1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Spaten Optimator - Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu

Not Rated.
Spaten OptimatorSpaten Optimator

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,590 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,590
Reviews: 1,267
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 12.34%
Wants: 63
Gots: 174 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu visit their website

Style | ABV
Doppelbock |  7.60% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 04-06-1999)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Spaten Optimator Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,590 | Reviews: 1,267 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ToasterChef
3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the green bottle into a 12oz beer mug. The beer is a dark brownish amber color. Atop it sits a head of tan foam and bubbles. I can see a few bubbles rising to the top of the glass, but for the most part, the beer is too dark to see into. I'd like more lacing and head retention, but otherwise it is a fine-looking doppelbock.

The beer has a big crystal malt aroma. It's a little sweet, like a rich caramel. I think I can also smell some dark fruit...perhaps raisins? It's a warm, inviting aroma and it gets me excited to take my first sip.

This is definitely a malt forward beer with lots of dark flavors. The taste brings to mind plums and brown sugar. I think the base is dark crystal malt. The beer finishes with a nutty raisin flavor that lingers.

After swallowing, I can taste a sweet coating in my mouth. The beer has a medium body and average carbonation. The mouthfeel isn't outstanding, but is of a decent quality I expect from a well-crafted beer.

I like this beer. Despite it's InBev associations, I find myself drinking one every few years. It will take me a while to go through a six pack of this, as the beer's strength limits it's drinkability over an evening. Within the glass, I take it slowly because of the strength and the sweet coat. This is a beer that is probably available in your area. If you are unsure about doppelbocks or want to explore German beers beyond Beck's, this is a good one to try.

ToasterChef, Aug 23, 2010
Photo of leechungsr
3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Great dopplebock. This is my standard "meal beer," as with a busy college schedule, I oftentimes only had time for an Optimator and a Centrum for lunch before heading off to lab.

Aroma is a little complex with sweet caramel, tobacco, full of malt, and maybe a hint of chocolate.
Taste is deep, warm, and satisfying; it's very sweet and slightly bitter. If I could change anything, I would have just a little more carbonation.

leechungsr, Mar 04, 2006
Photo of cpetrone84
3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-pours a deep reddish brown color with an abundance of fluffy light tan colored head.

S-the nose brings a malt presence up front with notes of caramel and hints of coffee, light roasted quality, fussel alcohols present, light malt sweetness, grainy in the back with a light leafy hop presence.

T-richer malt presence than the nose, lots of rich caramel, toffee, dark malts, again a lightly roasted quiality with hints of slightly burnt coffee, the fussels are mild and enjoyable, the grain profile is faint and not off putting, some dark fruit maltiness towards the back and light leafy hop finish.

M-rich and creamy feel on a reasonably full chewy body with a well carbonated finish.

D-this is a darn tasty doppelbock with a good rich flavor profile and enough of a hop balance and light alcohol presence that make for a tasty rich beer.

cpetrone84, Aug 29, 2010
Photo of stephens101
3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

One of the first good import brews I ever had. It's drinkability and fairly high alcohol content hit me, hard, so this one's been a sort of joke around the house, and I've been pretty apprehensive to try it again, as I've stigmatized it sort of. A brew shouldn't have that kind of affect on a man, and I think I'm smart enough now to know my boundaries on higher alcohol brews, so I'll try it again. Pours a dark reddish brown with a resilient two-finger tan head. Once it fades an inconsistent, but chunky lacing is left behind. Smells of huge roasted malts with some caramel thrown in for good measure. Tastes malty and sweet with an undercurrent of hops and spice. Smooth and delicious with some roasted nuts in the mix as well. Carbonation is good in this light to medium bodied brew. Superb brew with just enough alcohol to keep the party going and just enough taste to keep the party interesting.

stephens101, Aug 21, 2008
Photo of Tballz420
3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark cola-colored brew, with a bubbly head following a nice cascade of carbonation. Light caramel malt scent. For the taste, it is mainly a caramel, slight toast malt scent. Some bitter hop presence, but nothing earth shattering. Med/full bodied, some creaminess to the feel. Not my favorite doppel, but overall a pretty solid brew.

Tballz420, Sep 04, 2004
Photo of nekronos
3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Veyr strong, it says it is a barley wine, so something is missing here. The taste is evry malty, not big foam, but the colour is dark and somewhat coffee alike in memories. Probably the first Barley wine I had, strong but with personality. HAd it while chilling out from a rehearsal.

nekronos, Oct 10, 2006
Photo of Rumrunner
3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16.9 oz. bottle.

Pours a healthy ruby red mahogany color. A deep tan head. This one left some great lacing across the glass. The scents seemed held back by a grassy and grain scent. I could also smell some sweet malts. Dark bread an spices. Good scents.

Flavors are rich and ripe. Nice sweet malt. Molasass and maple. Some peppery spice for bite. A bit of hoppiness. Nice sweet fruits and raisins with a creamy milk flavor. Some smooth carob at the end. Good balance of flavors.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied. A slight hop crispness in the middle of a taste. There is a nice stickyness to its drinkability. A bit of an alcohol sting on the mouth but it is only a wake up call. A fine drinking dopplebock.

Rumrunner, Oct 22, 2003
Photo of marburg
3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Eh. Kind of a middle-of-the-road dopplebock. It's brown, as it should be, but it's a bit pale. It's a little thin as lagers tend to be, but there are plenty of fuller-bodied dopplebocks, so there's something to shoot for there. Tastes like a mish-mash of muted flavors with no real pronounced taste beyond a sort of bready vegetable flavor. It's hardly bad; it's just not unexpected, exceptional, or fun in any way.

marburg, Apr 11, 2003
Photo of erz316
3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured a couple of these guys into my huge new Spaten seidel!

A - a dark red brown color, like that of coke-classic, thick tan head with little or no lacing. as light shines through it, there are some nice ruby hues coming through.

S - the malt smell comes through like a good thick molasses, very pungent. there are some spicy alcohol notes as well. not very complicated, but still very attractive.

T - great roasted malt right up front, with some chocolate like bitterness. a very creamy smooth beer finish is a bit bitter, with some stronger coffee biterness. aftertaste is a light sweetness and roastedness of malts.

MF&D - a very thin beer, would have liked it thicker. too much like water in my case. the drinkability is fine, but the texture from the lack of viscosity is a bit off putting.

erz316, Jan 30, 2009
Photo of fountainofyouth
3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchased at RFD in Washington, DC. Poured from a bottle into a weizen glass.

Appearance: Translucent red-amber, like an Irish red ale. Tiny white head, leaves little bits of lacing. With a darker color, this thing would look pretty menacing.

Smell: My first whiff reminds me of a grassy field -- the hops are out front in the scent. Behind the hops is the sweet and complex malt. Smells of sweet dark fruits and caramel.

Taste: Similar to the smell, a battle of hops and malt. The hops are most present at the beginning and on the long, dry finish. In between, the caramel maltiness is more apparent. The flavors blend well. It's sweet, but not cloying. I thought I detected a milky-mocha flavor that reminded me a lot of a Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout, actually. Despite the 7.6% ABV punch, I hardly tasted any booze. Also, there's a small spicy bite to the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-heavy body and slick. There's a kick of crisp carbonation up front, but it subsides. There's a satisfying feeling of alcohol warmth that runs down your gullet after the swallow -- like drinking a liqueur. It's also quite filling; nobody's going to down five of these at a party.

Overall: Spaten knows what it's doing. And for the relatively inexpensive price (cheaper than a Celebrator), it's a pretty good value. Those who appreciate the genre should definitely try it.

fountainofyouth, Jul 08, 2011
Photo of CaptJackHarkness
3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on tap into clear german style beer stein.

A deep brown almost black with red highlights to the body,relatively small white head that did not last long.Tasted very much of dark fruitcake!(Nice)a hint of clove perhaps? The alchohol is well hidden.

CaptJackHarkness, Oct 16, 2011
Photo of blackc5
3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured at 45F from their 1 pt .9 oz bottle into a beer mug.

A - Pours a dark reddish brown with a moderate head on a quick pour. Head dissipates rapidly and leaves zero, nada, zilch lacing.

S - Mild scents of chocolate and raisins. Malty with yeasty herbal undertones. Overall a nice mix of scents, but quite mild.

T - Toasted malts and brown sugar, with dark fruit, mainly raisins and prune, especially as this one warms up. Very light spicy hop finish. Hearty and warming. Best served cold and consumed fairly quick - it gets quite sweet as it warms up.

M - Smooth and thick. Full-bodied with moderate carbonation and just the right amount of oiliness. Perhaps its strongest aspect.

D - Pretty high given the abv. You taste a bit of the alcohol, but for the most part this is just pure warmth and easy to down.

blackc5, Aug 10, 2009
Photo of ADR
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at St. Paul, MNs Glockenspiel dining hall.

Nice dark color, rocky one inch head. Minimal mostly sweet aroma. Roasted sweet malts, minimal to no bitterness. Slight chocolate tones. Rather than a metallic taste at the end, I noticed a severe flavor fall off, which might be intentional. Liked it more as it warmed up. Was thinner in body than I expected, but it was highly drinkable

ADR, Apr 11, 2002
Photo of glid02
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from a mixed pack received as a gift.

Pours a chocolate-brown color with a one-finger tan head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of thick and sweet caramel malts with a hint of toastiness and lighter hints of milk chocolate.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Loads of sweet caramel malt flavors up front are joined by mild amounts of milk chocolate and hints of earthy hops. These flavors carry through to a sweet ending.

Mouthfeel is alright. It's a bit on the thin side with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I didn't have a problem finishing the bottle and could have another.

Overall this was a good beer for the style but there are certainly betters out there. Worth a shot.

glid02, Dec 29, 2009
Photo of watermelonman
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This poured to a nice dark brown with hints of orange. The head was fairly small and faded, while lacing was minimal.

The smell is nice, with caramel coming through strong. Toasted malts and caramel dominate the taste, with hops coming through in the finish. The mouthfeel is fairly rich, yet the beer remains easy to drink.

watermelonman, May 20, 2005
Photo of aval89
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured a dark almost molasses color with a thin head. went kind of easy on the head. very decent looking beer, very inviting..

the smell is very complex. sugar cane, brown sugar, raisins, prune, sweet toffee, caramel, roasty malts, coffee, and even a little chocolate in there.

taste is very much like the smell.. brown sugar, syrup, almost like a dark tea flavor, raisins, bitterness comes from the malt, slight coffee in there.

mouthfeel is somewhat chewy, thick, heavy..leaves a lingering herbal resin taste on the palate..

drinkablity is easy.

not bad for my first dopplebock

aval89, Apr 03, 2010
Photo of RichScherle
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - classic dark bronze doppelbock color. Rich beige head that lingers.

S - sweetness, some dark, brooding roasty notes, a slight whiff of alcohol and spice.

T - malt bomb! A bit one dimensional in that respect - approaches cloying levels but doesn't get there which is admittedly is nice. Rich, robust malty sweetness with middle notes of roasted barley and backend of ever so slight hops and a good dose of alcohol. Finishes wet and sweet. It just lacks a certain depth and complexity of flavor that other doppels I like better have (such as herby notes, yeasty notes, and a more elegant approach balancing out the malts)

M - very good. thick and voluptious.

D - its drinkable but strong and sweet. So its not something I would drink all night long but definitely something I get every time i'm at the german bar after a few pints of a nice pilsner.

RichScherle, Mar 12, 2011
Photo of tone77
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a green 12 oz. bottle. Has a dark amber color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is a bit sweet, and malty, a bit bready. Taste is also bready, sweet, lots of malts, very easy drinking. Feels full bodied in the mouth and overall is a solid beer worth checking out.

tone77, Dec 07, 2009
Photo of LiquidAmber
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Review from 4/2010 notes. Poured into a Celebrator pokal. Pours a dark reddish brown, light tan head and lacing. Strong pleasant aroma of sweet malt, caramel. Moderately sweet, malty start and middle. Pleasant malt and caramel finish. Seems muted in flavor, but well balanced and quite nice. A definite buy again.

LiquidAmber, Aug 04, 2012
Photo of metter98
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer poured very dark amber (near black) with a thin white head. Only a very light amount of carbonation is visible from the rising bubbles.
S: There are moderate aromas of dark, bready malts in the nose along with some notes of raisins.
T: Similar to the smell, malty flavors similar to brown bread dominate the taste along with some notes of dark fruits. There is a mild amount of sweetness in the overall taste.
M: It feels full-bodied on the palate and a moderate amount of carbonation is evident.
D: The alcohol isn't that apparent in the smell or taste so it's very drinkable although I'm not sure how many of these I could have because itls very filling and feels like you are having a meal.

metter98, Jul 02, 2010
Photo of martinmayhem
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

been on the doppelbock tip lately and this one definitely doesn't disappoint. Great big sweet but not overly sweet malt character w/ hints of caramel. It's medium bodied that fringes on full. The drinkablity is a little better than average for the style. Its definitely no Celebrator but worth drinking again.

martinmayhem, Oct 29, 2009
Photo of gabedivision
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle to a SA Imperial snifter

A- Pours a clear deep reddish brown, with a 2 finger head that slowly disappears until there is almost no trace of retention left.

S- Rich maple malts, figs and cherries.

T- Caramalized toasted grain, dark fruit, dry red wine finish.

M- Medium bodied, low carbonation, malty, dry.

O- I love Optimator, great year round beer. Tasty full of flavor reasonably priced and always available.

gabedivision, Apr 11, 2012
Photo of dedrick
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Somewhat dark. Reddish color. Appears to be quite bubbly. Only about a half inch of head which was gone within a few seconds.

Smell: A bit musty. Hoppy and distinct.

Taste: It's a little bit harsh but in a good way. At 7.2% it has a tiny bit more bite than some beers. Some bitterness and almost a little tangy? Finishes with a slight sweetness. Pretty good overall for being somewhat of a higher alcohol beer. I've had some 7 and 8% beers similar in style that do not seem to make sense with the amount of alcohol. In other words it sometimes seems that the extra harshness from the alcohol doesn't mesh with the beer.

Mouthfeel: Seems like the effervescence is slightly more than usual. Nice feel on the tongue. Creamy and smooth but with that subtle bite at the end.

Drinkability: VERY drinkable for a 7.2%. Smooth, not too sweet or heavy.

dedrick, Dec 11, 2009
Photo of velosuds
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16.9 oz bottle into a clear pint glass. No freshness date apparent. Paid $2.29 on sale at local grocer. Normally sells for $2.99.

A-Pours a medium chestnut brown with a one + finger light tan head that recedes quickly leaving only scant lacing.

S-Somewhat subdued but roasted and caramel malts with a slight chocolate aroma.

T-Malty sweetness followed by the balancing bitterness of the hops finished with a nutty-chocolate flavor reminiscent of chocolate covered cherries.

M-Tad harsh from over carbonation.

D-This is my first Doppelbock and although good, it was not especially impressive.

velosuds, Oct 16, 2010
Photo of AcesFullup
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

This beer is an example of affordable goodness. I bought a six pack on special for under $5 in Atlanta. There are very few, if any, six packs that can equal its value at this price.

I first had this beer in Disneyworld in 2005. It was served in Epcot at the Germany district to an eager dad with two kids. I have fond memories of my youngsters running around Disney with a fine Optimator in my hand. I quickly returned for a second outrageously expensive pint. Perhaps these memories biased my opinion, but drinking this beer takes me back to the summer our family spent in Disney.

Anyway, the only criticism that I have for this beer is the long and syrupy aftertaste. It has a nice feel in the mouth and the 7% is perfect for its flavor.

AcesFullup, May 14, 2006
Spaten Optimator from Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu
87 out of 100 based on 2,590 ratings.