:

  • Heat 8 litres of water to 74°C.
  • Crush grains and mix in, striking a mash temperature of 67°C. Hold for 75 minutes. Begin run-off. Sparge with 12 litres at 76°C.
  • Add malt extract and treacle sugar to the runnings and bring to a boil.
  • Add hops, then boil for 60 minutes. Turn off heat. Add cinnamon stick.
  • Crush Grains of Paradise and black pepper and add.
  • Cool and transfer to your primary fermenter.
  • Add enough cold, pre-boiled water to make up 20 litres. Chill to 20°C, pitch yeast and seal.
  • Ferment as close to 18°C as you can manage.
  • Rack to secondary after about two weeks, place in a cool dark place (13°C maximum) for six weeks.
  • Prime and bottle as usual.
  • Age at least three months.


Grains: there's just something about Belgian grains. Sure, go ahead and substitute British or American pale malt, but I wouldn't! Special B is a highly caramelized crystal-type malt. Dark crystal isn't quite the same. Be very careful of the roasted barley - it is not entirely typical or appropriate in a Belgian recipe, but I like what it adds here.

Spices: this is just one of many combinations possible. The idea is to strike a balance, find a contrast that stands out. It should be fairly sharp and pronounced, but not overwhelming. If you've never tried using grains of paradise, which is a relative of cardamom, you are in for a pleasant surprise! The pepper and grains of paradise are small enough to settle out with the rest of the trub, but you will probably want to fish out the cinnamon stick, or you can try to put the whole mix in a fabric steeping bag.

(Source: byo.com. Recipe adapted to Imperial measurements as well as for availability of ingredients in South Africa.)