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

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

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49 Reviews
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Reviews: 49
Hads: 112
Avg: 3.6
pDev: 14.44%
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 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

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Photo of mactrail
3.41/5  rDev -5.3%
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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Photo of kojevergas
2.91/5  rDev -19.2%
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.


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Photo of Gavage
3.52/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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Photo of beertunes
3.3/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in straight pint glass. Poured a semi-cloudy amber/brown color with an inch of tan head that had good retention and very light lacing.

The aroma was mostly sweet malts, with some different type spice notes that I couldn't really put my finger on. On the tongue, the malts were again the most notable feature. The beer was on the sweet side (coming from someone who likes sweet beers) and also had a noticeable alcohol taste. The did have a pleasant, earthy finish.

The body was fairly typical for the style, perhaps a bit too sticky sweet. Drinkability was good, I enjoyed my pint, but I'm not sure I'd have a second in a row, and I think a 22 would be too much at once for me. Overall, a solidly decent, but not really notable, beer. Worth trying if you see it.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.48/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

$7.35 for the 22oz bottle best by 081112.

A nice clear amber colour, great 2 finger head of stubborn foam, does very well with the lacing.

It smells very malty..maple syrup like but it's birch syrup. Worthy for the style and very inviting.

Really sweet up front from the birch syrup, slightly earthy, more sweetness, caramel malt kind of way, zero bitterness. Tasty but just a tad too sweet for my personal preferences. There's also a big bite from the alcohol that slows things down.

A nice mouthfeel here but again, the alcohol is too up front and given how sweet the overall taste is, it's a chore to drink.

A good effort from the brewery but I'd call it a slight miss according to my palate.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.3/5  rDev -8.3%
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.

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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.

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Photo of maximum12
3/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Big dopplebock, birch maple syrup. What could possibly go wrong? This beer sounds so good it's almost a sure-fire letdown. And I'm an optimist. 22 oz. bomber split with my wife.

Pour is disconcerting; this could pass as an amber in a dark house of ill-repute. No head, no bubbles. Nose is all-sweet-all-the-time; no untangling the birch from the maple to the malt. Recommended by 4 out of 5 dentists with low revenue numbers.

Birch Bock immediately send my blood sugar into the 250 range. Sextuplet dose of sweetness assails every imaginable portion of the body, rendering me instantly more alert & attractive. The 'birch syrup' is a nice touch, but the sugar is so overwhelming, it blasts out everything else. This could be an alcoholic soda for all I know.

This is a one-note beer. I do enjoy the mild syrup going on here, but it needs something besides 106 grams of sugar to make it palatable. Mediocre, & not approved by the ADA.

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Photo of mltobin
3.62/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on-tap at Roman`s in WI.

Appearance is dark copper with one finger head that is off-white in color. Its` nose has brown sugar, nuts and malts. For the taste of this doppelbock, I note raisins, caramel, some more of the nuts. Mouthfeel is medium with a slightly sticky finish. All in all, a pretty good beer, but nothing worth seeking out imo.

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Photo of jmdrpi
2.85/5  rDev -20.8%
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.

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Photo of laituegonflable
3.41/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a vibrant red colour, slight fizz. Head is an off-white ring around the edge, decent lacing. Looks OK, but listless.

Smells like bubblegum. Massive sweetness incongruous with the look - lots of banana, cake batter and apple juice as well. Fruity, light and sweet; needs more grounding for me.

Taste is a bit more toffeed, but otherwise it's all the same notes of the nose, so points for some congruity at least. Banana, bubblegum, some spice notes - nutmeg and maybe some clove - and a nice vanilla note at the back, which sort of assimilates all the others into a bigger whole at the back. Slight metallic edge, but I still think it's a bit sickly sweet at the start. Decent, but really into this.

Fairly smooth with a proteinous body. Bit of spice at the back; quite nice.

Interesting beer, and a well-constructed palate. Not to my taste at all, sadly, but I can see others really enjoying this.

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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.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.66/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

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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.

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Photo of srandycarter
3.53/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Saddle leather brown, good off white head, some cling.

S - Malt upfront, syrup smell somewhat detectable.

T - Nice enough. Standard doppel with a bit of a maple like syrup note.

M - Lower carb than I would have liked, balance a little cloying.

D - Fun to try.

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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.

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Photo of Beaver13
3/5  rDev -16.7%
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.

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Photo of beergoot
3.12/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Solid copper body, clear. Head is off-white and settles into a half-finger height. Lots of large carbonation bubbles initially, then it (and the head) settle down to finer bubbles and a finer, thicker bodied head.

Medium-rich malt smell. Some caramel sweetness.

Taste starts of with a light malt sweetness but is soon overtaken with bitterness, a rather strong alcohol taste, and a vague medicinal taste at the end.

Weak mouthfeel for a large beer. Strong hint of astringency in the finish.

A rather weak (in malt characteristics) and weird tasting doppelbock. I wanted to get fired up about this beer, but the bold off-flavors almost make this a below-average beer. Not bad per se, but I wouldn't rush out to try another.

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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.

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Photo of inlimbo77
3.3/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle. Best by Date: 8/11/12. Poured into Philly Beer Scene chalice.

A: Hazy amber orange color. Quarter finger of off white head that faded quickly into an off white ring around the edges. Carbonation appears to be there though as I see some tiny bubbles. Some alcohol feet are present and some lacing sheets.

S: Lots of sweet malt goodness. Maybe like a dark cherry underneath it all. But lots of candied sugar sweetness. Some caramel maybe.

T: No hop presents on the tip of the tongue, aside from a slight prickle. Carbonation is there

M: Medium bodied. Almost DIPA like, but UNFRESH DIPA mouthfeel.

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Photo of woemad
3.55/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber purchased a while back at Huckleberry's in Spokane for $8.99. "081112" was stamped on the label, but it's not clear if that's when it was bottled or when it's best by. Considering the style and abv, I'm not too worried.

Poured a reddish amber color with a decent sized off-white head. Said head didn't stay large for long, but never entirely faded away.

Big, boozy scent grabbed the attention at first. There was also some brown sugar-like notes. There's a bit of a nutty scent in the background, as well.

Similar to the nose in that there's a boozy, brown sugary and nutty taste, but there's also a raisiny, dark fruit flavor lurking in the background, providing a little depth, but not enough for this to taste like a leading contender in the doppelbock category.

Body is somewhere between medium and full, with a slightly sticky mouthfeel.

This is a decent attempt at a doppelbock, but it falls short when it comes to the style's general complexity. If this had a little more depth, there'd be more fours in this review.

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