Monday, May 16, 2011

Beer Style of the Week - Doppelbock (Double Bock)

Week 14

We played a silly game as a kid called, ‘Buck Buck how many fingers do I have up?’ The details of the game escape me now, but that’s not the point. I’m “researching” new game for silly adults called ‘Bock Bock, How many fingers am I holding up?’ After each player downs a six pack of Doppelbock, the player who best remembers what game they are playing, hollers, “Bock, Bock how many fingers am I holding up?”– The answer is always, “I’ll let you know when the room stops spinning.”

So, the point is; avoid playing any Bock Bock games and do not drink a sixer of Double Bock then attempt to count fingers.

The Bock (Billy Goat in German) style was originally brewed as an ale from an area surrounding Einbeck, Germany. A bigger, stronger Bock, the Doppelbock, evolved as the head-butting beer of the lager family.

Traditional Doppelbocks are malty, sweet, lightly to moderately hopped and fairly strong in alcohol by volume (from around 7.0% - 11.5% ABV). The color ranges from a teaky light amber/brown to ruby-hued mahogany. The off-white to beige head should be rich and creamy, though in the higher ABV versions, the head will dissipate rather quickly. The aroma is malt focused with noticeable whiffs of alcohol present. Citrus and fruity notes may be in the background. The body is slick and full, but not necessarily heavy. Monks who must forego solid foods during fasting sessions have used the Doppel Bock as “Liquid Bread”. Speaking of food, Doppelbocks go well with a wide variety of menus. Try pairing with creamy cheeses and sausages, or duck with rich berry sauces, or mixed grilled meats. Wake up your vanilla ice cream by adding a little strong Doppelbock!

Germany (land of Origin)

Ayinger Celebrator – Aying, Germany – 6.7% ABV (A mild version of the style)

It pours a tar black with a smallish beige head and a bit of sticky lace. Aromas of dark chocolate, licorice, coffee and slight alcohol fuminess lasts a god long time. A heavy, almost oily malt body is home to many rich flavors and tastes. Strong coffee, chocolate and fresh rye bread-like tastes are upfront. Tastes of licorice, orange zest, toffee and nice alcohol finish get together very nicely. As it warms a taste of prunes develops. This is one satisfying brew!

Paulaner Salvator – Munich, Germany – 7.9% ABV

It pours a deep red amber with a full beige head.

A full sweet malt and lightly smoky smell mix with a fruity and slightly perfumy scent.

The biscuity malt is thick and rich, with caramel sweetness and chock full of nuts.

It's abundantly hopped. Lots of citrus notes with just a touch of a metallic tang.

The well-hidden alcohol effect comes on as a sensation before you know it.

This is a robust and complex brew!

Austria (The Biggest Doppelbock out there!)

Brauerie Schloss Eggenberg - Samichlaus (Santa Claus) – Vorchdorf, Austria – 14% ABV

The World’s Most Extraordinary Beer. Bottled 2002. Sampled in 2004.

This Rare Malt Liquor is dark maple in color with a fast fading beige head. The aroma is rummy and malty with a faint trace of hops sneaking through. The full sweet malt houses highly hopped citrus bitterness. Dark rum flavors mingle with strong honey and light lemony taste. Strongly Alcoholic at 14%) abv. But, it slides easily and dangerously down.

One of my favorite liqueurs or sherries.


Moretti - La Rossa Birra Doppio Malto (Don’t you just love saying, Doppio Malto??!!!??) 7.2% ABV

This uniquely styled Doppelbock pours a dark rusty color with firm beige head. A big sweet malty aroma offers a bit of damp hay and hop background a bit of alcohol is noticed upon opening. The heavy sweet malt (think 10/40 weight motor oil) is the focus of this brew. Flavors of fresh baked bread and sweet caramel flood the mouth and soothingly bathe the throat. A lemony lime sour bitterness mixed with a faint apple taste delivers a little hard cider-like flavor. The alcohol is noticeable, but not overpowering.

Mama Mia!!! Chio Bella!!!

New England Representations

Thomas Hooker – Liberator Doppel Bock – Bloomfield, Connecticut – 8% ABV

16.9oz dark brown swing top bottle.

It pours a very dark and deep ruby-hued mahogany color with a fast-fading beige head, along with thin scattered patches of lacing.

It smells like a malt monster with big whiffs of caramel and damp hay accompanied by notes of dried barley and leather.

Tastes of burnt crème brulee, sweet caramel, Ovaltine, milk chocolate, tobacco and leather are all quite upfront and noticeable. A slight background taste of prune juice is detected in the background.

A mellow Myers Lemony tartness provides some contrast to the big, bold malty body, as does a dose of a metallic bite. Though make no mistake, this brew is all about the malt structure with well-applied hop reminders.

Lovely Stuff!

Samuel Adams – Imperial Series Double Bock – 9.5% ABV

12oz brown bottle. Date etched on side label.

It pours a ruby-hued teakish color with a nice thick yellow-tinged beige head and a fair amount of lacing.

The aroma is mostly of sweet malt, with a noticeable whiff of horse barn.

Man, this is one malty brew! Remember Ovaltine? There's a resemblance here.

Notes of milk chocolate and doughy buttered bread come to mind. A bit of honey and molasses add to the sweet sensation

Although there is plenty of raw and edgy resinous hop bitterness, their impact is tempered by the full powerful body of malt.

A taste of golden rum enters the picture and flitters around the peripherals of the all mighty maltiness and vies for attention with its equally dominated hop sibling.

Yeah, Sam Adams is a big brewer, but that doesnt mean they dont still brew good, or even excellent beers. This is one really fine brew!

Fisherman’s Navigator – Cape Ann Brewing – Gloucester, MA – 7% ABV

Served in a 20oz tall mug.

Pours a tannish amber color with a 1” tannish beige head and a fair amount of webby lacing.

Smells of grainy barn malt, sweet cereal and a bit of resinous malt mingle together well.

The taste is layered with sweet caramel maltiness and a light dose of resiny and metallic hop bitterness. A faint taste of dark tea edges forward. A warming alcohol is noticed upon exhale late.

The body is a bit on the light side for the style, but is very gulpable!

According to an article in Wikipedia, there are over 200 “ators” registered for the dopplebock style in the German patent office.

Quote: “It’s extraordinary how friendly you can make a lot of people on a couple bottles of beer” –

Baron Frankenstein – “Frankenstein”

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