Today I am going to try to explain the awesome Belgian beers dubbels, tripels, and quadrupels. This isn’t going to be a beer review nor is it meant to be an exact style guide, but more a fun explanation of these tasty robust beers to help peeps understand what makes these beers what they are!
(A tasty quadrupel)
These beers are actually kind of a family of beers. This is because they were traditionally brewed using the parti-gyle system of brewing. Basically this means that more than one beer is made from the same grains creating beers of different ABV strengths from the same grains. Nowadays this isn’t always the method brewers use to make these beers, but it gives a bit of history, which always helps in talking like a beer geek!
Getting down to business, let’s apply this “family” of Belgian beers concept to make an analogy that will help to better understand these beers…. Using Dr. Evil and his family! After all he was raised by a self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low-grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery!
First off quadrupels – The Dr. Evil of this beer family! Quadrupels, or quads as they are sometimes called, are made from the first running of the grains, hence the strongest wort. They are big on ABVs in the 9%+ range, they are full bodied, and very malty with very low to no bitterness. Just like Dr. Evil has the biggest frickin amount of evil in the family, quads are the biggest beer in this beer family!
Next up tripels – The Mini Me of the beer family! Just like Mini Me was cloned from Dr. Evil, tripels are kind of cloned from quadrupels as they would be the next beer to be made from the same grains. These beers are lighter in color, usually a more golden beer, and are a bit lower in ABV, clockin in at around the 8-9% neighborhood. These are big robust beers, but not quite as robust as quadruples. Just like Mini Me is pretty frickin evil but not as evil as the man he was cloned after, and not as big.
Dubbels are next – The Scotty of the beer family! These beers would be the third run on the grains. Just like Scotty isn’t really evil like his dad, these beers aren’t huge beers like quads or tripels. They are kind of dark in color and have a bit of a caramel flavor to them. They also have a more pronounced bitterness and more carbonation. They clock in at about 6-7.5% ABV, so while they aren’t as strong, they can still get you a bit. Kind of like Scotty who is just a normal non-evil kid at first, but ends up a bit evil in the end… or “quasi evil’!
Just to touch on it quickly, there is also a single beer. This would be the Mr. Bigglesworth of the beer family. It is the last run on the grains and is only around 4-5% ABV. This is a pretty light beer. Like the furless cat Bigglesworth, they are kind of part of the family, but a pretty small part.
“Well, congratulations numb nuts!” Now hopefully you understand a bit more about this Belgian family of beers, how they came about, and what makes them different from each other.