Westmalle Trappist is one of the 10 Trappist Breweries (including the new Spencer Abbey in Massachusetts and Zundert in The Netherlands). They also boast the second largest brewery with only Chimay out producing them. Founded at the end of the 18th Century, Westmalle is one of the newer Trappists but has had a profound influence on the styles that have become known as Trappist and Abbey beers. They were credited with creating the mother of all modern triples in 1934. But what is less known is that they’re mostly likely the creator of the modern dubbel as well.
Westmalle created their dubbel in 1856 and brewed it virtually unchanged until 1956 when they tweaked both the triple and dubbel recipes. You can learn more about how dubbels and triples got their names here.
Appearance: Hazy brown, amber highlights, tan head, good retention.
Aroma: Spicy!, Cinnamon, brown sugar, molasses, cloves, dried fruit, caramel
Taste: Phenolic, chocolate, hint of smoke, cocoa, touch of alcoholic warmth
Overall Impression: Westmalle Dubbel has a very nice high carbonation level that keeps the beer lively and contributes to a velvety mouthfeel. It’s rich and balanced with a medium finish. This is a true classic of Belgian and Trappist brewing. It’s the dubbel which gave rise to all other modern dubbels, both at the other Trappist breweries as well as at the secular breweries. It’s a must try beer if you haven’t already experienced it.
Availability: Nationally in better beer stores. (Check their importer for details: Merchant du Vin)
You can learn more about the history of the Trappist order here and specifically about the history of Westmalle here. If you’d like to read more of my reviews on Westmalle’s beers, you can do it at my page dedicated to the brewery.