Seeing DubbelLast weekend, my wife and I enjoyed a simple side-by-side tasting of two Belgian Dubbels: Maredsous 8 and my own Hump’s Praying Monk Ale.

Overall, victory was handed to the more authentic (both in flavor and, of course, origin) Maredsous. Their beer had more character in the aroma – like a distinct aroma of sweet malt syrup and a subtle aroma of pipe tobacco. Their beer also had a little more complexity in the flavor, and it had more residual sweetness while maintaining a dry finish, giving it a richer taste. Finally, the carbonation of Maredsous was crisper and more refreshing than mine.
But it was a fun taste test. I think my beer was quite tasty, and overall it faired well even though it was not crowned king of the evening. My beer had a soft, dusty character on the front of the palate and a dryer finish with more peppery phenols – not unlike many authentic Belgian Dubbels, but unlike the Maredsous. My beer formed a bigger, fluffier head that lasted longer than the Maredsous’; but the head in the Maredsous was better-looking (uneven and rocky) and left lots of lace on the glass. The last time I tasted this homebrew, it had a distinct fruity note, particularly banana – not this time, however. But the esters in the Maredsous were not particularly fruity either.

My wife snapped a few side-by-side photos, for visual comparison. The color of the two beers was strikingly similar, though the Maredsous was slightly clearer and had a deeper red tone (highlights that almost looked violet). The one on the left (with the green collar around the glass stem and no lace on the glass) is my Praying Monk Ale:

Separated at birth?

Different, but equally satisfying

In other news, someone who found this site e-mailed me to ask for a recipe this past week. To anyone who happens across this blog: I will happily share my recipes. I may have given this guy more than he bargained for: he asked for an older recipe (from 2001), so I gave him both the recipe I cooked up as well as a revised recipe (my knowledge of styles and my recipe formulation skills are much better now, after 7 years of brewing). I also gave him a bunch of tips, too. I don’t know if he ever reads this blog or if he just found the Brews section of this site from a web-search. Either way, I was excited to share the info with him.

The Reeb is now fully carbonated and quite tasty. It is a light, soft American Pale Ale – not a hop-bomb, but flavorful and hoppy nevertheless. My palate has historically had a difficult time picking out the flavor of rye, and that situation remains. I can’t really detect a graininess or spiciness, which is how the flavor rye in beer is often described. I’d love to try German Roggenbier, since these beers are made with 50% or more rye malt. Surely the taste of that beer would enlighten my taste buds. My beer includes only 20% Rye. I don’t know how much Rye they use in Terrapin Rye, which is the commercial beer most akin to Reeb. My homebrew is less hoppy, more bready, and slightly smaller than Terrapin’s. I definitely enjoy both beers; but, without a side-by-side, I can’t honestly say if I like Reeb just as much as I like Terrapin Rye. Perhaps that calls for another Hump’s one-on-one showdown in the coming weeks!