Spaten Optimator | Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu

very good
3,043 Ratings
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: 1,332 | Ratings: 3,043
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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Photo of rajendra82
3.6/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reddish brown body is the color of cola with a fizzy beige head that is not around for very long. The aroma is roasted cracked grains and dry fruits mixed with powdered chocolate. The taste is sweetly malty, fruity (figs, raspberries, and apple), musty, and faintly smoky. The flavors don’t meld together quite well and mouthfeel is one step on the harsh side of creamy. The alcohol is not well covered, but is not strong enough to be a distraction. Hop bitterness is well in check, and only presents itself in the dry aftertaste. A good deal at under $2 for a 500 ml. bottle at Green’s on Buford Highway.

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

Pours a brown, reddish-hued liquid. There’s a think, off white head that quickly fades to thin ring. The aroma is malt with a touch of mildly harsh alcohol. A grain-like maltiness flows through the beer. It’s not as sweet as many beers of this style, which may make this a little more drinkable than many others. It’s a touch oily, with an alcohol warming. Low carbonation. Thick and solid body on this beer. The finish is sweet and lingering.
I’ve had this beer often, and I’ve found it to be solid and consistent. It’s enjoyable and quite good, but not up to the standards of a lot of other doppelbocks.

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Photo of Hunter
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

OK...Beer pours the color of a Pepsi (might be sacrilege to say that. Screw it - sue me. It's what it looks like). Head has a good cascading effect like a nitro-fueled Guinness. When it settles I'm left with a three-finger thick tan head with good retention. Moderate carbonation from the brew.

Nose of chocolate spice, hops, and malt. Let's see...agitation brings up some alcohol and floral notes. At 7.2% that shouldn't surprise me.

Strong hit of alcohol in the first swallow, that goes straight to the toes. There is a feel of fermented fruit and malt, some spice in the mouth. An interesting play of flavors, some easier to pick up than others. The alcoholic floral notes linger in the aftertaste. For some reason this seems to hit me harder than a Chimay, but maybe that's not a detriment to the brew.

Mouthfeel is smooth, slightly oily. It clings a bit, and might be better suited to sampling with a good meat or cheese dish than alone. Definitely something to keep in your regular rotation. Bock fans will rave; the rest of us will simply give the thumbs-up. Danke schon, Spaten!

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

The body is the cola/ruby mixture. There’s not a lot of head. The smell has a bit of blanched corn and brown sugar with a slight bit of prunes. The flavor brings in a bit of toffee and chocolate. This was one of the beers we passed around the table at 5 Season’s July 1st party in Atlanta to celebrate the Georgia’s newly raised ABV limit on beer.

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Photo of cbl2
4.32/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


A deep crystal brown with little to no head.


All malts. Slightly sweet and inviting you to drink immediately.


Sweet malty characteristics with an undertone of slightly burnt caramel. This is smooth well balanced brew. Definitely a go to beer.

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Photo of yankeeheel
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Old Munich restaurant in Topsham Maine. Served in an 0.4 liter Spaten mug. Who would've thought they served real beer in Topsham? Pours a nicely dark brown/plum with a perfect 2 finger head.

Smells deeply of toffee malts. Way nice.

Tastes nicley sweet with a lot of malt sugars kicking around. Tons of dark fruit essences like grape, plum, and perhaps a little fig. Not overbearing at all. Finishes nicely dry with almost no detectable alcohol.

Incredible medium body. Some bocks just bowl you over and bloat you(me)out. They are too heavy on the tounge to have with a meal. This isn't like that at all. Creamy fruit mouthfeel makes it an easy drinker. I only wish I didn't have to drive last night or I would have had several.

When served alongside authentic German cuisine this beer is a little bit of rapture.

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

Clear ruby-copper color up to the light, amongst the shadows it lurks as chestnut brown. Thin tan cap delevops late after the pour, surmounting down quickly to a very thin collar. Minimal spotty lacing which melts away.

Aroma is mild and wavering of dark caramel, slightly roasty toffee, dark cherry notes, and touches of molasses.

Flavors are nice, starts a bit slow and wet but builds to some lightly chewy and medium richness of slender roasted caramel and toffee. Drops of sweet dark fruity things. Nice sticky finish of sweet caramel malts lingering.

Feel is about medium with a thicker sticking finish, a bit subdued and slim. Not as thick the whole way through nor as creamy as I would've liked to seen. This seemed just a bit weaker then I imagined it would be. Expectations sometimes are never met. Still good, just not great; so I'd have this again.

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Photo of kegerator
4.8/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

what can i say about this one. its one of my favorites in this style.
pours out deep brown with a good head that dissipates fairly quick and leaves decent lacing.
smell is very malty with slight hints of chocolate and dried fruits(very slight but they are there).
taste is all malt with some brown sugarish taste in the backdrop very nice. mouthfeel is very nice, smooth and crisp.
very drinkable as i buy this one all the time. If your planning on a German meal with brats etc. buy this one. it pairs up perfectly.

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Photo of ken3c
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this beer in a German restaurant in an opaque stein. I poured a little out in a drained water glass to get an idea of the color: A dark amber.

The head started full and tapered off to an island of foam near the end. lacing along the inside of the stein was slight but evident.

The smell had a hint of citrus with the strong sense of malt. A nice blend.

The taste was also a nice blend and very smooth. Very little taste of the extra alcohol. (I should have read more about this style beforehand...My wife wisely drove home).

With little experience of this style, I'd say that this one is a little watery.However, it played extremely well in my mouth with the jaeger sauce on my schnitzel.

This beer went so well with bold tastes of the German food, I just had to have another half litre.

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Photo of WetCoaster
3.76/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours an absolutely beautiful clear ruby with active carbonation and a finger of off-white head. Decent retention and thin lacing.

Smell: The usuual suspects. A bit of apple and bready yeast up front, followed by a big blast of brown sugar/pineapple malt. Simple, but pleasant.

Taste/Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is very good, full, but the zesty carbonation keeps it lively and dare I say a bit crisp? The flavor isn't quite as interesting. It's smooth and tasty--sweet, malty, bready, a bit roasty--but pretty straightforward otherwise.

Drinkability: Fot a 7%+ brew, very. It tastes good, the alcohol is very well concealed, and the carbonation makes it seem much lighter than it is.

Again, nothing really stands out about this bock, but there's certainly nothing unpleasant about it either. Simple, but solid.

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Photo of far333
3.55/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Chestnut colored with ruby highlights, a beige head rises up thickly, then settles very quickly to a fine cap of bubbles that rise up along the edges of the glass. Aroma is malty with hints of berry and cocoa. Taste is sweet malt, with fig and currant, some plum, plus a bit of metallic flavor riding beneath, maybe contributed by the ABV. A bitter tingle rising up in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is moderate to thin, a little bubbly.

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Photo of ColoradoBobs
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally got around to this doppelbock.

Purchased at Wilbur's Wine & Spirits in Ft. Collins, CO, $6.99 a six pack of 12-ounce bottles. (BTW, for you north-Colorado folks, Wilburs is moving and expanding -- they will have SIXTY coolers of beer at their new location, and will keep about a thousand different brews in stock! A THOUSAND! Wow!)

Optimator is everything you look for in a d-b. Warm, almost spicy malt aroma, medium, long-lasting lilght-tan head on a nice amber-hazel brew

Nice malty taste, with a hint of could it be nutmeg? Long slow aftertaste of malt and unsweetened chocolate.

The mouthfeel is thick and rich. This is really what I think of for a cool-weather German beer.

Drinkability is good for a d-b, but still, a few of these will kick your butt..

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Photo of steinlifter
3.58/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured a deep amber, head not as good as on tap, faded quickly. smell was malty, and sweet, taste is quite good, malty, hints of chocolate, alcohol bite on the end, mouthfeel is medium carbonated, with a rather creamy feel, very nice! drinkability is good, careful these can knock you for a loop! good beer!

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Photo of mobyfann
3.56/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Paid $2.09 for a 500mL bottle.

The appearence is a beautiful amber lager type base with a fluffy thick light-brown head that lasts for a few minutes, then fades. The lacing is pretty evident but not too much... The aroma hints of something sweet and something of a grain, that's about it.

The taste is pretty sweet with touches of malt, nothing supreme, maybe a bit to much sweetness??? The mouthfeel is pretty nice for a 7.2% bock bier and the drinkability is also good as I enjoyed this very much.

Final Thought: Like most German biers, this one fits in with the crowd, especially the Spaten-Franziskaner crowd. Prost!

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Photo of 99bottles
3.41/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a rich amber-brown body with a weak fizzy head that had poor retention. Thin off white lace remains atop the beer while being drank. Some slight lacing on sides of the glass.

Smell: Not very impressive. Some very sweet malt notes, but not very strong. Soft and round buttery smell.

Taste: Bland, I thought. The main taste is of sweet carmel malt and rich dark malts. Somewhat good interplay between a dry toasty aftertaste and a syrupy sweet forefront. This really lacks the nice fruity esters of some of the better dopplebocks. Alcohol is not obvious, but it is apparent. Very understated hop taste.

Mouthfeel: Decent. Smooth and rich, minimal cloying. Very faint carbonation.

Drinkability: Nothing wrong with it, I could have a few. The question is, why would I go to town with a boring dopplebock with the likes of Celebrator and Salvator out there? Take the training wheels off and go for a slightly more interesting take on the style. This is not bad in any way though. Oh yeah, this review was for a green glass bottle from a cooler, but I don't think that threw it off any, as I've had it before and thought it was constant.

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

Poured a clear and warm-looking deep brown in color. Thick off-white head foams up initially then settles down to a respectable 1" thick layer. Distinct rings all the way down the glass. Aromas are up there as well, with a roasty-toasty malt dominating, carrying some dark fruits along as well. Flavor was tasty. Quite malty, with a dash of bitterness at the end that paired nicely with the slight ABV warming effect. There was a chocolatey splash in the middle as well. It's sweet, but certainly not in a bad way. Medium-full in body. I'm sorry that I've waited so long to try this, as it's been sitting in the beer fridge for a few months. I'd like to try the draft version.

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Photo of putnam
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Creamy torrents of fluff on top of walnut brown liquid...
The aromas are doughy and sweet as bread. Buttery, brioche-like and pure. On the palate there is an up-tempo turnstyle of sweet fruit syrup, burnt grain and milk. Caramel flavored coffee flavors surge in the attack, then roll over to reveal rustic, grainy acidity. Responsive, uncomplicated beer.

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Photo of mschofield
4.12/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep dark garnet with a one finger tall dark tan head that quickly settled to a film (not disappointing due to the ABV), didn't lace at all.
Malty aroma, sweet, caramel, a bit of apple and raisin.
Again the taste is malty sweet with notes of toasted bread, raisin, caramel and a roasted note.
Full bodied, there is alcohol present in the aroma but not in the taste.

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Photo of soper2000
3.79/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed on tap at Chumley's in Lafayette.
Pours a nice brown color with a minimum head. Smells very sweet, almost sickly sweet in my opinion with faint notes of alcohol. Very interesting flavor on this one. Malt flavor sticks out the most followed by a sweet finish. Nice mouthfeel on this beer and drinkability is good. I like this beer but I was just put off by the aroma, maybe it's something i'll grow to love.

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Photo of govtmule
4.06/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've been drinking Spaten Pils and Oktoberfest at one of my local pizza joints for a couple of years. For some reason I never grabbed the Optimator at the store. I read a little about dopplebocks last week and it inspired me to grab a six.

Pours a nice dark reddish-brown, more brown than red. The head is a shade darker than heavy cream, about an inch that settled but some hung around through most of the beer. A nice thick feel in the mouth. You definitely feel like your drinking something substantial. For a 7.2% ABV it was well balanced and easy to drink, easily a session beer for me.

The taste was distinctly Spaten. It has some nice roasty sweetness and leaves a pleasant trail of alcohol.

As the bottle says, "The Classic Dark German Beer".

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Photo of jwilli7122
3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark, clear mohagany with lots of tiny bubbles and a smallish off-white head which is twice as tall on the edges of the glass as it is in the middle. Good lacing.
Smell is dark fruits and alchohol.
Taste is much the same- big grape/prune taste with some sweetness and some alchohol flavors. Malty, moderately thick, highly carbonated. Smooth.

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Photo of daledeee
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was not very optimistic. The head was just not there even with a very agressive our. It appears no bottle conditioning; there is no yeast and the beer is absolutely clear but still nice dark brown.

Smells like caramel.

This is one rich beer. Very thick tasting laced with sweetness, caramel, malt and a little stronger finish. Very nice. Classic German brew. And the lace did not go away dispite the weak head.

Mouthfeel is a little on the edge but I like that.

Very drinkable.

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.78/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The double shovel means double trouble with Spaten's most dangerous beer. I can think of no better way to optimize my evening then with Z Optimator.

The Arnold Schwarzinager of beers, Z Optimator's strength is immediately apparant, both disgusting and delighting with its erste taste. Sometimes difficult to consume at first, as if your body is warning against its mighty conents, Z Optimator becomes smoother and more pleasing with each sip.

I can not recomend this beer enough to those who love strong and beefy beers that carry a bazooka for a buzz. I truely believe that there is something more to this beer then its high alcohol content. Consumers beware, this beer can lead to strange and unexplainable occuances and should be taken in cautiously.

I suggest splitting a 24 ounze bottle to begin an evening. Any thing more and you could be diving into a lake, half nude, in search of a cell phone that you thought fell out of your pocket. But oh wait...I don't even own a cellphone?

It wasn't one of my finer moments but how can the Univesity of Wisconsin sell such large pitchers for such a low price and not expect trouble?

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Photo of jimdkc
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown with maroon highlights, small head fades quickly. Aroma is subdued, carmel and a little alcohol. The flavors come in waves: initial sweetness on the tip of the tongue, followed by carmel malt, a little fruit and light coffee, a hint of hops, and finishing up with a nice alcohol warmness at the back of the throat. Enough body to coat the mouth nicely. Man, I love this stuff! I've had trouble deciding on a favorite beer style... but I'm thinking doppelbocks just might be it! I really need to do a side-by-side comparison with this and Salvator (another favorite of mine) some time!

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Spaten Optimator from Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu
3.9 out of 5 based on 3,043 ratings.
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