Seeing a double barrel-aged beer on your local beer store’s shelf isn’t quite like seeing Foghorn Leghorn hanging out in a KFC, but it will leave you second-guessing yourself all the same. After all, beers that have seen time in two different barrels are the type of thing for which beer geeks usually stand in hours-long lines. When they come around, these beers are often subject to strict purchasing limits, too.
So it came as a bit of a surprise when I noticed Brewery Ommegang’s Double Barrel Dubbel sitting among the new IPAs and confectionary stouts at my preferred shop. To develop it, Ommegang takes its Abbey Ale and lets it age “for six months in a mix of bourbon and brandy casks in the brewery’s cellar.” This process ostensibly adds complexity to the brewery’s year-round dubbel.
This is an attractive beer. With its deep caramel color, Double Barrel looks like the darkest part of a pile of fall leaves. It retains its modest head well and leaves nice lacing on the glass. You’ll want to dive in, but take a moment to appreciate it. You don’t see beer like this often.
At first, you’ll pick up dark fruit, like raisins and dates. Building on that, Double Barrel also showcases leather and brown sugar. The alcohol from the barrels is there, but it’s not overpowering like you expect from a beer with a 9.9% ABV.
If you see Double Barrel on your store’s shelf, don’t hesitate—buy it immediately.”
Double Barrel’s flavor follows the nose. The dark fruit is upfront. You’ll also get some oak notes, with a touch of vanilla. There is some alcohol in the finish, but it’s not something that throws the beer off-balance. If you’re not surprised by the taste, you will be by Double Barrel’s mouthfeel. It’s soft and creamy, with a decent amount of carbonation.
If you see Double Barrel on your store’s shelf, don’t hesitate—buy it immediately. For me, it’d be an ideal fall beer. It’s like sitting outside, taking in the changing leaves and cool breeze, sipping an apple cider with a splash of bourbon. With that said, I’d be happy drinking this at any time. You will be, too.