Allagash Dubbel Reserve (Batch 100) is the second bottle from the Allagash challenge – a trio of bottles my best friend purchased to redeem Allagash as a brewery. I allowed this one to sit in the basement for 2 days to allow the temperatures to naturally bring the ale down to around 60 degrees. I still don’t have a tulip glass (as recommended by the Allagash people), so I opted for the globe glass over the pilsner. Perhaps this was merely for ascetics, but I also prefer drinking out of this kind of glass with full flavored beers.
Allagash Dubbel pours a beautiful amber with a sufficient amount of foam forming on top. There is a strong malt aroma wafting from the glass the perhaps would have been stronger had this been poured in a tulip instead. I detected mild hints of black cherry or perhaps figs hidden beneath the hop and malt aroma. Dubbel Belgian ales typically contain very little fruit flavors and I’m wondering if because I intentionally wanted to find fruit, I did, even if there really was nothing to be found. My first sip was very heavy and full of sweet malt with a hop undertone. Although I feel this is a well balanced beer, I felt the malt notes were exceptionally sweet. The mouth feel is very heavy making me think the liquid is thicker than it actually is. As the ale sits if your mouth, the hops flavors develop more and bring out a delightful bitterness. After swallowing, there is a malt flavor explosion before subsiding quickly. The aftertaste resembles something like unsweetened chocolate nibs and roasted walnuts.
Having been my first dubbel style ale, its hard for me to compare this to anything else. I did enjoy the heavier amber as opposed other, thinner red beers. The sweet malt flavor was pleasant if not overwhelming, but I did not find myself wanting to go back for more when the bottle was empty. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy this bottle, but I think this is like the Clown Shoes Brown Angel where this is just too big a beer for me. That said, this is still a well crafted beer at a moderate ABV of 7%. Allagash has distribution in 18 states, but I have yet to see much of a selection outside of New England. There definitely needs to be more demand by the consumers to get a bigger selection. This being my first Dubbel Belgian ale experience, I would definitely continue to try more of this style. As for the Allagash Dubbel, I probably would have enjoyed a 10-12oz pour of this and that might have left me thirsting for more.