Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine and select auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 86 | Hads: 104
Reviews by boelker62:
Photo of boelker62
3.9/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - A simple, not quite fizzy head that settles immediately, especially out of a bottle. It is a little more pronounced, though no significant lacing, when on tap. Deep amber hue, almost brown. Seems right on to me for the style.

S - Heavy malty nose with a tinge of roasted pear. Yes, pear. Light yeast leftover from the process.

T - A moderately sweet initial flavor, and a heavily sweet finish of average length.

M - Significantly oily texture, but the only drawback I really find is the fizzy nature of this dark lager. Maybe that's my IPA favoring coming out. It is significantly carbonated in the bottle.

D - No overpowering alcohol or any one feature that makes this hard to keep going wth n any occasion. Definately recommended and worth storing. Who knows how this will age...?

 800 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a .5 liter stein a deep mahogany color with some deep ruby tint a thinner almond colored head atop,malt tilted aromas to be expected deep caramel and brown sugar intertwined with some roastiness and a hint of iron.Somewhat sweet upfront deep brown sugar and caramel flavors to start off mixing with some roasted nuts and candied orange a slight drying in the finish but this stays more of a sweet sustaining brew.A tad thin but it goes down well a solid "big" malty lager here.

 489 characters

Photo of Billolick
3.84/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bomber, pours dark auburn amber, clear with a quickly departing tan head, leaves no lacing and not even a hint of film left on top. Carbonation issues? Cola, malty nose. Plenty of sweet malt, but not cloying, vanilla, cola, warming and enjoyable, would like a head on this one however...

 296 characters

Photo of warriorsoul
3.43/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to DarkerTheBetter for another bottled Sly Fox beer...
Rust in color with less than a half finger of off-white head...disappears very rapidly with hardly any lacing.
Not huge in the nose...and not overly pleasant. Sour/sweet malt at first with an earthly yeast finish.
The taste is better, especially as it warms to room temperature....mildy sweet malt with a smoked quality that complements the sweetness. Not a lot of hops to bitter this up, which makes me very happy...especially for a US brewer...no alcohol detected.
Some molasses in the flavor as well...adds to the sweetness in the finish.
Mouthfeel is medium-bodied and the carbonation is mellow.
My least favorite of the few I've tried, but still a nice representation of the style.

 754 characters

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.

 228 characters

Photo of jcdiflorio
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a tulip glass,a creamy,thick,rocky,off white colored head.A deep ruby red almost chestnut.Very cloudy,murky appearence.A bisquity,sweet,winey aroma a hint of alcohol and molasses.
A fruity,winey taste a warming alcohol sensation.A medium mouthfeel,with lots of carbination.A dry finish with a cidery bite. A good dopplebock,very complex,fairly drinkable for the style,a very wine-like quality to this beer.

 419 characters

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

Executive Summary: My first from Sly Fox, and it won't be my last. Just a great interpretation...not quite as good as Celebrator, but damn close!

Appearance: Deep mahogany, nearly opaque. Good, fervent cream-colored head is loathe to recede. Good lacing as well.

Smell: Roasted malts, butterscotch, caramel.

Taste: Sweet to start, with a bit of the butterscotch flavor at the onset. Spicy flavor moves in next, with an ever so slight hop bitterness lingering at the end. Deep malt backbone throughout.

Mouthfeel: Chewy and slick. Light carbonation...could have enjoyed a bit more in that department.

Drinkability: Very quaffable. Alcohol goes largely unnoticed. This is a great session brew for the cooler nights.

 728 characters

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

Poured into a Mad Elf chalice sort of similar to a Celebrator glass with a little more curves. Appears with a large tightly formed light tannish beige head, quite resilient definitely sticks around for quite a bit. The head is paired with a dark ruby plum hued body bubbles quickly rising and as the head dwindles nice scattered lacing forms on the chalice with each sip. Aroma: Vinous ripened raisins, tart muscat grapes more ripe fruit soaked in mellow alcohol with mild distan powdered cocoa tones with herbal German hops coming through as well. Taste has a soft quality more of those powdered cocoa highlights with accentuated tart fruits including apples, raisin, and more white grape acidity matches well with the overall bready feel. Mild bitterness with herbal grassy hops and finishes with a somewhat leafy tobacco character. Mouthfeel is medium bodied really smooth and mellow carbonation soft warm feeling once it coats the palate. Drinkability: This is a quality American brewed doppelbock flavorful, it really satisfied my palate with depth. They seem to really have a talent at finding what works for them yet fulfilling those traditional style guidelines at Sly Fox.

 1,181 characters

Photo of ggaughan
4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is back in bottles at Sly Fox. Glad I took a trip up there today for lunch. This was well worth it at $4.50 a bottle! The beer poured a very deep brown, almost black color with a creamy 2 finger tan head that lasted for awhile. The aroma is of toasted malts with a bit of toffey or caramel. Very pleasant. The taste is a bit hoppy but the main attraction is the toasty malts that I taste. The more I drink of this bottle, the more I like it. With a medium body, it is pretty darn drinkable.

 500 characters

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.2/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sly Fox- Instigator

Appearance- Dark brownish/ black with no head.
Smell- Light nuttiness with hints of black licorice/ sambuca and cocoa powder.
Taste- Black licorice with sweet malt. Light cocoa powder comes through in the end.
Mouthfeel- Low carbonation, slighty flat.

Overall- Uninspiring but drinkable and worth trying.

 333 characters

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

 251 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An almost black body reveals deep mahogany highlights when held to the light. The foamy tan head drops slowly to a thin but solid cap and remains in place throughout the serving. As it drops it leaves temporal sheets of lace. A very nice appearance! The aroma expresses floral and mildly grassy hops amidst a deeply toasted malt character with hints of light fruitiness. As might be expected, its firmly malty body is creamy and smooth across the palate. The flavor is rich and surprisingly complex with more hop flavor than is usually associated with the style. It starts with some dark, mildly roasted, and lightly acidic malt that warms to become much more caramelish and softly sweet before crossing-over into a lingering, dry, roasty, and bitter finish. Very nicely done! It's exceptionally clean and well brewed with a subtleg alcohol and vibrantly fresh malt and hops. It's a bit more roasty than many examples, but that gives it an edge of distinction. Certainly worth trying.

 984 characters

Photo of russpowell
3.66/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Props to GnomeKing for this one!

22 oz bomber pours an efferevescent chestnut/mahogany with a 3.5 fingers deep sand colored head. Above average lacing & some head retention

S: Licorice & chocolate & hints of wet card board/glue

T: Roasted grain molasses, & chocolate up front, then a hint of coffee. Licorice & hints of breadyness/fruittyness follow along with some pecan notes. Finishes with a hint of brown sugar, dryness & caramel

MF: Chewy with low carbonation

Drinks fairly easy for the abv, this on light end of the dopplebock spectrum, but not bad at all, just not a really good one. Lacked some asthetics

 627 characters

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.

 1,096 characters

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.

 596 characters

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

 736 characters

Photo of bierman2000
4.38/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a dark almost black Doppelbock. Malty and smoky with an excellent finish. It is highly drinkable and being a malt lover it is very refreshing. Not too sweet and a beer to enjoy slowly as the alcohol does not seem to kick in till the end of the pint.

 257 characters

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.

 613 characters

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.

 1,012 characters

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.

 707 characters

Photo of rdrummer
3.97/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The doublebock poured a dark reddish-brown color with a tan head that lasted a short time. The aroma was very earthy with the smell of roasted malt, grain, and a hint of smokiness. The taste was mainly roasted malt with some caramel taste to it with a bitter finish from the Hallertauer hops. The feel in the mouth is creamy and slightly thick. Another Sly Fox draft that tasted good from beginning to end and begged for another.

 429 characters

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!

 421 characters

Photo of PEBKAC
3.84/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

It's about that time again kids. Time to reach on back into that dark, damp box & grab yourself a prize. No telling what kind of dangerous wildlife those month old leftovers in there can attract. Be prepared.

After making my way back from the crevices(& making sure I still had all my fingers), I pull out yet another bomber that I had thought had been lost. I believe I purchased this guy back in April, so I feel safer then I would be popping the tupperware some of the things in here.

This bottle is a Royersford edition, at least that what my eyes tell me. Having two separate pages for Sly Fox is really a pain sometimes.

Anyways, the beer pours out with very little inspiration. Just enough head develops with the stirring of the fluid, but none ever sticks around. You can just make out the some carbonation through the deeply rich ebony color. About as close to black without being opaque as possible.

The smell is of everything burnt. Burnt charcoal, molasses, burnt maple & honey as it seeps into the barbecue fire. Nothing caramelized, as it is all too well done. Alcohol creeps in towards the end. Be prepared for something sooty & sweet.

Taste is a mash of maple syrup, charred chestnuts, bitter coffee, & licorice. The end completely drowns in a sea of caramel, burnt molasses, vanilla, & all too much alcohol. A residual bitterness sits in the middle of your tongue for much after.

Carbonation is on the lower end, body is thinner then I assumed it would be. Not syrupy, but slightly sticky if you have warm hands.

Twenty-two ounces wasn't too difficult. Just the taste of alcohol impeded me more then anything. A more intense doppelbock than I'd care to have normally. Just not a smooth as it need to be to really enjoy the mishmash of flavors presented. :|

 1,781 characters

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

 479 characters

Photo of SixpointJMH
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm not generally a huge Doppelbock fan but I dug this one.

It pours a thick dark brown colour with hints of amber. The head is chunky and tan, and leaves a thin sticky residue that slowly oozes down the glass.

The aromas are of dirty, meaty, malt with hints of molasses and caramel and a touch of cooked vegetables and chocolate as well.

The flavour is right in line with the aroma for the most part. It's malty and the molasses flavour is a bit more apparent and a little sweeter than what the aroma gives off as well. There's a hint of alcohol at the finish as well. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied and pretty hearty overall.

This one was a nice surprise for me. I expected it to be well crafted, but didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did, because as mentioned there are plenty of other styles I'd rather drink. It's definitely worth a try.

 863 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Instigator Doppelbock from Sly Fox Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 86 ratings.