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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

49 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 49
Hads: 112
rAvg: 3.6
pDev: 9.44%
Wants: 7
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 49 | Hads: 112
Photo of Halcyondays
4.52/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber,

A: Pours a dark amber to brown with a medium tan head which leaves some thick lace.

S: Heavy birch and maple syrup, dark turbinado sugar, distinct and inviting.

T: Classic malty dark dopplebock flavours. Dark bread, molasses, the birch is a nice addition. Sweet for sure, but never gets overbearing.

M: Full-bodied, never cloying which was astonishing in an American dopplebock with this much residual sugar. Crisp carbonation.

O: This was a really good effort from Alaskan. The best new beer I've had from them since the Baltic Porter. The bomber was pricey, but the QPR is good, a delicious strong beer with a unique touch. Well worth a pickup. (666 characters)

Photo of mrasskicktastic
4.41/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Clear red brew, moderately-sized white head, no lacing. Initial pour coats the glass in bubbles. Brew has a thin ring of white head linger around the interface of the glass and the beer.

S - Strong, very fragrant malt. I am not sure where the malt ends and the birch syrup begins, because I'm not terribly familiar with birch syrup. It smells like malt with a bit of an almost rye-like spiciness. A bit of faint hibiscus and currants. Very nice.

T - Extremely potent malt with a hint of umami herbal balance, kind of like a mild sage and mushroom (but without the earthiness of most mushrooms). Very rich. Aftertaste is a mild sweetness and a bit of the earth-less umami mushroom. It is an incredible flavor in a beer, unlike any I can recall.

M - Very thick, smooth, refreshing.

D - Fantastic. I hope Alaskan keeps making this. Its a great tasting brew with more than just novelty. The birch syrup contributes an impressive flavor, but it is actually presenting something unique and delectable. I will definitely buy a bottle of this again (assuming I can find it). (1,074 characters)

Photo of DCon
4.22/5  rDev +17.2%
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! (964 characters)

Photo of abeeronthebeach
4.2/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

A- A deep amber colour, which seemed to fluctuate a little with ruby towards the center and murky brown towards the edges.

S- Delightful, huge berry notes with a massively appetizing, malty bouquet. The best thing about this beer!

T- Sweet with a tart maltiness. Taste of rasberries and cherries. Pretty much what you'd hope for from a doppelbock with added syrup.

M- Fairly low carbonation which I liked. Slightly cloying and thin, but not to the extent that it detracted too much from the overall experience.

O- I would definitely have this again based purely on the beer, although it was quite pricey at $8. Would have only given it a 4, but it disguised the relatively high ABV of 8.5% so nicely that I had to bump it up a notch. I could drink it all day, and at that ABV, that's impressive. (799 characters)

Photo of megahurts4
4.12/5  rDev +14.4%
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. (256 characters)

Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.1/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In my opinion, the beers in the Pilot Series are some of the best work from Alaskan. The taste is general bold and lacks the bothersome oily texture that I can not overlook in their more noted brews.

Poured into a glass, the beer was a murky brown with variation in the shades of brown. The aroma was the expected malty doppelbock type aroma. In fairness, I am not exactly what birch syrup is supposed to taste like, never having had it. I can only assume it is similar to maple syrup. In the initial taste, one detects the sweet malt as well as a certain syrupy sweetness with hints of dark fruit. There was a certain smokiness in the taste, but it was not overpowering. The thickness reminded me a little more of a barleywine than a doppelbock, but this was not a big detractor for me. In the aftertaste, one will notice the maltiness continues with a twang of sourness. The taste on this doppelbock is well developed and nicely rounded. I would certainly do this one again. (977 characters)

Photo of MattyG85
4.07/5  rDev +13.1%
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. (1,066 characters)

Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.03/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased from Berkeley Bowl West in Berkeley, CA. Brought back to Australia and shared with @tobeerornottobe and @Laituegonflable.

Pours a lovely clear and bright reddish umber hue, with a mild creamy beige head of fine bubbles. Minimal lacing, but the body is very solid. Body is very solid, and leaves fine carbonation when tilted. Very good looking beer.

Nose is smooth and round, with a bite of slightly medicinal astringency, which cuts through it and prevents it from being unanimously sweet. Sweet banana bread characters, hints of cinnamon bun and a wafty, slightly boozy phenolic note. It's very pleasant.

Taste is, ooh, surprising. I expected that phenolic or biting astringency to be very prominent, but instead, we get a truly sweet, syrupy beer, that doesn't ever get too heavy or overpowering. Mild maple syrup notes, along with a slight piney fragrance (is this birch? I wouldn't know). Feel is clear and smooth, almost glassy as it goes down.

Overall, good stuff: the birch syrup, I think, really comes through and gives an interesting twist, and the base beer is solid. Overall, I'm pretty happy with this. (1,135 characters)

Photo of hardy008
4.02/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Hazy ruby color with a small head which vanishes quickly, leaving no lacing. The aroma has sweet caramel malt, toasted malt, and birch syrup. Smells like this should be quite sweet.

The taste is also sweet, but not as much as the aroma. The taste has caramel malt, birch syrup, and toasted malt. Not very complex, but pretty good.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. The alcohol is well disguised. Definitely worth trying. (429 characters)

Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +11.1%

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. (333 characters)

Photo of LiquidAmber
4/5  rDev +11.1%
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). (677 characters)

Photo of FightingEntropy
4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle of Alaskan Birch Bock based on a sample at the St. Paul Summer Fest a few weeks ago. I have an affinity for "tree" beers after helping make a spruce ale with the MN Home Brewers at the first Teach a Friend to Homebrew day in 2005. The experience helped me get into homebrewing more, so "tree" beers have an odd emotional appeal to me.

Classic doppelbock color: deep copper to ruby. Dirty white head falls quickly over alcohol hotness and deep malt with a clear birch nose. Dark fruits and malt are smoothed by a slick oiliness over, what I assume, is a birch spicy note since it's low on hops. Very fun to drink.

Not a knock-your-socks off beer, but a testament to the creativity of the beer world. I like it and would drink it again. (757 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.95/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

love the local ingredient concept. this is an exciting bock that pours a deep copper color with a hint of red and a nice 2 inch tan head that leaves some lacing. smells sweet and syrupy, birch like the sierra nevada life and limb. flavor is big malts up front that fade into a sweet earthy flavor. alcohol is present at the end. feel is okay, a bit thick and syrupy, even for a big bock. carbonation is mellow and the body is full. im very glad i got to try this, i liked it quite a bit. i wouldnt want much more than a bomber though (533 characters)

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.94/5  rDev +9.4%
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. (1,020 characters)

Photo of notchucknorris
3.92/5  rDev +8.9%
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. (448 characters)

Photo of allforbetterbeer
3.88/5  rDev +7.8%
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. (1,263 characters)

Photo of drinkyourcraft
3.88/5  rDev +7.8%
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 (309 characters)

Photo of TexIndy
3.87/5  rDev +7.5%
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] (978 characters)

Photo of CHADMC3
3.87/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a toffee colored body beneath the thinner off white head which quickly dissolves to leave little lacing behind.

Sweet aromas of birch syrup and brown sugar and hints of fig float from the glass. The aromas are sweet and candy like with typical doppelbock malty sweetness as well.

The flavors are similar featuring the birch maple and brown sugar sweetness the aroma has with hints of earthiness.

The body is fuller with medium carbonation and a nice sherry like, dryer finish.

This is a pretty nice doppelbock, clearly even a bit sweeter with the addition of the birch maple syrup than others but you can certainly appreciate the Alaskan twist. (654 characters)

Photo of jsprain1
3.77/5  rDev +4.7%
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. (477 characters)

Photo of Etan
3.75/5  rDev +4.2%
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. (413 characters)

Photo of brewcrew76
3.75/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Slightly hazy brown, ruby red with a small tan head.

S - Sweet bready malts with some birch syrup. A touch of spice.

T - Sweet with caramel and bready flavors. Birch syrup reminds me of maple syrup but not as strong a flavor.

M - Light body with light carbonation. Sweet finish.

D - More a bock than a doppelbock in my opinion. The birch syrup adds nice flavor with being too sweet. Solid. (397 characters)

Photo of jjanega08
3.69/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

No freshness dating.

A= Pours a deep translucent amber color with a small coca cola head that quickly falls into coca cola like bubbles with just a few sticking around.

S= The smell is full of caramelly malt. A lot of sweetness. I had the 25th Anny last night that was also brewed with the birch syrup and it had a woody character. I'm not getting the woody character in this one. The sweetness sort of reminds me of those candy cherries on top of ice cream. Not quite that pungent in aroma but similar.

T= The flavor starts slightly metallic with a nice caramelly sweetness backing it up. Actually one of the more enjoyable bocks I've had but the flavor seems to be quiet a bit. There is the strange cherry sweetness in it still that reminds me of the candy marichino cherries. The birch syrup again holds no woodiness like it did in the 25th anniversary. The alcohol is quite and can't be noticed. I find most bocks to be overly sweet for myself but this one isn't quite there. There is a bit of a bite to it from something I don't wanna say it's a hop bitterness because it isn't but there is something that cuts through the pure sweetness. Maybe it's the carbonation.

M= A nice amount of carbonation that I suspect cleans the palate a bit keeping it from being overly sweet.

O= This isn't a great beer but it isn't bad. I'm not a big bock guy that's for sure but this is tolerable and even somewhat enjoyable. The birch syrup I don't understand and I'm having trouble finding it. Worth trying and I may buy another. (1,524 characters)

Photo of sprucetip
3.68/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Active, mahogany, thin tan head with little retention and no lacing. Good looker for what it's worth.

Malty sweet, toffee, a bit of dark fruit, and some warm boozy esters. Not especially deep, complex, or strong. But pleasant. ... Toward the very end of the sample it comes together better, but I still don't feel right bumping up to a 4. 3.75 anyone?? You can do 3.75 on "hads."

A little bit boozy and a little bit bitter, but sweet and malty is the primary character of the flavor here. I get some malty sweet and toasted flavors, embellished by toffee and dark fruit. But it's not quite as good as that might sound. The synergy of those elements isn't great. It tastes good, but not great.

Good carbonation, medium full body, moderately viscous, fairly strong warming, and some gentle bitterness in the finish.

Like many Alaskan Brewing beers, it's pretty good but not nearly amazing. I'd be proud of it if I made it, but would also be trying to figure out what I could do differently or better next time. I wouldn't recommend trading for it or going to great efforts to get it. And at $8.50 a bomber, I would maybe have one a year or so, if that. If I'm in the mood for a doppelbock, and I can get Celebrator, there is no question or discussion. That said, I do appreciate the attempt. But I keep wondering why Alaskan so often comes up short with these special releases. It almost seems like they purposefully dumb them down? I know they can make truly awesome beers (e.g. Smoked Porter, Baltic Porter, Barleywine), but so many of these special Pilot Series beers wind up being somewhat disappointing. Not bad, of course, but not sending me hustling back to the store for more before it's gone. (1,704 characters)

Photo of jdkitchi
3.67/5  rDev +1.9%
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. (540 characters)

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Alaskan Birch Bock (Pilot Series) from Alaskan Brewing Co.
82 out of 100 based on 49 ratings.