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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

106 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 106
Reviews: 49
rAvg: 3.62
pDev: 14.64%
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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: jmdrpi on 08-30-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 106 | Reviews: 49 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Soneast
3.25/5  rDev -10.2%

Soneast, Aug 26, 2012
Photo of bucho
3/5  rDev -17.1%

bucho, Aug 22, 2012
Photo of mltobin
3.6/5  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.

mltobin, Jul 29, 2012
Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.03/5  rDev +11.3%
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.

lacqueredmouse, Jul 28, 2012
Photo of sprucetip
3.68/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

sprucetip, Jul 24, 2012
Photo of DCon
4.2/5  rDev +16%
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!

DCon, Jul 22, 2012
Photo of inlimbo77
3.28/5  rDev -9.4%
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.

inlimbo77, Jul 11, 2012
Photo of djaeon
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%

djaeon, Jul 08, 2012
Photo of yamar68
3.6/5  rDev -0.6%
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.

yamar68, Jul 07, 2012
Photo of DavoleBomb
3.95/5  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.

DavoleBomb, Jul 06, 2012
Photo of snaotheus
3.05/5  rDev -15.7%
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.

snaotheus, Jul 01, 2012
Photo of TexIndy
3.88/5  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]

TexIndy, Jun 29, 2012
Photo of pkalix
4.25/5  rDev +17.4%

pkalix, Jun 23, 2012
Photo of Bitterbill
3.43/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

Bitterbill, Jun 23, 2012
Photo of Halcyondays
4.53/5  rDev +25.1%
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.

Halcyondays, Jun 11, 2012
Photo of megahurts4
4.18/5  rDev +15.5%
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.

megahurts4, Jun 08, 2012
Photo of hreb
2.23/5  rDev -38.4%
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.

hreb, Jun 05, 2012
Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.33/5  rDev -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.

HuskyinPDX, Jun 04, 2012
Photo of beertunes
3.33/5  rDev -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.

beertunes, May 29, 2012
Photo of StonedTrippin
3.95/5  rDev +9.1%
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

StonedTrippin, May 28, 2012
Photo of beergoot
3.1/5  rDev -14.4%
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.

beergoot, May 23, 2012
Photo of maximum12
3/5  rDev -17.1%
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.

maximum12, May 18, 2012
Photo of cspieth
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%

cspieth, May 17, 2012
Photo of kojevergas
2.9/5  rDev -19.9%
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

kojevergas, May 14, 2012
Photo of kyager2000
2.75/5  rDev -24%

kyager2000, May 12, 2012
Alaskan Birch Bock (Pilot Series) from Alaskan Brewing Co.
82 out of 100 based on 106 ratings.