Spaten Optimator | Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu

very good
1,331 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: 1,331 | Ratings: 3,038
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ruby-infused dark walnut brown. The jewel tone red looks more orange when there's less beer to peer through, such as at the bottom edge of the glass. The pale cinnamon head is large to start, has a nearly blemish free surface and is a bit sticky where foam meets glass. Not too much lace, a few scattered splotches is all.

The nose is of roasted malt with a wee whiff of alcohol. It's somewhat disappointing since there's little chocolate or other interesting aromas that would give it depth or character. Then again... the nose takes on additional aromas--dark caramel especially--with warming, but still doesn't open up as completely as the flavor.

The flavor and the mouthfeel elevate things considerably. While the beer is nice and malty, apparently the malt wasn't roasted long enough to bring out much chocolatiness. Some cocoa flavor and some nuttiness is evident however. Hops are clearly subservient to malt, but I can still appreciate their flavor contribution, their bitterness and their ability to take the edge off of the malted milk ball sweetness.

I'm beginning to pick up some fruitiness and the beer is developing more layers of flavor, more nuance, as I enter the bottom half of the bottle. It's definitely coming into its own with warming; room temperature is the optimal Optimator temperature one might say. The body is medium-slightly full. More full than Celebrator, less full than Liberator. What was lightly silky initially is now silky and creamy.

Spaten Optimator is a good-very good doppelbock, but doesn't quite rise to the heights of my two latest beers in the style (Hooker Liberator and Sam Adams Double Bock). If you like doppels though, Optimator more than suffices. Just don't make the mistake of drinking it too cold.

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Photo of RootedFool
4.6/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Large tan head on the pour, over an inch tall, dense and frothy. Body is opaque, blackish brown, and bright crimson when held to the light. Smell: prune juice, toasted sour dough bread, raisins; thick and rich. Taste: opens with a bitter-shelled blast of prune-like tartness all over my palate, followed by a raspy bitterness that takes center-stage, flanked brilliantly by the bright fruitiness. The finish is a thin, mildly puckering citrus rind bitterness, with the fading sweetness of dark fruits in the background. Middling carbonation. Mouthfeel like whole milk, really perfect. I picked this up on the cheap and I'm very impressed.

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Photo of Hagbard
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Optimator! A doppelbock, one of the styles I haven't yet completely wrapped my arms around. Sometimes I love them, sometimes they rub me the wrong way. This one pours a deep dark ruby color with bright red flames where light makes a valiant effort to escape. The aroma wafts up as dark overripe fruit, plums perhaps. I can't really pick out anything else in the aroma. The taste, however, is very complex. It begins with the dark fruit notes, but quickly fades to a bread taste. Fitting, considering the doppelbock's history. The bready taste fades into an alcoholic bite on the back of the tongue. The finish and aftertaste both exhibit more of the bready taste, this time even more magnified. This beer truly does seem chewy. The mouthfeel seems creamy and full, contributing to the chewy feel. I prefer this beer served cooler, in the 48-50 degree range. When it warms, the sweet fruit aspect dominates and becomes cloying. I've seen this in other dbacks, including Celebrator. I'm not sure if it's just me or not...

Overall, I wouldn't say I think this is a great or fantastic beer. However, I did enjoy the 6 pack I bought and I'll probably buy it in the future. It's very solid and interesting, plus the price is very reasonable.

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Photo of beerceller99
3.7/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle with a code of L09841S, what ever that means.
Pours a garnet hue with a big brown head. Has a black licorice sweet smell. Taste is a strong, dark caramel, black licorice and chocolates. Full bodied, almost syrupy mouthfeel. Finishes with a slight bitter alcohol taste.
This brew tastes best at warmer temps. 60-65 degrees.

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Photo of trancefishy
4.02/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Been a couple years since I've had this one.
Appearance is very dark, mostly brown with a glint of red. coarse tannish head that simmers down and doesn't leave much lacing.
nose is sweet and smells a bit figgy.
taste is very sweet dark cherry and fig taste up front, dropping down to a hoppy cleanliness before swallowing. gentle sweet aftertaste that lingers for a bit, agging you on for another sip.
moutfeel is a bit thin and bubbly, but not bad.
good dopplebock, and not a bad price to boot. recommended.

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Photo of Truh
3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fought Megatron and the rest of the Decepticons with this one on 1/24/2004. Looks like a 20-oz. pour in a large, brick-handled stein at Jacob Wirth’s.

Froth of initial head sets up nicely in the stein to settle down into a filmy, oracle-inspiring covering. Light caramel hue and clear as a cloudless, autumn day. Buttery, velvet malt aroma with just an echo of roastiness in there. The buttery aspects noted on the nose are not as pronounced on the tongue; the malt pulls through with a nice floater of treacle that does not coat the mouth unnecessarily. Crisp and clean, I would exterminate this offering many times over.

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Photo of RenoZymurgist
2.79/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured a clear, deep red beer with a thin off-white head that wouldn't retain itself even when i swirled the last bit of beer in the bottle then dumped it into the glass. Aroma is of rich sweet dark caramel and no sulfur to be detected means the lager yeast was treated correctly. The taste is an initial blend of deep caramel sweetness, munich malt roastiness, and a subtle noble hop bitterness which segues to an even malt flavor and finishes with a touch of anise, more malt flavor, and an alcoholic warmth. Mouthfeel leaves a bit to be desired however as it dosent lend a smoothness to the beer. The carbonation is artifical and it leaves a harsh carbonic bite which i dislike in a lager. Overall not too drinkable as the higer alcohol isn't compensated by smoothness and the beer dosen't lend itself to truly exemplify the rich body of the Bock style.

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Photo of etaggie09
2.71/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Brown with a ruby tint. Pretty good head and lacing. Whitish brown head that stayed for a little while.

Aroma: Malty, fruity, alcoholic. Nothing out of the ordinary here.

Taste: not much here. A light sweet malty flavor with a little chocolate in the background but I can't find much else.

Mouthfeel: Watery with moderate carbonation. Nowhere near as strong as a dopplebock's mouthfeel should be.

Drinkability: Easy, but why would you want to have another?

Notes: This was not very impressive to me. I had both the Ayinger Celebrator and Samichlaus in the same weekend, and this one impressed me as being average, almost bock-like in its maltiness, certainly not up to dopplebock standards.

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Photo of inebrius
3.57/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Since there are already 200+ reviews for this beer you won't mind that I not detail the nuances of Optimator. I can say this though: fruit cake. Dense and nutty with sweet brandied fruit that coats the inside of your face like an hateful older brother twisting your arm to the point of dislocation. I wouldn't turn one down if extended.

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Photo of claytri
3.55/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer was presented in a tulip glass. It was a dark ruby with a fingers worth of tan head. The aroma was amazing. You could smell tanin and dark cherry. The promise of the smell was compelling and I could hardly wait to taste. I brought it to my lips and got a little malt and fruit. That was it. Nothing terrible, but nothing great was happening. Maybe I just put too much anticipation behind it. But, anyway you cut it I was not impressed. The feel was simply extremly dry. Not a beer I would duck if offered, but I don't see me giving up Aventinus for it.

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Photo of ncbrewerbun
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a 16.9 oz. brown bottle.

Unusual for me to give a beer the same score across the board, but it fits the beer in this case. Optimator was a smooth clean beer with no detectable flaws fitting the German brewing tradition.

The beer poured a clear dark chestnut with a tan head. A very inviting look.

The aroma was sweet malt with not distracting off-smells. Again, a very clean beer.

Flavor was overall maltiness with some chocolate notes. Very well balanced and smooth.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.61/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a brilliantly clear ruby-amber color when held up to the light, otherwise a drab deep amber. It is topped by a frothy tan head that is held up by a medium-low carbonation. The aroma is a bit lighter than I was expecting, it is malty and bready with notes of molasses, caramel, and a light sweetness. The beer is malty sweet with a smooth finish that has a hint of dark malt character reminiscent of chocolate. The beer is quite a bit more tasty than the aroma suggests. Somewhat light on the palate, though only in so much as I was expecting it to be a bit thicker, it is actually about medium full in the body. In the end this seems to be lacking a little bit of malt character, though it is quite tasty, it just does not distinguish itself enough from a "standard" Bock.

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Photo of oelergud
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark ruby body with a small to medium bubbled tan head, great retention and lace, no carbonation.
Sweet honey spiced nose that reveals the alcohol level
Honey, caramel, molasses and brown sugar up front taste with a solid kick of citric hops coming right after the malts.
Great mouthfeel, thick and slick, nice coating. You can almost chew this brew.
Good drinkability, goes down smooth and easy so watch out, even though the ABV is low for a dopplebock it's still enough to kick your ass.


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Photo of ppoitras
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap from the Hofbrauhaus, in the Food Court at The Big E, West Springfield, MA.

Clear plastic pint cup presentation. Pleasing 1/2" beige head over the deeply reddish brown brew. Aroma is deeply of grain, with a slight alcohol presence notable. Taste is dominated by malts, and a nice warming feelign as it goes down. Mouthfeel and drinkability are both good. An excellent brew.

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

Poured out a dark brown color with a nice tan head which went away to lacing after a while. Smell consisted of nice, big, juicy malts with a slight toastiness to it. Some nuts and fruits could be found in the background to make the smell wonderful. Taste was good. Malts and more malts attack the palate. Has that chewy texture to it, but the beer is not that heavy or big bodied in anyway. There's some sweetness to it, but not cloying one bit. Medium-ish body with the perfect amount of carbonation mixing in. Just a wonderful doppelbock which should be on hand that all times.

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Photo of mzwolinski
4.56/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Deep ruby in color, with a torrent of carbonation. Topped by a massive, creamy light tan head. This is quite persistent and lends a nice creaminess to the whole drink.

Rich, slightly toasty toffee-like malt aroma.

Flavor starts with a hint of tang, but quickly settles down to a smooth, rich, caramel malt. Something of a one-note beer, but what a note it is! Medium-bodied. Incredibly smooth, and not a bit cloying. This is amazingly drinkable for something this sweet. A classic.

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Photo of BJ1833
3.65/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark brown, cola-like color with a light brown two-finger head.

Aroma: Very malty with a nut-like aroma.

Taste: Rich roasted barley flavor with slight coffee tones. A faint metallic taste is present in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-heavy body with good carbonation.

Overall: A good doppelbock. Although I've had limited exposure to this style, this is the best I've tried so far.

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Photo of allengarvin
3.66/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle, in a half-liter Paulaner stein-type glass.

Appearance: Dark reddish mahogany. Airy head of foam that after a moment becomes just soft layer on top of the beer.

Aroma: Sweet alcohol nose, with some malty sweetness.

Flavor/Body: Malt hits up front, as is typical for doppelbocks, with toaty, light caramel flavors. Bitterness is slightly higher than most German examples. Finish is drier than one expects, and lingers on the tongue. Body is medium.

A good beer, with lots of warming alcohol, but with less malt character than my favorite doppelbocks.

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Photo of TastyTaste
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep cherry coloa in color, with 1/2" of foamy off-white head. Smells deeply of malt, brown sugar and alcohol. Taste is dense with roasted, sugary malts. Body is very chewy and full, excellent mouthfeel. Alcohol is not overpowering, but it goes together very well with the maltiness, and slight hops. Worth a try, I'd even get it again.

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Photo of Doppel07
3.53/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A nice rich, dark beer with a small, creamy head. Malty, bready taste with noticeable alcohol, but not to the point of detracting. The Germans are the rightful masters of this style and this is a fine example. This is an excellent warmer during a skiing break.

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Photo of Tballz420
3.91/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark cola-colored brew, with a bubbly head following a nice cascade of carbonation. Light caramel malt scent. For the taste, it is mainly a caramel, slight toast malt scent. Some bitter hop presence, but nothing earth shattering. Med/full bodied, some creaminess to the feel. Not my favorite doppel, but overall a pretty solid brew.

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

Poured a deep red/bronze colour with almost no head. Only a thin haze remained and remained throughout deinking it. The smell is quite sweet and malty. I saw where someone else had said 'butterscotch', and I'd have to agree. The taste is a bit sweet as well with a good bit of malt on the finish. A tiny, tiny bit of hops is slightly detectable. The mouthfeel is heavy and thick, easy to drink, but thick. Overall, I thought it was quite nice. I'd buy it again.

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Photo of gentlebubbles
3.15/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

on tap at Redbone's

Dark brown with a low whiteish head. Sweet malty scent, foretelling heavy, syrupy caramel with tones of butterscotch. Leaves but a hint of hops on the breath. Not all that interesting, and as I slowly sip it, it seems to grow duller and duller.

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Photo of oracle
4.04/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beer arrived with almost no head at all. However this did not detract from an overall excellent experience with this beer.

Color was very dark, almost appearing black at first. When held up to the light, you can see it's more of a very deep mahogany.

Smell was very nice, deeply malty without going overboard. Faintly sweet.

Taste was very solid. Lots of malt right from the beginning, faintly bitter short lived finish.

Low carbonation makes this beer easy to drink.

Overall, probably the best dopplebock I've had and one that will lead me to try the style more often.

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Photo of Gagnonsux
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- Nice dark cola color, has ruby color when seen in the light. Average head, which pours fairly creamy.

Smell- Nice malty caramel smell.

Taste- Malty with caramel taste. Fairly smooth, but tastes full, and not as filling as I would have thought.

Drinkability- Very good, I really enjoy this style nowadays. Definently a beer I'll be drinking again when the mood hits me.

Overall, there isn't much to say about this beer. Optimator is about what you'd expect from a company like Spaten, no big surprises here. It gets the dopplebock style down really well, but doesn't rise above the level of being very good.

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Spaten Optimator from Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu
3.9 out of 5 based on 3,038 ratings.
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