Dock Street Illuminator - Dock Street Brewery & Restaurant

Not Rated.
Dock Street IlluminatorDock Street Illuminator

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BA SCORE
82
good

38 Reviews
THE BROS
70
okay

(Read More)
Reviews: 38
Hads: 53
rAvg: 3.61
pDev: 8.31%
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:
Beer added by: NeroFiddled on 02-27-2007

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 38 | Hads: 53
Photo of brentk56
3.92/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with a modest beige head that falls quickly but leaves a little lacing

Smell: Lots of dark fruit aromatics, inluding figs and raisins and some underlying fusel alcohol

Taste: Opens with a mouthful of dark fruit and rich caramel flavor that is joined, mid-palate, a hint of alcohol; after the swallow, the alcohol elements build a bit and complement that sweet malt and fruity flavors to the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body and moderate to low carbonation

Drinkability: Not a bad example of the style at all; it keeps the sweetness in check and is well-balanced (600 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.53/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear, garnet-hued body with a small, fizzy off-white head.

Smell: Sweet-smelling, fruity aroma of plums and raisins with further notes of earthy caramel

Taste: Candyish caramel sweetness and tangy fruitiness, with more plums and raisins. Not much in the way of hops or bitterness, it's pretty much just fruity and sweet till the finish. Touch of alcohol at the end.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Slight stickiness to the mouthfeel.

Drinkability: It's alright for a doppelbock. (517 characters)

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.58/5  rDev -0.8%
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. (1,947 characters)

Photo of RblWthACoz
4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear darker brown. No staying power with the minimal head that comes up. Nose is a slight wooded and fruity malt. Flavor is pretty full bodied. A distinct tangy sweetness really kicks you in the taste buds. It calms down and then gives you a nice malty experience with fairly firm deeper caramel tones. Throughout the ride, the sweetness stays prominent. Feel has a good carbonation and the liquid feel is good too with a nice body. Overall a pretty decent bock. It definitely stays consistent with a flavor delivery. (526 characters)

Photo of jwc215
3.94/5  rDev +9.1%
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. (570 characters)

Photo of Gavage
3.8/5  rDev +5.3%
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. (884 characters)

Photo of weeare138
3.62/5  rDev +0.3%
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. (1,153 characters)

Photo of beerthulhu
3.47/5  rDev -3.9%
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. (634 characters)

Photo of DrJay
3.38/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear, dark coppery colour with a reddish hue topped by a fluffy beige head. The foam showed decent retention and some stickage. Malty aroma, some caramel, a bit of bread crust, with some floral hopping and a faint alcoholic fruitiness. The bitterness was a little higher than expected and became a little acrid in the finish. The flavour was mostly malty sweet with a little carmelized sugar, particularly up front, which gave way to warming alcohol light fruit character towards the end. The texture was quite soft, with lowish well-integrated carbonation and a medium body. Not bad, but the flavour missed the mark a bit for me. (631 characters)

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3/5  rDev -16.9%
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. (1,079 characters)

Photo of tgbljb
3.65/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a deep copper color with massive tannish head. Modest retention and no lacing.
Smell is dark fruity malty.
Taste also presents with a strong maltiness, but the hops are a bit too strong for my liking.
Fish is also dominated by the hops, which puch the malt too far into the background.
A good beer, but nothing great. (328 characters)

Photo of sulldaddy
3.92/5  rDev +8.6%
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. (544 characters)

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.3/5  rDev -8.6%
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! (509 characters)

Photo of dsa7783
3.8/5  rDev +5.3%
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... (759 characters)

Photo of portia99
3.86/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle generously provided by hoppymcgee. Going back to my college days the Dock Street Bock was one of the beers that really got me into craft beers...not sure if this is the exact recipe, but fun to go back to one of my early favorites after many years. Poured into a Stone Old Guardian glass.

A - Pours a deep, chocolately brown that is mostly opaque in the glass. Two thick fingers of a densely bubbled foamy head of a khacki color. Head shows excellent staying power and hangs around throughout the duration of the bottle. Sparse lacing left behind.

S - Lots of malt with caramel, chocolately malt, mild roastiness, smooth earthy and grassy hop aromas.

T - Umm, intensely flavored with lots of thick and chewy malt, caramel, toffee, maltose sugary, touch of roastiness, mildly boozy, faint astringency, low level hop bitterness.

M - Super thick and full bodied, almost syrupy in feel. Mid-level carbonation - a bit foamy and mouth filling further enhancing the body of this beer. Multiple layers of maltiness, but never too sweet - good balance with hops just kicking in enough to offset this malt heavy recipe.

O - Overall...well, difficult to compare to the beer I first had about 20yrs ago, but no disappointment here at all. Nice, solid example of the doppelbock style - decent complexity, smooth drinking for the style...enjoyable beer to start the night with. I will definitely not wait another 20yrs to go back to this one again. (1,451 characters)

Photo of blitheringidiot
3.62/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with quickly dissipated tan khaki cap that leaves a ring in the glass over a mahogany brass brown hue.

Bold nose of caramel and toasted toffee. Brisk aroma of earthy dirty tree bark malts. Wow the nose really is brisk! A bold bouquet for a doppel.

First swigs: Caramel and roasted toffee. Toasted bready malt. Dry finish. Earthy and minerally with a copper penny bright flavor. Nutty almond and pecan ice cream. Really buttery and pecan like. Even a bit of walnut shell dry finish. Some dark fruit manages to eak out via fig and some orange.

Medium bodied, dry and fruity.

Last swigs: A bold doppel that grabs the almond and caramel and doe not let go. (663 characters)

Photo of Phatz
3.68/5  rDev +1.9%
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! (521 characters)

Photo of AltBock
3.28/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle that happens to have a funky cartoon picture of the goatman of Maryland. The Goatman sure loves his beer. He's got a mug of beer in one hand while he's looking over the quality of the barley in the other. That's fine and all, but why is he standing in what appears to be an acorn and mushroom field? I believe it's just a crude drawing of some berry bushes. The only other things on the label is the Government warning, barcode, refund values, and who brewed it. The small neck label gives all the information you need to know. This label talks about what it's brewed with and gives out some of the flavor and nose notes. Don't bother looking for a date because one doesn't exist.

Appearance: I went ahead and poured this Doppelbock into a pilsner glass. When I did that, I found out that "Illuminator" was a clear reddish amber with a small tint of caramel color added into the mix. The initial head of foam was at least a 2 finger and was a light beige/tan color. It was hard to tell what color it actually was. It wasn't beige or tan either, it was more than likely a mix of both colors. This head of foam had pretty good retention that left behind a small mixed color film and streaks of lace around the glass. The beer's appearance is alot better than what is on the label.

Smell: When I first got a whiff of this beer, the aroma was lightly malty with a hint of caramel, a splash of black licorice, anise, and some floral hop notes at the finish. When it was swirled around, all the flavors that were in the initial aroma were still there, but the black licorice took over the entire aroma. The black licorice was so strong at one point that it burned my nose. I never had black licorice in a Doppelbock before. I guess I can say that I was quite surprised by that.

Taste: The taste was just one big burst of flavor. The flavors didn't come one at a time, it was just one big flavor burst. This flavor burst consisted of roasted malts, sweet caramel, a hint of black licorice, and a pinch of dried floral hops. All of these flavors were wrapped the taste of alcohol, like a ball of rubberbands. After the beer warms up a bit, the alcohol taste will become a little stronger, but it won't take over the entire taste. I thought it could have used more roasted malts and some dark chocolate in it, but what is done is done.

Mouthfeel: This Doppelbock is medium bodied with a lightly spicy aftertaste of roasted malts, a small touch of yeast, alcohol, and dried spicy floral hops. Somewhere in between the initial taste and aftertaste, the dried floral hops got spicy. It's funny how things work out sometimes. This spicy aftertaste will linger on your tongue for only a few seconds.

Drinkability: In the end, it's not a bad Doppelbock. It was the appearance and the scent of black licorice that made this beer slightly interesting and above being an average beer. It's worth a shot. Even though it's affordable, a six pack of this might be too much, but a single or two would be good. (3,006 characters)

Photo of drtth
3.62/5  rDev +0.3%
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. (754 characters)

Photo of Foxman
3.63/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It pours a nicely hued coppery amber, only fairly carbonated. A finger of creamy off-white head settles promptly to vestigial commas of froth. Sparse pinstripes of lacing suit the inside of the glass.

The aroma is busy, but challenging due to rather thin slats of well-toasted malt, candy sugar, caramel, and dark fruit. A spice and dough bit carries along the outside, also quite narrow of build.

Upon tasting, the roasted malt is first and foremost, with caramel, dark earthy fruit, and a sugar sweetness that overcomes any subtlety. The hops present a mild spicing, and a tart cherry effect leads into a sere strip of alcohol. The grain and yeast deliver a baked dough crustiness in the back end before a crisp dryness lingers a short while in the finish. It's not unenjoyable, but it's a bit halting, disconnected, and clumsy in its progression.

Medium bodied, the malt lays a fair slick that washes away surprisingly quick, leaving very little as a tactile legacy.

I don't want to damn it, because I found myself enjoying it a bit, but it just doesn't seem to ever blend and become anything more than a series of disparate parts. And the parts were not especially substantial at that. The ABV is of some mettle, and it will bite given a chance, but the sweet-to-crisp, clean result is actually rather drinkable. So the bottom line is, it doesn't so much total up as present as several separate items. I would drink it again. But I would not seek it out. (1,474 characters)

Photo of mvanaskie13
3.76/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours from the bottle with a deep coppery color and light frothy-coppery/amber head that dissipates fairly quickly.

Smell is lightly malty, a little sweet but not too strong.

Taste is definitely malty, a little sweet but hard to distinguish the type and lightly bitter.

Mouthfeel is is smooth with a little bitter on the finish.

Drinkability is is very easy. Could easily throw back a few of these with a good meal.

Nice to see another tasty Dock Street brew! (475 characters)

Photo of yelterdow
3.69/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Single purchased at Total Wine & More, River Edge. Served at just over fridge temperature in a Celebrator doppelbock glass. Paired with a wedge of St. Nectaire cheese brought to room temperature.

Appearance- Pours a very pretty caramel red, or maybe fiery orange would be more appropriate. It's rich and lustrous, however the head barely settles to a thin film after cresting at only about a finger.

Smell- Really fantastic aroma here... rich, buttery chocolate, toffee, caramel, nougat, wait a minute... is this a 3-Musketeers bar or a beer? Big and malty, just the way I like my doppelbock's nose. There's an initial fleeting hop whiff right at the end that intensifies significantly as the beer tempers.

Taste- Here's where this one falls apart... initially. The malts go one way and the hops go the extreme other. A bipolar bock? Let's hope there's a prescription that levels out this year's obvious moodswings. Just too hoppy of a finish here... the back and sides of my tongue shouldn't be feeling this level of bitterness. Wait... now the beer is coming together rather nicely, 35 minutes into the tasting. Is this the same beer? All of a sudden the discrepancies have righted themselves... the malts seem to have absorbed the hops and the beer has become much more balanced. Wildly interesting to say the least.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- First impression (10:55): Quick and foamy, yet subdued enough to not be distracting. Now (11:39), it's near perfect. Damn these roller-coaster beers! I stand by my record, let this beer sit for at least 20 minutes before enjoying... I only wish I did. (1,600 characters)

Photo of jneiswender
3.94/5  rDev +9.1%
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. (553 characters)

Photo of ZimZamZoom
3.26/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to dmamiano for this one.

Pours a nice deep copper color with a good light tan head that has some durability. Aroma of caramel and dark malts. Not an overpowering aroma by any means. Surprislingy subtle in fact.

Tastes of caramel malt and alcohol, no hop presence which is expected. Finishes a bit hot with alcohol.

Good mouthfeel, big bodied and not very carbonated.

There are better examples of this style from Northeast breweries, and across the pond of course. A fair drinkable beer nonetheless. (510 characters)

Photo of dmamiano
3.52/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer sets a medium copper tone..nice head. Quickly fades. Lacing hanging on for dear life.
Nose is almost non existant..strange.
Upon tasting, I am hit with a huge club of maltiness. Caramel for sure...nicely balanced.
Mouthfeel is good, very thick and oily.
A veery nice beer. (277 characters)

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Dock Street Illuminator from Dock Street Brewery & Restaurant
82 out of 100 based on 38 ratings.