62 / 100
Can given to me by Jez for Christmas; I've sat on it for a few months.
Pours a vibrant red-amber colour with generous off-white head, lovely and dense but sinks steadily to leave a thin crown after a little while. Some specks of lace around the edge of the glass. Looks good, but I'm not sure about it for the style, looks like a nice red ale. Still, good.
Smells, yes, smokey. I don't know if it's particularly appealing in that smokiness because it's a little weak so the end result is slightly sour with a meaty character and doesn't have a distinct smokiness to it. Some brown sugar and a slight citric character to it as well. Not bad but not distinct enough, and pretty simple.
Tastes kinda similar; a bit more interesting but the smokiness still feels a little muted and simple, and it takes on a slightly meaty but roasty kind of character as well without a distinct ashy or peaty or woody character, nor any blossoming complexity on the smoke palate. Strong malty backbone which is good for the style; burnt toffee ends up the dominant character with some mild cherry notes as well. Finishes fairly short (I guess? It's a lager after all) but feels less dry and more just sort of flat on the back, where the smokey character should linger and smoulder a bit. Quite palatable but largely because it dials back on a lot of the flavour.
Mouthfeel is pretty smooth; slight bitty texture midway through where some of the malt and yeast complexities make themselves more known than they did on the palate itself. But yeah, light and fluid and pleasant.
Overall it's a mixed bag. A well-made beer that introduces nice flavours but doesn't really work much with those flavours. For the size it feels a little simple and glib.
12 oz can purchased from Jane's Beer Store in Mountain View, CA.
Pours an appropriate coppery brown colour, with a coarse-bubbled head of white that manages to persist as a ring. Carbonation is vigorous, forming long strings around the edge of the glass from start to finish. Body is light, masking the alcohol content. Looks good all up.
Nose is appropriate—there's a bold, German-style decoction sweetness to it, which combines nicely with some of the dark fruit notes of currants and dates. It has a hint of extra booze to it as well, which gives it a rather pleasant peppery overtone. It's good.
Taste is okay, but it could be better, and I thought it was going to be from the nose. The taste adds a slight metallic character to the mix, which isn't a winner for me. Also, the lightness in the body (appropriate for the style as it may be), just brings out more of the harshness from the booze, or at least gives it nowhere to hide. There's still flashes of the sweetness, especially raisins and dates, but they're undermined by that metallic, coppery note towards the back, which ends up almost like an acidity.
Feel is very light—the carbonation is fortunately not over-aggressive.
Overall, it's a shame, because it had things lined up for this to be a better beer. It's missing that consistency of purpose in the elements that you get in the best examples of the style. It's not bad, even so, but doppelbocks can be spectacular, and this certainly falls short of that.
330ml brown bottle purchased with a group of workmates as part of a bulk order. 2015 vintage.
Pours a very hazy ruddy brown colour, with a very nice crest of pale beige. Lacing forms as lovely fine sheets, with the occasional small specks. Body is slick and weighty, but with a bit of lightness to it as well—viscosity but not density, perhaps. Looks good.
Nose is pleasant, without being spectacular. Slight toasty German grain characters to it, almost hinting at smokiness. There's a soft oxidation to it, but it's still smelling pretty fresh. There's a hint towards pepper or eucalyptus as well, possibly due in part to the booziness. For a beer of this weight, I'd like more complexity, but it's okay as it is.
Taste is pretty soft and light. I really like the fact that there's so little harshness from the booze. Instead, it dips into a pleasant raspberry character (yeah, I'm surprised too), laced with plenty of milk chocolate and just a hint of mild tannins on the back. Feel is very smooth: slick and pillowy.
It's nicely executed all up—while it again doesn't have the complexity of the best examples, it's coherent and quite pleasant to drink. I'm not sure it quite warrants being as intoxicating as it is, but at the very least you don't feel the heat as it goes down.
Pours a reddish amber colour, with very large head, a saffron-tinged off-white, foamy and nice. Lacing is pretty nice too. Yeah, looks a cracker.
Smells malty, toffeed nuts. Huge burnt sugar and hazelnut - even macadamia. Chocolate; hint of candied orange peel. Touch of tobacco too. Hint of oxidation but otherwise rich sweetness. Pleasant.
Taste is super rich, super sweet, with a big medicinal herbal character as well. Big toffee, with a hint of bergamot upfront. Gets rich and slightly burnt toffee midway then finishes with a touch of mint and some slight smokiness. Oxidation comes through late. Yeah, it's a big malt bomb, with hints of fruit. Fairly tangy actually, oddly so. But pleasant overall.
Foamy, fairly dry on the back. Good body.
Yeah can drink: it's heavy, sweet with some odd characters which could be nuance but could also be flaws and could even be age. But lots to like still.
73 / 100
750ml, beautifully presented dark green bottle, crown capped and sealed with thick black wax. Purchased for me by my wife, who rightly judged that it was something I'd be keen to try, but which I'd be loath to buy for myself. Bottle #1529.
Pours a deep brown-tinged amber, with a very ful and heady crest of yellowed off-white, that leaves strong streaks of lace. Body is fairly full and holds nice powdery streams of carbonation. Looks very fine.
Nose is a tad oxidised, but at 5 years of age, that's hardly surprising. Some mild oak, above a rather thin reedy greenness, that almost drifts toward acidity. As it warms, there's a bit of pepper and booze, with a vestige of the mild caramel that probably was more prominent in its youth. Metallic aftertones actually add an interesting kick. It's pretty good.
Taste is also reasonable—it's still quite oxidised, which gives it a thinness to the body, and expresses the booze a bit more strongly than I'd expect from a beer of this age. Slight woody notes on the back, and again that slight vegetative note that adds to or works with the thinness to give it a suggestion of acid. Sleek finish though, with a slight vinous note and a crisp metallic bite. It's good.
Yeah, overall, it's not a beer on the top shelf for the style, but it's well-made and actually holding up quite well. I don't believe it was this vintage that was infected, but even if it was it's quite moderated, and surviving its age. I'm pretty happy with it on the whole.
77 / 100
22oz brown bomber purchased from Southwest Parkway Market in Austin, TX. Shared with Sam and Rich back in Australia.
Pours a pleasant red-tinged brown, with a coarse-bubbled, but persistent head of beige. This leave big pancake bubbles and fine tracings of intricate lace. Body is firm, and holds fine carbonation, but does move a lot more slickly than you'd expect for the weight. Looks good.
Nose is pleasant enough. Slightly nutty, but based around good quality German malts that give it its structure and basis. there's some mild notes of base yeastiness as well, that give it a slight savoury or toasty note. There's some mild caramelisation to it as well, which works well.
Taste is very solid. Really nice entry leaves all the classic German notes, with some leafy, but fragrant hop characters mingled with a firm, complex grainy savoury flavour. But this evanesces, and leaves a lightness that helps the back palate express itself as well. And here, there's more of those slightly burnt toffee notes, that tend towards fragrant aniseed and a hint of booze. It's really nice stuff.
Feel is pretty light, but it works—you wouldn't get that double whammy of different characters without the lightness of the palate.
Overall, this is very good stuff. I really like how restrained it is—and yet the purpose of this beer is complexity and intricacies. It works so well on many levels.
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.
Pours a deep golden colour with some hazing to it. Body is pretty full and holds some fine, languid carbonation. Head is white, forming a fine ring and leaving behind some complex lace. Looks pretty good.
Nose smells like a deli. Bacon and smallgoods come through, along with a slight spicy herbal character. It smells like a terrine in other words. Rounded out with some yeasty notes. It's quite pleasant.
Sweet entry on the palate chased by a slight grain astringency. Thin and slightly boozy on the back with a bit of medicinal bite. The aftertaste has a slight hint of fuggy smoky, otherwise it's mostly gone and it finishes a bit flat.
Feel is full, however, and pretty decent.
Overall, it's decent enough. It's not a standout from the festival, but it certainly has some purpose of its own.
57 / 100
Pours a gold colour, slightly cloudy with lovely foamy head, a thinnish cream-coloured cloud. Never seen a doppelbock look so pale. But that's OK.
Smells of bacon. Meaty. Spicy BBQ sauce edge. Not much else but what else could there be? Smells great.
Taste is sweet, and unpleasant and disappointing. Caramel malt with a touch of clove that gets really cloying and medicinal late. Maybe a touch of smoke but it's all gone up in a puff of not smoke. Seriously where has that lovely aroma gone to?
Texture is fine, mouthfeel is fine. Body is the right consistency for the ABV and the style.
Sweet and underwhelming beer. It promised so much, too.
79 / 100
Bottle muled over by Pete from Garage Project, tried at Garage Project Alestars. At first I was one of the first in line for a sample and got just a thin ration, later Guy drunkenly topped me up. It's an 'imperial' doppelbock/strong schwarzbier aged in tequila barrels.
Pours a dark brown colour, thin rim of beige lace but pour doesn't allow for vigorous head promotion. Decent lace but doesn't stick around.
Smells intense. Masses of earthy chilli with intense umami aroma, lots of pepper and earth with the chilli. Touch of chocolate. Mostly chilli. Not a bad thing; I like chilli. I also like saying 'chilli'.
Taste is more chocolatey upfront, big cocoa flavour with a rich chocolate; develops big earthy capsicaian character midway, then sweetness takes over on the back, touch of agave and more chocolate lingering on the finish. Gorgeous; touch of chilli heat, plenty of sweetness, some roasty bitterness. Great drop.
Touch of heat, but mostly malty and well padded.
Interesting, confronting drop that is also richly rewarding.
45 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from Leura Cellars.
Pours a deep red colour, quite clear, but relatively thin and fine in the body. Head forms a coarse matrix initially, but settles to a thin ring, almost nothing. Minimal lacing and minimal body. I can't say it looks all that great, but it's not offensive really.
Nose is slightly thin as well: some toasty darkness, and a hint of dustiness. Slight aniseed characters, a suggestion of booze—but overall, it's pretty light. It definitely lacks the richness and sweetness of a good doppelbock. This feels like a pretty weak comparison.
Taste is similar. There's a thinness that permeates this beer from head to toe—the malt is thin and slightly savoury, and the rest of the palate is pretty weak. There's some vegemite notes, a little roast and a rather unnuanced booze that comes through towards the back.
Feel is also very thin—it would work in any other lager, but a doppelbock surely needs more weight and sweetness than this.
Overall, this is disappointing stuff from Red Duck—I love that Red Duck try so many different beers, and I love that there are always beers like this from these guys for me to try. But of course when you have such a wide approach to making beers, you're going to make some duds.
42 / 100
33cl brown, oddly-shaped bottle purchased from Domus Birrae in Rome.
Pours a muted amber colour, quite hazy, with a fairly heavy body. Head forms a very fine film of off-white across the top of the glass. Carbonation is fine and languid when tilted. The haze is a bit much, otherwise, it looks pretty good.
Nose is papery like wadded up wet newspaper. Slight fruity characters like banana skin. Mostly, though it's really weak. Given everything else, I expected something a bit stronger, potent if not exceptional—this smells a lot like nothing.
Lots of bananaskin on the palate as well, along with something else like fruit offcuts. Kiwifruit seeds, perhaps. Thin spiciness comes through as well, but again, everything is really very weak. The body has some heft behind it, but I can feel it without tasting it: the back in particular is very, very empty. It's a real shame.
Overall, really very weak and extremely uninspiring. Seriously: I don't get the point of this at all. It probably takes some amount of skill to make this so tasteless given its style, colour and weight. If only they'd put that skill to better use.
70 / 100
33cl bottle purchased from the local supermarket in Sorrento.
Pours a very clear, deep amber-red colour, almost verging on brown. Head forms a fuzzy mess to begin with, but fizzles out to a fine ring, still fed by some fairly buoyant carbonation. Body has a bit of weight behind it, pleasantly enough. Looks pretty good.
Nose is strangely weak, and certainly not as malty as the palate will turn out to be. It has a slight metallic grain character, and some savoury notes a little like honey soy chicken, but it's certainly much lighter than I expected. It's fine, but it would be great with more character.
Taste is a lot better. Here there's a firm, fragrant maltiness—rich but refined, with wholesome grain characters, plus lilting spice and fruit notes from the extra hit of booze and esters. Finish is soft, but still quite rich and full, leaving a long linger of languid bittersweetness resting on the tongue like burnt toffee. It's very nice.
Feel is good. It has heft behind it, but doesn't overwhelm the palate. Too much weight in a beer like this and it could become a chore to work through.
Overall, really very good stuff. For a brewery that makes their dough from yet another pale euro lager, I'm really pleased to see that this is quite widely available as well. It's significantly better than almost anything else the big Italian breweries seem to bring out.
76 / 100
Bottle purchased from Berkeley Bowl West in Berkeley, CA. Brought back to Australia and shared with @tobeerornottobe and @Laituegonflable.
Pours a lovely clear and bright reddish umber hue, with a mild creamy beige head of fine bubbles. Minimal lacing, but the body is very solid. Body is very solid, and leaves fine carbonation when tilted. Very good looking beer.
Nose is smooth and round, with a bite of slightly medicinal astringency, which cuts through it and prevents it from being unanimously sweet. Sweet banana bread characters, hints of cinnamon bun and a wafty, slightly boozy phenolic note. It's very pleasant.
Taste is, ooh, surprising. I expected that phenolic or biting astringency to be very prominent, but instead, we get a truly sweet, syrupy beer, that doesn't ever get too heavy or overpowering. Mild maple syrup notes, along with a slight piney fragrance (is this birch? I wouldn't know). Feel is clear and smooth, almost glassy as it goes down.
Overall, good stuff: the birch syrup, I think, really comes through and gives an interesting twist, and the base beer is solid. Overall, I'm pretty happy with this.
82 / 100
Bottle purchased from Beermongers in Portland, OR.
Pours a lovely clear amber hue, with a very fine and consistent head of white that leaves some lovely webbed lacing. Body is firm, and although there's not noticeable carbonation when it's static, the beer foments some lovely fine powder when tilted. Very nice looking beer indeed.
Nose is smooth and smoky, with a big, but not insistent smoked aroma pronouncing itself. Moderated smoked pork, some smoothness and sweetness come through, leaving a malty basis and a touch of wheatbeer banana. Very pleasant indeed.
Taste is also exceptionally smooth on the front, with a mild sweetness welling into a pronounced smooth smoky character. This develops into a hint of harshness, or at least a bit of herbal bite, that doesn't necessarily sit all that well. However, there's a continual malty character underneath, which feels as though it could support anything. Seriously good overall.
Very, very interesting indeed. I'm not sure how much difference the oak- verses beechwood-smoke character makes (it's still exceptionally smoky), but I feel as though it has a smoothness that isn't altogether to do with the extra body and extra malt. An exceptionally interesting brew.
44 / 100
Bottle purchased from Slowbeer. I decided to crack this one open of all the beer in my fridge because I wanted to test out the equation that allows you to determine ABV from Brix and FG. It told me this beer was 12.5% alcohol. Interesting.
Pours a flat toasted amber colour, quite deep and tending to brown. Remarkably clear body, with a very fine ring of insubstantial film forming the head. Definitely weight to the body, giving it a hefty fluidity. Minimal carbonation. It looks very heavy, I'll give it that.
Nose is sweet but brusque with alcohol, lending it an almost phenolic intensity. Sharpness on the back, that smells like a cross between hops and kerosene. Booze has been taken to too high a level, and there isn't enough else to compensate.
Taste is a little better, as there's a big sweetness that sticks throughout, lending an intense toffee character to the slight boozy solvent-like astringency. Still that brandy burn on the back really doesn't allow you to forget how strong it is. Feel is surprisingly liquid and light. And, let's face it, flat.
Nope, this doesn't do it for me. In some senses I respect it for what it is. This was, at one point, the strongest beer in the world, but I've had beers that exceed it in both alcohol and balance. This feels like an outlier, an anomaly, and a beer brewed for the wrong reasons.
Birthday present from @epiclurk, from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Pours a murky nut brown colour, with a very fine, but inconsistent film of yellow beige. Some speckled lacing, but the beer itself seems very fluid, with no crackling rocky persistence. Body is quite heavy, nonetheless, leaving some pleasant fine carbonation when tilted. Not a bad look, all up.
Nose is brown and roasty, with muddled grains mixing with a boozy nuttiness like amaretto. Slightly sweet estery characters coming through as well, especially as it warms. Pleasant enough, although not particularly rich or complex.
Taste is a melange of sweet and roasty, with overtones of the spicy amaretto alcohol coming through as well. Front palate gets sweet toffeed grains, before all the sweetness falls away, leaving nutty savour and a touch of lingering fragrance like raspberry marshmallows. Feel is quite thin, which works against the alcohol, accentuating it too much, where a fuller body would complement it more.
Decent and interesting enough. Missing some depth and fullness on the palate, but with a pleasant integration of the flavours at least.
Pours a dark murky red colour, with lovely dense beige head. Retains a thin crown with great sticky lace. Looks fantastic.
Dark, but also pretty sour on the nose. Plummy fruit with black cherry gives a dark, slightly sour character. Not much else; for 7.8% I expected more maltiness.
Taste has more in the way of malt. Mostly toasty with a charcoaly touch, hint of wood smoke on front. Develops fruity notes on mid with black cherry and slight pomegranate tang before finishing with slight espresso bitterness. Really could have been sweet, it feels overattenuated so the flavours are ultimately a bit muted.
Full, decent texture, but again I wouldn't complain if it were thicker and stickier.
Not a bad beer, but it just leaves me wanting more. Doppelbock is licence to go big, bold and Gothic.
82 / 100
Pours a dark Hellish red colour with beige bubbles for head. Not much lace. Looks thin, but OK.
Smells sweet, complex, raisiny. Plenty of sweet sugars, with molasses, sherry and brown sugar. Slight peppery twang late spices it up. Really quite lovely aroma.
Taste is very enjoyable as well. sweet, malty from start to finish with brown sugar, English toffee and some port wine. Raisiny as well adding a squelchy fruit goodness to proceedings, but finished with a slightly crisp lager character that just clips off the sweetness. Touch of black pepper and cumin on there as well. Really enjoyable night finisher: would happily pair with my finest cigars.
Bit untextured body unfortunately, full and thick but could use more zip.
Lovely beer. A bit malt bomb to savour, lovely balance struck.
61 / 100
Pours a slightly hazed deep red-brown colour, with a very fine, but minimal head of slightly off-white. Body is really pleasantly thick, but with a fineness that makes it look very sophisticated. Carbonation is rather static in the heavy body, but where it streams, it's rather plentiful. Looks good.
Surprisingly, there's not a lot on the nose. Bit of bready malt, giving a floury tone, and just a touch of grain brightness. Very little sweetness, and not a lot of suggestion of depth. In some respects, it's very classically German, but it just doesn't have the excitement or complexity to catch my attention properly.
Taste is a little better, but it still relies heavily on that nice German bite through the centre, and actually doesn't have a lot of depth or complexity to pull it through. Thin metallic characters through the middle, with a malty sweetness and a slight organic bite on the back. It's good, but it's very generically good. It doesn't do anything awesome in and of itself.
I like it. It's really hard, probably, to not like this beer. But the more you drink it, the more generic it feels, and the less it seems to offer. I want it to be better.
I've had the dark Samichlaus sitting at home in Sydney for a while, but it is yet to be reviewed. I would have liked to have tried it first, but I picked up the Helles in San Francisco and it didn't make the cut to come back in my luggage.
Hence, I'll drink it now.
Pours a hot and still devilish orange colour, with bubbling only because I forced a very aggressive pour. After these fizzle out it sits entirely flat and dormant in the glass. Looks very dangerous.
Nose is malty and sweet, with a twang of chemical acetone and a boozy note like brandy-soaked dried fruit. Smells extremely spiritous, heavy and malevolent. I think this will be a challenge to my bruised palate.
Taste is surprisingly supple and smooth, and doesn't have the spiritous alcohol burn I feared. Instead, it's just incredibly sweet and heavy, with the alcoholic flavour providing the balance in what other styles would be given by hop bitterness. Very port-like, smooth front, big vinous sweetness and a flick of booze in the tail.
Feel is very smooth and coating, but surprisingly slick as well.
Still, this is a beer of which it is difficult to drink more than a very small glass. Even without the potential burn, it's incredibly heavy and potent.
Yes, it's something I'm glad I tried, and I'll look forward to comparing it to the original Samichlausâbut I'm pleased the experience is over.
Pours a dark red colour, very Hellish with a bright shiny quality to it. Head is surprisingly light, but nice bubbling. Lace is amazingly dense and sticky. Looks heavy in some ways but the head is great.
Nose is very grainy and nutty. So much honey on that as well, it just reeks of honey oat bread and just is way too sweet, bordering on insipid. It's weak as far as complexity goes, and just simple. A disappointment.
Taste is better, but still big, sweet and grainy with honey-oat notes on the front. Develops more complex, and stronger, red wine characters towards the back but still falls short of pleasant complex sweetness. Bit of a citric twang late-mid which is the most interesting note cutting through a fairly insipid malt-bomb. I'm not a big fan of this style at times and this is a particularly simplistic example.
Slightly sticky mouthfeel, mostly thin to carry this mostly uninspiring palate.
Yeah, I'm not particularly impressed with this. It's a malt bomb; it's quite plain. I don't like beers that are this sweet but this commits the double sin of lacking nuance or complexity.
Purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne as part of an order. Sent to Sydney and shared with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe, to celebrate my 1200th beer review.
Pours a lovely burnished red-brown colour, with a fine and full head off off-white foam. Lacing is patchy and spotty, but subsists well enough. Body isn't that thick, but the carbonation is so fine that it produces static lacing when tilted. Looks very good.
Nose is classically German, given some phenolic characters of sharp crushed organics, along with a genuine robust grain character, along with a freshly baked bread sweetness. Not huge, but extremely classic, and perfectly fitting in the genre.
Taste is clean and clear, with a pleasant grainy overtone that demarcates it into the German style quite comfortably. Smooth entry with some bready yeast on the finish, and a thick body that gives it some heft.
Despite the heft, the body feels a little emptyâit doesn't have a lot of fullness on the palate, or the complexity to keep it going.
It's not a bad brew, but it's far less complex and far less exciting than some of the other brews I've had the privilege to try this evening. I feel I've had much better doppelbocks, and I'm a little disappointed that I saved this one for my 1200th review.
77 / 100
Pours a very thick (I almost think the thickness of the beer is Shmaltz's trademark) deep brown, with flashes of wine-red coming through. Head is initially frothy and full, but dissipates to a very fine film. Lacing is sudsy, and not all that persistent. Body is as described: thick. Bubbles stay static for quite a while when tilted, before tiredly dragging themselves to the surface. Very decent look overall.
Nose is extremely sweet and deep. Sweet dates are dominant, with dollops of caramel and vanilla, with a slight hint of spice. Not as potent and robust as it could be, but all the characters are extremely rich. Yep... It's what I expected from the brew. Certainly something between a dubbel and a doppelbock.
Taste is similar, although lighter on the raw sweetness on the front. Front is dominated by a slight sultana bite, some acidity and a light phenolic note. Finish gets more of the rich dark fruit characters present on the nose. Certainly some date in the finish, and a slightly robust boozy bite. Nice.
Feel is chewy and rich; it matches nicely with all the sweet, dark characters on the palate.
Yeah, another nice beer from He'Brew. Plenty of sweetness and pleasant heaviness. And let's face it, that's what was advertised.
60 / 100
Pours a hazy brown colour, almost purple tinge to it. Head is also brown-tinged at the edge but mostly beige, with pleasant snail trails of lace around. Looks pretty damned nice.
Smells bocky. Lots of dark roasted malt giving cocoa aromas and a slight vanilla character. A fair amount of caramelised grain with pearl barley and a hint of wheat, almost sourdough actually on there. Hint of red grape skin and some peppery spice as well. Pretty pleasant.
Taste is very malty and strong. Lot of espresso bitterness on the front with thick, chewy caramel malt. Huge sour German character comes through midway, giving me raw wheat, some red wine notes and a weak vanilla bean character. Sourness is actually quite off-putting, blending with the maltiness to produce a weird aioli kind of flavour. I like aioli but not in my beer. It's not overall bad, good complexity but there's this wave of unwanted flavour in the middle that just puts me off.
Good body to it, lots of texture, sticky but ends up very smooth.
I personally couldn't drink a lot of this, it's enjoyable enough, just not really my cup of beer.
80 / 100
On tap at Sydney's Local Taphouse Canadian SpecTapular.
Cloudy deep "brune" colour, with a good and solid head of creamy cream bubbles. Very heavy in the glass. No visible carbonation, but the beer is rather opaque. Looks good.
Vinous characters on the nose, hints of oak matched with aromas of chocolate sauce and leavened with an odd crushed strawberry sweetness.
Taste is big, rich, sweet and exceptional. Bug syrupy chocolate notes, with sweetness gleaned from some fresher sugary dark-fruit characters. Boozy head is tempered by some lovely german ale yeast esters welling around through the back. It's long and languid - no dryness on the back.
A really lovely beer. It might just be a tad off stylistically, but if you take it as an interpretations, it's extremely interesting, flavoursome and delicious.
45 / 100
Had on tap at the Local Taphouse.
Pours a rosey bronze colour with puffy beige head, dissipates to leave a modest film of bubbles. Bit of haze, bit of slow carbonation. Bit pale, but not bad.
Nose is crisp but malty. Hints of a banana eater and some vanilla beans with cakey malt, caramel and a hint of cinnamon. Decent, but run-of-the-mill doppelbock notes that don't really burst with aroma.
Taste is very malty but with a lot of spice as well. Lots of caramel on the front with tangy banana notes and some medicinal phenols coming through midway. Alcohol is noticeable and has a heat to it that together with the phenols leaves a bitter, acerbic aftertaste.
Too bitter on the finish really, makes you forget the malty start because the long bitter finish subjugates the whole palate. Promising start is let down by the conclusion.
Mouthfeel is nice and full but a real sharpness from the alcohol.
I feel like this beer is over-attenuated, it's just sharp and while there is obviously a strong malt presence, too much of it turns quickly to phenolic alcohol flavour. It could probably benefit from some aging; at the moment it just feels rough around all the edges.
Pours a brandy orange-red colour, quite syrupy-looking in the glass. Head needed to be encouraged, and sinks quickly, just a ring around the top. Lacing is pretty decent and sticky. I'm always a bit forgiving of bock-styles for lack of head, is otherwise alright.
Nose is very strong and pongy, with a huge amount of malt, slightly smokey with a strong brandy sourness and a fair whiff of brass. Distinct alcohol, fruit and brown sugar on there. Interesting sweet/sour aroma, can't say I'm a huge fan, but it's unique.
Taste is more of the same at first. Large sweetness on the front with burnt toffee, brown sugar, brandy, some woody notes and hint of marzipan coming through on the mid, then a really strong phenolic solvent character on the finish, with distinct alcohol warmth, nothing overly hot but no real flavour there to hide the booze. A very dour bitterness comprises the finish, really just tastes more like methyl alcohol than anything else. Not unlike cough medicine.
Feel is very syrupy and flat - the resemblance to cough medicine goes beyond the taste. Dreadful, really.
It's amusing that this calls itself the cognac of beers, when it doesn't have nearly the power, complexity or pleasant flavour of a good brandy. All it has is a distinct alcohol finish. Not a pleasant drop, I really have very, very little respect for the Brauerei Schloss Eggenberg, they are all talk and no substance. This is an insult to other doppelbocks.
Pours a very clear deep golden colour, with a filmy head of white foam. Very filmy in the head, and no retention. Big bubbled carbonation around the edges. The lack of head is disappointing, and I can't say I'm overly enamoured overall.
Very sweet nose, slightly sickly grain character, with a slight hint of booziness. Quite solvent-like and really intense. Very unpleasant. I'm not a fan at all.
Oh god, if anything, it's worse on the palate. Hugely phenolic solvent-like booze on the back, tingling and not quite clearing away the sickly sweet front palate. It's hot, and thick, and boozy without complexity or nuance. It reminds me of cheap Egyptian malt-liquor. Really, really abysmal. I don't want to drink it.
Undrinkable. This smacks of brewing apathy, and comes across as cheap hot piss to get you wasted quickly. The similarities between it and, say, Jordanian 10% rocket fuel are striking. Please let me not finish it.
80 / 100
Pours a dark scarlet colour, clear with a very pleasant beige head, nice and thick and loyal, sticking around nicely. Dense and pleasant, leaves moderate lace around the glass but not huge amounts. Pretty good, and interesting.
Nose is an interestingly sweet one. Lots of toffee malt notes and a very Irish red kind of character, hints of cream, hazelnuts and pecans. A hint of whiskey malt as well, very interesting beer. One of the most English-smelling 'German' styles I've experienced.
Taste is again pleasant. More of that rich toffee character, sweet and malty but more of that rich bitterness, kind of like Belgian candi sugar. A good strong potent character on the mid-palate, with hints of hazelnut, whiskey malt and a bit of cocoa without the chocolatey sweetness you would get from a porter, for example. There is a bitterness on the back, but it creeps up sullenly and blends almost impeccably with the alcomohol warmth I feel. Slightly herbal with mint and parsley, a great character. A really tasty beer with all the benchmarks of a good strong lager.
A little unfortunate on the mouthfeel, but having said that I've come to expect that from bocks, just the clean-up from lagering lowers the texture. A bit drying on the back and a bit harsh when the alcohol hits. Good though not fantastic.
Dangerously drinkable though. Good rich flavour, and very pleasant.
83 / 100
Pours a dark but brilliantly clear ruby colour, with a filmy head of yellow foam. Head dissipates a little, but sticks to the edges with pleasant lacing. Looks quite heavy and thick. I approve, in particular, I love the colour.
Huge phenols of wonderful banana and dark toffee. Really smells quite German - it has notes of the good German weizens, with the toffee of a wonderful weizenbock. Really, it reminds me of Aventinus - full of dark alcohol, but toffee sweetness and leavened wheat notes. This is really wonderful.
Taste is very similar, with roasted toffee notes, but not too grainy, and certainly not burnt with acrid dark characters. Delicious clear mouthfeel, which is what leavens the palate otherwise, leaving just the slight roasted sweetness, without creating something too heavy or cloying. It stays incredibly drinkable, a clear and pleasant roastiness, just folded in with a light dark sugar note.
This is an exceptionally drinkable brew. It has such a wonderful clarity to the palate, which leaves it quaffable and delicious despite the alcohol content. This is truly comparable to the best German examples - once again, the US shows me what it is capable of. Tröegs really know what they are doing with this brew, and showcase a truly world-class doppelbock. Astonishingly good.
76 / 100
Nice swing top bottle which uncaps with a satisfying thunking pop.
Pours a really, really lovely mahogany hued red-amber, with an initially vivacious and frothy head of taupe foam. Slight haze in the body is perfect. Retention is a little weak, which is a shame, but otherwise this is an absolutely stunning looking beer. Really top notch.
Very sweet and malty on the nose. Lots of honey, even treacle and molasses, and something a little floral too. Smells like a garden on a hot summer's day. Very rich and sweet.
More of the same on the palate, although there is a pleasant clean bitterness on the back and a phenolic alcohol vector which cuts through much of the syrup. Mouthfeel is round, chewy and full, which somewhat emphasises the incredibly thick and sweet nature of the palate. It pulls no punches, this beer; it's going for huge malt, thickness and body.
Hard to fault it for effort - this is a huge rich malty bomb. While I may have found myself craving more sharpness, a slightly lighter body, or a palate cleansing burst of finishing hops, that's not what this beer is designed to do. Try it when you're after a bucketload of malt and you won't be disappointed.
Pours a purplish-red colour, scarlet really, with a thick beige head, about a finger's worth, that sticks around nicely. Steady but slow carbonation in the glass, while lacing is sticky and good. A bit lighter than I had expected, but still very good indeed.
Nose is rich and complex with pleasant tart fruit aromas; brandied cherry and plum blended with a sweet toffee character and a caramelly malt underlying. Slight peppery notes as well, just a very pleasant strong bock aroma, a bit timid but a joy to behold.
Taste is predominantly sweet and sticky, with a lot of rich toffee characters and a thick, treacle-esque malt base. A little bit of tartness on the mid, very subtle and clean though, just adds to the profile without strangling the palate. A pleasant brandy character is produced towards the back, the sweetness and richness of the malt with a delightful alcohol kick as it goes down. Alcohol is not really prominent though, at 8.1% it's incredible smooth drinking, very well masked.
Overall though I'd have to call this a little too sweet. It's very pleasant but just a touch more bitterness or tartness here or there would hugely enrich what is already a pleasant drop. It just seems slightl simple, it doesn't have the challenging complexity of the Celebrator, although I think this is also due to the mouthfeel, which is a bit flat, although nicely thick from the malt.
It all feels just a bit lacking. Very enjoyable, meshes together well, it just doesn't make you take a step back to admire the beer and reflect "I have just tasted God's essence." Not that I expect to find God's essence in a swingtop bottle, it would definitely need a cork. If I haven't said it already, very pleasant though, good drinking.
76 / 100
Gorgeous pour, rich red-tinged black colour with a vivacious, piquant head that bounces and froths all around the glass before settling into a very thick beige crown. There is slow but populous bubbling in the brew, not much lace around but it's sticky as hell. An exciting-looking beer.
Nose is a rich, complex and poignant affair. First note is kind of nutty, with an organic, charcoal edge which gives way to a slightly tart mélange of fresh fruit aromas - plummy and cherry-y. Lots of cinnamon and chocolate behind there as well, it's sweet and dark and just blossoming with goodness. Again, I'm excited by the smell.
Taste is intriguing, with a nice blend of flavours. Raisins and dates with aspects of oak and some cocoa. An odd fruit juice flavour is a bit of a spoiler, makes the mid-palate seem a bit insipid, whereas the fruit on the front is dark and complex. Finish is a pleasant bitterness, roasted without being burnt, and like a well-roasted chocolate coffee bean. There is, tragically, not much more to it - very pleasant, but doesn't have the raw charismatic power and intricacy of the nose. This isn't helped by a bland, slightly thin feel, which for the most part is bad but picks up on the back thanks to a spirited, spiritous, kick of alcomohol, which isn't burning but gives it a slight nudge.
Aaaargh! The agony of admitting that such a great-looking, great-smelling beer from these master German brewers, could be a letdown on taste! It's a lovely brew, it just tastes and feels thin, and the nose promised so much more. I don't want to denigrate this great brew any further, so I'll finish by pointing out that it is extremely drinkable.
Pours a red-tinged clear gold colour, very large, dense head. Head sinks a bit, but leaves very sticky lacing behind. Looks quite light for a doppelbock, but decent.
Smell is very musty. Quite tart with an acrid cherry aroma, a slight pinot character and quite hoppy with a grassy hint to it. Not as complex as I would expect, actually quite dominated by the hops. That's not such a bad thing but it leaves it a bit too simplistic.
Taste is quite ethanolic with a strong malt base, quite biscuity with strong fermented characters. Green apple and grape esters abound. A tartness on the back with a very drying finish, slightly puckering around the edges. There is a sweetness on the front palate that is a bit syrupy and excessive, and the malt that underlies the whole palate makes the whole thing a bit sweet.
Feel is nicely full, but a bit too sticky for my tastes, particularly combined with the dry finish.
I feel like this needs a bit more spice or a bit more sour character, it just seems a bit insipid because of the constant sweetness.
77 / 100
Pours an orange-black colour with a very solid and thick head of beige foam. Lacing is excellent. Retention very good indeed. The colour is so refined and beuatiful, what an absolutley lovely looking beer. Some reverse cascading out of the bottle too. Truly excellent.
Light nutty and yeasty notes on the nose. Vague hints of banana phenols, and an odd type of sweetness, almost a Belgian yeast note to it. Some carbonic acidity coming through too. Very nice.
Quite a smooth palate, with some grainy sweetness - lots of cereal, with a light dark grain roastiness coming through on the back. It doesn't explore the palate extensively, it stays true and sweet on the central line, so it appears a little simple, but for all that, it's very tasty. Mouthfeel is smooth, but not particularly full or heavy.
A very drinkable brew, and an enjoyable, if down-the-line doppelbock. It doesn't have a huge complexity, but it's well crafted, and the characters sit together very nicely.
Pours a dark, dark brown with a red tinge, looks quite cola-esque with a fairly poor, weak head, quite pale in colour, certainly doesn't retain well. Doesn't produce much lacing except a line of sticky foam. Looks lacklustre but as I always say, looks like so many other bocks.
Quite tart on the nose. Hints of dark cocoa, shiraz, almost a smokey character, but not strong. Fruity around the edge with a plum & raisin aspect. Quite nice but not very pungent. I expect a doppelbock nose to be strong and robust.
Taste is quite dark, with a fairly strong dark chocolate character with berries mixed in, but without the tartness. Palate is quite grainy, and there is a sticky sweetness to the mid-and-back palate reminiscent of soy sauce. Again, flavour is a bit subdued, but it is quite drinkable for all that, it's just a Woody Allen stuck in the George Foreman world of Doppelbocks. Mouthfeel is quite watery and dull although with traces of a sticky malt in there.
Pours with a sensational surface pour with thick bubbles actually cascading down the outside of the glass and up the middle of the beer. Dark amber colour, about as dark as you get before it becomes a dark beer. Very generous beige head, fading slowly but still there, quite dense. Nice lacing, not very grippy.
Very malty characters on the nose, with a tart, spicy aspect. Slight roasted aspect, but yeah, more malt than anything else - smells like a brew day. Quite nice, but would like a bit more.
Taste is quite rich and malty, with a very slight pitter pang on the back, reminiscent maybe of coffee beans. Hint of nutmeg on the front or something but can't quite pick it. There is an inexplicably chocolatey aspect lingering behind the main palate. Mouthfeel is smooth, velvety and creamy and is suitable for the flavour although part of why it's smooth is because palate feels not very complex. Nice, strong flavours especially on the back, but otherwise not too layered. Very drinkable though.
75 / 100
Pours a deep ruddy brown colour, with an initial light foam head of yellow-white bubbles. Fair amount of carbonation, and after a while the head gives up and just leaves a light ring of foam around the collar. Minimal lacing. Colour is good, but the head is disappointing.
Pleasant rich and sweet characters on the nose - honey, malt extract, a little rum, and a grassy, vegetative or light phenol character. It's not huge, but there's lots of pleasant characters in there - a very good example of a strong German bock.
Taste is a lot better, with an excellent dark richness on the front, some toasted dryness on the back. Lots of malt - a huge amount, in fact - leaves this feeling quite heavy right up until midway through the palate, when the roasted characters tilt their head and make a dry plateau. This leaves my palate ready for the next sip. Mouthfeel is a tad too carbonated to my mind - that's probably a stylistic thing, but I really think a smoother or creamier feel would help, especially with the heavy malt sweetness that is predominant.
Ultimately, the beer is exceptionally drinkable. No mean feat for a beer weighing in at 7.4% - there's not a hint of it on the palate, although the rich heavy character intimates that something is going on here. A big beer, and a very good doppelbock - an exemplar of the style.
89 / 100
Absolutely amazing pour, like an inverted cascade effect, with the body straying into the head and then settling out. Amazing. Body is a really deep ruby red colour with a thick head of beige tight bubbles. Just amazing. I've never seen such a cool looking pour from a bottle.
Huge malty richness on the nose - smells like brewday. Sweet and grainy, organic and rich. Quite dark as well, but just with grain notes, no hints of alcohol or dark fruit. Very nice.
Very malty on the palate too, with a delicious dark roasted notes. Lovely. Stays quite sweet with dark organic notes at the front. It's only once you swallow that the darker notes of carbonised toast and charcoal come through. And it's not overpowering - this lovely sweet grain character stays the course. Just a delicious beer, wonderfully balanced and sippable. Mouthfeel is quite light, but that's good for this beer - once again, it walks a narrow course between roasted heaviness and light sweetness. Really great.
This is a very, very good beer - it's not extreme, it's just extremely well made. There's a really refined character to it; everything is in perfect proportions. It leaves it amazingly drinkable.
59 / 100
Pours a deep reddish brown into an oversize 22oz wineglass. Foams up a creamy light brown coloured head which dissipates to an oily film. Some lacing. Minimal carbonation. Nice colour, good look.
Dark metallic notes on the nose, some sweet chocolate characters, but with an overtone of copper, rye bread and solvent. The sweetness does become more prominent as the beer warms, which is a much more pleasant experience.
Dark roasted notes dominate the flavour, but the palate is surprisingly thin and surprisingly short. There's a nice malty explosion on the front, but then it almost instantly declines to a thin residual char-bitter character, again with a coppery bite. The initial flavour is good - a rich, sweet, dark flavour, but the fact that it just drops its load then runs is a big disappointment. Mouthfeel quite thin.
Ultimately, this is a decent beer, but nothing particularly spectacular. I admit I was probably more disappointed because it has such hints of luscious flavour, upon which it doesn't ultimately follow up. Drinkable enough, but in my opinion, a beer labelled both Doppelbock and Winter Warmer should have a mile more character.