Ommegang does a great job of duplicating Belgian recipes for an American audience, and their Dubbel does not disappoint. Abbey was Ommegang’s first beer, and I can’t think of a better way to start off a Belgian style brewery. After 15 years on the market, Abbey Ale is still one of the standards for American Belgians and an original take on Trappist Dubbels, without ever straying too far from tradition. The brew pours a cloudy dark amber (almost caramel), but has a small head for such a distinct Dubbel. When the bubbles and yeast hit your tongue, the aromas are rich and complex, complimented by the creamy yeasts. The roasted malts dominate the initial flavoring with a hint of dark candied sugar. As the beer swooshes around the palate, the sugars expand, providing notes of prune, peach, orange, raisin, and anise. You can taste the beauty and fullness of the belgian yeasts, and yet the whole experience still feels light and refreshing. The beer actually finishes quite dry, making it very drinkable. There’s still not quite enough yeast for me, possibly because I’m so into classic Belgian Dubbels. Also, I would have preferred the ending to be a little less dry. Many people will give this beer a solid A, or even an A+. However, despite it’s incredible flavor profile, I still feel like something’s missing (probably the yeast). A Belgian Dubbel should feel fuller, and not so syrupy. This beer, at times, tastes more like a dark Tripel. I also feel like this would have been better in the 750ml bottle. The 12oz just doesn’t give it enough room. But, at 10-12 dollars a four pack (or 7 for a 750 ml), there aren’t any Belgians that can compete. Therefore, Abbey Ale definitely deserves an A+ for price.
In Conclusion: A great take on a traditional Dubbel, and a perfect beer for Belgian lovers on a budget. This is an awesome brew to introduce anyone to the Trappist style. However, the beer can be a bit too sweet out of the 12 oz bottle.
Food Pairing: Large italian dishes, and any meats cooked with a lot of spice and flavor. Abbey Ale can also be used as a marinade for mushrooms, onions, or chicken (much like a Cabernet).
“All right, brain, I don’t like you and you don’t like me – so let’s just do this and I’ll get back to killing you with beer.”