Grimbergen Dubbel | Brouwerij Alken-Maes

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Grimbergen DubbelGrimbergen Dubbel

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Alken-Maes

Style: Dubbel

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-11-2001

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Reviews: 501 | Ratings: 1,044
Photo of Dinglehacker
3.98/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into chalice. A Belgian ale with no head? Spots of lace. Nice ruby brown shade.

Nose is mostly grape, with some other dark fruits and underlying breadiness.

Taste: A dry bitterness over dark fruit, particularly figs. Notes of bitter chocolate and honey.

Mouth is a little thin, with some alcohol bite.

A fruitier dubbel, generally smooth and drinkable.

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Photo of jzlyo
4.05/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma is chocolate/cocoa, caramel malts and mild fruit. The flavor is fruit/berries, chocolate, caramel/malts and a mix of tart and sweet in the finish.

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Photo of GrumpyGas
4.1/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz draft pour into a pint glass.
A bold clear mahogany colored body floats a virulent 1in. cream colored head that relaxes to a 1/8in. cover with lacing.
Aroma includes sweet roast malt, brown sugar, and spices.
Flavors match with anise spice and orange pith more distinct.
I am really surprised by this beer on tap in June. September would be more appropriate. This beer is right in my wheelhouse and is unexpected. I had never heard of Grimbergen. I was visiting a new restaurant. All indicators were pointing to a faux belgian dubbel. It now appears to be the real deal.
Who knew?

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Photo of BeerAndGasMasks
4.17/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From the tap, it pours mahogany with a nicely sized head. Enjoyable lightly malty and sweet scent, followed by a malty with a bit of fruitiness flavor. Curious what will happen to this now that I have heard the brand was sold...

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Photo of Beginner2
3.79/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I've probably had this three times over the last decade. (But I just started reviewing, right?)
It has some character in the nose, but its distinction comes from all the fruit on the palate.
It also has low carbonation, allowing the fruit and malt to linger.
I hope to buy this several times again during the next decade.

Reviewed in "Michael Jackson's Great Beers of Belgium", this awaits my review with another tasting.

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Photo of Gajo74
4.03/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Brown and mahogany color, big head and creamy lace that retains very well throughout.
Earthy, almost potato like (first time I've ever detected that in a beer), in the nose. Dark fruits, grain and a strong orange zest aroma on the back end. A slight metallic aroma brings down the score slightly. (Perhaps it was the tap line at the place I had it at)
Sweet taste, malty and fruity, particularly figs. The sweetness is balanced just enough by a peppery feel. Sweet finish with raw grain.
Very smooth and creamy. Soft carbonation. Light bodied for a Dubbel and very drinkable. Overall, I thought this was quite tasty and easy drinking. At 6.5% ABV, I wonder whether one could refer to this as a session Dubbel.

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Photo of drmeto
3.86/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

-pours a clear ruby with a medium to big,frothy,beige head
-high carbonation visible
-grainy,sour cherries,caramel,brown sugar,orange zest
-plums,raisins,dates,slight caramel,cherries,candi sugar,herbs
-light to medium body
-medium carbonation
-faint alcohol warming
Compared to other Dubbels there is no real Belgian Yeast character to this.This reminded me more of an english strong ale than a Belgian Dubbel.
Overall it's very good though.

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Photo of Andrewharemza
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From bottle, Pours clear brown with low off white head Aromas of caramel, dark bread, spices Taste has sweet caramel, burned caramel, dark bread, black malts.

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Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours brilliant reddish brown under a 2" rocky off white head. Fruit and bread aromas. Fruity palate that finishes sweet with a slight touch of sour. Medium light body and medium high carbonation.

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Photo of interzen
4.34/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

330ml bottle poured into a chalice

Look: Deep, coppery red with a fingers-width of off-white head - decent retention, with head diminishing to a foam cap with a fair amount of lacing left behind.

Smell: Fairly typical for a dubbel - plenty of roasted malts, dark fruit and Christmas spices (think cloves, ginger, hint of pepper). Yeast-related smells are surprisingly absent.

Taste: Pretty much follows the smell - plenty of malt, spice and fruit with a wonderfully complex, fruity aftertaste. Bit of dark sugar and molasses thrown in to the mix too - it's surprisingly sweet with a hint of alcohol.

Feel: Medium feel, helped to a certain degree by the sweetness. Moderate amount of carbonation to keep things interesting.

Overall: As dubbels go, this isn't at all bad - it's unlikely to be a revelatory life-changer but that doesn't mean it's not worthy of attention. Insofar as dubbels and their ilk can be considered 'easy' drinking, this one is - definitely a good entry point to the style. A good, solid beer.

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Photo of DeepBrew
4.21/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12oz bottle into goblet

A: Mahogany with medium off white foam, low retention and leaves behind little lacing.

S: Rich malt, dark fruit and spice smell

T: Taste faithfully follows the smell, leaving behind a great aftertaste of complex dark fruit mix.

M: Medium mouthfeel and carbonation.

O: Very solid dubbel, great drink overall.

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Photo of Zach136
4.21/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Deep ruby, thin light tan head, OK lacing.

Aroma/Flavor: Lots of dark fruit and bready character. I get some seriously distinct blueberry cheesecake aroma and I really dig it. Hints of alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, refreshing, light carbonation.

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Photo of TheDoctor
3.66/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This is a pretty nice dubbel that I had on tap. It looks very nice and undeniably Belgian. The nose is very yeasty with some doughy alcohol and spices. The flavor is a bit thin and very sweet. It is light-medium bodied with a lingering sweetness. Fairly drinkable though I feel like it could be more substantive, less sweet, and a little heftier. Didn't change my life, worth a shot if you've never had it and like Belgians.

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Photo of DaveBar
3.83/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Purchased at the LCBO as a single. Served at 4deg C in a tulip

A- Opens well and pours a small brown head that dissipates to a film within a minute

S- Lots of figs and malt. Rather complex

T- Figs and malt. Has a nice blend of toffee and Tabaco overtones.

M- Nice and dry while being creamy.

O- A nice brew. Enjoyable to say the least. Will buy again.

Food Pairing

This nice little beer went well with.... BBQ Portobello mushrooms. No spices just the mushroom


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Photo of CalgaryFMC
3.55/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pint on tap at National Beer Hall in Calgary. A dark reddish brown with a single finger of light beige frothy head. Aroma is notably sweet and fruity, lots of grape, prune, apple, pear, and peach notes with faint cinnamon and brown sugar. Palate is similarly sweet, with the expected brown spice or cola-like elements ratcheted down in favor of fruit roll up and a caramel sweetness that becomes quite cloying as one proceeds through a full pint. Faintly sour at times but the overarching effect of caramel-drizzled fruitcake is difficult to ignore. Body on the thin side and the carbonation is higher than expected. Should be drier. I do not consider this to be a great dubbel. Some fruitiness is pleasant but should not be the dominant flavor in this style. Avoid in favor of more authentic examples, which are plenty easy to obtain.

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Photo of Roguer
4.3/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Very pleasant dark brown beer; reasonable head which quickly fades to an oily sheen.

Huge notes on the nose right from the pour: raisins and dates; plums; dark bread; brown sugar; candi sugar; wine-like booze; lighter tannins and oak. Really a complex Dubbel aroma on par with any of the Trappists.

Classic Dubbel flavor: prunes and cola; sweet red grapes; raisin bread; a hint of brown sugar. Liquid bread. A touch of spice from the yeast. Overall balanced sweetness.

Smooth and full-flavored with a medium-full body. Fairly lively.

This is a fantastic Dubbel leaning toward the sweet side. It can legitimately be listed up there with the best.

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Photo of biegaman
3.79/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Branded on the label over Grimbergen's flagship phoenix is the phrase "Ardet nec consumitur" - "burns but does not perish". In fact, the Double (or Dubbel or Ambrée depending on your market) does both; its sooty, dark complexion becomes aflame when held into the light and its head all but withers not long after the pour, leaving only a thin, glassy sheet over the top.

Don't for a second buy into the brewery's claim about heritage dating back to 1128 - beer may have been brewed in the town of Grimbergen since around that time, but this particular recipe is much newer than that and is currently manufactured, not in an abbey, but rather a collection of industrial facilities belonging to the subsidiaries of its current owner, Heineken. It may be named after monastery with 12th century roots, but that's about as far as it goes.

Granted, this is not to say the beer is without integrity. To be sure, it's a thinner, sweeter, and slightly weaker version of a Dubbel - something better suited to mainstream tastes - but this recipe has retained a good deal of the style's characteristics. Both the aroma and taste are distinguished by a strong raisin-y flavour, hints of spice, orange peel, and an almost molasses-like maltiness.

The Technicolour dried fruit notes and gentle fruit-cake spicing are all well and good, but Grimbergen is lacking where it counts most for a Dubbel: the mouthfeel. As stated, this is thinner and sweeter than others, and as such fails to provide the same level of satiation. It is pleasant and easily quaffed, but great examples of the style are mind-bogglingly complex as well.

Grimbergen is a mass-produced beer which means, like mass-produced anything, it offers average-quality at best. But if you're new to dark, Belgian, or Abbaye beers it's one you'll likely fall in love with (that is, until you try the likes of Westmalle, St. Bernardus, Rochefort, or Corsendonk). But even experienced drinkers are still likely to find it a perfectly serviceable, enjoyable ale. I do.

 2,015 characters

Photo of flyingpig
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

250ml Bottle (Gift from France):
A very nice Belgian beer here that didn't pour great but started to pick up soon after that, it was malty and had some sweetness in there giving it a fairly basic but pleasant taste that was well balanced and went down quite easily. There was a touch of alcohol on the nose but this didn't seem to follow through to the taste in any significant way, a good beer and one I wouldn't be against trying again.

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Photo of BeerDrinkersWorldTour
4.35/5  rDev +15.7%

A – Dark reddish brown colour with a finger of murky cream coloured head. The head dies to a thin cover and leaves very light lace down the side of my chalice.

S – Aromas of prune, raisins and plum. Good toffee sweetness and red grape wine aromas. There is a note of alcohol in the red grape wine smell but no hops to be smelt.

T – The flavour is very similar to the smell. Plenty of dark fruit with red wine alcohol, deep syrup/toffee sweetness with a slightly Smokey character and a light note of biscuit flavours.

MF – Very full in the mouth but with a slightly drying edge.

O – A cracking example of the style this beer has no flavour out of place. I have come across other that had more complex flavour but this beer gets by just fine doing what it does and doing it well.

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Photo of titvs
2.9/5  rDev -22.9%

Review based on the BJCP2008 guidelines (style 18B). Bottle 33 cl - Batch 23:30 <1>. AROMA: some ester aromas reminiscent of raisins and some dried cherries. spicy alcohols and a sweet and caramely background. some solventy alcohol notes are present. no hop aromas and no diacetyl. APPEARANCE: dark amber color with ruby tint. clear. average tanned moussy head with good retention. TASTE: low sweet malt flavour with a semi-sweet finish. low bitterness and no hop flavours. very faint to absent esters. PALATE: medium-low body with medium carbonation. OVERALL: a poor representation of a Belgian ale with poor malt complexity.

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Photo of BigBry
3.81/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

One of the draft offerings at Craft Beer Market in Calgary.
Slightly hazy/murky, reddish port color with a tall, fluffy head that lasted the whole glass and left nice looking lace'
Smells of sweet caramel, dark fruit, maybe even some oak.
Taste has lots of the same caramel malt, raisin or plum, woody finish.
Definately more sweeter flavors than hops or bitterness.
Medium body, almost creamy, low carbonation, smooth finish.
Not the best dubbel, but certainly no complaints.

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.59/5  rDev -4.5%

Grimbergen Cuvee Ambree )Dubbel (Double)) - 6.5% - Bottle at Rubens in Antwerp poured to Grimbergens glass. Pours dark brownish with some purple hues, and a half finger creamy off white head. Aroma is nice, with lots of dark fruits, figs, prunes, brown sugar. Smells very sweet. Flavor is figs and prunes, some brown sugar, and a slightly dirty finish here that lingers a bit unpleasantly. Prickly carbonation, soft mouthfeel otherwise, and relatively smooth down the throat. Not bad but the finish is a little offputting and downgrades things a bit.

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Photo of SerialTicker
3.72/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours a clear red/brown color with a bubbly tan head. No lacing left behind. The overall appearance of this beer is above average.

Smell: Caramel malt and dark fruit sweetness galore. No hops, though I wasn't expecting them, at least on the nose. Not a huge depth of flavor, but very pleasant, and also quite sweet. Quite nice.

Taste/feel: Moderate carbonation with a surprisingly full body are the highlight of this beer. A lot of sweetness, but remains drinkable as hell through it all. Zero off-flavors. Great for the style/those who enjoy malty/sugary sorts of beers. Substantial dark fruit and bready flavors. Not a huge flavor depth, but this doesn't need it. Great example of the style.

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Photo of OldeSchool
3.77/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle poured into a goblet.

A: Clear, ruby-red; very pleasing to my eye. Decent head that dissipates pretty quickly.

S: Fruity, with a hint of caramel and a trace of sour. "Farmhouse Ale" was the first thing that came to mind.

T: Very easy to drink; plenty of raisins, dark cherries and a little bit of apple. Good balance of sweet and sour; really no hop bitterness to speak of. For some reason, it tasted like it had a higher ABV than it does.

M: Fairly thin, but not unpleasant. Not a lot of carbonation.

O: I'm fairly new to the style, but I liked this dubbel; it goes down very easily, and while it lacks a powerful character, it does make for a very pleasant experience. I'll definitely be buying more of this one.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
4.22/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

(best by Jul 2015 - poured into a balloon)

A: absolutely clear-filtered, striking ruby-hued liquid with a tinge of vinous purple... rocky, sudsy, tan foam with a smattered texture and contour... decent bit of lace, would have expected more

S: dark, rich fruits - vinous, cherry... touch of baking spice - allspice, nutmeg... tonic, cordial-esque, inviting

T: dark candi sugars, plum, maybe raisin... lovely backing of dark caramel malts - just malty all around, but compact and clean... caramel slowly emerges in the aftertaste, a tiny bit of a medicinal, cough syrup

M: very clean, lightly slick and silky, nearly crisp... rubbery edges to it, but it feels like a satisfyingly robust brew even at 6.5% - only a little sense of the alcohol on the edges... purely invigorating and moreish to drink... wonderfully level and dry

O: strange and somewhat delicious, industrial abbey ale... feel like it's sacrilege, this being filtered, but it makes for a clean, refreshing drink - compared to the lot of bottle-conditioned dubbels, the flavors here are bright and explosive

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Grimbergen Dubbel from Brouwerij Alken-Maes
3.76 out of 5 based on 1,044 ratings.
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