Thomas Hooker Liberator Doppelbock | Thomas Hooker Brewing Company

507 Reviews
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Thomas Hooker Liberator DoppelbockThomas Hooker Liberator Doppelbock

Brewed by:
Thomas Hooker Brewing Company
Connecticut, United States | website

Style: Doppelbock

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Hopped with German and Czech hops and fermented with Bavarian lager yeast, this traditional doppelbock blends an extensive amount of select dark malts to achieve its rich and creamy character. Rich and filling, this brew is a malt lovers dream.

24 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 03-15-2004

User Reviews
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Reviews: 507 | Ratings: 687
Photo of MasterSki
4.1/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Got this in a trade with Dave (d0b) last October - hope it's still good, as I'm nervous about all things swing-top. Nice hiss when I popped it. Served in a pilsener glass.

A - Nice three fingers of tan foam with excellent retention but not much in the way of lacing - leaves a solid cap though. Murky raisin-brown brew with a few streams of tiny bubbles visible at the fringes.

S - Typical lager twang, roastiness, raisin, dark fruits, caramel, chocolate - almost like a stout but with lager yeast. There's also some alcohol present. It sweetens quite a bit as it warms up - so don't drink this one cold, otherwise you'll be missing out on quite a bit of depth.

T - Bitter roastiness, bread, a touch of caramel, vanilla, and semisweet chocolate. The fruitiness isn't very apparent in the flavor. Again, improves quite a bit when it warms up. The aftertaste is mild roasty bitterness. Alcohol is better hidden in the taste. There's also a slight sourness that might be the harbinger of infection - I don't recommend cellaring this past a year, and one should probably tape the crap out of the swing-top.

M - Smooth and velvety, creamy, mild carbonation, tons of residual stickiness. It's probably the best attribute of this brew.

D - It feels like an 8% brew, and the 500ml bottle size ensures this is a one and out. Otherwise it has most of the qualities I look for in drinkability - mild aftertaste and carbonation. It's an excellent American take on the doppelbock style, but isn't quite on par with Andechser or Ayinger.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.12/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance - Deep brown body that looks red when held up to the light. Off-white frothy head that leaves some lacing.

Smell - Dark fruit aroma followed by caramel and some chocolate. It smells like a Belgian Strong Dark Lager, without the yeast. Nice.

Taste - Not quite as impressive as the smell, but very nice nonetheless. Dark fruits and caramel malts. Some burnt toast in the back end, but it's not unappealing. Hardly sweet, despite the maltiness.

Mouthfeel - Good body. Not quite heavy, but certainly not light. Doesn't feel like a wimpy beer, despite that you can't taste the ABV. Medium-low carbonation makes it feel smooth and creamy.

Overall - The best doppelbock I've had. Better than Celebrator (gasp!). This is one of the few lager styles I really enjoy.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.51/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle dated my birthday 02/25/2010. Fun. Poured into a Celebrator bock glass (close enough). Beer is brown but really dark red, forms a thin off white / brown head of medium and small bubbles. Carbonation is moderate and steady. Beer is clear at the corners and in the right light gives a red sheen. Looks AWESOME.

Aroma is sweet, almost lactic in a sense and has some roast at the end. Smooth and balanced. Could use slightly more caramel or a little more of the roast character. Still smells good.

Beer is sweet and has a nice caramel roast that comes up in the back palate. Well balanced and great palate connectivity. Second taste, good carbonation in the palate makes the beer so silky smooth. This is a wonderful doppelbock. There is a slight aftertaste but its not really unpleasant. Drinkability high.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.37/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle courtesy of alpinebryant, thanks for the opportunity.
Pours a solid almost black with the faintest of garnet highlights when held to light. Bubbly off white head rises to the occasion before slowly receding to a ring on top. Smells of malt in spades. Smokey, dark sugar, fig, raisin, caramel, chocolates, soy, they are all there. Taste is a malt bomb as well. Rich dark malts fill my palette with tastes of caramel, fig, date, and hints of alcohol and a slightly earthy hop bite that keeps everything in check. Medium carbonation, thick body, syrupy mouthfeel. I really enjoyed this one. Sweet malty goodness with a burnt edge that keeps it from being cloying. If this were more available I would drink this a lot!

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Photo of Billolick
4.48/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Happy to procure a bottle of this classy nectar. Large bottle, with swingtop with a sliver of tape indicating this was bottled in 2004. Pours deepest and richest of dark brown/black, murky. Tan head leaves all kinds of sticky lacing. Chocolate, malty nose. This is a big, deeply flavorfull brew. Notes of Chocolate, smoke, dark malts galore. 8% nowhere to be found in this world class quaffer. Wish I had bought more. Seek out and enjoy.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.15/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

08/23/05- Received two bottle in trade from Connecticutpoet, Stienlifter and Jetsbeer.

Presentation- 2005 bottled edition as stated on the label covering the swingtop. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Nice black colored pour, solid dirty brown 1/2 inch head and fair lacing.

Smell- Tons of dark chocolate in the nose with a nice whiff of dark roasted malt as well. Slight molasses smell too.

Taste- At first rather nomal for a run of the mill doppel, but then a huge chocolate coats your mouth in the swallow. Tons of dark burnt malt throughout. Not the mollasses/malty sweetness to put it over the top though.

Mouthfeel- A bit overcarbonated for a doppelbock. Semi-thick mouthfeel.

Drinkability- Definitely one of the better doppelbocks, but I still prefer Celebrator and even Weltenburger Asam-Bock. Still would buy this one if I could find it though. Very good brew indeed. Thanks for the bottles guys!

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Photo of WesWes
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a deep, dark brown color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a rich, malty scent that boasts of dark roasted malts and a dry lager yeast aroma. The taste is great. It has a very smooth roasted and black malt flavor that is rich, yet easy drinking. It goes down with ease and finishes warm with some residual sweetness and a bit of dryness at the end. This is a very good beer. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is just another outstanding beer from Hooker. It's solid and well brewed; a fine drinker.

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Photo of tempest
4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 Vintage discovered at Abe's 6-pack shop in Feb '08.

Dark brown with ruby highlights and a big tan head. The aroma is surprisingly mild with a touch of creamy candy, spice and malts. The flavor has a slight smoked character than blends wonderfully in the aftertaste with herbal, earthy hops. The bulk of the flavor is rich, but smooth German malt, meaty and bready. There's a touch of cardboard from oxidation and sour tang from bacteria, but that's expected and doesn't really detract from the flavor. All in all, a very different doppelbock, but tasty, interesting, and ridiculously drinkable. Yum.

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Photo of Gavage
4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: pours a brown color with a one finger head that falls to some larger bubbles on the glass sides.

Smell: caramel, bread, and a mild alcohol nose.

Taste: caramel, milk chocolate, prunes, moderate bitterness, and a bit of alcohol warming. A nice bready feel here too.

Mouthfeel: medium-heavy in body. Smooth from the start through to the finish.

Overall: a full flavored doppelbock that really hits the spot when looking for the style. Worthy of trying this one.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.38/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Been meaning to get back around on the hooker's but they all seemed to vanish from the strip, so I was surprised to see this on Tap from a cellared keg. Thank you beer gods.

A- Thomas Hooker's dopplebock is a silky shiny black liquid with a mean head. The liquid cant be seen through. The head is about a inch of thick creamy light tan head with some depth to it. This is probably assisted by being on-tap. Lines of lace seen on the way down.

S- The aroma's don't explode from the glass but once you get close enough, there it is. This hooker smells like a hugely malted dopple. The malts ooze out giving off sweetness, caramel and other scents. The dark fruits are also up there with alot of cherrys. I'm wondering how many different malts they used in this. Hops don't really come into play. Sweet and malty.

T- The sweetness really rules the house in this. I don't normally like overly sweet beers, but this one is an exception because it's at a perfect level. Chocolate, caramel, slight toffee from the malts. Some roastiness if you can place it, it's not major. A bunch of cherries and some other lighter fruits. Just a touch of the 8% on the back end. Great stuff.

M- The smoothest Dopple i've had in recent memory. The keg was cellared so that probably worked out any rough spots that this may have had, if any. Went down to easy and quick. The feel is medium bodied while the flavor is above and beyond. No roughness from any over crbonation. While I usually pick up alot of alcohol in this style it's very well hidden here. Sweet as silk.

D- Well, I went ahead and ordered another one, and another for good measure. Consecration was also on tap which I love but I still ordered more of this, it was really good. The alcohol was a bit high so not sessionable, but I finished my pints with ease. Probably good with some food, but good enough on it's own. Get you some.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.74/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2004 Bottle Date, Sampled December 2004.
Well Santa delivered this 1 liter bottle of liquid bread, that I have been wanting to try for quite some time. This beer pours an opaque dark amber-brown color. The head is thick and creamy, whipped to an almost mousse like consistency. As I pour the richest, most enticing, malty aromas emanate from my glass. It smells malty sweet, with notes of fresh honey baked biscuits, a hint of molasses, almost a subtle spicy quality reminiscent of a dark cake flavored with molasses, concentrated caramel, and hardly a hint of alcohol is found in the nose.

My first sip, notes a satisfying rich, but not too thick body, that is richly sweet, and has notes of chocolate, and a hint of espresso-like roastiness in the finish. It is well carbonated, and the chocolate & subtle roast notes really combine quite well, don't get me wrong though this is not roasty like a stout or porter, but it has a nice level of bonus roastiness that is not usually found in a Doppelbock. It really adds another dimension on top of the full malty flavors that this beer, and all good Doppelbocks, are redolent of.

I must admit that upon first sip of this beer that I was expecting it to have a fuller, more dense body to it, I have now come to the conclusion that this beer is perfectly situated with the proper heft. The palate is full and creamy, and not so heavy that I will not be able to slowly consume this bottle over the course of my evening. This beer certainly lives up to the monks, oft cited, yet increasingly ignored plan, to create a beer, nah, I mean a liquid bread that will fortify a fasting brother through lent. Yet I cant help but wonder that if I were a monk if I would not feel like this was too easy, it is almost too easy, and satiating, to have a beer such as this to sup on during a period of supposed fasting.

This beer is really smooth and flavorful, it packs a immense amount of malt complexity in each sip, I get notes of caramel, just browned whole wheat toast, a hint of molasses, and sorghum. As it warms up a bit a subtle fruitiness starts to manifest itself, it is funny to me that rich lagers show hints of fruit, which is supposed to be the dominion of the top-dwelling ales, but the concentrated malts in this beer lend it to subtle, yet concentrated fruity notes reminiscent of cherries, figs, quince paste, perhaps a hint of apple butter, and perhaps a bit of dried date as well. I would have to say that, while subtle, the cherry notes are the most dominant fruity notes. And, as the aroma suggested, there are rich notes of dark spice cake here as well.

Even the aroma starts to pick up fruity notes over time, though in this case the dominant notes are a mix of dried fig and dates. What a kick ass beer, I have only finished one glass of the three that I am going to get out of this beer and it has inspired me to pontificate profusely, and certainly quite a bit more than my standard brew review. That in itself should let the reader know that this is a beer worth contemplating, especially on this unusually cold (for a Tucson) night. I am definitely exited and perhaps even giddy (or is that the fact that I have not slept in 36 hours) that I am about to continue my contemplative journey with the middle glass of the three that I am going to enjoy this evening.

My one meager complaint in this absolutely wonderfully malty, malt-lover's cradled chalice of honeydew is that the far finish has a subtle hint astringent graininess, this really is quite subtle though and only recognizable because I enjoy chewing on malted barley of all shades & flavors. This is one outstanding beer, which certainly has not disappointed me, in typical American fashion, a bit of brash arrogance and rebellion has been added to the traditional Doppelbock malt-bill, but luckily the brewer had the sensibility to not over-hop a beer of this style. Let the malt shine on its on complexities and merit, maltophiles rejoice, and make sure you get a bottle of this as soon as possible.

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Photo of yourefragile
4.45/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500 mL swing top bottle, with yellow bottled in 2006 sticker, poured into a pilsner glass.

A: Massive, frothy and dense light tan head. Fills up glass on first pour and slowly settles down, incredible retention. Clear, dark brown/mahogany liquid with a little sediment. Not really any lacing.
S: Very full bodied aroma, strong with sweet and dark maltiness. Also a very strong biscuit character. Some dark chocolate and coffee hiding in the background as well with a pinch of alcohol.
T: Full bodied, smooth and creamy with very little carbonation but a slight hop bite. Body is a very nice, tasty malt and biscuit mix, slightly sweet but not overpowering. Alcohol is also present in the finish, in a good, warming way without much burn. Malt taste is dry and roasted and finishes very clean, with a lingering coffee ground/bread taste. Overall, pretty amazing. Lately I had been down on dopplebocks but this broke that trend.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.88/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks goes out to nouseforotacon for this brew.

Bottled in 2006/SwingTop

Poured into a chalice a nice dark brown color, nice carbonation, an an amazing creamy one-finger plus tan head, which lasted forever, now some nice little islands and sticky lacing throughout the drink. The nose is of sweet malts, vanilla, and toffee/caramel. The taste is sweet and slightly bitter malts, nice touch of vanilla, lots of toffee/caramel. Medium body, smooth/thick with a nice chewy body. Very drinkable, man this is an awesome Doppelbock, probably the best I've had to date, quite different, highly recommended.

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Photo of Zorro
4.16/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review possible only because of Brewfan and Brews 'n' Tunes BIF.

One Liter flip-top bottle with a cap seal that says bottled in 2006. When it is opened there is a powerful blast of CO2 from the bottle.

Poured in a tall Pilsner glass this is an exceptionally dark brown lager with a good brown head. The darkness of this beer rivals that of a dark Porter and it does block all light near the top of the glass.

Smell is rich and full of candied fruit and chocolate. There is a faint pumpkin bread aroma here but this really doesn't smell spicy.

Taste starts with chocolate and espresso with a long lasting char aftertaste. The strong chocolate and espresso taste keeps going on and it starts strong chocolate and ends coffee. None of the nutty flavors I expect in a bock are in this one.

Mouthfeel is good.

Quite drinkable. Thing is this doesn't really taste like a bock it tastes like a sweet stout. Not that is bad but not what I expected. Still this is way easy to drink.

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Photo of biegaman
3.7/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Huge thanks to leftmindedrighty for this treat!
500ml swingtop, bottled in 2006.
A dark, sully brown colour, no transparency, a bubbly (slightly) off white head that mostly fades out. A malty aroma with notes of grapes, roast and caramel. To this point the appearance and the aroma have disappointed. The flavour, on the other hand, seems to offer up something special. Notes of great chocolate, anise, licorice and various malts. Nothing seems to stick out, and no aspects seem to come together. I don't get any depth, I don't taste any complexities, I'm sorry to say, but terribly disappoints.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.8/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Truly an exceptional dopplebock. Pours very dark with ruby highlights and a good head that leaves some lacing as well. Smells of wine and chocolate and some orange citrus. Taste is phenomenal- bitter chocolate, orange, rich malt, and incredibly creamy. Nice bitter aftertaste that is very pleasing. Mouthfeel is very creamy and smooth with a good body but not heavy. Wonderful! I could drink these all night.

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Photo of weeare138
4.15/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to warriorsoul for this 1 Liter fliptop...
2005 edition

Appears a dark mahogany, bordering black with a 1 finger, creamy tan head. Lots of streaky lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of roasted nuts, toffee, caramel, vanilla, brown sugar, and cocoa.
Taste is of the same aromas but perhaps toned down slightly from the anticipated goodness that was expected. It's good but not the best of the style by a long shot.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, slightly astringent, along with moderate smoothness, cream, and sugar.
I'll be sure to check out this years version soon enough.

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Photo of tone77
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a dark brown color with amber highlights and a 1 inch head. Smell is bready, malts, some alcohol. Taste is dark fruits, caramel malts, some alcohol, a touch of sweetness. Feels full bodied in the mouth and overall is a high quality beer worth seeking out.

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Photo of jdhilt
4.1/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a five-finger light tan head, fades slowly and leaves some lace. Black color. Light carbonation and heavy bodied. Nose is roasted coffee. Taste is more like a porter/stout, some sweetness, slight hints of alcohol in aftertaste. Very different dopplebock but its good. $8.75 for a 1000ml bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

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Photo of corby112
4.68/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Serving type: bottle at Teresa's Next Door in Wayne, PA.

Pours a very dark brown almost black with a thick, foamy tan head. Aroma of roasted malt, chocolate, toffee and caramel. Flavor is very malty with hints of chocolate, caramel, toffee and fig. Extremely smooth rich and creamy beer. Excellent!

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Photo of barleywinefiend
1.91/5  rDev -54.6%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

A: Thomas Hooker has a bad rep with me. Poor carbonation in all of their swing tops. I have given them my last chance. This beer poured flat as Hell like very other beer I have had from them.

S: Some fruits, caramel, and musty

T: Flat and old caramel, dark fruits which were masked by the cardboard flavor. Drain our.

M: Flat, no carbonation, syrupy, no taste

D: Dont waste your money on this crap.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.43/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

(Served in a dimple mug)
Thanks to Goodbyeohio for this gem.

A- This beer has a dark opaque body with a hint of red glow around the base of the glass. There was a bubbly tan head supported by a strong carbonation.

S- The smell of dark malt with a slight almost dried fruit note turned into a dry dark toffee smell as it warmed a bit. There was a soft spicy hop note in the finish.

T- This beer has a nice dark toasted malt taste with a faint earthy note to the malt. There were also some hints of very dark roasted malt, dry chocolate nibs and a light cream hint. The finish had a spicy hop finish which was mellow with a nice soft alcohol taste to it. As it warmed there was some caramel notes to the malt and the hops brightened up a bit.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with a nice clean finish but not much of an alcohol heat.

D- This beer has nice dry malt flavors that were big but smooth and the hops and alcohol did a great job of supporting the malt flavor. Very drinkable.

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Photo of akorsak
4.03/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 500 mL swing-top from a trade with goodbyeohio.

A: The bock is a deep brown, almost black color, that has ruby red highlights when held to light. The head is never very thick and settles to a small off-white patch in the glass.

S: The nose is malty, thick and grainy, with some chocolate and roasted chewy notes.

T: The lager has a rich flavor, full of biscuity, thick with some roasted burnt malts and toasted bread. There are toffee, anise, dry cherry and brown sugar flavors that pop up throughout the glass. The varying flavors mix nicely, never overpowering each other or making the beer to thick to enjoy. There is a prominent alcohol presence that comes through at the end of the sip and is well-mixed with the malts.

M: The mouthfeel provides a wide array of flavors, providing a a wide spectrum to enjoy.

D: This is an excellent doppelbock, full of malty strength and subtle flavors. It is certainly up there with Weihenstephane's Korbinian in my book.

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Photo of beerthulhu
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap.

A: Poured a dark mahogany red with a slight bubbly beige head.

S: dark fruit (raisins), dark chocolate and a nice roasted maltiness.

T: There was also some fresh cherries and dark burnt sugars adding sweetness. There were bitter traces of fresh coffee beans, and dry pine. Big doughy bread texture, and earthy hoppiness in the finish.

M: rich and creamy, with a medium-full body.

D: Nice drinkability and really enjoyable flavor for a double bock.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.53/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle puchased from Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA.

Poured into a Mayflower nonic, formed a 1/2" tan head above a clear burgundy brown brew. Head lasts well, with lasting legs but average lacing. Aroma is minimal but sweet.

Taste is malty to start, lightly fruity in the middle, and a rich and lightly alcoholic close. Mouthfeel is thick but bubbly, and drinkability is alright. As the Imp Porter, not as good as it was.

8/11/04 - 5/4/5/5/5
1L bottle obtained via trade with Sulldaddy. Many thanks for the opportunity...

First imperial pint glass pours with a 1" dark tan head, which laces tremendously. Oh-so-barely translucently dark dark brown, mahogany if you will, with a nice roasted malt aroma, just not quite as intense as I would like. Taste is lightly chocolately dark malts initially, which almost melt in your mouth. Then it slowly segues into a bit more intense dopple flavor, with just the slighest tinge of alcohol. The flavor is one of the best constructed I think I have ever had. Mouthfeel is and drinkability are both incredible. You locals, stop talking up the Liberator, leave it in-state for the locals and neighboring states. :-)

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Thomas Hooker Liberator Doppelbock from Thomas Hooker Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 507 ratings.