Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 99, Spaten Optimator

Years ago when I was financially challenged, I came upon Spaten Optimator bomber bottles for a price of like 2.50$ and felt the need to partake in these gems when necessity dictated.  Drinking this beer now brings back fond memories and the beer has not changed a bit, but the ownership has and that is disappointing because now that I know who owns it, it will not be bought by me. I will, however, drink it gladly if offered to me!

This beer is a dopplebock, basically a bock beer, which is dark and robust, but doubly so.  It will me higher malted so expect sweetness and a little roasted character and mild hops.  An average of 7% ABV is also likely so avoiding an alcohol taste is a good quality for a dopplebock to have.
Green bottle beer!  Yikes!  Why?  Anyway, this particular bottle exhibits no skunk aroma of flavor which is nice because it would detract from the profile.

I poured this beer cold into a tulip glass.  Neither appropriate for the style, but you can't always have perfection.  It poured a nice clear dark mahogany with a one finger tan head that quickly dissipated to a thin ring around the glass and very little lacing is noticeable.

The aroma is of sweet caramel malts and dark fruits with a tad of bread to it and maybe some honey and molasses.  It's very pleasant.

The taste is of malted sweetness with molasses, dark fruit, some nice bread notes and a hint of cherry all pretty much apparent equally throughout the sip with the molasses lingering until the end where some mild bitter hops finish it all off with a bit o' black pepper.  Alcohol is apparent in neither the nose or the taste.  Well done!

The mouthfeel is sweet, almost syrupy, but not quite, the hops and moderate carbonation help to counter that.  The body is generally full with maybe a little chewiness to it.

Overall this is an exceptional beer in my book.  Why they risk putting it in a green bottle I have no clue.  It may be too sweet for some, but that is the style.  I like it a lot and if I were to detract any points it would be for the very faint head.  I give it a solid 4 out of 5, maybe one notch higher.  I am not happy about the ownership of the brewery and that destroys any chance of me buying it again.

This is an excellent example of a dopplebock.  It's not an Ayinger which, from what I understand, is really the best.  I also am not going to tell you to purchase this beer (watch a movie called Beer Wars).  But if you must, you will not be let down.  Seek out Ayinger.


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