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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

52 Ratings
THE BROS
70
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 52
Reviews: 38
rAvg: 3.65
pDev: 10.68%
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: 52 | Reviews: 38 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.25/5  rDev -11%

04-15-2013 03:25:06 | More by Sammy
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

3.93/5  rDev +7.7%
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

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2007 00:15:23 | More by brentk56
Photo of ChainGangGuy
ChainGangGuy

Georgia

3.53/5  rDev -3.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2008 22:07:30 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of NeroFiddled
NeroFiddled

Pennsylvania

3.58/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2007 21:11:39 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of RblWthACoz
RblWthACoz

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2008 03:34:27 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of jwc215
jwc215

Wisconsin

3.93/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2007 00:58:39 | More by jwc215
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Rochefort10nh

New Hampshire

4/5  rDev +9.6%

12-06-2011 18:58:59 | More by Rochefort10nh
Photo of Gavage
Gavage

New Jersey

3.8/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2007 20:47:24 | More by Gavage
Photo of weeare138
weeare138

Pennsylvania

3.6/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-21-2007 03:24:17 | More by weeare138
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ejimhof

Pennsylvania

3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

09-20-2013 00:29:32 | More by ejimhof
Photo of beerthulhu
beerthulhu

New Jersey

3.48/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2008 00:20:44 | More by beerthulhu
Photo of DrJay
DrJay

Massachusetts

3.35/5  rDev -8.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2007 20:25:30 | More by DrJay
Photo of Hopheadjeffery
Hopheadjeffery

Illinois

4/5  rDev +9.6%

12-22-2012 15:39:02 | More by Hopheadjeffery
Photo of whartontallboy
whartontallboy

New York

3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

01-17-2012 03:59:35 | More by whartontallboy
Photo of IPAchris
IPAchris

Pennsylvania

3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

11-12-2012 23:11:12 | More by IPAchris
Photo of tgbljb
tgbljb

Pennsylvania

3.63/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2007 23:05:00 | More by tgbljb
Photo of cdwil
cdwil

Texas

3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

12-30-2011 20:46:10 | More by cdwil
Photo of NJpadreFan
NJpadreFan

New Jersey

3.33/5  rDev -8.8%
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!

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2008 19:11:08 | More by NJpadreFan
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BeerAdvocate

Massachusetts

3/5  rDev -17.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2010 18:15:35 | More by BeerAdvocate
Photo of dsa7783
dsa7783

New Jersey

3.8/5  rDev +4.1%
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...

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2007 22:54:55 | More by dsa7783
Photo of sulldaddy
sulldaddy

Connecticut

3.95/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-29-2007 14:14:51 | More by sulldaddy
Photo of hoppymcgee
hoppymcgee

Connecticut

4/5  rDev +9.6%

04-21-2013 01:11:13 | More by hoppymcgee
Photo of blitheringidiot
blitheringidiot

Pennsylvania

3.6/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2008 20:30:40 | More by blitheringidiot
Photo of RoryOMoore
RoryOMoore

New Jersey

3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

02-27-2012 06:36:08 | More by RoryOMoore
Photo of portia99
portia99

Massachusetts

3.85/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2013 00:09:10 | More by portia99
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Dock Street Illuminator from Dock Street Brewery & Restaurant
83 out of 100 based on 52 ratings.