Spaten Optimator | Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu

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Spaten OptimatorSpaten Optimator
Very Good
3,115 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: 3,115 |  Reviews: 1,350
Photo of CaptDavyJones
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a clear, dark brown from a 12 oz bottle with ABV (7.6%) on the label. No freshness date, but the bottle had a newer black label as opposed to the brown labels available until recently. Ruby red color along the edges when held against light.
The head was massive after a slightly vigorous pour and dissipated very slowly. Very nice lacing along the glass as the head dissipated.
Aroma is dominated by malts, and as the beer warms up, the aroma of raisins, dark fruits with hints of alcohol becomes noticeable.
Taste is also dominated by malts with hints of fruity sweetness. The finish is a nice blend of sweet and bitter. The taste becomes better as the beer warms up.
Drinkability is good and the ABV is certainly masked very well.
A solid doppelbock made by one of the classic German breweries. Definitely worth a try.

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap in a pint glass.

Appearance: At first glance, the color is black, but upon further inspection it is lightly transparent ruby throughout. Nice creamy foamy off-white head. Foamy lace drips forms and drips away down the glass.

Smell: Molasses, roasted malt, ripe dark fruits. A touch of spice.

Taste: Molasses, plums, raisins, a light general spiciness - all spice or nutmeg maybe. Along with a roasted malt, these flavors form the basis of the flavor. Earthy hops sneak up on me, making themselves known as the sip comes to a close. Finishes lightly bitter.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation fizzes and bubbles away in my mouth, eventually relenting to a creamy feel. Lightly sticky, with above average carbonation wrapped in a fuller than medium body.

Drinkability: Although I am not usually a lager person, I have been getting more into Doppelbocks recently, and this is a nice example of the style. Really drinkable at 7.2%. Definitely better as it warms.

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Photo of harrymel
3.62/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes on 07/07/10
$2 for 33cl @ Huck's in Spokane, WA.

Poured from bottle to snifter.

A: Pours dark cherry brown with excellent clarity. No head, appears flat.

S: Smells like a symphony bar! Toffee, cocoa, toast. Very pleasant.

T: Surprisingly bitter given the nose. Rye toast, cocoa, toffee still there, just not as evident as before. Slight earthen flavor.

M: Low carb flows well over tongue and after sweetness feel, but dries quickly and dries with the bitterness.

D: A bit thin for the style IMO, prefere a bit more body. Otherwise, strong offering from a classic brewery.

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Photo of in780
3.28/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. Here we go:

A - Reddish-brown, lets through a little light, very little head. No lacing

S - Sweet smelling, licorice, brandy

T - Roasted malts, but the taste is watery. Not the mouthfeel, but just the taste - like there was supposed to be more but someone forgot to put it in. A letdown from what I was expecting

M - OK, low carbonation which is fine for the style

D - I could drink more, the alcohol is pretty well hidden, but I don't think I want to.

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Photo of PanzerFaced
5/5  rDev +28.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer takes on a rich flavor with a distinct malty taste. I enjoy it's chocolate and amber flavors. You get just enough without it being to overpowering. This beer also has a nice alcohol percentage of 7.2% which is just right for this style of beer, you tend to not notice the alcohol with the balance of the malt.

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Photo of Schnapsidee
4.13/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a deep brown that when held to the light shows hints of ruby red with a one finger off white head. The head retains for a few minutes but resides to a faint rim around the glass with patches in between
S- Very powerful malt aroma with little to no recognizable hop character. Hints of caramel, raisins and molasses
T- Malt backbone is the dominate flavor in this beer, from the caramel and roasted flavors to the residual sweetness provided. This beer cleans up quite quickly at the end of each sip, despite its alcohol content and mild sweetness.
M- Medium bodied but not too thick or chewy, which i assumed was part of this style, i expected it to be slightly more chewy to say the least.
D- You feel the alcohol on this pretty quickly although it isn't immediately noticed when consuming, leading me to think i could drink a number of these, i assume i would easily be feeling it after 2 or three!

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Photo of jj311
4.33/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 Ounce bottle into a Pint Glass.

Appearance: Pours a Dark Brown color with a copper tone and slight reddish highlights. Has a thick 2 finger, frothy tan foam-head which dissipates after a few minutes. Leaves a sticky lacing.

Smell: Sweet Toasted Malt, Carmel, and herbal aroma, as well as a hint of brown sugar and apple peel.

Taste: Initially a taste of toasted malt and caramel shines through, followed by grainy and slightly bitter finish. It's got some sweetness but definitely well balanced.

Mouthfeel: A slick, and oily mouthfeel. Carbonation tingle on the tongue. Medium to full bodied.

Drinkability: I found this to be nearly exceptional in the drinkability category. The flavors and the fact that it's neither too light, or too thick, make this one easy to consume.

Overall: Although I admit I haven't tried a wide variety of doppelbock, this one rates up there among the better ones that I have tried. If I had access to this beer more often, it would easily become one of my regulars.

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Photo of BeerCon5
3.5/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark amber-red color with 1 finger of off-white fluffy head, retention is not very good.

The scent is of sweet caramel malts not much else.

The taste is of raisin, sweet caramel malt, a little buttery, notes of alcohol.

Full bodied, smooth a little creamy, with a dry finish, low carbonation.

This is a decent doppelbock, good flavor, I wouldn't mind having another one but I wouldn't look for it.

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Photo of Sachsenfreude
3.79/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

appearance; dark brown with a light tan head. Retention is in the form of a thick surface film a chunky collar. Lacing is patchy at best.

smell; some toasty malts and herbal hops. The hop odor is a little strong for this style and the malts are not powerful enough.

taste; malty sweetness with a bit of alcohol form a nice liqour soaked plum flavor at first. The rich toastness of the malts comes out in the finish, side by side with some mild hoppy bitterness.

mouthfeel; full bodied but not as thick in the finish as to be expected from the style. Best described as not as chewy as expected.

drinkability; the finish is a little dry and annoying but overall, this is a fine drink and a good introductory beer to the Doppelbock style.

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Photo of falloutsnow
3.39/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a transparent reddish-amber in color into my Celebrator glass. Head is off-white, about 1.5 cm, and lasts a minute or two. Descends to a thin ring around the glass for the rest of the session. Lacing is very present, pronounced, and quite nice. Some minute amounts of visible carbonation.

Contrary to what seems to be consensus among other drinkers, I don't find this beer to be anything more than average in scent. I pick up heavy malts, a very slight amount of vague dessert spice, and syrupy dark fruits (think dried plums, not figs, which as a grower I can assure you are not necessarily "dark").

In taste, I pull up heavy, bready malts at first, blending into essential nutmeg oils, ending with a dash of alcohol and brown sugar. The aftertaste is a overly sweet, a bit cloying. Could have used a tad more hop character to cut this. As a side note, this is definitely a beer that improves in taste character as it warms.

Moderate carbonation fitting for the heavy thickness of the beer and its style. Finish is fairly dry and astringent, though not completely. All seems in order here.

The Optimator remains one of those standby doppelbocks if one can't find any superior beers of the style available. The price is generally right, and this is an standard bearer of the style, but it still pales in comparison to the pinnacles of the style due to its lackluster scent and somewhat tame taste.

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Photo of WeezyBoPeep
4.22/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

A: Dark, dark clear red with a brownish hue. Light, wispy half finger head with good retention.

S: Sourdough raisin bread, malty goodness, dark cherries, light cocoa and ginger. A fragrant doppelbock.

T: Not as complex as the smell, but very, very good. Lots of fruit; bananas, raisins and prunes. Hints of cloves and cinnamon on the finish, which is clean.

D: Superb. Even at the high ABV I'd kill a sixer no problemo.

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Photo of Andrew644
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- very deep brown color with a tinge of red in it. Has a nice tan head.

S- mostly malty aroma but some of the hops kind of poke through a little which is different from most beers of this style.

T- the maltiness is good in this beer and it is the main component. While being strong though the hops balance it out more and make it better I think. It is not sickingly sweet which makes it better.

M- moderate carbonation with a little creaminess feel to it which fits the flavor very well.

D- very drinkable for the style

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bought a bottle for "German Night" in the house. Drinking with brats and kraut. Poured into a mug, this is a lovely dark brown/caramel coloring with a large, foamy, light head. The smells are rich in malt. The increased carbonation helps to balance the heavy molasses flavoring. It's sweet and bitter at the same time in mouth, and surprisingly smooth. Very easy to drink, especially with this type of meal. Fantastic to drink, and even better to cook with.

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Photo of SteveoNY
5/5  rDev +28.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Presentation: 1 PT .9 OZ Brown bottle with crushed gold foil around cap. day code on lower left of label, but no freshness date.

Appearance: Dark amber color, with 1 finger of tan head, head retains very well, with lacing ring throughout the pint.

Smell: Hints of caramel, sweet and toasted malt, chocolate, slight hint of orange.

Taste: lovely rich malt flavor similar to a brown ale. abv very well hidden.

Notes: one of my favorites, Breakfast beer it is. a little thrown off by the label reading "malt liqour" on the side, guessing no hops.

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Photo of BigPlay1824
4.06/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a tumbler

A: pours a very deep brown non translucent color with a thin amount of creamy brown head that dissipates quickly, leaves a small amount of lacing

S: nice deep scent with nice caramel notes

T: very nice deep caramelly malt flavors backed by a slight sweetness that helps it to finish smoother

D/M: beautifully smooth drinking especially for a dopplebock, drinks much lighter than expected and yet still has a great depth of flavor that really makes it an enticing brew

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Photo of BerkeleyBeerMan
4.76/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Dark, non-transparent

Smell: Malts: Caramel, butter-scotch candy. Hops: Mild and clean hops that don't interfere with the malty characters.

Taste: The Malts come out strong and thick. It has a grainy coffee-like character to it. It is strong on the hops. The hops accentuate the body of the beer but never intefere with the overall flavor.

Mouthfeel: Heavy body with a mild coarseness like a well pulled espresso. Not very carbonated. Doesn't go flat.

Drinkability: This has been a favorite beer of mine for a while even before I thought about reviewing beers. It's a heavy beer that doesn't require a refill because it satisfies so much. You'll want to pick up an Optimator to help you wash down your dinner or to celebrate.

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Photo of beergod1
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep ruby/brown pour with a medium foamy head that sticks around a while. Aroma of sweet roasty caramel malt and light sweet fruitiness. Flavor is the same. Loads of roasty malt and hints of Caramel. A bit of alcohol bite on the finish, but not enough to be distracting, still smooooth. Body needs to be a bit heavier. Not the Best Doppel Bock....But this is well worth it. Thanx Doug K.

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Photo of brewcrew76
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Deep ruby red with a thin tan head that leaves a ring of foam remaining.

S - Sweet caramel malt, bready, toffee with ripe fruit.

T - Bready malt with a bit of caramel sweetness, toffee and ripe fruits. A hint of roast in the finish with a touch of alcohol. Gets an herbal note as it warms.

M - Rich and chewy. A touch sticky from the malt sweetness.

D - A solid doppelbock a touch on the sweet side.

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Photo of FreshHawk
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Deeper amber color, but for the style it is a little light. Smaller than average sized, foamy, creamy, off-white head. Disappears pretty fast with a thin ring of lace.

S - Slightly burnt caramel and carob. Plenty of sweet dark fruit, especially raisin along with a plumy aroma and slightly jamy. Some dark, sweet bready malt as well. Some fruity, apple along with a hint of alcohol.

T - Like the nose, there is a good amount of dark fruit with raisin and a plumy flavor as well as a touch of apple. Also a fair amount of molasses and carob. Quite malty and some dark, sweet bread along with some slightly torched caramel. A touch of nuttiness.

M - Lighter side of medium (pretty light for the style) with about average carbonation. Smooth and a touch creamy, but just a little too thin for my liking.

D - Pretty easy to drink and enjoyable, although it is pretty sweet and has a pretty big jamy feel. Alcohol shows up but doesn't dominate. I could drink another but that's about it.

Notes: Enjoyable beer but not my favorite doppelbock. This one is more of a fruity doppelbock rather than chocolate. Definitely worth a try, especially given its history, but I don't think it is my favorite of the style.

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Photo of MoreThanWine
3.99/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tap poured with very little head. Dark raw umber in color. Smell and taste of sweet malt, some spice, cocoa. Quite the silky smooth mouthfeel. Decent length finish.

And what boosted my impression was the great setting - Jacob Wirth's restaurant - the oldest German restaurant in the US. Good times.

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Photo of ZeroSignal
3.73/5  rDev -4.1%
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 -1.5%
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 +8%
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 +3.6%
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 +7.5%
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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Spaten Optimator from Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu
Beer rating: 3.89 out of 5 with 3,115 ratings