Friday, May 22, 2015

Troeg's Jovial Belgian Style Dubbel (8/10)

Troeg's Brewing Company of Hershey, Pennsylvania (yes, the chocolate city) produces Jovial, a Belgian Style Dubbel Ale.

Jovial pours a slightly hazy mahogany with thick tan head that lasts a while and leaves behind only dots of lacing in the glass.

The aroma to me is primarily malty with some yeast to it.  The label claims that a relatively hard pour like the one I did here will release the subtle aromas from the yeast, but I can't say I noticed them.  Then again, it is winter and my sinuses may not be 100%.

Jovial's flavor is comparable to that aroma.  It's malty, and a touch hoppier (or at least more bitter) than I typically associate with a dubbel.  Since the beer is rated at 13 IBUs (International Bitterness Units) I'm at something of a loss to explain the bitterness.  Perhaps it's from the chocolate malt used in brewing.  In any case, as the beer warms up toward the recommended 50-55 degree serving temperature, this bitterness subsides a little.  The malt and yeast flavors start to come through a bit more at that point.  There is a hint of coffee like bitterness, the barest touch of dark fruit like date or fig, and a note of the magnum and crystal hops bitterness.

Troeg's has done a good job of keeping the beer true to the Dubbel style.  Here's how Jovial matches up to the guidelines from the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP):

Characteristic BJCP Guideline for Dubbel Troeg's Jovial
Original Gravity 1.062-1.075 Unknown
Final Gravity 1.008-1.018 Unknown
International Bitterness Units (IBUs) 15 to 25 13 (slightly low but close enough)
SRM (Color) 10 to 17 "Dark Brown"
Alcohol by Volume (ABV) 6 to 7.6% 7%
Aroma Malty and sweet with chocolate, caramel, and/or toast. Moderate fruity esters (usually raisins, plums, or cherries).  Hops are usually absent. Malty and yeasty with some dark fruit coming through.
Appearance Dark amber to copper.  Clear.  Large, dense, long lasting creamy off-white head. Coppery mahogany color. Thick off-white head that lasts a while.
Flavor Malty sweetness with dry finish.  Complex malt, ester, and phenols (raisiny flavors are common, dried fruit flavors are welcome, cloves are optional).  Balance is toward malt.   Minimal to no sweetness, but dry finish.  Lots of malt, a hint of coffee, some dried fruit flavors.  Balance is slightly toward malt.

As you can see, Troeg's did a great job keeping this beer true to the style.  This is a good beer, and if I were visiting your home and you offered me a bottle, I'd be very happy to enjoy it with you.  But there are other Dubbels I like better, such as Anderson Valley Brother David's Double.

Beer Advocate rates Jovial 86 or "very good" which seems an apt description.  Rate Beer gives it a 90 overall.  I'm giving it an 8 out of 10 because it's a good example of the style, and is a tad less expensive than many of its true Belgian counterparts.

I purchased this particular bottle from Kenny Road Market.  I haven't seen it at other local retailers, but I would not be surprised if Weiland's, Savor Market, or The Andersons carried it.  Price for the bottle reviewed was $3.59 before tax.

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