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Spaten Optimator | Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu

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Spaten OptimatorSpaten Optimator
Very Good
3,078 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: 3,078 |  Reviews: 1,341
Photo of codfeast
3.46/5  rDev -11.1%
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 -4.9%
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.

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Photo of fountainofyouth
3.92/5  rDev +0.8%
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 -2.3%
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 -26.5%
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 +5.9%
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.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
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 +1.5%
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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Photo of Brouwerij78
4.7/5  rDev +20.8%
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 +3.6%
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 -1.5%
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 -1.8%
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 +6.7%
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 -1.5%
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 -4.6%
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 +2.8%
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 +2.8%
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%
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 +14.4%
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 +2.8%
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%
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 -8.7%
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 -30.6%
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 -19.5%
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 +8.7%
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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Spaten Optimator from Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu
Beer rating: 3.89 out of 5 with 3,078 ratings
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