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From a question about german beers, the difference between a doppelbock and triple bock seems to be simply about the abv and maltiness. Basically just a stronger version of the "single" bock.

Is is the same difference for Belgian versions (dubbels and trippels)?

From a comment I read, the difference seemed to be more complex, and I would like to get more information about it.

14

It's often a misconception that one comes forth from the other, this is incorrect. The name was used to indicate the strength of the Westmalle beers. Originally there was the Enkel, Dubbel and Tripel. It is said that they represent the holy trinity. Later quadruppels were added. Both Dubbel and Tripel as name were first used by the Trappist brewery of Westmalle.

Westmalle produced the first dark beer in 1856 named "Dubbel" (the recipe was changed in 1926). Dubbels are dark in color, and tend to have malt flavors dominating over hops. Whereas the Quadrupels have more of a fruit presence, the Dubbels tend to be a bit spicier with strong caramel flavors. They tend to have an ABV of 6.5-9.0%.

Some examples:

  • Chimay Red
  • La Trappe Dubbel
  • Ommegang
  • Westvleteren 8
  • Rochefort 6
  • Westmalle Dubbel

Tripels are lighter color, often blonde. They are generally a lot fruitier and lighter in flavor. The name Tripel originally was first used in 1956 by the Westmalle brewery to name their strongest beer (originally produced in 1930 and named Superbier, it was renamed to Tripel). The ABV is a lot higher than the double, 8.0-12.0%.

Some examples:

  • Tripel Karmeliet
  • Westmalle Tripel
  • St. Bernardus Tripel
  • Leuvense Tripel
  • Chimay Cinq Cents Tripel
4

Dubbels and Tripels are vastly different beers. While dubbels are generally something akin to a brown ale, malt forward with some light hints of dark fruit and roastiness, Tripels are pale to golden, being a vehicle for both the yeast flavors (clove/bananna), fruity esters, and the whims of the brewer (Belgian candi sugar, coriander and other spices are common additions).

The additional Trappist style ale the Quadripel (Quad) is much more like a bigger version of the dubbel, although they have their own distinct flavor profiles as well.

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