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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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 86 | Hads: 104
Photo of Biscuit033
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a dark brown/ruby with about a finger of off-white head with minimal lacing.

S: There is molasses, coffee, caramel, sweet maltiness and some hoppiness that is coming through.

T: Red and dark berries, coffee, chocolate, molasses, with a bit of green apple hoppiness.

M: Malts coat the mouth until all you are left with is hoppy bitterness. There seems to be more carbination than necessary but as if bubbles are very tiny.

D: This beer is very drinkable especially on a cold fall evening. The alcohol is not perceptable at all in the taste. This very well made beer.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.42/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

As I half expected, the beer is overly carbonated and starts to foam up and gush out of the bottle as soon as I pop the cap. It was not so bad that I was not able to get all of the beer and foam into my glass. I ended up with about three fingers of concentrated, burnt amber colored brew underneath five-fingers of lightly browned, tan froth. When held up to the light the beer shows an almost brilliantly clear, deep, ruby color. Quite malty smelling with an enticing mix of richly caramelized notes and a whole grain bread character. Concentrated fruit notes of dried figs and prunes as well as a touch of roast grain notes seem to round out the aromatic notes. As the beer warms, rich, concentrated malt notes start to become noticeable; these evoke a richness akin to umami.

The beer foams up a bit as it hits my tongue. The body is a bit lighter than one would expect from a Doppelbock, but is consistent with the excessive carbonation. Some focused rousing of the beer releases a bunch of the carbonation and makes this easier to drink. Despite the lower body, mouth feel and sweetness, this beer is still quite rich and malty. Flavors of prunes mix with a rich, caramelized sweetness and a toasty malt character. The finish is somehow a little sharp, though I am not sure from what.

Well at least this beer was not noticeably infected / off in the flavor department, the excessive carbonation was a bit much, and I am sure it affected / reduced the body and mouth feel of this beer. Having said all that, this was still a pretty tasty beer, one which I would certainly jump at the opportunity to try a fresh sample of. As the beer warms hints of flavors and aromas start to suggest that something other than you standard beer yeast was involved in the bottle conditioning of this brew, though it never becomes more than a subtle backdrop.

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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. :|

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Photo of mcallister
3.21/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a very dark burnt brown sugar, apple pie top crust looking dopplebock. No redness as many will show just straight caramel colors. Pours with a small white head that fades very quickly.

Not much commotion in the nose. A floral hoppiness with dates and toffee. A heavy dosing of alcohol lies underneath with a herbal spicyness showing through.

A good solid beer with a very nice mouthfeel and slightly charred malts that are leaning toward sweet toffee and burnt caramel. Milk chocolate, raisin, and dates with an assortment of nutty characters and a hint of floral hopping and a very slight bitter finish. Herbal dosage exposes the mid palate and leaves things somewhat confused. Mouth is medium with a bit of tingle in the carbonation. Very easy to drink.

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

A - pours a dark black / brown color with a huge tan head. half the glass on the first pour
S - Sweet malts, light ripe fruits and cola
T - similar to the nose with a hint of vanilla underlying
M - light bodied, over carbonated
D - too sweet towards a cola effect for me.

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Photo of MuddyFeet
3.92/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dense rown but when held up to the light a nice red glow shines through. Not much in the way of a head and what there was dissolved completely. Nose is richly sweet with wheat and malted sugars.

Flavor is heavy on the wheat and sugars. Some toffee and butterscotch candies come through as well. Also picking out just a tad of roastiness. Medium to full body but only some slight alcohol longers after I swallow. Even with only a moderately high ABV this beer went to my head awfully fast. A nice after dinner drink with dessert--much like a good scotch.

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Photo of shaebs99
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bomber

Appearance: Pours a dark brown/amber with decent size head that quickly disappates and leaves no lacing. Beer is clear with light carbonation

Smell: rich and malty with a fruity and raisiny aroma.

taste: sweet, brown sugar or some dark fruitiness. maybe a little disappointing, but still nice and complex (only had a few other Doppelbocks, but they included Liberator and Celebrator which I consider a bit more flavorful. )

mouthfeel: light carbonation. I would consider it kinda of light bodied when compared to other rich doppelbocks.

drinkability: A beer that I will try again. You won't receive any arguments from me that there aren't better doppelbocks out there, but still a very solid effort and definitely worth a try.

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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.

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Photo of jwc215
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle:

Pours ruby brown with a thick, towering tan head that slowly descends to a lasting foamy head. I like a good head on a beer, but the foam filled the glass to excess, covering some of what's underneath.

The smell, once the head settled to a reasonable amount, was pleasant. Dark berry-like fruitiness, caramel and earthiness. Peppery alcohol lets the abv level known, but not to an overpowering degree.

The taste is berry-like fruitiness upfront that remains the main characteristic throughout. Caramel and some subtle chocolate notes give it sweetness. Nutty and earthy background.

The feel is thinner than expected for style, but holds on firmly to medium body. The carbonation is just too much, though. Fortunately, it doesn't kill it, but it does have an impact.

A nice doppelbock that is limited by too much carbonation, IMO. Still, well-worth trying as it does have a nice taste to it.

Thanks to jcwattsrugger for giving me this one!

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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...?

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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...

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Photo of ppoitras
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Screw-cap growler received via GIF8 by stewdawg. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/4" tan head over the clear medium brown brew, which also exhibited some burgundy highlights. Head is pretty quickly down to a tight layer of bubbles, with some lacing, but the legs of the brew is more impressie. Aroma is malty with dark fruit notes. Taste is hearty grain, with moderate fruitiness in the middle, and closes with light tannins and alcohol, and a definite warming aftereffect. Mouthfeel is smooth, and maybe a bit thin, but that helps the drinkability, so it's give and take. A nice easy dbock, more drinkable than one kind of should be for the abv. Safety first!

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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.

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Photo of Viggo
4.07/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear dark brown, some slight red in the edges, small tan head forms, settles down into a thin layer, with a ring around the edges and spots of lace on the glass. Smell is sweet, with lots of chocolate and caramel, some coffee roast, little bit of vanilla in the finish. Taste is sweet, buttery, caramel/toffee chocolate through the middle, some vanilla and iron in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation. Nice and different doppelbock, thanks DrJay!

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Photo of loren01
4.12/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a reddish brown color, huge billowy white head, good lace down the glass
S: Fruity, malty, yeasty also some alcohol scent
T: Fruity almost apple cider like. Also tastes of dark fruits, fig/rasins. Good malty profile, also slightly nutty. Wonderful mix of flavors, very complex taste
M: Medium to full bodied beer, maybe a little high in carbonation
D: Very drinkable beer, don't have this style much, good change of pace. Got this via jasonnm, thanks for the excellent brew!

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.55/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Dull brick red with bright orange peel highlights. I'm a little concerned about the huge amount of carbonation that filled the glass with foam rather than beer on the pour. Fizziness is never a good thing when it comes to big beer. The fluffy ecru cap deflates reasonably quickly, without leaving much lace in the process. A second pour looks much better.

The nose (from what I can tell through three fingers of froth) contains no surprises. I like it more the more I sniff... and the lower the head falls. It's toasted caramel malty, nutty and slightly earthy. In liquid form it should be wonderful.

And it is. Sort of. It's a damn shame that something went awry during the carbonation process. I hate having to filter out the unpleasantness of all those bubbles to get to the malty beer beneath. There's nothing like brewing a good doppelbock and then ruining it prior to bottling. Maybe if I let it sit for a bit.

I like what I taste, but in its current state Instigator Doppelbock can't be considered a good version of the style. There's just too much to overcome with respect to the mouthfeel. The beer is much thinner than it should be and is much, much more fizzy. I can appreciate a dark maltiness, a dark fruitiness and a raisin puree sweetness that dries out considerably on the finish. Too bad they've been given such a lousy vehicle.

I hate it when I crack open a bottle of what is probably pretty good beer (that I'm unlikely to acquire again), only to discover that it has a major flaw that should never have been allowed to happen in the first place. I get the sense that Instigator is a solid doppelbock that never really had the opportunity to show me what it could do. Quality control is everything.

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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

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Photo of Phatz
4.28/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks froggyfrog for hookin me up.
Served from a bomber that had plenty of time to warm.

Appearance: Pours a dark burnt caramel color with hints of ruby. Massive head. The tan head exceeded 4 fingers and had great retention. Loads of lacing were pasted to the side of the glass the entire duration of the beer while a frothy cap lasted just as long. Beautiful.

Smell: Toasted malts, brown sugar and the sweet nostalgic aroma of caramel covered apples, with a hint of smoked wood and gapes as well. mmm m mm m mmm

Taste: The flavors of dark sweet tart apple cider and that grape juice stuff, lead off, and then it just get more malty malty malty as hints of smokiness, wood, more dark fruits and a sprinkle of hops, maybe citric fruit, building and then - the beer peaks short of my eyes popping out =) and then fades to a dry burnt shoe-fly pie aftertaste. I LOVE IT!

Mouthfeel: Big malty creamy and well carbonated. It has a gritty course sugar laden malt kind of creaminess, and a dry finish lingers unceasingly.

Drinkability: dangerously easy for this Dopplebock fan. I really love this beer. It is a good thing I didn't get a case of this... or I might not be making it to work all week =) yummy!

Hope this is helpful.

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

Poured a medium brown color with modest tannish head. Very little lacing to be found.
Smell is rich and malty with strong dark fruit notes.
Taste is also firmly malty with dark bread notes combining with the fruit and molasses notes to form a complex taste sensation.
Nice full creamy mouth fell.
Nice beer for a cool autumn evening.

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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.

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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.

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

Sampled due to BIGsBIF and the kindness of BeerBeing.

22 oz Bottle.

Pours a clear coke a cola brown colored beer with red highlights. Head is tan and average in height and density.

Smell is sweet and fruity for the style. Lots of grape and figs with wheat bran in the scent. Some nutty sherry wine aromas mostly walnuts. After this warms up some spices arrive mostly brown sugar and cinnamon.

Taste is semi dry and fairly bitter for the style. First flavor sensation here is Raisin Bran cereal. Fruity flavors of plums and maple syrup. Fair flavor of tobacco here as if there are Fuggles hops added. After a bit a fairly strong cloves after taste appears. Bitter cherry taste evolves after a while. A good non-sweet Doppelbock. Only possible flaw is that it is a bit astringent after a while.

Mouthfeel is good.

The good, a DRY Doppelbock that I like a lot a little cool. The Bad astringent when warm. The verdict a good beer for spicy food or very sweet desserts.

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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.

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Photo of beerphan
3.48/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz bomber -> pint glass
no freshness date

Pours a rich brown with amber around the edges. A thick dirty tan head levels too a 2cm blanket. Very aggressive head, a standard pour produces 1/2 head 1/2 beer. Patchy lace. Lots of carbonation rises from the depths in droves.

Nose: Sweet malts, some alcohol, raisins, and a little yeast.

Taste: Sweet slick molasses and dark fruit dominate initially. After some warming the alcohol takes control and the taste borders on barleywine.

Mouthfeel is medium and slick.

Drinkability is high for a sipper but i doubt i could drink a ton these. A quality brew.

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.61/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a light brown, glowing cola color with a wide white collar of head.

Smells of smoky caramel, molasses, red grapes with a hint of lime.

Tastes of a dirty caramel and smoky coffee with a drying citrus in the finish.

The mouth feel was medium bodied with a thickening carbonation.

Not too hot for the style but tasty none the less.

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