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Instigator Doppelbock - Sly Fox Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Instigator DoppelbockInstigator Doppelbock

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

86 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 86
Hads: 104
Avg: 3.9
pDev: 8.72%
Wants: 9
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Sly Fox Brewing Company visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
Doppelbock |  7.30% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: NeroFiddled on 04-07-2003

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 86 | Hads: 104
Photo of tigg924
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I really like how Sly Fox brews German beers and this is no exception. The taste is predominantly layers of caramel, toasted malt, and slight dark chocolate. Sweet but not overly sweet and a good American example of the style.

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Photo of claspada
3.53/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark burnt caramel color with ruby hues along the edges. There is a rather large tan head with great retention that left loads of lacing as it receded.

Aroms begin with toasted malts, brown sugar and sweet caramel covered apples. As it warms you get notes of smoked wood and red grapes as well.

The tastes begin with apple cider and dark red grape skin. Then it's quite caramel malt forward with hints of smokiness. As it warms you get more and more dark fruits; figs, dates and raisin.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium'high carbonation. Finish is on the sweeter end of the spectrum but the ample carbonation helps to balance the large malt presence.

Overall this is a nice American example of a classic German brew. Nothing worldly or revolutionary here or up to the quality of the authentic examples but a fine showing for a low price point.

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Photo of tobelerone
3.47/5  rDev -11%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On taping Phoenixville. Pours a highly red-tinted amber color. Minimal head without much retention or lacing. Beautiful coloring but the head was pretty suspect. Aroma of caramel, bready malt, banana esters, prominent fruit. Smells a bit more like a dunkel weizen than a doppelbock.

The flavor follows suit. It's quite fruity and again there is a bit more of a banana note than one might reasonably expect for the style. Also lacks the big and profoundly chewy malt breadiness of the best examples of the style. Decent dark fruit and caranel sweetness and a semidry finish. I see past reviews are quite favorable, so perhaps there was something a little.off with this batch? Hard to say.

I also found the body to be a bit thin for a dopplebock and the carbonation a.little fizzy, which cut down on the overall smoothness I was hoping for. Pretty mediocre, but I'd like to try this again sometime I suppose.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.76/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed at the tasting room in Pottstown, PA

A: half finger head on a clear deep amber body. Nice lacing.

S: aroma is light with caramel malts and toffee mostly.

T: spices and herbal throughout. The spiciness is what I want from the style with the malt backbone well represented proving caramel toffee and brown sugar notes.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: the malt profile is excellent. The notes as above don't mesh well though to make this a great bock.

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Photo of drabmuh
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer served on draft at the Goat races at Sly Fox. Beer is dark brown with a mild haze, thin tan head, low retention, low carbonation, no lacing.

Aroma is malt malt malt. Smells like a doppelbock.

Beer is medium in body and pretty malty sweet throughout. The finish is a little dry, overall a decent doppelbock and I'd probably have it again.

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Photo of John_M
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap during the goat races.

The beer pours a copper amber color with good head retention and lacing. Don't get a whole lot on the nose... just some sweet malt and light dry citrus. The flavor profile replicates the nose, though the beer was bit sweeter/maltier than I had expected. Still, it's pretty enjoyable and easy drinking, with some nice cherry and baked apple flavors. There's a hint of bitterness on the finish that helps to buoy the sweetness. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a fairly long, quite malty finish. Alcohol is well integrated into the flavor profile, making for an entirely too easy to drink beer.

While nothing extraoridary, I thought this a very enjoyable, easy to take bock beer.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.12/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

brown color with a smallish off white head. Quick fade left behind a somwhat flat looking brown liquid with no head, lace, or side glass contribution.

Aroma was decidedly smoked with a nice hint of caramel in the back. There was some earth grain present and more of a dark grain tone.The flavor was nice, classic dopplebock with lots of smoked flavors and a great overall malt profile. Thick flavor with a somewhat tangy finish

Very smooth with little in the way of carbonation

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Photo of Kegatron
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap @ Sly Fox Phoenixville on 5/1/11 during the annual Bock Fest and Goat Race. Served in a mug.

Pours a deep clear copper, with a finger of off-white head. This retains with some creamy bunching around the edges of the glass, leaving back a good looking cascade of foamy lacing. The aroma has a strong ripe fruitiness to it from the hops, which melds with rich notes of cocoa, caramel, and bread. The hops overall give this a real push in the nose.

The taste is a mix of toast, cocoa, caramel, and that same ripe citric fruitiness. This is all backed by a firm wave of earthy bitterness that leaves this dry with some lingering juicy fruit notes. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, maybe a bit fuller, with a sharp and lively feel to the carbonation, yet this still stays smooth with a low alcohol feel.

This seemed a little hoppier with the flavors than I remembered it being but I still rather liked this, as that ripe fruit just added another layer of complexity to all already rich malt profile here. Very smooth and easy drinking for the size as well, this is a nicely made Bock Beer.

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Photo of meatyard
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear mahogany with a short, tan head that shrinks down quickly to a cover while leaving little to no lace.
The smell is roasted malt and a little dark fruit.
The taste is toasted sweet (but not over the top sweet) malt, brown sugar and a little bit of dark fruit.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied and the carbonation drops off to quite low.
Drinkability: Not complex, not as flavorful as some but still a nice drinking beer that a 22 oz. bottle is pleasant enough. Not a Sly Fox best but good and if some tweaking added more flavor it would jump up a notch.

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Photo of garuda
4.02/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Ruby brown, nearly black with a small white head that has decent retention and little lacing.

S - Nice strong aromas of roasted malts, and a touch of earthy, grassy hops.

T - Follows the nose, stays on roasted character malts, and some coffee in the lingering aftertaste.

M - Full body, low carbonation, nice and creamy smooth across the palate.

D - Goes down very smooth, and the alcohol is very well hidden. The abv will catch up to you quick. A solid offering from Sly Fox.

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Photo of akorsak
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at the Brass Rail.

A: The doppelbock is a dark, concentrated tea shade of brown. Full enough to be opaque with a half a finger of head, the bock sits very still.

S: The nose is caramel bready, sweet with darker fruits lingering around. The grains are well-toasted, not burnt, with a toffee sweetness. Hops don't do very much.

T: The doppelbock is a comfort drink, loaded with rich malts that are calming. Toffee and toasted bread, a combination of sweet and not-so-sweet, is rich from the first sip. Hops are a little more evident here, earthy of course, but the bock can't escape its malty focus. While the beer is warming, booze is never really a factor (although it does hit pretty hard with no warning).

M: A rich doppelbock, a little to filling and big especially as the weather warms. The toasted malts and toffee deliver solid flavor.

D: A nice sipper, the bock is a little to big (and almost out of season) to be a go-to. I'm guessing that it'll be perfect at the Goat Races on Sunday.

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Photo of BeerGodz
3.44/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On Tap @ Varga Bar

Look: Deep ruby/brown color, creamy tan head with decent retention & lacing

Smell: Malt, caramel

Taste: Malt, brown sugar from beginning to end

Mouthfeel: Medium body & carbonation, sticky

Drinkability: Light flavors make this a good session beer

Overall Impression: Not as flavorful or as complex as the better German examples, but still a good local beer worth sampling. Great beer for Newbeez!

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle served in a glass beer mug.

Caramel color with a fizzy beige head that thinned to a light layer leaving bits and pieces of lace.
The aroma is filled with sweet dark fruits and molases.
The taste is worthy of this brew being called a 'malt bomb', sweet and sticky all the way through.
Medium bodied with mild carbonation.
Goes down way too easy. If you like sweet malty beers this is a 'must try'.

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Photo of ffejherb
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Sly Fox Goat Race & Bock Fest on 5/3/09.

A - Chestnut-colored body with burgundy highlights and one-finger creamy beige head that deposited spotty lace around the glass.

S - Malty, earthy and slightly herbal with a leafy hop character. Malt is primarily roasty with a subtle toffee sweetness. A faint waft of alcohol also sweeps into the mix.

T - Sweet and malty with a warm alcohol presence and plenty of roasted and toasty malt character as well as sweet caramel and toffee notes. Touch of leafy, earthy hop bitterness in the finish.

M - Medium to full bodied with a chewy, syrupy texture and subtle carbonation. Sweet on the palate with a mild hop finish.

D - Fine Dopplebock with a well-concealed alcohol presence. Gotta have some bock for the goat races!

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Photo of Beertracker
3.33/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sly Fox Instigator pours up with ample carbonation that creates a low, creamish tan head that rings the deep copper-russet body nicely. The aroma is surprisingly fruity (dark cherry, plum, red grapes) with some underlying spiciness. Toasted Munich maltiness reminiscent of saltine crackers or soda bread. Hint of tartness. Sulfur? Moderate alcohol. The flavor starts of with some toasted breadiness that's underscored by a persistant bitterness that lingers towards the off-dry, acidic finish. Very uncharacteristic for a doppelbock. Medium-full bodied with some creaminess. Acidity is distracting. This is either past it's prime or maybe a bad bottle? Definitely worth a try. Don't be intimidated by the Instigator!

PROST! Beertracker

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark mahogany red with an initial 1 finger foamy reddish-beige head that quickly settled leaving only a fair and splotchy lacing.

S: a sweet caramel aroma, light chocolate and bread on nose.

T: Light cherries, lots of dark molasses and brown sugar add sweetness that is compliment by a nice bread backbone. There is a rich chocolate nature and some alcohol upon warming is detected. Starts out very sweet then warms to a nice dried fruit and bread palate.

M: Light mouthful with a very sweet caramel malt presence.

D: Very clean as most of their beers and is very easy to drink for a doppelbock.

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Photo of naproxen
3.6/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

For a Doppelbock this was pretty standard fare, nothing mindblowing going on. If they were looking to be a mediocre textbook doppelbock, they win.

Poured from the bottle with a big frothy head, high on malts in aroma and taste. Also, as others have noted, pretty sweet as well. Given the aroma and rich auburn/dark brown hue I expected more complexity in the taste, alas the body was lacking something, and it left a sweet off tasting malt residue in my mouth. I was glad to be sharing this bomber, because had it been a solo mission it would have failed down the drain.

I have had much better doppelbocks, and this one is not really bad, just not amazing either. To me, that's just Sly Fox all together.

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Photo of Deuane
3.46/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Deep ruby copper with a thin light tan head.

S-Slight malty sweetness and not much else...very tame,

T-Decent malty sweetness with hints of brown sugar notes. Nothing crazy going on here, very simple.

M-Medium body with good roundness. Smooth easy drinking character.

D-Totally innocuous, malty, smooth and easy to drink....but a bit dull overall.

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Photo of DavidSeanNJ
3.38/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


Poured into a pint glass...

A- Dark ruby brown color. Massive cream colored 2 finger head, some lace and sediment.

S- Smell was really chocolatey with a hint of earthy biscuit.

T- Taste was really sweet, tons of malts going on here. Candy like flavors with a toffee/dried fruit feel. Chocolate and coffee hints as well, but the sugary malts dominated.

M- This one had a chewy and sticky mouthfeel, really heavy beer.

D- I enjoyed this pint, but was not blown away at all. This was good, but nothing spectacular. I would not pass it down if given the chance but would not seek it out.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.63/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A solid Dopple, but there are some classic Dopplebock character that this beer lacks. The beer pours a darker-than-expected brown hue, good head formation / retention, but light on the lacing. Aromas are strongly malty, very much like a Brown Ale. No fruitiness, but no caramelized, bready, melanoiden notes. Flavors confirm a heavy, complex malt bill that relies on malt additions for character and not the decoction process. Again, boardering on a Brown, the beer is flavorful and well-rounded, but not with the well attenueated, full-flavors that a Dopplebock should provide. A bit heavy to the mouth with a sticky feel. Finishes malty-rich with some chocolatey, nutty aftertastes.

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Photo of AltBock
3.01/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bomber bottle that has a pretty much average label. The label shows 2 goat shadows ready to butt their heads together. On both sides of the goats are shadows of wheat stocks. Just below all of this is the anem of the beer in big bold letters and the Sly Fox symbol of a shifty eyed fox. To the far right side of the label is where they keep the US Government warning, barcode, and the refund values. On the far left side is a brief summary about the beer and the doppelbock style and a Sly Fox caution of "May incite goat fantasies and Bock Fest envy." Don't bother looking for a date becuase there isn't one anywhere.

Appearance: When poured into a Pilsner glass, the doppelbock has a mahagony hue that looked like it was blended in with some dark amber. Sitting on top of this beer was a tall 2 inch fluffy head of foam. For the color of the foam, I would have to say that it's an off white color. It wasn't beige and it wasn't white either. This head of foam had really good retention that left behind streaks and spots of lace and a small film.

Smell: The aroma wasn't in depth that i would have liked this doppelbock to have. There really wasn't much to it. The majority of this aroma was sweet roasted malts with subtle sweet caramel, a dark fruit here and there, and then it ended with an aroma that smelled like hay or what I would to call horse blanket. Although there were a couple of dark flavors in the aroma, it reality it smelled like there wasn't enough of them. For instance, there wasn't any chocolate or coffee aroma in here. I guess the horse blanket put a blanket over those aromas.

Taste: If I had to describe this beer in one word, it would have to be "sweet." Not sweet as in "Sweet, I got a great doppelbock!" It was more like "this doppelbock is sweet as candy." Not only was it sweet, but there weren't that many flavors after the sweetness. It started off with sweet roasted malts and then it went quickly into very subtle milk chocolate and caramel. After the subtle flavors had passed, in the comes the sweet alcohol that had a pinch of bitter roasted hops mixed in with it. No horse blanket in the taste, but just the aroma, there were alot of dark flavors (or good flavors for that matter) missing. This time they din't have an excuse for why they weren't there.

Mouthfeel: This doppelbock was somewhere in between being light bodied and medium bodied. It couldn't make up its mind. What is the aftertaste going to taste like if the aroma and taste were sweet? If you guessed sweet, you're right! It had a sweet based aftertaste of burnt malts and alcohol. It hid the alcohol real well because there wasn't all that much to cover up.

Drinkability: I had high hopes for this beer and in truth, it was in fact a bit disappointing. It could have been worse, but it could have been alot better than this. Other than the appearance, the best part of this beer was the price. Now I know why the retail price for this beer is between $4 and $5. It's worth a shot just once to say you've at least tried it.

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Photo of dsa7783
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle purchased singly from Gary's in Madison for $4.99...
An aggressive pour yielded a full, five-fingered foamy and frothy head that nearly receded the glass and left a tremendous amount of lacing...
Nutty, malty, brown aroma replete with caramel, sugars, and vanilla...
Taste strongly complemented the smell, with an obvious suggestion of malts, licorice, caramel, vanilla, dehyrdated fruits, and toffee...
Decent, creamy, fruity, and malty mouthfeel with an equally good level of drinkabilty without any hint of alcohol present... Very malty, with a noticeable hint of prunes, figs, and dates...
Creamy stuff...
Not Sly Fox's best sample, but a good stab at the style nonetheless...
Worth a try...

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Photo of Sammy
3.72/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Fresh, thanks to Dr. Jay. Nice dark chocolate colour. Malt chocolate aroma., Taste is sweet and not cloying, with licorice spice, a bit of toast malt. Tasty and could pass as authentic German from a blind taste, from the little I know. Quite drinkable

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Photo of Wasatch
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to NJpadreFan for this brew.

22oz. Bomber

Pours a nice clean/clear dark brown color, nice carbonation, nice little creamy tan head, which leaves some nice small islands and sticky lacing. The nose is malty, nice touch of toffee, slight spicyness, and some caramel. The taste is slightly sweet, nice malty flavor, tones of toffee, spice, and caramel. Medium body, well rounded brew. Drinkable, so far this is the best Sly Fox for me to date.

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Photo of grub
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

got this one from DrJay as part of BC2. thanks jay!

22oz bottle. sampled jan 13/08.

pours crystal clear deep red-brown with a small dense off-white head. the head quickly drops to a ring around the glass. no lace.

aroma is nice. great malt. toasted multi-grain bread. hint of alcohol. light caramel and toffee. touch of lager character. bit of dark fruit. very light coffee and baker's chocolate. hint of smoke, but that could just be from the fireplace.

taste is good. nice hit of caramel and toffee to start. toasted muti-grain bread. bit of alcohol. nice lager character. bit of alcohol. great depth to the nice toasty malt. bit of sweetness, mostly as caramel+toffee.

mouthfeel is good. low carbonation level. solid medium carbonation level.

drinkability is good. well balanced and nice. drinks more like 4% than over 7%. great malty character keeps you going back for more.

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Instigator Doppelbock from Sly Fox Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 86 ratings.