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 ZeroSignal
3.73/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle

A - Dark brown pour with about an inch worth of off white head; good retention, slippery lace

S - Lots of malt, dark fruit and raisin

T&M - Huge malt character with lots of raisin flavor throughout. Carbonation feels like it provides a good cleanse with each sip. A bit of alcohol present. There's a bit of leafy or grassy hop that provides a touch of contrast. Medium to full bodied and dry in the finish.

D - A good bock with enough character to keep things interesting. ABV to be expected, so all in all very drinkable.

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

Pours a deep reddish-brown with small head and minimal lacing. Smells of caramel, molasses, dark chocolate and alcohol. Tastes strongly of molasses, caramel and alcohol, very similar to smell. Overall a strong doppelbock with a punch at 7.2% ABV. A nice doppelbock... don't drink too many of these at this high ABV!

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

A nice chestnut color with a off white head which dissipates rather quick and leaves nice lacing in the glass.
The smell promises a lot of malty taste. Chocolate at the beginning, being replaced by a hop bitterness in the middle and yet leaving a sweet maltiness at the end.
A very nice doppelbock, probably one of y favorite ones , because of the smooth mouthfeel and drinkability. Great german beer.

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Photo of JayS2629
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Deep, dark brown with minimum head.

S- Dark chocolate with tones of vanilla and a slight bitter smell.

T- Dark maltyness, nutty flavors with notes of honey and vanilla.

M- Rich and smooth. Slightly creamy with a dry finish.

D- Very drinkable. One of my favorite dopplebocks. Quite smooth for 7.2%. I could easily forget this should be a sipping beer.

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Photo of dcx10music
4.18/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Super dark brown, almost black. Minimal head that doesn't overstay its welcome and virtually nonexistent lacing.

S - A very warm, embracing scent of dark chocolate initially, but has a bit of a bitter ending that spoils the fun a little.

T - Malty, malty, and did I mention malty? Just like the smell, the bitterness comes in toward the end, but this time it's a nice change of pace.

M - Not bad, but not great. The bitterness in the smell and taste translates to a zippiness on the tongue that turns me off a tad.

D - Basically, a meal in a glass. Goes down pretty easy, but I'm not drinking more than one of these at a time.

Notes - A nice doppelbock that has its ups and downs. If it would chill out a little and not try so hard, it could be even better than it is.

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Photo of Clamwacker
3.99/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This one poured into a 16 ounce pilsner glass with about half a finger of pale head, the brew itself being a deep red/amber color when held to light, almost black otherwise. The head dissipated quickly and leaves little lace.

Aromas of roasted chestnuts, honey and molasses, with a bit of dark malt.

The flavor is my favorite part, I was pleasantly surprised by this brew. The honey and molasses aromas carry straight through and dominate until the last moment. I detected a hint of root beer aroma and flavor if I swallowed with the glass still held to my nose. Nice!

Mouthfeel is pretty average, medium carbonation with no particular lingering effects. The relatively high alcohol content is masked very well with the extra malt. No real hop balance to this one, it's malt forward all the way.

I would probably only drink one of these at a time, primarily because it is fairly strong at 7.2%, but also because it's a very unique flavor that I wouldn't want to desensitize myself to.

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Photo of nataku00
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a stein beer mug. Beer is a dark brown with about a finger of tan head initially. If I held the beer up to the light, there's a little bit of orange on the edge of the glass, but it pretty dark. Little lacing from the head as it dissipated fairly quickly.

Nose was dark fruits (plums and raisins) and fairly sweet smelling. A little bit of caramel malts as well.

Taste follows the nose, dark fruit sweetness initially, with a little complexity from light hops and malt later in the finish. Very tasty, and I had another bottle at the restaurant with my meal after I finished the first glass.

Medium bodied beer with a good amount of carbonation that's just enough to make it nice a creamy. For a fairly big beer, the alcohol was well hidden and it was decently drinkable.

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

Pours a deep black color with a thin tan head and tons of pretty lacing that leave cobwebs on the inside of the glass. Smells of dark chocolate, licorice, vanilla bean, and roasted barley. Tastes sweet from plenty of sweet malts, deep dark chocolate, fresh vanilla bean, sweet licorice, and a little acidity. Mouthfeel is nice and thick. Drinkability is great.

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Photo of GetYourRiotGear3
3.63/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This is my first rating! I should have picked a different beer.

I have seen this on the shelf at the store forever, and just decided to pick it up today.


- I thought this beer had a really nice color to it when held up to the light. I was able to pour a pretty decent one finger head with some nice lacing
- The smell didn't impress me that much, it wasn't very aromatic.
- It tasted sweet, maybe a little bit of dried fruits, and alcohol. Pretty subdued bitterness.
- I thought the beer had pretty decent body, and while I did not have more than one I thought it was relatively drinkable.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. The beer that once disgusted Amyliz4 but that she now loves.

Pours a moderate brown caramel color win a light tan head with some good lasting power in my pilsner glass. Nose brings caramel, toffee, and some light drugs. The taste is a bit sweet with some caramel, though not too much depth. Nice body and carbonation. A beer I used to drink fairly often and don't mind coming back to at all.

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Photo of mariposafan
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours with two fingers of tight, creamy head that lasts nicely. Dark amber red when held up to the light.

The smell is very bright and sweet - almost a candied fruit smell but with graininess from the malt.

Taste isn't very sweet at all. Toffee, malt, some coffee notes and a drying minerality. Not overly rich but very inviting. A little astringency, partly from the mineral notes and partly from some roasted bitterness.

The mouthfeel is just fine. Not thick and chewy but not watery either - sort of striking the middle ground.

As with most dopplebocks it's big enough that I'm only going to do one as a sitting, but that one goes down very easily. Considering how much easier it is for me to get a hold of than Celebrator - easier even than Central's dopplebocks - and how inexpensive it is, this will likely be my go to dobblebock for the near future.

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Photo of jsprain1
3.93/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a chestnut brown with a thin tan head that lasts pretty well.
S- The smell is roasted malt. little else going on.
T- Roasted malt, more nutty flavors than chocolate. Hops are faintly there as well along with a slight metallic hint.
M- SLightly on the full side, with low, but this is a positive here.
D- A good, but not quite great doppelbock. I enjoyed it and the price point on it is pretty good.

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Photo of bagpiper2005
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pour: Clear, dark red-amber color that when held up to the light is a very bright red. Two fingers of dense, off-white head that retains and laces the glass beautifully.

Smell: Very sweet caramel malt nose with some dark fruits, bready tones, and a hint of alcohol.

Taste: The palate starts off with a dark fruity taste which then gives way into a rich, sweet caramel and molasses flavor. A hint of chocolate and yeast in the middle, and finishes up with a very light bitterness and some alcohol warmth.

Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy. Smooth with medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Definitely a sipper. Warming and filling.

Final Notes: A solid doppelbock, and one I'll return to many times over. Would be a great steak and potatoes type beer.

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

Poured from a 16.9 oz bottle into a clear pint glass. No freshness date apparent. Paid $2.29 on sale at local grocer. Normally sells for $2.99.

A-Pours a medium chestnut brown with a one + finger light tan head that recedes quickly leaving only scant lacing.

S-Somewhat subdued but roasted and caramel malts with a slight chocolate aroma.

T-Malty sweetness followed by the balancing bitterness of the hops finished with a nutty-chocolate flavor reminiscent of chocolate covered cherries.

M-Tad harsh from over carbonation.

D-This is my first Doppelbock and although good, it was not especially impressive.

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Photo of StephenRich
4.26/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Since 1397 Spaten has been one of the preeminent breweries in Germany, and around the world. A dedicated brewer of lager beers, Spaten still adheres to the Bavarian Purity Laws of 1516 which declares that beer is only allowed to be brewed from Malt, Hops and Water (and yeast of course, which was at the time not fully understood). The purpose of the law at the time was predominantly for quality control measures, as well as to hinder those who tried to cheapen their beer using light, inexpensive and flavorless ingredients like corn or rice - too bad this law isn't in affect anymore.

So what we have here is a historic representation of a Doppel Bock, which is essentially a stronger version of a Bock beer creating one of Germany's strongest and maltiest lager beers. The Paulaner Salvator is largely credited as being the very first of this style, being brewed by the Paulaner Monks for the Lenten season originally sometime between 1630 and 1670. Since then most German Doppel Bocks feature a "ator" at the end of the name, hence the Spaten Optimator, a traditional German Doppel Bock that is, as the style depicts, full of malt flavors and heritage.

Spaten's Optimator is 7.2% abv, and comes in 355ml bottles usually found in 6 packs or sometimes individually. I have also seen it in 500ml bottles occasionally, and it is in 30 liter kegs on the other side of the ocean. This is one of my favorite styles of beer - they are big and malty, but fermented with a lager yeast. Most big beers are ales - the ale yeast adds complex fruity flavors and spice to a lot of beer styles. But lager yeasts are cleaner and let the malt speak for itself. The combination of big malts and lager yeast is very fulfilling in a robustly clean kind of way.

I opened the Optimator up at cellar temperature around 14C (57F) and poured it into a stemmed tulip glass. The pour was smooth and lively building a richly dark mahogany colored beer and a dense light brown foam immediately. A gentle pour lifted an impressively thick and tight 2 inch head that capped off with a creamy mountain-like peak just above the glass. It was a nutty shade of brown with a dusting of cinnamon hiding the impossibly small and uniform bubbles. The beer itself was perfect; it glowed in the light beaming with amber red and ruby browns from the sides. Deep in the center was a rich burgundy reaching, but not quite touching black. This beer had a lot of character, and it was proving that right from the start.

The nose is a lush and sticky bouquet of malts. Roasted fruity flavors are soft and floral, but make way for caramel malts, and gently burnt brown sugar. Waves of dark toffee candy and roast float in, and hints of bitter chocolate and toasted nuts show up as well. A fine and herbal hop aroma is delicately on the nose, but very subdued, as the style would recommend.

The first sip of the Optimator is clean and lush. A wide and rounded flow of malt flavors glides over your tongue and evolves into your cheeks, the back of your mouth, and reaches your throat. It is smooth and gentle, but shows rich aromatic properties and thick malty sensations. Now that your palate has had that first taste the next several really show the beer's strength.

Now a bigger wave of roasted malts enter your palate with hints of cocoa, smooth nuts and a generous flavoring of malt. Just straight-up chewy malt. Its a dark candied caramel like sensation fading into brow sugar and toffee (classically), but is richly clean, and shows only slight fruit character. If anything it is hinting at prunes or dates, but the cold lagering process has created a clean and crisply smooth beer allowing the malt's deep character to dominate.

Hops are gentle, and only lightly herbal, just just enough to create a soft balance. The finish is as clean as the beer is, completing a symphony of aroma, flavor and body that melded perfectly together. I would recommend this beer for every beer lover, and is a must for beer geeks.

Pics at:

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Photo of Houblonimous
3.72/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Deep ruby/amber color with a light head that eventually dissipates into a thin creamy film on top of the beer

Smell: Tons of roasted malts, with a hint of grapes and caramel

Taste: Malty and sweet. Touch of plum, caramel and alcohol(fusels).

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy with medium carbonation... a little bit chewey with a slight amount of alcohol warmth

Drinkability: It's slightly heavy mouthfeel and high alcohol content make it a perfect beer to have in early/mid fall when the weather starts to get cold... but it is filling and a bit boozey

Overall: A Solid dark beer perfect for post Oktoberfest consumption.

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

A- dark reddish brown color, more reddish when held to the light, 1.75 finger head about midway between withe and tan dissipates to a film

N- very sweet, caramel and raisin with a little bit of alcohol and some bready notes as well, black current, and a ever so slight roasted smell.

T- rasin, current and caramel are the dominating flavors, little bready and the slightest hint of tartness seeming to appear out of the also very slight hint of alcohol on the finish, but over all starts off a bit bitter and fruity, finishes rather sweet, but with that strange faint tartness.

M- creamy and smooth, would almost call it rich. just dry enough to leave the mouth watering.

D- nice evening sipper, think it's more of an early fall mid spring beer, but fit this little one man session well.

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Photo of kevinjosephlee
3.18/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle poured into a glass

A: Clear, dark color, coffee-ish with red hues when held to the light.

S: Malts, spicy nutmeg,

T: Raisins on the back of the mouth

M: Some alcoholic warmth.

Notes: Better than Ayinger's Celebrator because it was not as cloying.

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

Poured into a non-stem pilsner glass, the dark translucent brown liquid is rich with cascading foam. This is a smooth Munich dopplebock with Spaten's flavor personality present from start to finish. Rich malty caramel notes with hops support and substantial strength, although not anywhere near as strong as American over-the-top attempts on this style (Samuel Adams for example). Instead you have a well rounded malt showcase that when served (too) cold only improves with the rising temperature. Some very good ester notes of dark fruit, combined with a lingering dry finish, makes this a pleasure. There is nothing out of place here. A historic and yet very contemporary drinking experience.

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

Poured into a Guinness pint glass:

A-deep, dark reddish black, one finger of lace that holds up fairly well

S-rich, robust, malt and maybe a tinge of grape

T-good, strong up front, holds up throughout

M-interesting, a nice boldness at first that fades

D-very high, the 7+ ABV does not preclude sessioning with this

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

Bought this beer on a recomendation from a good friend / drinking buddy. My first impression as a non-fan of dopplebock's was wow this is not overpowering as some dopplebock's can be. The color was very dark with reddish hue's the smell was the charecteristic caramel sweet odour when I took my first drink is when it really stood apart with a very balanced malty caramel taste. this beer is very drinkable and going out on a limb feel this will be a very regular beer for me.

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Photo of ComfortablyBum
4.65/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle poured into DFH glass

A - dark dark brown with a thin head. Head faded into lacing around the glass.

S - Sweet caramel

T - roasty malt with chocolate and woody flavors. Smooth and delicious.

M - Its heavy and carbonated. Over 7% ABV, so it warms nicely on the way down.

D - Excellent. Great beer for having a couple of. Doppelbock is quickly becoming my new favorite style.

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Photo of TylerBGoode
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I first tried the Optimator on tap a year or so ago. It was my first run in with this style, and though I've tried other similar brews since, this is still my go to doppelbock. This review is for the bottle that I enjoyed last night.

The dark chocolaty appearance, and the caramel-malty smell is strong and pleasant. When I decide to open up a bottle of Optimator, I don't quite get excited until I see the dense color of the beer waiting for me in a pilsener glass - the aroma drifting all the way from the glass to my nose.

One of the first flavors you'll taste upon first sip is the alcohol, which is almost too pronounced. But, the maltiness and sweetness of this beer are what you'll remember. Overall the smoothness and lack of bitterness makes this beer quite drinkable, though it may be a bit too sweet (and malty) to tackle more than one in a single evening. Needless to say, this is a reasonably priced, tasty doppelbock that I highly recommend.

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Photo of PintOHops
3.68/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Glass - Mug

A - Clear mahogany color with lots of visible C02. It produced a 3-finger head that quickly dissipated to 1-fingers worth. No lacing left but a thin ring held atop my beer for a long while.

S - Biscuit malts, slight caramel and molasses. Soft muskiness and a touch of herbal leafy like hop. Almost chocolate like notes and a small amount of alcohol. Alcohol is more noticeable as it warms.

T - Alcohol is noticeable right upfront followed by husk and biscuit like malt flavors. It finishes with soft caramel and sweetness, as well as a bit of herbal hop flavors. Bitterness is very mild and the alcohol leaves a dryness and warmth in the mouth.

M - Smooth with soft crispness and a medium-full body but more on the medium side.

D - I think the alcohol was a bit too pronounced for me, but other than that it was pretty good. Not my favorite of the style but I'd drink it again sometime. I would say it's drinkable enough to sit down with 20 ounces of it but not much more than that. Worth a try.

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Photo of JosiahS
3.77/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Glass: Mug

Dark brown color, a little red. Nice large foaming head. Reduced to a small layer after a minute.

rich dark fruit in the smell, almost like a syrup of plumb and raisin caramelizing in a pan over a stove. Maybe some beets in there as well. Lots of caramel, toffee, nuts, ect. Slight grassy hops. ..toast cracker too.

Mmm.. definitely a double bock. Syrupy texture in the mouth. It has a candy, caramel sweetness that dominates. Plumb, raisin, dates and any other sticky, sweet dried fruit you can think of. Low carbonation. A grassy hop is present as well. Again, pretty sweet.

Drinkable but very sweet, which is something to be expected from a double bock. The ABV doesn't show in the taste at all. Very good beer.

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