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Dock Street Illuminator - Dock Street Brewery & Restaurant

Not Rated.
Dock Street IlluminatorDock Street Illuminator

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

53 Ratings
THE BROS
70
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 53
Reviews: 38
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 10.71%
Wants: 0
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Dock Street Brewery & Restaurant visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
Doppelbock |  7.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: NeroFiddled on 02-27-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 53 | Reviews: 38 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by stingrayvr6:
Photo of stingrayvr6
3.68/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at the brewery. Poured a clear amber brown with frothy white head which dissolved quickly. Smell of light malts and some caramel and vanilla. Taste was light and watery up front, some sweet malts in the finish and a roasted malt taste balanced it out. Far too light to be a great doppelbock, not bad tasting though.

More User Reviews:
Photo of BeerAdvocate
3/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine May 2007.

Contract brewed by Mendocino Brewing Co. of Saratoga Springs, NY. Authentic ingredients and a handful of accolades allow this beer to live on for this once-coveted brand.

The deep chestnut-colored brew shows perfect clarity, though the head is lacking in retention as it drops out quick in the game, leaving only a thin ring of lace. No loud snap of the head which has no will to stick around.

Big malty aroma with a spicy hop right at the tip of the nose. Semi-crisp with a slick mouthfeel, but smoothness is missing. Decent malt flavor does not unfold too much, stays on the sweet side until the spicy, peppery, hop bitterness and flavor meld with the alcohol to tingle the palate. Toasted bread and a faint caramel sweetness come forward. Ends on a semi-sweet finish with a lingering hop spice.

Not bad, but it certainly doesn't shine brighter than most of the Bocks or Double Bocks out there. Carbonation seems a bit too low and the malt character never really peaks. No off-flavors, just a bit unexciting. Worth a try at best.

Photo of shark262
3.7/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This doppelbock pours a nice clear amber/copper. Low carbonation and minimal head retention. The brew laces the glass, although only very slightly, upon drinking.

Smells of figs, resin, and caramel. Aroma of hops is very minimal which seems in line with this style of malty beer.

First taste is smooth and malty at first, followed by a pleasant slightly bitter aftertaste. The presence of alcohol warms the mouth after a couple sips (ABV is not listed on the bottle). Overall, a nice balance between full-bodied malts and German Tettnang and Hallertau hops. There is also a slight roastiness embedded with the predominant sweet caramel flavors.

Nice, drinkable example of a doppelbock. The full, malty sweetness should pair well tonight with some spicy Mexican food.

Photo of dashirey
3.13/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

One of the beers that I got my hands on through the beer of the month club my wife got for me. Thanks, so much.

A - Chesnut color. Head dissapates pretty much immediatly after the pour in finished. I when to the sink to wash my bottle out for recycling, turned around, and the head was gone. I don't know what color, or how big - sorry!!

S - The first whiff of this beer and I thought of an RIS, baltic porter - dark fruits and malt.

T - Malty sweetness smacks you from the start. It is followed with some hints of those raisons, prunes, dark fruits, etc. Ends with a bite of bitterness and dryness.

M - Medium bodied and smooth as you drink it down. A small amount of alcohol warming although I didn't really detect it in the taste.

D - Not my favorite style, but I can see if you love malt you's really love this beer.

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.33/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dock Street- Illuminator

A- Reddish brown with a small frothy tan head. No lacing and lotsa small carbonation bubbles.
S- Sweet sugary malt. Light touch of ash and pecans.
T- Sweet malt. Very nutty; walnuts and pecans dominate with a burst of cherry and apple fruit notes. Just a touch of burnt cherry ash finishes this one off.
M- Again sweet up front with a thick malty body. Finishes of slightly boozy and medicinal.

Overall- Decent beer, nothing fantastic. Just a little too sweet for me. Worth trying!

Photo of Sammy
3.25/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Going all the way back to 1985, Dock Street was one of the first contract-brewed specialty beers available, following on the heels of Samuel Adams. The recipies were formulated by the venerable old-school Brewmaster William Moeller (of Philadelphia's Schmidt's fame), and when the Illuminator was introduced in 1990 it was one of the only helles doppelbocks on the market - and a damned fine one at that! It was brewed by F.X. Matt in Utica, NY; and then sold to Henry Ortlieb where it was produced briefly at his American Street brewery in Philadelphia. After a long hiatus it's now being brewed in New York again by Saratoga Springs.

While it may not be as light in color as the original Illuminator, this revamped version is still lighter than many in the category. I certainly wouldn't call it a helles, but then again, Dock Street never really did either. In the glass it's a clear deep-chestnut with glowing orange highlights beneath a creamy, finger-thick head of light tan. The head retention is good, and although it drops it continually retains an almost complete, creamy surface covering. The lacing is not nearly as good as the head itself, but it does leave some nice splashes and spots behind.

The nose is clean, gently malty with a hint of caramelized sugar, and just a touch of spicy and floral hoppiness.

In the mouth it's medium bodied with a gently zesty carbonation that warms to become airy and smooth across the palate.

The flavor is far less malty than it used to be, and it lacks the rich graininess it once had. Still, it's not a bad version of the style. The malt is just slightly caramelish, and there's some fruitiness to it as well. Alcohol thins it a bit, and some floral and spicy hops lead it into a dry finish. The bitterness is solid, and omnipresent, but never really steps beyond the bounds of keeping the malt in check. The alcohol, on the other hand, seems to have been given a bit too much reign.

Photo of DavidSeanNJ
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- A ruby copper brown color- tan head, not much lacing.

S- Smell was sweet of prunes and plums, some vanilla/oak.

T- Taste was very well balanced. Sweet and malty. Dark malts, caramel, vanilla, maybe some toffee.

M- MOuthfeel was rich, sticky, and very heavy.

D- High ABV, but great taste. I'll take two please.

Photo of beerthulhu
3.48/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a amber-cranberry color with a slight tan head that diminished clean leaving no lacing.

S: some rich, dark caramel and bread.

T: The initial flavor yielded roasted malt, dark caramel and dried fruit (cherries, raisins, and plums). Theres a little sweetness that was soon off set by a good hop spiciness and alcohol warming. A good malting and alcohol presence along with some dry chocolate makes this a decent example.

M: medium, slightly cream with a nice warming sensation and maltiness and lots of carbonation.

D: Fairly good and pleasant surprise and one of their better drinks. Would defiantly go back for more.

Photo of buzzy
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of hoppymcgee
4/5  rDev +9.9%

Photo of MmmIPA
2/5  rDev -45.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Nice looking clear red body with a nice off white thick head.

Spices

Malt and tons of it,spices and some dark fruits.

Mouthful is like drinking cola,thick mouthfeel.

I dont know if I will try this again,its very sweet and cloying to me.Its just the style that bugs me,add more hops to balance it!

Photo of weeare138
3.6/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appears a semi-transparent mahogany toned amber with a 1 finger, off-white head that quickly fades out into a thin collar. Tiny remnants of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of roasted nuts, brown sugar, mild toffee, lightly spiced dough, notes of ripe fruit, prunes, and a touch of star anise.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a pronounced raisin-like sweetness up front that leads to a spiciness and mild herbal bitterness.
Mouthfeel is medium/full bodied, warming, and very much of brown sugar that's been dissolved in water and doused with cloves, anise seed, and black pepper.
I wish I could say more positives about this beer, as I've been waiting forever for it's re-release and it represents phantoms of this region's original craft beer scene that linger as a friendly, welcomed guest. Unfortunately, it doesn't match the malty monster that it was at the brasserie in Philly years ago. It is what it is and it's expected with all things considered. It's worth a try if you're a doppelbock enthusiast, or if you'd like to compare it to your own memory's tastebuds trying to rekindle it's thirst for Philadelphia's former king.

Photo of Phatz
3.68/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at Cappone's in Norristown.

Appearance: Served and amber ruddy copper with a quick fade tan head and little lacing.

Smell: toasted malt, caramel, and toffee, and raw sugar/ fruitiness.

Taste: Malty cherry fruit with a bit of dextrin, candy and caramel and spicy. The finish is bitter with a residual sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Smooth easy soft malty feel, medium body but light and active.

Drinkability: Light and refreshing. Semi sweet dopplebock, easy drinking.

Hope this is helpful.
Cheers!

Photo of drtth
3.6/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Lightly chilled and poured into a Duvel glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: Deep dark amber/copper color with a 1" thick off-white head that recedes quickly leaving behind a ring of foam and a thin film of foam. Some spotty lacing.

Smell: Subdued dark fruit/malt with some brown sugar and a hint of alcohol.

Taste: First come the fruitiness and caramel malt tastes and then the alcohol comes into play. While not particularly complex the flavor is balanced and pleasant.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with lightly creamy carbonation. Finish is moderately long and predominantly dry and hop flavor.

Drinkability: While not my favorite doppelbock I found this pleasant enough to drink and would return to it again.

Photo of jneiswender
3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this beer through a beer of month club in a 12oz. bottle.

The beer was pour into one of those new Sam Adams hourglass shaped glasses.

The beer poured into a nice, walnut color. Thin head that dissipated quickly.

The smell was nice and sweet, tones of caramel or toffee come through.

The taste is very nice. Thick, sweet, some maple like flavors that linger. It does assert itself though. You know you are drinking a strong beer.

The beer is quite drinkable. I had it with some bleu cheese and crackers (and pepper jelly) and it was quite good.

Photo of dsa7783
3.8/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appropriate for my 100th review to examine such an interesting, rare, hard-to-find specimen in my area... First noticed this in Michael Jackson's "Greatest Beers" book... Copped a single 12oz bottle for about $1.79 from Wine and More in West Orange... This beer pours a ruby-red / purple color with a humble head that didn't froth too much... Smell is very malty, with caramel and prunes... Taste is very rich and thick ,with caramel, malts, and vanilla present... a very heavy beer full of malts that is sweet and satisfying... Drinkability is okay, but with an apparently hefty alcohol percentage and such a sweet, rich flavor, wouldn't want to make this my single choice all night... really good brew... Definitely recomended... but very sweet and heavy...

Photo of jwc215
3.93/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours mahogany with ruby highlights and a thin tan head that thins and all but disappears.

The smell is of dark fruits - esp. prunes. Toffee and vanilla notes, along with earthy notes, intermingle.

The taste is of sweetened prunes/plums and vanilla with toffee. Sweetness is balanced by earthy, slightly woody, notes. Tangy fruitness comes through in the middle. Prune fruitness emerges more as it nears the end. It has a dryish finish.

It reaches medium-body with soft carbonation. Fairly creamy.

Not bad at all - the taste is nice. The best part is the aroma, IMO.

Photo of wyonono
5/5  rDev +37.4%

Photo of Hopheadjeffery
4/5  rDev +9.9%

Photo of IPAchris
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of sulldaddy
3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I havent had this beer for years. Didnt know it was still around.

I am sampling a cold bottle poured into a snifter.
The beer pours a clear chestnut color with no head development whatsovever. Aroma is allmalt with brown sugar and caramel mixing nicely. The first sip reveals an average body with silky texture and very fine yet tingly carbonation.
The flavor is similar to nose. I get a malty mix of caramel and toffee, but also some grainy husk notes. There is just a int of herbal hops on the finish. A decent brew and an easy drinker.

Photo of yeastpuppet
3.7/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Beer poured with a lusty amount of head , full and rocky with an orange tinge , that dropped quicker than ..., well , pretty quick . Good carbonation , reflects light as a fine Tennesee Whisky might . Great , pleasing color .

Slight aroma of malty sweetness ,plum , zero hops .
Wee trace of alcohol in nose .

Tastes damn good .That great strong Lager taste of darker malts .slight plum/raisin , bitterness delayed yet apparent and pleasant . If theres hop flavor in here they mesh so well in the overall taste , I can't pinpoint 'em .

A tad light in body for the style , with a slight alco-burn on the gums .

Easy to drink , I'll open 'nuther . At least 7% , could be dangerous unless consumed in moderation .

Overall , this bock rocks . Buy some so they keep making it !

B.

Photo of cdwil
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of Gavage
3.8/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A blast from the past. This was one of my favorite beers from the old Dock Street Brewpub in Philly many moons ago.

Appearance: pours a nice dark copper color with a 1/2" head that falls to a ring of foam around the glass edges rather quickly. Plenty of carbonation bubbles race to the surface.

Smell: malt sweetness and a hint of floral hops are detectable.

Taste: decent malt base here with some brown sugar, hint of nuts, raisins, and a touch of bitterness. Alcohol is barley noticeable too. A bit mellower than what my memory of the original was, but all in all a tasty brew.

Mouthfeel: smooth from start to finish. Malt laden aftertaste. Medium bodied brew.

Drinkability: very easy to quaff this one. Its great to see this one available again after many years. For those older BA's out there from the Philly area, this is a blast from the past worth giving a shot.

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Dock Street Illuminator from Dock Street Brewery & Restaurant
83 out of 100 based on 53 ratings.