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Alaskan Birch Bock (Pilot Series) - Alaskan Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Alaskan Birch Bock (Pilot Series)Alaskan Birch Bock (Pilot Series)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
82
good

111 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 111
Reviews: 49
rAvg: 3.61
pDev: 14.4%
Wants: 8
Gots: 9 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Alaskan Brewing Co. visit their website
Alaska, United States

Style | ABV
Doppelbock |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: jmdrpi on 08-30-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 111 | Reviews: 49
Reviews by yamar68:
Photo of yamar68
3.67/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My palate is freshly raped by a glass of Hop Stoopid (sorry).

Poured from 22oz bomber to pint glass:

Nice looking bock. Looking rather still.

The nose certainly boasts some caramely birch syrup - such a unique ingredient and surprisingly distinguishable from other tree syrups. Nice. A bit of leather and toffee here as well.

A lot of the same notes tend to surface on the tongue with the addition of a pretty distinct mineral type finish. Smells better than it tastes.

The after taste detracts from the feel but the consistency is good.

I always love trying beers that utilize birch syrup.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Beaver13
3/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle. Pours ruby amber with a small fizzy off-white head that quickly goes to a thin film.

The aroma is sweet caramel and toffee, maple and honey.

The flavor is sweet sugary caramel and toffee with a slightly bitter drying finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation.

Overall, the syrup adds interesting notes to the doppelbock. It's a bit on the sweet side for me.

Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +10.8%

Nose: Malty combined with spicy birch syrup
Brownish garnet amber with a slight chill haze under a 2" finely bubbled light tan head. Persistent. Lacy.
Palate: Birch syrup spice, rich malts, some fruitiness from the syrup, mild hop bitterness on the finish.
Big rich body, average carbonation, creamy and smooth with alcohol warming.

Photo of MattyG85
4.07/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22 oz bottle into a Surly Darkness Chalice.

Appearance: Pours a deep, dark, and slightly cloudy brownish copper with a little ruby red. Moderate bubbles and about one finger of off white head that recedes into a few thin patches. Lacing is light.

Smell: A sweet smell of caramel malts and toffee with the birch syrup and a hint of spices. Some hints of citrus and earthy hops in the background. Also a light hint of dark fruits. Smells more like an English Barleywine than a Doppelbock, but it smells good and interesting.

Taste: A nicely sweet mix of bready caramel malts, birch syrup, and toffee. Hints of figs and other dark fruits. A little bit of spice. Nice presence of earthy and citrus hops giving a little more of a bitter bite than you would typically expect from a bock. The syrup blends in nicely. Well balanced.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Chewy and somewhat syrupy as expected. No noticeable alcohol heat.

Overall: A pretty interesting and tasty beer. Sweet but well balanced by the hops.

Photo of hreb
2.24/5  rDev -38%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

22oz bottle pours red-brown, crystal clear, with a tiny amount of white head. Holy crap, intensely estery aroma. Flavor is similarly chemical. I don't detect any birch-beer like flavor, though there is some sweetness, either from that birch additives or from the normal heavy malt load of a bock beer. I didn't expect much, but this disappoints. Would not try again.

Pros are it looks decent in the glass, there's a pretty scene with a moose on the label, and it hides its ABV very well. Cons are that it hides its ABV with bad flavor. And everything else.

Photo of Fatehunter
3.66/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured a thin head on a cloudy light brown colored body.
The aroma is dry wood and dark malt. Interesting.
The taste is wonderful. It's fairly sweet overall, but less "annoying sweet" than most doppelbocks. There's definitely a syrup flavor with a background of dry malt sweetness.
The texture is slightly sticky with moderate carbonation.
Well worth trying.

Photo of jdkitchi
3.67/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Acquired this for $6.99 at Discount. Poured reddish brown color into a snifter from the 22 oz bomber bottle. There was a small head that kept some lacing.

Smells of sweet dark malts and a little woody. The taste is very sweet mostly malts up front, some earthy character, slight hop balance and alcohol, some lingering sweet syrup in the finish. There is a medium mouth feel and low carbonation.

This is a pretty good Dopple. It 's a little different, a little cloying but pretty enjoyable too. I would have this again if I ran across it.

Photo of Docer
3.4/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: (3.5)

- Pours a lightly cloudy mahogany brown. The brew has a nice reddish hue as well. Very minimal head.. leaves but a light dusting of off-white thin foam in the center, and a small ring around the edge. Pretty standard for the style.

Smell: (3.5)

- A sweet floral and citrus grain bed aroma. Light maple, thick sugars, and an earthy approach with some esters. Tannins and a fruity touch for sure. Creamy oats and grains. Interesting.

Taste: (3.5)

- A rather sweet brew with a fruity ester and tannin touch, light maple, and brown sugar. Grassy and earthy bitterness is light, but present. Little bready, but mainly just sweet. It's ok, but I can't say that I am blown away by this brew.

Mouth Feel: (3.5)

- It's a chewy one, and slightly drying. The sweetness lends a little stickiness and a cloying attribute. It's well carbonated with a common yeast.

Overall: (3.0)

- I love Alaskan Brewing, but have to say that this brew has 'average' written all over it. There certainly isn't anything wrong with the beer, but it doesn't stand out at all on all marks. I rate beers a 3.5 when they contain the quality I expect from a larger craft beer producer. A 3.0 can be found in a homebrew, but there would usually be something offsetting to get that. This beer doesn't have anything offsetting. It's just a little boring. Perhaps a big fan of the style would like to sit on a bottle awhile and let it oxidize. Not me.

Photo of TexIndy
3.87/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a pint glass. No dating info on the bottle but the website says it's a March 2012 release. It was a rich red-amber color with few carb streams. It had almost no head when poured and what was there quickly evaporated. No lacing.

The aroma is strong on birch syrup and caramel malt. A little booze maybe. Not bad but man it's sweet. The taste closely follows the aroma and again is very sweet. It's dances over the cloying line then comes back. Not getting any of the other traditional doppelbock aromas or tastes but this is supposed to be birch syrup heavy so can't knock it much. Medium to heavy mouthfeel with good sweet aftertaste but lacking in carbonation.

Overall, a good speciality doppelbock that I do recommend if you can easily get. While Alaskan is now in Texas this isn't one of the beers that they offer here yet. Got from Hoss in a care package. Rotation - glad I tried it but wouldn't seek out again. But would try on-tap. [N;O]

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

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a red-orange amber with active carbonation. One finger fine light tan head with good retention and lacing. Looks nice. Aroma of sweet malt and a hint of birch beer. Flavor is sweet and caramel malt, toffee with a rather dry birch syrup finish. Low hop levels. Medium bodied with a bit of creaminess. A interesting, but low key, take on a doppelbock. The birch syrup counteracts the malt flavors somewhat, so it seems like it could use a bit more malt flavor as a doppelbock. Still interesting and enjoyable to drink. (Reviewed in 2012, moved here from a duplicate listing in the archive section, since this seems to be the main listing).

Photo of megahurts4
4.12/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Alaskan Birch Bock (Pilot Series)

Appearance: dark amber, small head, and some lacing.

Smell: birch and alcohol.

Taste: nice malt and birch notes.

Mouthfeel: medium and smooth.

Overall:
This is a very nice brew. The flavors are very well balanced.

Photo of Etan
3.75/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle into a stout glass

A: Pours a wood amber-brown with a small light tan head.

S: Sweet, fruity malt - grapes, raisins, prunes, molasses, maple.

T: Maple, figs, brown sugar, caramel, brown bread, light birch spice.

M: Medium-bodied with light carbonation.

O: This was better than I was expecting. The birch is pretty mellow. The beer is a bit sweet, but not so much as to ruin the beer. Pretty good.

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.94/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a mug.

3.0 A: Clear orange amber color. One finger of frothy beige head. Retention is lacking, but it's possible that that's due to the birch syrup. No lacing.

4.0 S: Wow, the birch really comes through in this. The strongest aroma is maple nut candies, but with birch instead of maple. There's something else that's really distinct, but I just can't figure out what it is right now. Good bit of toffee with some caramel underneath. An almost tanginess that could come from the syrup or the malts. Light booziness. Candied date fruitiness.

4.0 T: Again lots of birch, toffee, and sugariness. Candied date, currants, and plum fruitiness. Not as tangy as the nose, but there's still a little bit of it. It tastes like it smells, but it's a bit smoother actually. Booze is well hidden.

4.0 M: Medium body. Good moderate carbonation that is almost spritzy. Good here. Super smooth.

4.0 D: Of the one other birch related beer I've had, this is by far the best. Done very well, tasty, and great on the palate.

Photo of vkv822
2.66/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

22oz bottle into tulip snifter.

Pale amber with a bubbly bone-white head.

The nose and taste are fairly one-dimensional, with sweet malts.

Medium body, low carbonation.

Not offensive in any way, but very one dimensional, and not very interesting.

Photo of allforbetterbeer
3.88/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a goblet. Bought for $8.00 at Coaltrain liquor in Colorado Springs on 4/9/12.

Pours a clear crimson body under a minimal off-white head. Very striking appearance. I am always amazed how red some beers can be.

Nose is rather faint. I detect a little alcohol, something rather like lager yeast in a homebrew, and a bit of dough.

On first taste this is so much like a failed batch of lager I tried to make (didn't ferment out very well) that I can't get into it. However this beer is of higher quality and upon closer inspection it shows that it is in fact nuanced. A big sweet lager base provides the foundation for the birch flavors, which are slightly woody and very sweet, almost syrupy in a natural sap kind of way. There is a little rich-spice note that reminds me of root beer. This beer doesn't taste anything like rootbeer, but there is some quality in it that does bring root beer to mind.

The mouthfeel is on the heavy side with lots of residual sugars to thicken up the body. Carbonation is lively but not oppressive.

Conclusion: This is an interesting beer, and to a normal BA I think it would be excellent. If it didn't share so much of its flavor profile with a past failed batch of homebrew I would like it more.

Photo of Gavage
3.52/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours a light brown color with a short wispy head that falls apart quickly.

Smell: sweet malt and brown sugar is most noticeable by the nose.

Taste: very sweet malt profile, as brown sugar and ripe dark fruits are up front. Bitterness is mild and alcohol is mildly noticeable too.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Lightly crisp up front, smoother argue finish. The sweetness lingers on the tongue for a while.

Overall: I expected a little more from this beer, as it just was not as satisfying as I expected. One bomber bottle was more than enough for a session.

Photo of martino_cappachino
3.58/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed in a mug from a 22 oz. bottle

Little to no head with a sweet malty aroma. Taste is heavy, verging on harsh, but with a sweet syrup-y body.
I've never tasted or smelled birch that I know of, but there is a definite sweet maple syrup sort of taste. There is a bit of spicy hop recin at the end, but the 8.0-8.5% abv is easily concealed.
Not a bad beer to try once. But not brew I would drink every other day... maybe more like once a month.

Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.3/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle opened on 6.1.12.

A - Pours a cloudy, red-amber with a small light tan head. Fizzy with good retention.

S - Sweet mapler, bready, carmel.

T - Sweet fruit, carmel, wood, raisins.

D - Ok carbonation with a medium body.

O - Sweet and woody. Boring.

Photo of DCon
4.22/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on-tap @ the Beer Shoppe in Yakima, WA for $4 (special). Tapped from a Non-Labeled Tap Handle into a 16oz Beer Shoppe Pint Glass. Saw this one in a 22oz bottle at the shop so decided to enjoy on-tap instead.

Aroma- Tons of sugar and maple sugar hit the nose first. The sweetest malt you can find as well. Strong and enjoyed it!

Appearance- Received with no head... Tapping issues? Deep amber/light brown body with decent clarity. Leaves a few suds behind.

Flavor- Burnt sugar and caramel comes around very rich and dominant. Awesome! Malty and has a light bitterness at the finish.

Mouthfeel- Medium Bodied, Medium Carbonation, Sweet, Smooth, and a finish like a dessert beer.

Overall Impression- Wow! Not too traditional for the style but enjoyed GREATLY! Reminded me of an aged Thomas Hardy's Ale. This is a great compliment to this beer! Would love to get a bottle of this but have many others to drink first. Maybe next year. Highly recommend!

Photo of jmdrpi
2.85/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

served on-tap at the Overlook Bar & Grill at Denali Park.

the beer appears a chestnut brown color with amber highlights. Clear, with very little head, just a few bubbles. Aroma is sweet, definitely has the smell of birch in there.

Taste is odd. Nice and malty with minimal hopping, just like a bock, but the addition of the birch flavor just doesn't jive. Body is a bit sticky and thick.

Overall, it's a nice experiment, with a nod to a local ingredient. But one pint is enough for me.

Photo of kojevergas
2.91/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

651 ml brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a conical Guinness pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are high; I've taken quite a fancy to Alaskan brewery. Bottle acquired at Wades Wines in Westlake Village, California. Cost was $8.99 plus tax.

Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a half finger head - quite thin, of slight cream, and bad retention. Head colour is a slight khaki. Colour is a semitransparent copper. Appears to be badly carbonated, but I can't tell in which direction; the head sucks but it's abound with bubbles. Non-opaque. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Birch wood and birch syrup are dominant; very pleasant and unique. I'm rather impressed in spite of its simplicity. Maybe unrefined brown sugar. All around rather inviting. A mild to moderate strength aroma. Some might find it somewhat medicinal, but I don't.

T: Birch is indeed present, and provides an interesting character. It has a sort of birch syrup (as in maple syrup but with birch, not in an artificial sense) note that I find pleasant. It's certainly an experimental flavour profile, but I find it enjoyable for what it is. A unique, experimentally bold beer that turns out on the better side of pilot brews. Unfortunately, its simplicity holds it back, but I'm sure Alaskan could find some way to use the birch note in future better beers. Decently balanced for what it is. Not complex or subtle, but you have to respect that they're trying something new. No alcohol comes through.

Mf: Far too thin, especially for the style. Wet and smooth. Way too undercarbonated, but not quite flat. Very poorly executed considering the flavour profile. Almost ruins the beer.

Dr: Drinkable and pleasant for what it is. Hides its ABV quite well. The flavour is agreeable but the mouthfeel is awful. Strangely, it's actually one of the better doppelbocks I can remember having. Sort of high priced even considering the import distance. I wouldn't get it again, but I look forward to seeing how Alaskan uses the birch note.

C

Photo of drinkyourcraft
3.88/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just a note to any readers - I have a slight cold and my taste and smell is a bit off.

Pours a good amber copper color with a good foamy head.

Taste is very malty and "maple-syrupy?" but nothing overwhelming.

Overall a solid doppelbock, tastes a lot like a homebrew I had recently.

Recommend - yes, share

Photo of notchucknorris
3.92/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Deep brownish red color with pretty much no head at all. No real lacing to speak of either.

S: Malty with big notes of rye bread and maple syrup. I guess it's really birch syrup, but I haven't come across a ton of that yet, so I'm going with maple.

T: Big and malty flavor with some rye, roasted malt, wood and syrupy maple sweetness as well. The sweetness is a bit much with the syrupy mouthfeel but overall, this is a pretty good dopplebock.

Photo of jsprain1
3.77/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- A slightly hazy brown colored with a very thin off white colored head. Retention is mediocre.
S- Smell is sweet with some spicy and very deep caramel flavors. Fairly mild for what is supposedly a doppelbock.
T- It's about the same here. Very sweet with deep caramel flavors, a bit of what I can only figure out is the birch flavor.
M- Light body, medium carbonation, long lasting finish.
O- It's a fun bock, not sure it satisfactorily is a doppelbock, but still worth a try.

Photo of mactrail
3.41/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Lovely dark amber in the tall glass. Standard foam and lacing. Quite winey and strong tasting. Sweet and reminiscent of maple syrup, which is apparently the birch flavor instead.

Slightly odd, though fairly likable. There must be a fair amount of hops in the mix. Ends with a bittersweet taste. A little of the cardboard nose. Fruity with persimmons and carrot cake. There is some familiar yet elusive flavor going on, and I finally remember Manischewitz blackberry wine, which would be considerably cheaper than this stuff if anyone if keeping score.

22 oz bottle from Bottlecraft in San Diego.

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Alaskan Birch Bock (Pilot Series) from Alaskan Brewing Co.
82 out of 100 based on 111 ratings.