Tag Archive: Dopplebock


Heller: Aecht Schlenkerla Eiche: Doppelbock (Germany: Smoked: 8% ABV)

Visual: Dark ruddy red. Inch of browned head.

Nose: Smoked blue cheese. Smoked meat board. Smoked bacon. Ash.

Body: Brown sugar. Blue cheese. Smoke. Slight cream. Plums. Raisins.

Finish: Smoked cheese. Blue cheese. Brown sugar. Brown bread. Sour dough. Cherries.

Conclusion: Oh yes, this is the beer I tried years ago and could never find again. I have been beer hunting this one for bloody ages, and now it is here again!

Why am I so excited about this one? Blue cheese my friend. Blue cheese in a smoked doppelbock. Oh yes. The smoke is what I presume creates this awesome blue cheese and meat platter aroma – all smoked versions of course. Those elements follow through into the main body to create a heavy, intense smoked beer that manages to avoid the ash tray like character that can hit some of them.

Beneath that is a brown sugar to dark fruit doppelbock that gives a nice backing to the cheese and meat. However that blue cheese and meat is what you are here for (Or at least it is what I am here for). That is what you chew on, the other notes are just to give something behind it.

So, for the first half, this beer is absolutely amazing, but it does become a different beer as time goes on. The brown sugar backing becomes more evident and the smoke elements less so. Now it is still decent, with cherry and raisin notes showing through, but is isn’t that great thing it was at the start and by the end of the beer the brown sugar notes are far too present.

A great opener of a beer – genuinely a layered legend – but the higher sweetness seems to mean that it can’t hold that to the end. Pity. Still well worth trying – maybe share a bottle between two people to get it at its best.

So, the end lets it down, but the front is so good that I still recommend it.

Background: Tried this a few years ago, it was on tap at The Beer Emporium and it was lovely. Sometimes I can find Aecht Schlenkerla Eiche beers a tad too smoke filled, but this had the balance down just right. Ever since I’ve been hunting for it again to try and do notes on it. So, yeah, it turned up at Independent Spirit, so now I have it and I’m doing notes on it. Simple. The difference to this beer is that it is oak smoked rather than beech smoked for the rest, which I presume accounts for a lot of its different character. With it being a doppelbock I decided to break out the Aventinus glass – I don’t get many excuses to use it. Put on Rotten Citizens Vol 1 EP while drinking for some nice heavy moody backing music.

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Mikkeller: Raspberry Trippelbock (Denmark: Fruit Dopplebock: 13% ABV)

Visual: Very dark brown. Thin brown head.

Nose: Boozy raspberry – tart with sweet edges. Raspberry syrup. Dried banana. Creamy, boozy chocolate. Raspberry pips. Gooseberry.

Body: Raisins. Raspberry ice cream syrup. Tart, fresh raspberries. Chewy caramel. Malt chocolate. Hop oils and oily bitterness. Nutty. Dates.

Finish: Strawberry syrup. Red cherries. Tart raspberries. Chocolate bourbon biscuits. Hop oils. Oily bitterness. Slightly nutty. Treacle.

Conclusion: This is another super thick beer – treacle, chewy caramel – lots of boozy sweet characteristics. There is no alcohol burn to it, not even heat, just a syrupy thick weight that tastes alcohol strong. The flavour is just solidly sweet – a hair’s breadth away from being sickly. The beer is utterly reliant on the raspberry to make it a beer that actually works, as without it this would be a sugary disaster.

The raspberry is big and very prominent – there are tart, fresh elements to it, but a lot of the raspberry character has been co-opted by the sweet, thick malt. Thus what you get is an ice cream syrup styled set of raspberry to cherry notes. So, you do get that much needed fresh element, but mostly it doubles down on the the thick, thick sweet notes, just now in a raspberry style.

Now, there is an attempt at contrast – a thick, oily bitterness that comes in like a mix of nut and hop oils. It is an intense oily character, but rather than contrasting it feels like it adds to the thick boozy character.

Now, I wont lie, I’m having fun with this but it is simple as hell and boozy as hell. It is far too thick, too boozy and too sweet. Fun, depending on your tastes, and impressive in how it avoids rough edges despite that alcohol, but not one I can, in general recommend.

Background: Mikkeller! Love the brews from this lot – the so called “Gypsy brewers” who are probably the best known of the large number of brewers that rely on contract brewing to make their recipes. This one, a tripplebock made with raspberries has a pretty good rep all round, and is one I never quite got around to grabbing. So, when independent spirit got both the raspberry trippelbock, and the barrel aged Quadrupel made with raspberries, I grabbed one of each and prepared for some heavy, boozy times. Interesting fact – the quad is also 13% abv, partially because quads are a Belgian style and bocks a German style so they don’t have to line up – partially because the whole double, tripel, etc really never works as an actual multiplier on the alcohol if you ever think about it. Anyway, drunk while listening to New Model Army’s live album – love NMA and I really feel they should be better known in and out of the punk scene.

Paulaner: Salvator (Germany: Dopplebock: 7.9% ABV)

Visual: Reddened brown. Large overripe banana bubbled head.

Nose: Cinnamon. Dried banana. Cloves. Wheat. Toffee.

Body: Fruitcake. Madeira. Glacier cherries and port soaked raisins. Marzipan. Bitter wheaty centre. Cinnamon. Dried banana. Clove. Dry liquorice. Earthy. Dried apricot. Spicy notes.

Finish: Raisins. Dry liquorice. Dried prunes. Dry cinnamon. Wheaty. Cloves. Earthy. General dried spice.

Conclusion: This tastes like Aventinus‘ more bitter, charred and spicy cousin. It plays with similar raisins, banana and cloves – that sort of thing – but it has a more bitter core character, with much heavier earthiness and actually quite a wheaty feel despite, I think, not being a weizen.

It has heavy dried fruit and heavy spice to it. In fact, the longer I spend with it, the more it seems to move away from Aventinus and more become its own thing. I mean, Aventinus is still a good starting point for a reference but this deals with harsher flavours without moving away from being enjoyable.

It is also very robust, much more so than the bottled version which I also enjoyed. In fact that extra weight really does give it an extra intensity that takes a bit of time getting used to – rather than a smoother dopplebock this feels much heavier spiced – so much that if you told me it wa a spice beer I would not have been surprised.

Because of the above it is a very complex beer – from the toffee base, the spice into what really does taste like wheat beer notes and dark fruit, it has a lot going on. There are a few notes which means that it is not quite as beloved as Aventinus for me – for one the dry liquorice notes are a bit harsh for me, but it is a sign of how well it is made that I really enjoy it despite that.

So, it has a few flaws and rough edges, but behind that is a fruity, spirity, heavy beer that has a lot to recommend it. Lots of the banana and cloves notes I love – all done with a bit more British feel earthy hop twist. A lot of these are pronounced than in the bottled version, so if the idea of earthy earthiness and spice doesn’t put you off then this is an excellent beer for you. Only have one in a session though I would say – both the abv and flavours are too heavy for any more than that.

Background: The first beer notes of the Germany trip! This one was drunk at Paulaner Am Thienlenplatz near the Hannover train station after doing a few hours walking tour of Hannover itself. I’ve had Salvator a few times before and very much enjoyed it, but this is the first time I’ve had it on tap which was a nice special touch. I don’t think this is actually a wheat beer, even if it does taste like it at times- I did a quick google and I think this is just a dopplebock not a weizen bock, but I could be wrong. Anyway, after all that walking I definitely had earned a beer, so this was a welcome treat.

Hoppin' Frog Karminator

Hoppin’ Frog: Karminator (USA: Doppelbock: 9.3% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy dark caramel to reddish brown. Moderate browned head. Some evident carbonation, but less than expected.

Nose: Massive port, raisins and fruitcake. Glacier cherries. Chocolate liqueur undertone. Malty. Toffee.

Body: Thick. Fruitcake. Marzipan. Sultanas and glacier cherries. Brandy cream. Toffee pavlova. Salted caramel. Light cloves.

Finish: Glacier cherries. Dried banana. Fruitcake. Raisins. Madeira. Brandy cream. Fudge. Salted caramel. Cloves. Honey. Brown sugar. Lightly peppery.

Conclusion: Well, this is a big one – in bottle size, abv and flavour. Very thick body – so much so that I would not have guessed it as a lager styled beer if I had not known. Mouthfeel wise it feels similar to the super smooth American take on the Belgian ale. Flavour wise it is half way between the dopplebock it is and a strong ale take on an ESB. It is huge.

The smoothness, the malt character and the subtle banana and cloves all shout top quality dopplebock. The fruitcake and port can be dopplebock notes, but the intensity of them is very ESB like. This isn’t a barrel aged beer, but with the Madeira and port notes coming out you could have fooled me. In fact the smoothness says barrel ageing as well – but no, this is all just from the craft of the brewers. Impressive.

As an experience this is booming, silky and fruity. It slips down easily but the varied vinous aroma and notes happily declares its abv strength where the alcohol feel does not. This isn’t a beer that replaces my beloved weizendopplebock Aventinus, but it feels like a not Weizen take on the same concept – and that makes it very appealing to me. it runs a similar set of notes, delivered differently and in a smooth American manner. It is a dangerous beer. Complex enough to drag you in, and the lager style makes it far too easy to drink. While it is booming there are subtle spice notes at the edges – and the yeast, though mainly clean, does add a few funky edges it seems.

A beer of weight and gravitas. Have it on its own, not as part of a session, take your time and appreciate it. Do so and you will be rewarded with an excellent beer. Definitely not a session beer in any sense, trust me on that. Treat this as you would a strong Trappist ale and it will reward you similarly.

Background: Haven’t had a dopplebock for a while by my memory. Which is admittedly poor due to drinking. So, this gave me a chance to break out the Aventinus glass again. Anyway, grabbed from Brewdog’s guest beer shop, this is from the Hoppin’ Frog brewery – I’ve seen their large bottles pop up around a bit, but never got around to doing notes for one of them. So here goes a chance to change that. Drunk while listening to some Bratmobile and Heavens To Betsy – a bit of riotgrrrl punk fun. For some reason I near always listen to these two artists back to back. I blame “Gone Home”

Blackjack Native Sun 2014 (Pinot Noir Barrel Aged)

Blackjack: Native Sun 2014 (Pinot Noir Barrel Aged) (England: Dopplebock: 8.5% ABV)

Visual: Deep black cherry red to brown. Moderate rich chocolate froth.

Nose: Chocolate shavings. Dry malt drink. Sour red grapes. Rose petals. Chocolate fondue comes out as it warms. Herbal notes. Raisins and liquorice.

Body: Cinnamon sticks. Sour red wine. Malt chocolate to bitter chocolate. Mint leaves. Blackcurrants. Nutmeg. Liquorice. Slight glacier cherries.

Finish: Bitter chocolate flakes. Sour red wine. Nutmeg. Lightly earthy. Liquorice. Raisins.

Conclusion: I have limited experience with Pinot Noir – that is I have tried several New Zealand versions of it, and they are awesome. very big and fruity. I owe that knowledge entirely to my awesome sister who has provided me with a few glasses of good stuff over the years.

Yes I have a friendly booze family.

This is much drier and more sour wine influenced than the Pinot Noirs I have encountered – with more earthy and acidic notes. From what I have been told this is pretty standard with more European Pinot Noirs. Which makes sense.

Anyway, now I have demonstrated my nigh complete lack of knowledge on wine, we have – THE BEER!

I mention the wine first as it is a huge influence, but while the wine does dominate the dopplebock seems to make a solid base under that – bitter chocolate and malt drinks makes for a robust base character. It is smooth, with some cherry and raisins hints (though actually, for all I know that could be the wine as well. I would say 70% sure it is the beer). A lot of the malt flavours crossover with the red wine ageing very fluidly, so it is hard to be certain exactly where one ends and the other begins. That does mean that the flavours meld very well and gives a very well balanced experience.

Combined together the elements manage a menagerie of dark fruits, Christmas spices, earthy character and acidic sour wine notes, all balanced by malt chocolate. Halfway between a dopplebock and a mulled wine in some ways.

Overall, yep it’s a good one – you do have to like the wine aspect though as it works its way into every pore. There is a wine dryness to the entire thing. As a beer alone there are far better, but this is such a well done mix that explores the wine but doesn’t lose the beer.

A bigger amount of complexity to the base beer would have made this an all time great – as is it is still a very nice beer indeed.

Background: This one is from Manchester! I have some good memories of that place. Anyway, a dopplebock aged in Pinot Noir barrels, that grabbed my eye – not just as you don’t see many Brit made dopplebocks. Picked up from Independent Spirit, this was drunk while listening to Prodigy: The Day Is My Enemy. That album definitely has legs.

Brooklyn Silver Anniversary Lager

Brooklyn: Silver Anniversary Lager (USA: Dopplebock: 8.6% ABV)

Visual: Clear reddened gold. Large mounded yellowed head. Good level of carbonation.

Nose: Raspberry pavlova. Banana. Light yeastiness. Custard cream biscuits. White grapes. Apricot. Caramel.

Body: Spiced fruit. Bitter hops and malt drinks. Dry. Choc orange note. Raisins. Shortbread. Pavlova sweetness.

Finish: Dry bitterness and malt drinks. Nutmeg. Meringue. Alcohol air. Mixed spices.

Conclusion: I…erm…I know this meant to be a brewed up version of Brooklyn Lager. It it really weird that I find it more like Samuel Adams lager than Brooklyn lager? Even more embarrassing, I kind of prefer the Sam Adams to this. A bit embarrassing for a big celebration beer.

Now that definitely needs some context. This thing is interesting, very interesting, and definitely has more going on than the aforementioned Sam Adams. However I can’t find a point where this would be the beer I choose to be drinking, and I can with SA.

Hmm, needs more explaining I feel. Let’s run from the start, and see where that gets us. The popped cork first impressions were great, as is the aroma. A great discreet but present yeast character, big pavlova sweetness and a fruit element. It is smooth, very different to a lot of dopplebocks and this all bodes well.

The body opens up on a completely different front, spiced but backed by light sweetness and fruit. Initially appatising, if the beer is held for a while it develops a less pleasant gin like air.

The finish.. ah well this is the first sign something is wrong. Dry, with a gin like air and heavy malt drinks. The finish just doesn’t work, especially not in conjunction with the rest of the beer. Worse than that, it brings into relief the flaws of the body that could previously have been overlooked. The gin air becomes heavier on second sip, and having been made very obvious in the finish the dry maltiness seems intrusive now in the body. It is a kind of malt heaviness that needs a good hop opposition rather than the light fruit you find here.

The beer is still interesting, and it is a nicely different take on the dopplebock, but the elements wander a path from aroma greatness to the let down of the finish and leaves you disappointed. Worse still it a journey you take again and again over the lifetime of the beer.

So, that is why I prefer basic Sam Adams, not as complex a beer, but one you can happily drink easily, it has its time and place This doesn’t have one for me.

An interesting beer, and not without elements that charm but…no, not a beer I would recommend.

Background: I mainly picked this up because of the odd art on the front of the bottle. Yes I am easily influenced. This was found at the always excellent Independent Spirit This is apparently a brewed up version of Brooklyn lager, and was done for their 25th anniversary. So, happy birthday Brooklyn Brewing. Drunk while listening to a bit of Anti Nowhere League who I’m hoping to see lie later this year.

Schloss Eggenberg: Samichlaus (Austria: Dopplebock:14% ABV)

Visual: Clear bronzed red with an almost spirit like clarity. A feeling enhanced by the neigh total absence of a head. It looks warming and tempting.

Nose; Strawberry, the alcohol is understated but present. Light cream – almost yogurt or thick milkshake. Very fruity and sweet.

Body: Very sugary, golden syrup and malt. Still some strawberry which evaporates in a sherbet haze. Brown sugar and some whisky like qualities. Just a touch of raspberry.

Finish: Dry woody end, still sweet but very dry from the alcohol. Black cherry, then unexpected bitterness and burnt wood.

Conclusion: If every a beer came similar in style to a dessert wine this is it. Sweet and rich, unexpected strawberry qualities and whisky influence – the main body is delicious and full powered.

Yet this beer also suits the role of winter warmer well or nightcap and since this beer is only brewed on the 6th of December for St Nicholas Day it seems very appropriate.

Its alcohol content warms and relaxes. The main drawback to this beer is how insanely sweet it is, one 330ml bottle would go fine shared between two to prevent this becoming overpowering.

Overall a very satisfying and elegant drink for slow sipping. It feels like a masquerade ball of a beer, showy and elegant with surprises hidden behind the mask.

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