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Spaten Optimator | Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu

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very good
1,321 Reviews
Spaten OptimatorSpaten Optimator

Brewed by:

Style: Doppelbock

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 04-06-1999

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Reviews: 1,321 | Ratings: 3,007
Photo of Franziskaner
3.4/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Brown in color, but still fairly penetrable to light. There's an inch of frothy and creamy brown head. The aroma is of caramel malt, Danish lager yeast, and a gentle German hop bitterness. The taste is a blend of caramel malt, Danish lager yeast, and a bit of skunk. The skunkiness faded as it warmed and I dug it much more and was getting toffee and more caramel. I don't taste the hops I could smell, though. I've kept the bottle refrigerated and in the dark, but it is nearly a year old. The mouth is a touch chewy and warm with alcohol.

 547 characters

Photo of teromous
3.64/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Imported and purchased from cold storage. the label on the back says "03 2017" which I presume is the best-by date.

Appearance: It appears black or a dark brown until held to some light where it shows beautiful mahogany red and brown. The head is an eggshell white color with a touch of light tan and a creamy texture. It starts out medium sized and slowly fades to a thin surface. Fair retention and lacing.

Aroma: There is a very light plum aroma mixed with a standard malt scent. The aroma is nice but very faint.

Taste: Toasted caramel with a rich malty backbone. It is just what you would expect from a Dopplebock but done very nicely and without any looming overtones of alcohol or oxidation.

Mouthfeel: It Is in that middle ground between being a sipper and a light drinker. It is easy to drink with a thin texture and a medium body but the flavor is rich enough to force you from drinking too much at one time. The texture actually feels a bit too thin and despite the short head it feels a bit over-carbonated as well.

Overall; I wouldn't call this my go-to Dopplebock but it is enjoying enough to drink. I don't know that I would recommend it off-the-cuff or that I would even buy it again but it is nice enough that I can enjoy the six pack I purchased. As an import it stood up nicely without any signs of oxidation.

 1,333 characters

Photo of rodbeermunch
3/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Brown pour, lighter brown head 1/2". Plenty of nuts, aluminum, toffee and dark fruit in the aroma. Plenty of alcohol too.

Taste was a hotter less hoppy brown ale, thicker, stronger. A lot of that prune, fig and raisin thing with dark bitter roasted malt that isn't that thick actually. Not a fan of what the lager yeast brings here, just doesn't meld with heavy roasted malt. I found it to be hot, bitter, expired dark fruit, reminded me a little of triple bock.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
4.09/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the 12 oz bottle in a snifter. This legend of a dopplebock
pours a lightly clear dark mahogany color with a nice head of off
white foam that settles to a thick ring with light lacing. Nose of
dark raisin bread, dark molasses, and nicely roasted malts. Flavors
lightly exceed the nose with nice breaded malts and raisins on the front
and middle of the taste, roasted malts and plum notes fall off on the sides
and rear, and a very subtle herbal hop appears and then sears into the
back with a nice warming booze. Nice mouth feel, slick, warming, and
delicious with a lightly bitter malt aftertaste. Overall excellence from a
great brewery.


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Photo of ordybill
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 OZ bottle into a pint glass. The appearance is a dark copper color with a small tan head. The aroma is malt and caramel. The taste is an excellent match to the aroma with a small amount of hops. An excellent beer.

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Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.02/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark amber with a large foamy tan head. Light amount of spotty lacing.

S - Aroma is sweet malts and dark fruits.

T - The taste follows the aroma sweet bready malts, molasses, raisins and pllums.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Soft creamy mouthfeel with a sticky finish.

O - Very nice Doppelbock. Smooth and drinkable with great flavor.

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Photo of Beerwithoutallthehops
3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

A very good doppelbock. It is more flavorful, more malty (ah!!! did I say that??!!) than even I prefer, but it is good. Comparing to the Warsteiner Dunkel, this is about the same. I consider both to be "liquid bread" type beers. A little much for me, I would tend toward the lighter Doppebocks, like the Leinenkugel "big butt" offering. But the flavor of this is good. I drank it a little warmer than I do usually and enjoyed it immensely. I prefer this "overpowering" taste to the 75 lb bags of hops found in most, if not all, USA "craft" 12 oz. bottles. Hops are bitter and "crisp" (in that they dont have a lot of flavor, just spiciness) and only prolong shelf life, which most breweries prefer.

I do not. Give me an accent of hops, like what is found in a lot of German beers, but not the overpowering bitterness, which strangles whatever malt may be found in the beer, to death, which describes most or all USA craft offerings.

Thanks Spaten, a good brew! Will definitely buy more.

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Photo of DrMullet
3.5/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown color.
Smell is sweet malt with a bit of dark fruit.
Taste is sweet bready malt with a strong rasin flavor.

 151 characters

Photo of Ozzylizard
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

$ 1.89/12 oz bottle ($ 0.157/oz) at The Lager Mill, Frankenmuth, MI
Bottle dated 02.2017 at 42 degrees into hand washed and dried JK snifter
Aroma – lightly toasted malt, no hops
Head large (Maximum 5.5 cm, aggressive pour), light tan, creamy, slowly diminishing to a seven mm ring and layer of irregular thickness
Lacing fair – partial rings of tiny bubbles
Body – dark amber, clear
Flavor – begins sweet but not overwhelmingly so, toasted malt flavor predominates with just a trace of caramel, no fruity esters noted; no hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate full, creamy, soft carbonation

This is one from before I started my database in 2005 – sweet, smooth, an excellent example from my early non-BMC days that I haven’t revisited and rated until now. Not as good as I remember but those brain cells could have died.

Appearance 4, Aroma 4, Flavor 4.25, Palate 4, Overall 4

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Photo of Cthulhusquid
4.4/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look: Dark brown body, little to no white head.

Smell: Dark fruits and molasses. Kind of like a fruit filled rye bread.

Taste: Same as the above, but with a distinct kettle corn flavor.

Feel: Medium body and carbonation. The alcohol isn't hidden very well, and drinks like an 8%-9% beer.

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Photo of stevoj
4.09/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice and smooth , mildly bitter and smoky. Dark brown to black with small but substantial beige head. Aroma is roast grains, semi sweet chocolate, peat and dried fruit. Taste is mildly sweet with a touch of bitterness. Almost as good as Salvator.....

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Photo of Squire123
4.35/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one sells for $7.49 a sixer at my local. When it shows up I buy as much as I can carry. Remarkable sum of the parts beer beginning with rich deep color, full mouth filling flavor and texture, so lavish it's hard to swallow because you want to keep on tasting. Malt forward, hops supporting like a beautiful sonorous piano backed by a string orchestra. Fortunately the aftertaste is a receding diminishment of the same. Another one to seek out wherever found.

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Photo of ivehadthatbrew
4.02/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Look (3): Minus points for using a green bottle. Pours a rich mahogany brown color with very small carbonation bubbles that forms a lightly tanned topper. Head disipates quickly.

Smell (4): Dark malty bread and dried fruit aroma (like raisons or what I'd imagine chocolate covered figs would smell like if they smelled). Brings me back to my awakening beer, Trogenator.

Taste (4.25): Everyone has heard or used the term liquid bread, but that term definitely goes hand in hand with doppelbocks. Raison bread with caramel malt and candy. Sugary chocolate with plums or dried cherries.

Mouthfeel (3.75): I expected a bit more body, but when comparing this classic example to one of my all time favorite beers (Trogenator!!) it can't compare. Not as much body, not as big of a finish. It all kind of falls short.

Overall (4): A beautiful example of what a doppelbock is. I could have fun trying to blind this beer up against porters and eisbock brews in the future!

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Photo of bigdeuce
3.5/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I wish Hofbrau and Spaten would start bottling in brown not green. That being said, this one doesn't smell skunked. It pours a deep, dark, mahogany color with a nice tan head. Scents of toffee, caramel, and plums on the nose. Tastes of coffee and dark chocolate. A bit over carbonated as the sweet balance literally fizzles out from the carbonation. Leaves a bit of an off taste because of it. Still, very quaffable and a decent beer but has a macro quality to it that misses the mark. Many better American versions are available.

 538 characters

Photo of Wer34truh
4.14/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color with a small head, which dissipates quite quickly.

Smells of sweet bread, caramel, and candy. The smell is definitely nuanced, but the sweetness is key here.

Taste is more bitter than expected from the smell, with quite a large degree of bitter malts, and grains. Also quite a bit of molasses. Mouthfeel is medium-light, with very little carbonation. Just the way I like it.

This is a fascinating beer, and it keeps surprising you after every sip you take. It's not complex the way, say a Russian Imperial Stout is, but whenever you think you've got this beer figured out, you realize something new. That's why this has me coming back to it time and time over again.

 695 characters

Photo of Beginner2
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had this often because it goes with so many foods, particularly good at starting and ending winter meals. The malt works its way into lots of foods to complement, some of them spicy (always a pleasant surprise to me who likes spice.)
Some bottles seemed to be too carbonated... but I confess to inconsistency in mouthfeel and notes.
It is not in the top 5 dopplebocks for me, but is always welcome.

Beer is listed in the "1001".
MJ's 1999 edition gave it only 2 stars of 4 calling "creamy and nutty, but unmemorable."

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Photo of JetFeather22
5/5  rDev +28.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of the best Doppel Bocks i have ever had, I cant believe i payed 9 bucks for a six pack of 12 once bottles.. Considering the price and the quality of the beer i'd say it doesn't get much better than this, I got to say that this beer deserves a higher rating that 87, Maybe it's the green bottle maybe some people have gotten a few skunky beer, Thankfully i haven't

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Photo of Slowjamcdub
3.09/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Good doppelbock, and its exactly want you think of when you drink one. One of the best at this style, if your into this style brew. Good beer with a lot of Cherry notes. B- for me. Good beer

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Photo of Bosazga
3.66/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

What I love about this beer (and Germans) is that they never change. THis is as close as I could get to a microbrew before I turned 21 (in 1989) so it has sentimental value...

It looks and pours great, with a dark caramel color that resembles coca-cola with a tighter head

smells malty, alchoholic and german - unforgettable (offensive, but not the same as) a BMW 320i with a leaky sunroof

taste is not much different from any other german beer, which makes you wonder when they bottled it. Still, it satisfies and helps one consider other cultures as they relate to brewing.

I've had this come across way too carbonated - it's almost as if the bubbles are bigger - I don't know if that's a thing, but there's a time and a place for it.

Thankfully, my local corner store owner's wife likes this beer, so I'll always have it close by for the foreseeable future...


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Photo of ckornmannn
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

From a bottle: dark amber color, transparent. Prominent sweet smell typical of a dopplebock. This is one sweet malty beer: lots of caramel, brown sugar. Restrained hop presence. The beer is very viscous. From a bottle, I thought it was a bit flat and didnt retain its head very long. I initially tried this beer on tap and thought it was divine; the carbonation and head retention was excellent and the deep malty flavors perfect for the style. I have tried it in bottles afterwards and I think it is underwhelming by comparison. The first bottle had weird off metallic phenol flavors. The second wasn't obviously spoiled but didn't have the feel of the beer on tap. I think the bottom line is, this beer is pretty average in a bottle. Probably the style just doesn't store well. If you can find it on tap, go for it!

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Photo of JasonDWester
3.94/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured with a nice white head short-lived no lacing. Nice dark amber red, great clarity. Nothing really stirring on the nose. On the palate rich sweet malty.

 157 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

when you get sick off a beer as a kid (or in fact sometimes as a grown up), it can be hard to go back and fully appreciate. this one though, its not so hard at all. i recall this being one of the first craft beers i ever had, and one of the first strong ones too, way too young. not knowing anything about ABV, this really got the best of me back then. trying it again now, its very impressive, but thank goodness i took ten years in between. the flavor is so distinct and strong, one of the boldest takes on the style that exists, and its awfully memorable. big dark grain build on it, strong and sweet. molasses and cherries and booze and brought together in a huge syrupy consistency. not like other beers, thats for sure. its stick to the guts beer, winter warmer without the spices, and hard to tell its a lager. lots of sweetness on the back end with the heat, and almost a concentrated flavor profile. not much carbonation, but not much is needed. this is one of the craziest german beers out there, reminds me in some ways of the sticke alts of the world, chewy. not for everyone, and certainly about as intense a dopplebock as exists in the world. a couple is enough for me, and when its on tap at one of those beer halls that pours liters, its a lot to get through. have to appreciate it though.

 1,305 characters

Photo of Cheesy_McDuck
4.59/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

dark dark brown color, almost black. This beer is delicious, but at times overwhelmingly alcoholic. I feel like this is the kind of beer Thor would drink as a night cap. Incredible German flavors and craftsmanship!

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Photo of Jacobob10
4.28/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

The pour is ruby-brown with a tall, fluffy, light tan head. Right away you notice the rich malts in the aroma. Light notes of caramel and chocolate, followed by a huge wave of dark fruit. You get some toasted malts in the flavor, then a light caramel and fruity sweetness. My favorite thing about this beer is how smooth it is. Incredibly clean and shows very little sign of its strength. It's medium bodied and the carbonation is perfect. I had this bottle with dinner tonight and it went really well with some grilled burgers and veggies.

If you can't tell, I loved this beer. One of the best doppelbocks I've ever had.

 622 characters

Photo of Carb-Overlord
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wenn ich nach Munchen bin, drinke ich viel Spaten Optimator. Diese Bier smecht am bestens mit Blut und Zahne Wurst. Die farbe ist dunkel braun. Ich finde das Bier ist sehr gut fur eine dobbelbach. Komm! Drinken Spaten Optimator mit mir!


... and, this is really a very fine Dobbelbach. Brings back memories of Munich... anyway, pours a rich dark brown with a creamy 1/4" head. Rich sweet flavor; very smooth. This is just bond warming on a chilly autumn night. Would share this with friends or guests any day of the week.

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Spaten Optimator from Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu
3.89 out of 5 based on 3,007 ratings.
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