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 Brouwerij78
4.7/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very delicious dark, thick, full beer. Oddly atypical for a German Brewery - they are most famous for their strong weiss beers and mid-range dark beers. This is a roasty, malty and slightly sweet brew full of rich carmel notes and coffee hints. I had this in a pint at "Wolfe's Beirgarden" in Albany NY. Served non-ice-cold was best and this is definitely a higher-end leisurely drinking beer to enjoy with some wurst and spatzel...delicious!!

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

Poured from a bottle into a tulip

A: Pours a beautiful chocolate color. I’ve never seen such a dark beer come from a green bottle. There is a significant amount of head but it dissipates pretty quickly.

S: Smells of dark Belgian fruits, yeast and cumin. It’s a complex aroma but interesting.

T/M: Flavor follows suit: low to medium carbonation, plums and nectarines up front giving way to bitterness similar to a heavy German lager.

It’s an interesting and unique profile that works very well together. A very unique and adventurous brew.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a nice looking brown color with some shades of red in it. The head in a bit fizzy and white not leaving much on the glass after each sip. The smell of the beer has a very nice malt back bone to it with a light sweetness coming though. The taste of the beer brings the malts onto the tongue full force and really leaves a good pleasing flavor in your mouth. Theres a bit of brown sugar in the flavor too with a pretty good bitterness in the end. The mouthfeel isn't heavy but just about medium. Overall I think that this is probably my favorite from Spaten, the Oktoberfest being second.

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Photo of BeerAmbassador
3.82/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark ruby, brownish color. One finger head with just a bit of lacing. There is some nice persistent bubbles coming up from the bottom of the glass, almost like sparkling wine. Aroma is dark caramel, maybe toffee? grains, and an herbal note. Flavor is much the same, with a bit of a coffee finish, lighter though, like drip coffee. This beer has a really pleasant creamy mouthfeel. Overall I thought this was a nice, affordable example of the style, even though not top in the category.

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

Spaten Optimator's appearance conveys more than just good looks: its deep caramelly, prune-y colour designates its rich flavours, a sturdy head illustrates the quality of its construction, while the immaculate clarity attests to its clean, smooth disposition. Even without lacing, expectations of a first-rate beer set in even before the first sniff.

A very slight chocolatey scent presents itself and, especially with more warmth, the bouquet smells of chocolate-covered prunes. There may also be a whiff of light caramel, but there's scarcely enough sweetness to warrant it. The whole aroma is very clean (but with trace Noble hops) and, despite some melanoidins, has absolutely no roast and even little toast.

Doppelbocks not bursting with robust flavour are about as rare to find as Siberian tigers, still this particular example has a taste worth commending. Prune juice puree is augmented with notes of browned bread crusts - it may sound like the champion breakfast of the elderly, but I assure you it's the received flavour profile of a champion doppelbock.

That decoction mashing had the desired effect: the beer is rich in toasty melanoidins. Underlyingly sweet, it is impressively well attenuated. The mouthfeel really authenticates this as a genuine, time-honored German doppelbock; not only is it full and rich, but it's been expertly lagered with a finesse only the Germans are capable of.

Doppelbock is a style that's been brewed for hundreds of years; it's an incredible relic of German brewing tradition. While I, personally, feel that Ayinger Celebrator is the epitome of the style, I must insist that there exists few (especially among German brewed) examples that don't exemplify its rich, gratifying wonders. Optimator certainly does.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a flared flute glass at Bauer's Brauhaus.

Still sittin' at the Brauhaus, watching the Cubs tank another game. Sad, really. Anyway, this brew pours a clear dark sunset burnt sienna-amber topped by a finger of dirty white foam. The nose comprises buttery caramel, very light roasted malts, brown sugar, and Belgian candi sugar. The taste holds notes of buttery caramel, light roasted malts, brown sugar, cinnamon, faint-ish dark greens, and some mild cocoa powder. The body is a rather light medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and a smooth feel. Overall, a solid d-bock, a bit on the thin side, but mighty tasty and enjoyable.

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Photo of Nordicmonk
3.71/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured into a tulip glass with a deep mahogany color, slight tam head with little lace.

S - Plumb tones with a fruity smell, some toasty aromas and caramel undertones. Molasses is also present

T - Definite Molasses, plumb flavors, caramelized malts. Very good and memorable

M - Creamy and smooth in the mouth, good balance of carbonation.

O - Very good beer, recommended to try at least once if not more.

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

Poured from a 355ml clear green bottle purchased in Albany, NY; opened and enjoyed in Ottawa!

Appearance: Pours a dark amber with a wonderfully thick head.

Smell: Strong malt with a toasted butterscotch, rum and butter overtones. Slightly nutty.

Taste: Strong malt up front with a warming, but pleasant alcohol which develops. As the toasted sugars develop, the alcohol continues with a nice warming sensation. A toasted malt finish.

Overall a wonferfull beer. Was really impressed with the drink-ability. I love a good dopplebock and this one is nice and unique.

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

Poured from a 12 0z bottle to a pub glass

Appearance: Rich dark red to coffee colored. Pours with slight 1 finger head with little retention after the pour. Lacing drops quickly.

Smell: Rich in malty grain, true Doppel nose with earthy sweet aroma.

Taste: is a full roasted malt, wheat, barley, flavor with a sweet finish that suits the style.

Mouth: Full bodied although slightly under carbonated with the bottle I tested.

Overall: This beer is true to the Franziskaner-Brau
It is a great German beer.

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

Dark red-amber, with a thick and slowly-dissipating head of tan bubbles. Minimal, almost non-existent lace.

Nose is caramel malty, definitely a doppelbock.

Taste brings hints of licorice and dried fruitcake. Still heavy on the malts. A slight alcohol nip at the finish.

Tasty, but a slow sipper.

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Photo of yemenmocha
4.45/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown color, caramel perhaps, with light tan head. Nose is bready with very traditional doppelbock character. Palate is light flavored and bodied compared to other doppelbocks, good malt core with light roasty and brown sugar like flavors. Faint hopping for balance. Smooth. Easy drinking. What a refreshing doppelbock!

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

The aroma is quite distinctive-- something like stewed prunes and gummi worms, but I mean that as a compliment. Attractive brown-amber in the tulip glass. Very pleasant lacing and creamy mouthfeel. Quite sweet, like a malty pudding. Rich, warm flavors with lots of caramel. I hope it's from malted barley, but it's good. Hint of hops. Aftertaste of candy.

I wasn't expecting to like this as much. It grows on you if you like the sweet malty style. But I would say there are more interesting examples of Doppelbocks, including American-made versions, but for a widely-distributed major beer that actually makes the boat trip, it's a winner.

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Photo of SamN
2.49/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

This beer pours a pretty dark amber color, almost a purple shade. Thin looking, not much to it. Head is fairly minimal, I feel like it should be more. Smell is skunky...yep, sour metallic skunkiness fills the glass, making it smell more like a cheap Euro lager than a rich malty Munich-brewed doppelbock. Slight hazelnut notes, but mostly skunk. Pew! Taste doesn't seem to be terribly affected, though. Can detect some smooth creamy toffee notes, but it doesn't last and the metal twang of skunk kills the flavor before it can bloom. Body is pretty good for the style, not thick, but solid and more mass.

Bottom line; this is why we don't put beers in green bottles! I'm sure this import version isn't as good as the real deal in Deutschland, and the fact that it made a long journey a long time ago makes this particular example a disappointment. I'll be keeping an eye out for a fresher version.

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

A: The beer pours a caramel color with a small off-white head. Not terribly impressive.

S: At first the nose is quite harsh. Slightly burnt with a little bit of a funkiness to it. However, as I let it warm up, the beer starts to come around and displays some nice caramel and dark fruit sweetness, as well as some toasted bread.

T: Similar story with the flavor. The first few sips are harshly alcoholic and astringent with a little bit of cough syrup. As it warmed up, some of that went away and some of the more traditional and pleasant flavors of caramel, raisin, and black cherry came through.

M: Medium in body with a medium level of carbonation.

O: Hard to rate this beer as it did have some good flavors, but it also had some bad ones.

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Photo of veinless
2.7/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours dark brownish black with plenty of ruby red highlights. Head is one-finger, white, and dissipated quickly. Lace is nonexistent.

Nose is of dark fruit and sweet malt. The sweetness is one part molasses and one part candy sugar, and it's a bit too much for my taste. Plums are the fruit that comes out the most, and they are definitely enjoyable.

Taste follows the nose pretty much exactly, with plums and figs making up the fruit profile, and a sugary sticky sweetness coming from the malt. It's a wee bit roasted, but not much. The beer is too sweet to me, and booze coming out at the tail end of sips doesn't help matters.

A medium body and prickly carbonation make for a decent combination in terms of mouthfeel, but I just dislike the dry finish combined with the sweetness in the taste. Drinkability is ok, but held back by the finish and alcohol - both the taste and abv components.

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Photo of tlazaroff
3.13/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Dark brown with highlights of dark ruby red when held to light. Had an off-white, tan colored head.

S: Mostly malty goodness. I get a big caramel note followed by some cherries, and a little bit of skunking, probably due to the green bottle it was imported in.

T: A little tart, but it has a nice toasted component that stays strong throughout the finish. It has a nice caramel, sweet flavor with little hop presence.

M: Moderately carbonated and medium -full bodied. Slightly sticky.

D: Good drinkability, it's a nice, filling beer.

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Photo of SWMeyer4141
4.23/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I used to feel so cool drinking this beer years ago, thinking this was as hardcore as it gets. 7.6% alcohol, it's not fizzy and yellow, and its from Munich. After drinking one for the first time in a while, this beer is still badass.

Appearance-At first looked like a very dark brown, but after going into a lighed room It's more of a dark amber. 2 inches of creamy tan head that leaves a ton of nice lacing.

Smell-Toasted Malt with some caramel. Definitely picked out the prune being that I eat 2 a day. A nice combo of sweet and smokey as well.

Taste-I remember this taste completely. At first you pick up the Malts and Caramel w/ some nutty characteristics, followed by some sweetness, and finsih with prunes that stay on your tongue for a while.

Mouthfeel-Very well carbonated, Medium bodied, good feel.

Overall-I want to leave room for improvement right now because I have a special bond with this beer, and with all the dopplebock talk lately I wanted to grab this and a Salvator(which I may drink next). But for the price, this beer is outstanding and highly underrated.

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Photo of beerandcycling88
3.42/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into my Iron Horse mug.

A Pours a dark brown, with a white 2 finger head.

S Has a almost fruit like nose that hints of apples.

T Kind of sweet, with some dark fruits. A bit of hops, and a metallic kind of taste that kind of kills it for me.

M A very smooth light mouthfeel.

Overall this isn't a bad beer, its kind of enjoyable but there is nothing about it that really stands out to much.

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Photo of speter
4.31/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep caramel brown with a relatively anemic tan head that quickly fades to a thin layer leaving almost no lacing.

S: Brown sugar, toffee, prunes and raisins.

T: Sweet, but attenuated enough not to be cloying, with a surprisingly dry finish (but one that lasts a good long while). There are fruity overtones (mainly dark fruit like raisins and prunes, perhaps some currant/cassis).

M: This is definitely a German Doppelbock, as the body is on the light side, but very refreshing. There's not much in the way of warmth, but as spring is approaching, that's hardly a bad thing.

O: This is a supremely elegant and sublime example of the Doppelbock category. Required tasting for any Doppelbock Kenner.

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Photo of Kelly88
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at the Cock and Bull. Served in an imperial pint glass.

A- the darkest of browns, maybe even black. Whitish tan head tops This dark brew and eventually calms to a halo of bone white ring. No real lacing to speak of.

S- really sweet and roasty malts. Lots of caramel and sugar. Very unique. I like this smell But it could be more aggressive.

T- sugar sweet chocolate with lots of sweet dark fruit. A touch of alcohol on the finish balances out the sweet.

M- pretty light. Kind of sweet but not in a totally overbearing way. Light enough to enjoy a few but has enough feel to deliver Nice flavor.

Overall a good beer that has nice flavor and good looks. I really enjoy the combination of really dark beer That is more sweet than roasty. Nice and a good representative of the style

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

12oz bottle (no date - something like a batch code on the back though - L301016) poured into a shaker pint glass.

Appearance: Dark cola brown on the table, brown with ruby-red and mahogany color when held up to the light. Light tan head was about 1/4" when first poured, and dense, but this died down to a thin skin across the top and a ring at the edge. Little islands of lacing slowly slid back down the sides and back into the beer - not terribly persistent. Good color though.

Smell: Sweet and malty with caramel when first poured. Later on this same smell was joined with a bit of a metallic coppery smell as it warmed up. Maybe a little bit smoky too. With a swirl there is some definite cut grass smells.

Taste: Deep and rich caramel malt sweetness moving into a mild bitter finish that lingers a bit. Definitely a malty doppelbock. Some roasted flavors in there, but they are muted. Every now and then there is a metallic finish - sometimes coppery, sometimes iron-like.

Mouthfeel: Thick and chewy. Light carbonation on the tongue - enough to be noticable but not get in the way. Definitely a bit sticky on the teeth.

Overall / Drinkability: Overall a solidly good beer. Quite dangerous in that I finished this off in no time, and I wouldn't mind having another. Great by itself and good with a meal (ham steaks an Mac n' Cheese in this case) and I would definitely have it again.

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Photo of B967ierhunter177
3.55/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours almost black with some red showing through. The aroma is chocolate, anise, and roasted malt. It's flavor begins with chocolate with molasses, coffee, and finishes with dark chocolate, very well balanced. It's mouthfeel is medium-full. Spaten Optimator is a very good beer, filling yet satisfying. A good representation of the style. Highly recommended!

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

Appearance: Dark red with 1 finger of head that fades quickly to a ring with little lacing.

Aroma: Rich and sweet toasted malt with notes of chocolate mixed in.

Taste: Full bodied and almost sticky sweet right off the bat, with a big dose of toasted malt flavor before a generous amount of earthy hop bitterness cuts the sweetness. The malt returns for this finish, which is lingering with some nice nuttiness and a bit more syrupy sweetness.

The Rest: Full, fairly creamy body with decent balance, this beer has the bitterness to support what could have been an overly sweet beer. Pretty tasty.

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Photo of ElCommodoro
3.57/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It poured a very dark brown brown that was barely clear with about a centimeter tan head that quickly reduce to a millimeter. it smelled of sweet roasted malts, cat food, and a tiny bit like chocolate. Tasted sweet, of roasted caramel malt, and a bit of chocolate. It has some hops to balance it and is also a bit sour. The sourness was unexpected. I suppose it's probably just part of the espresso flavour that's to be expected, but I could have done with a little less of it. It was a very nice creamy roasted malt experience. Had a tiny bit of that cat food flavour that I smelled more prominently on the nose, but it had a nice array of malt flavours to cover it up and make for a delicious experience.

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Photo of IowaHawkeyesFan
4.17/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

New Green Label longnecks with an image of the bavarian alps in the background. Label says 7.6% abv which is a nice step up from the 7.2% gold label Optimators they used to sell.

Pours a dark amber brown with a thick creamy head that sticks around for a decent amount of time.

Very malty, this beer is like bread in a bottle its full bodied and goes great with any kind of meat. The extra .4% of alcohol is not noticeable until about the 3rd bottle.

At $8.99 a six pack this is a great go to beer for any occasion. It always seems to have a place in my fridge.

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