Spaten Optimator | Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu

very good
3,045 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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Ratings: 3,045 |  Reviews: 1,332
Photo of Phelps
3.64/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a tall, skinny Spaten glass.

Plum in color, dark yet clear and topped with a two-finger head of mocha cream. As the head collapses, jagged mountains of sticky bubbles grasp upwards, fighting to retain their height.

Interesting blend of ripe plums and toasted bread in the nose, with tart cherries in the background.

In the flavor, hints of sweet red apples quickly develop into raisins and plum, as if being dehydrated and intensified while in the mouth. Candy sugar and toasted biscuits show up in the middle. Just a bit of booze, with lingering bitter chocolate and toast on the back end. A smooth blend, soft yet deep with flavor.

The velvety, creamy body is medium and tongue hugging. Very nice. Carbonation is lightly peppery, giving way to the softest bit of fizz. Alcohol numbs the tongue slightly.

Smooth in the mouth and easygoing in flavor, Optimator’s a doppelbock you can drink easily but rewards deeper pondering as well. It’s best enjoyed when sitting in front of a fireplace in the dark.

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Photo of Duff27
4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Foamy one-inch off-white head. Optimator is a translucent light brown. Solid head retention and some lacing.

S- Sweet and bready.

T- Dark fruits, more specifically grapes and apples. Leaves the mouth watering. Slight...toffee? hard to put my finger on it.

M- Mid-to-low carbonation. Medium mouthfeel.

D/O- This is the second time I've ever had this (the first being last summer) and its just as pleasing as I remember it. A solid, if not leader or flagship of the style, example. A great way to start off Dopplebockfest 2011 with fdkayti.

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Photo of magictacosinus
4.25/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pilsner glass out of a 500ml bottle.

Appearance: A brown, reddish color with a small, lacy head that maintains throughout. Looks like a strong, malty ale, even though it's a bock beer.

Smell: Strong malty, roasted aromas with scents of yeast, roasted nuts, coffee, raisins and other fruity varieties. There is a slight spicy note to it, but right here, you can tell that it's ALL about the malts.

Taste: In retrospect, toasted, sweetened malts with a wonderfully balanced bitter flavor. This beer is equivalent to eating dark German bread with spices and yeasty flavors. The roastedness of the brew gives it a comforting and yummy flavor that makes it very wonderful to respectfully sip.

Mouthfeel: As this is a beer that is focusing mostly on the amount of malts, it remains to be a very creamy, thick beer that is amazingly easy to drink. Lagers tend to be easier to drink in my book, and this one, despite a complex body, is easier than ever. It's pretty hard to believe that this is a lager, after all.

Overall: A beer I wouldn't mind having for breakfast or after a good meal for desert. This is a great example of how beer can be bread in liquid form, and is an instant classic for that matter.

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Photo of Boitnott
3.92/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Spaten Optimator poured into a wine glass and it is a dark brown with a creamy head. The retention is okay but does not last too long. This might be due to my glass; really missing the DFH snifter.

The smell is over bread and dark malt. Definitely the signature of any good doppelbock. Also a nice yeast scent from the beer which ties well with the bready smell. This bread smell follows right into the first sip and become more accentuated. As you hold it your mouth the yeast taste starts come out and adds very well to other malt flavors. It dominates as in the finish and entices the next sip.

Overall mouthfeel is pretty good but I would prefer a richer head. Other doppels that I enjoyed had a nice thick head that lasted throughout the beer. This critique is rather minor for this beer though. A good doppel for those who like the style. Little on the lighter side but still some nice flavors.

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

500mL bottle (no dates or codes) poured into a weizen glass. Mahogany color w/ a 2-finger khaki head.

Aroma is sweet malt, spice, and some notes of ripe fruit.

Taste is dark sweet malt, ripe bananas and clove, with a slight toffee/caramel finish.

This is a good, solid doppelbock - sticky, sweet, but not cloying. Smooth mouthfeel.

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Photo of navinsula
4.58/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

beer came in a small 10oz stien. the color was a nice dark red that was almost not transparent, with a thick white head.

the smell is very nice with some rich chocolaty notes and small amount of roast.

the tast is great with rich chocolat and toffey, but not overtaking.

mouthfeel is very smooth and full body

one of my favorit beers of all time when its on tap, and is still pretty great out of a bottle

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

Beer #5 sampled at Eastern Oregon DONG (Dudes of Northwest Grog) "We Will Bock You!" tasting @ Barley Brown's, 8.6.11.

Clear medium brown body, some visible effervescence, white head, medium dissipation with decent lacing. Classic doppelbock nose, prunes, raisins, burnt brown sugar, molasses, floral hops. Mouthfeel very full, meal replacement indeed, a bit sticky, alcohol a bit noticeable. While not as full flavored as Celebrator, certainly a classic example of the style.

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Photo of BedetheVenerable
2.86/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Presentation: 12oz green (WHY??) pop top bottle. No freshness date that I can find.

Appearance: Walnut beer with copper highlights and a large dark ivory cap which fades to a thick, sticky ring.

Smell: Very grainy. At first, I thought I smelled a ghostly hint of skunk out of the bottle, but this seems to have (thankfully) disappeared. This is overall quite sweet and grainy, almost like boiling wort before the hops are tossed in. Maybe just a ghost of dark fruit, but this is very, very faint. This is pleasant, but a bit too one-dimensional.

Taste: The flavor sadly goes downhill. Quite sweet, and a bit caramelly, but without any real malt depth. There's a bit of sharp, almost bitter, booziness underneath, that definitely tastes more than it should for 7.4%. Almost a hot finish, hard to believe w/abv in this range.

Mouthfeel: Medium, a bit boozy

Overall: Not particularly offensive (although the heat's a bit annoying at this level) but this is definitely forgettable.

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Photo of schlimenhaumer
4.09/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz green bottle into a pint glass at low altitude.

A: Pours a dark red color (reminds me almost exactly of rooibos/red tea) with a minimal cream colored head that diminishes to nothing in around 30 seconds.

S: Malty caramel and toffee notes up front with a hint of dark fruit in the background. As it warms, a hint of alcohol comes through.

T: The same malty toffee flavors from the nose come through just as strongly in the taste. It's nicely balanced with a touch of bitterness on the finish to accompany the sweetness.

M: Very slick with no carbonation to slow it down. Full bodied. If I close my eyes, it almost reminds me of a stout with respect to mouthfeel.

D: The alcohol's concealed very well, but it's pretty heavy and a little sweet for a multi-bottle outing.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark red/brown body, good clarity, but not the crystal clear of their Dunkel. Light beige two finger head. Thin stretched lacing.

Nutty, malty aroma. Hints of alcohol/licorice.

Solid semi-sweet malt start, followed by nuts, then sweeter malt at the swallow. Mild alcohol burn in the afterglow. Good depth to the sweetness, not at all cloying.

Big firm mouthfeel, solid.

A tasty not too big dopplebock, should definitely be tried.

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Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
3.78/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It's been a while since I've had a dopplebock, so I figured it was about time to rock one out. One of my favorite lager styles.

Pours a clear red/brown with an inch of head. Only small dots of lace are left behind.

The smell is rather light, earth and chocolate (both mild) and grain are all I detect.

Ahhh, the taste makes up for the light smell. Dark barley with some chocolate undertones, earthy hops and a nice fruity lager yeast. Very good, solid doppelbock. Super smooth going down.

I'm not a huge lager guy but I enjoyed this. Don't get me wrong, I can appreciate them, but I'm an ale man at heart. That being said, this was a good beer.

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Photo of Nascartailgatefa
3.97/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at the International Great Beer Expo, Rock Hill, NY.

Pours a dark ruby color, dark head, huge bubbles. Almost like coca cola! Nutty aroma, smooth crisp taste. Slightly bitter but pleasing finish. Good drinkability for this type of beer which normally is not my favorite.

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

I love German beer. This beer is food. Spaten is a great one. Especially when you can get it for reasonable prices $11 for a 12 pack. Why would you drink anything else?

The beer is dark brown/black with a thin head. The smell is slightly skunky, liquorice, fennel, rye bread. The taste is sweet with plum and caramel. It is rich and malty with a pleasant malted milk shake aftertaste. 7.5% wow, where? How could you not love this beer?

 436 characters

Photo of fields336
4.23/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark Red, to brown, 1 finger mocha carbonated head. really carbonated. lacing hangs on the sides of the glass.Head does not dissipate quickly, stays around for a while.

S: Dark fruits, Bready malty characteristics. Dark chocolate, roasted malts.

T: Roasty, coffee, dark chocolates, dark fruit dominate the forefront. Middle of the tongue is toffee and caramel and the back of the tongue is a roasty, bready flavor which lingers as an aftertaste with some dark fruit mixed in. Incredibly diverse flavor profile, really took me by surprise. Some herbal and earthy hops are also present.

M: Medium-full bodied beer, that is very creamy, the carbonation is really nice on this one. Clears your palate at the end, leaving a somewhat wet finish.

 746 characters

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

Served in a snifter.

Pours revealing a clear, smoked ruby body under a finger of nearly white soft lush head.

Smells of thick chewy malts, in the best German tradition. Caramel and dark-grained bread are forward, with toasty notes in the back. A little swirl reveals a hint of something like hops, but this in minimal.

Caramel candy with darker thick malts is what my palate picks up the most in this flavor. No hops show up (as expected), but a little bitterness is present and does its job keeping this from being to sweet. The flavor is very malty but rather singular, which is good but not as good as the best, which typically exhibit notes of dark fruit, chocolate, and a greater smattering of malt flavors. Also, alcohol is slightly noted in the flavor.

The mouthfeel is thick and creamy even when served at fridge temp. Impressive.

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Photo of notchucknorris
3.97/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown, almost the color of a rich maple syrup, with a very thin head that goes away pretty fast.

S: Rye bread and a bit of beef jerky with some roasted malts in the background.

T: Not a beer for the weak of heart. Freshly baked rye bread all over with some brown sugar, figs, raisin and some yeast. Syrupy mouthfeel is perfect for the taste.

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

Dark brown, one-finger head goes fast and leaves minimal lacing.

Smells like thick caramel malts, notes of raisins, grapes, alcohol. Kind of smells like a Scotch ale to me, actually.

Taste is sweet caramel malt at first and other fig and raisin malt characteristics come in the middle. Finishes with burnt caramel notes. Relatively complex.

Mouthfeel is slightly creamy.

This isn't the best doppelbock out there, but it's a really good one. And the fact that it's not priced like a specialty beer at all--cheaper than good American crafts around here--make this a go-to of the style.

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Photo of codfeast
3.46/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

bottle to stein.

A: Dark amber, 1/2 foamy tan head.

S: Malt, yeast, and bread.

T: Sweet malt, caramel. with a little alcohol on the back end.

M: Medium carbination, a big creamy mouthfeel, booze seems to clean out all the sweetness for a drier finish.

T: It's a good beer, and for $1.99 for a 16oz. bottle will pick one up again.

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Photo of Kanyon22
3.7/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured 12ozer into my Stella glass. Digging the fact that got this bad boy in a varitey sampler put out by Spaten. As a side note never really had many doppelbocks to use as a reference point.

A: Pours a wonderful hazy brown colored beer with nice reddish orange tint on the side. The head is of a khaki brown color with tiny bubble. Not bad the haze kinda shocked me a bit.

S: Getting a sweet malts, grapes, earthy notes, with some toasted and roasted malts as well. Kinda smelling similar to some kvass I've had in the past. I also wasn't expecting this good of a smell from a green bottled beer.

T: First taste is well complex, need to dive in more.Okay I think I'm ready now, this beer starts of with a hint of sweet malts then jumps to a long alcohol and a charcoal burn middle then into a cloying dry grapish raisin taste. My palate had a sourish feel to the beer at first sip but soon faded quickly. It seems to get sweeter as it warms up.

M: Loving the mouthfeel on this one leaning towards the medium full here for me. Carbonation seems harsh at first but think its more of the alcohol coming through the taste.

O: You forget that lagers can be thick and chew just like some of the bigger stouts and barleywines out there. I'm really digging this one its a nice reprieve from all the summer beers I've been drinking of late. Its also a nice reminder that Germans still make good beer.

 1,398 characters

Photo of fountainofyouth
3.92/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchased at RFD in Washington, DC. Poured from a bottle into a weizen glass.

Appearance: Translucent red-amber, like an Irish red ale. Tiny white head, leaves little bits of lacing. With a darker color, this thing would look pretty menacing.

Smell: My first whiff reminds me of a grassy field -- the hops are out front in the scent. Behind the hops is the sweet and complex malt. Smells of sweet dark fruits and caramel.

Taste: Similar to the smell, a battle of hops and malt. The hops are most present at the beginning and on the long, dry finish. In between, the caramel maltiness is more apparent. The flavors blend well. It's sweet, but not cloying. I thought I detected a milky-mocha flavor that reminded me a lot of a Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout, actually. Despite the 7.6% ABV punch, I hardly tasted any booze. Also, there's a small spicy bite to the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-heavy body and slick. There's a kick of crisp carbonation up front, but it subsides. There's a satisfying feeling of alcohol warmth that runs down your gullet after the swallow -- like drinking a liqueur. It's also quite filling; nobody's going to down five of these at a party.

Overall: Spaten knows what it's doing. And for the relatively inexpensive price (cheaper than a Celebrator), it's a pretty good value. Those who appreciate the genre should definitely try it.

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Photo of Tartarus
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A&S: Pours deep hazy brown with a bit of head. Smells of dark fruits and a bit of a boozy scent.

T&M: Get a lot of dark fruits in the taste, very nice but nothing earth-shattering. Mouthfeel is medium bodied but pretty drinkable.

O: I liked this one, a solid doppelbock.

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Photo of dhannes
2.86/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

On tap, paired with Italian pasta, which might have been a mistake.

A=Nice dark amber, appealing

S=Slight wiff of hops

T=I haven't had one of these in years, but recall it being better than what I had. Not only did I find this beer somewhat lacking in flavor, but it was a bit sweet...not something I would go out of my way to get. I used to love bock beers, but have been disappointed in many to date, so maybe I've just lost my taste for bocks.

M=Good...bit too watery.

O=I simply did not enjoy this beer as much as others and will likely not try again.

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Photo of droomyster
4.12/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an impenetrably dark brown with a small white head with decent retention. Aromas promise sweet flavors to come. My nose picks up a lot of dark fruit like raisins, dates, and prunes, with a molasses like sweetness. Tastewise, I love that this doppelbock avoids the trap of cloying qualities. There's nothing over the top about its taste and yet it thoroughly delivers on every nose hint. Its subdued and subtle character make it far more drinkable than most members of its style. A benchmark of its type.

 509 characters

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

First had: on tap at Brauhaus Schmitz, Philly, PA

A tasty, toasty German bock. Poured a hazel-brown with reddish highlights, moderate carbonation, and a thin off-white head. Mild and smooth aroma of sweet, toasty malts and caramel. More sweet toasted malts in the taste, toffee, raisin, and apple peel. Maybe just a hint of alcohol. Medium mouthfeel, and pretty easily drinkable.

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Photo of moosemoose
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottle into mug

A: Very dark with off beige head, an inch thick. Good retention and lacing.

S: Butter, caramel, chocolate, malt.

T: I got pretty much the same things I smelled in the taste.

M: A little watery for my taste, but definitely creamier than most beers.

O: I didn't like it as much as everyone else apparently. It seems to have a little bit of skunk to it.

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Spaten Optimator from Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu
3.9 out of 5 based on 3,045 ratings.
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