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

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
82
good

102 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 102
Reviews: 47
rAvg: 3.61
pDev: 14.4%
Wants: 7
Gots: 8 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: jmdrpi on 08-30-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 102 | Reviews: 47 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of sprucetip
sprucetip

Alaska

3.68/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2012 05:00:40 | More by sprucetip
Photo of DCon
DCon

Missouri

4.2/5  rDev +16.3%
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!

Serving type: on-tap

07-22-2012 19:39:32 | More by DCon
Photo of inlimbo77
inlimbo77

Delaware

3.28/5  rDev -9.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2012 20:00:12 | More by inlimbo77
Photo of djaeon
djaeon

California

3.75/5  rDev +3.9%

07-08-2012 21:31:00 | More by djaeon
Photo of yamar68
yamar68

Minnesota

3.6/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-07-2012 02:22:08 | More by yamar68
Photo of DavoleBomb
DavoleBomb

Ohio

3.95/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

07-06-2012 03:50:26 | More by DavoleBomb
Photo of snaotheus
snaotheus

Washington

3.05/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle split into a pair of large snifter

Pours a pretty ruby color with very little head and lots of carbonation. Smell is alcohol and syrup.

Taste is unexplainably bland. Alcohol is plenty present, syrup is there, there is a little bit of a woody flavor, something about it reminds me of sweet tea.

Mouthfeel is sticky. Overall, too sweet and bland to be any more than average for me.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2012 21:53:47 | More by snaotheus
Photo of TexIndy
TexIndy

Texas

3.88/5  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]

Serving type: bottle

06-29-2012 01:41:21 | More by TexIndy
Photo of pkalix
pkalix

California

4.25/5  rDev +17.7%

06-23-2012 03:10:09 | More by pkalix
Photo of Bitterbill
Bitterbill

Wyoming

3.43/5  rDev -5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-23-2012 01:20:39 | More by Bitterbill
Photo of Halcyondays
Halcyondays

California

4.53/5  rDev +25.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-11-2012 20:18:43 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of megahurts4
megahurts4

Louisiana

4.18/5  rDev +15.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2012 03:10:50 | More by megahurts4
Photo of hreb
hreb

Washington

2.23/5  rDev -38.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2012 02:39:40 | More by hreb
Photo of HuskyinPDX
HuskyinPDX

Washington

3.33/5  rDev -7.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-04-2012 04:15:10 | More by HuskyinPDX
Photo of beertunes
beertunes

Washington

3.33/5  rDev -7.8%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

05-29-2012 19:07:54 | More by beertunes
Photo of StonedTrippin
StonedTrippin

Colorado

3.95/5  rDev +9.4%
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

Serving type: bottle

05-28-2012 17:23:12 | More by StonedTrippin
Photo of beergoot
beergoot

Colorado

3.1/5  rDev -14.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2012 21:10:04 | More by beergoot
Photo of maximum12
maximum12

Minnesota

3/5  rDev -16.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2012 02:28:42 | More by maximum12
Photo of cspieth
cspieth

California

3.75/5  rDev +3.9%

05-17-2012 14:33:53 | More by cspieth
Photo of kojevergas
kojevergas

Texas

2.9/5  rDev -19.7%
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

Serving type: bottle

05-14-2012 06:42:03 | More by kojevergas
Photo of kyager2000
kyager2000

Pennsylvania

2.75/5  rDev -23.8%

05-12-2012 02:55:13 | More by kyager2000
Photo of herman77
herman77

Minnesota

3.75/5  rDev +3.9%

05-06-2012 18:41:58 | More by herman77
Photo of twelveinches
twelveinches

Washington

3.25/5  rDev -10%

05-06-2012 05:54:46 | More by twelveinches
Photo of JohnLynch
JohnLynch


4/5  rDev +10.8%

05-05-2012 19:01:52 | More by JohnLynch
Photo of Hopstout
Hopstout

Minnesota

3.25/5  rDev -10%

05-05-2012 04:42:34 | More by Hopstout
Alaskan Birch Bock (Pilot Series) from Alaskan Brewing Co.
82 out of 100 based on 102 ratings.