Deck the halls with festive bollocks: A Christmas Belgian Dubbel (with Cherries)

20150708_113530It’s only just October, yet I can already feel the weight of Christmas bearing down on my very soul.  Still, if there’s one good thing about it, it’s seeing their little faces light up as you bring the bottles out…and that’s the adults, rather than the kids.

Don’t you think that kids get enough for Christmas as it is!?

I decided to do a Belgian Dubbel because I haven’t done one before and also because the style should carry the foraged wild cherries well.

Apparently I have enough cherries in the freezer for 10L only (according to this advice: so with a bit of rounding up and buggering around it looks like 1Kg of cherries for every 5L of beer.  The remaining 13L will go into bottles as a standard Belgian Dubbel.

The Dubbel style calls for maltiness without too much hop, so it seems a perfect vehicle for the fruit.  My taste of this beer as it went into the fermenter was deeply malty with a nice chocolate malt edge.  Cherries and Chocolate, how nice is that?

I did the usual Braumeister routine but with a higher maltose rest to encourage some more body (mash-in at 38C, maltose rest at 67C [80 mins] and mashed out at 76C [10 mins]), you can find the recipe below and also note that I’m using Safebrew Abbaye dried yeast – which I’m reliably told by my wife “stinks”, while it’s fermenting…

What “stinks” to my wife is usually a good solid Belgian phenol ferment to me.  Once it got going it went like a steam train.

After two weeks, I’ll rack 10 litres off into a carboy with the cherries – which I’ll be sulphiting for 24 hours beforehand.  Much as I love sour beer, this isn’t going to be one, and there’ll wild yeast aplenty on those cherries.

I’m also going to purge the carboy with C02 as I don’t want any staling from 02 exposure.  I expect I’ll leave it then until December 1st and then bottle it for Chrimbo.

I’ll update this post with all that fun and games when I do it…

Here’s the recipe, see how I cunningly used up a right load of odds and ends!  (Including 600g of Thai Palm sugar)