Spaten Optimator | Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Spaten OptimatorSpaten Optimator
Very Good
3,087 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

Bros Score:
View: Beers
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,087 |  Reviews: 1,345
Photo of muskabeatz
3.62/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Rich, dark brown. Creamy head with thin lacing.

S- Huge malt aroma with a hint of roasted malt and black licorice.

T- Once again, very malty. A wave of sweetness with a bit of raisin and caramel.

F- Not quite as full as I expected. A nice blast of carbonation with a bit of alcohol spice.

D- Honestly, its a stretch for me to put down more than two of these. Just a 'once in a while' beer for me.

 403 characters

Photo of MadeInOregon
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I've seen this one at various stores so many times that I just had to try it.

Poured into a pilsner glass a huge light tan/off-white head erupted from the bottom but quickly disipated. The body is a nice deep bronze, reddish color.

First taste: Delicious! The Optimator features a very well balanced transition from sweet to chocolatey to malt to hops, with a nice warming from the 7.2% alcohol. There is also a slight yeast bite at the very beginning of the sip. The aftertaste is raisins/prunes. This is a very tasty beer and is amazing for $2.29 from Safeway!

The smell is a mix of malt, sweetness, and alcohol.

The feel is nothing special; not good or bad.

This is a very good beer although after a few sips I realized that this tastes like most of the American Winter Ales or Winter Warmers that I've had. In fact, it is extremely similar in taste and body to Pyramid's Snow Cap. I find this very interesting since American craft breweries seem to put so much effort into offering seasonal/winter ales that are unique and different, when in fact they seem to vary only slightly from German doppelbocks. That is news to me...good news, considering I like both and now won't need to wait until November to get the bold flavored beers that I enjoy.

Two thumbs up for Spaten's Optimator!

 1,295 characters

Photo of heissebier
3.57/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've been wanting to try this beer since traveling to Munich in high school. A meal in a glass? Awesome!

Appearance- Appears opaque on first pour but on closer inspection its a beautiful orange-red. When held up to a light it reminds me of a sunset. Good, fairly quick dissipating head.

Smell- Very malty, a little bit like marinara sauce. Kind of gross

Taste- Superb! Well balanced and thick. Malty, not too sweet or bitter, I can see why the monks used to love this stuff.

Mouthfeel- Crisp and refreshing, leaves a warm feeling as it travels down my throat. Stays with you for awhile.

Drinkability- Very drinkable, but defiantly on the heavy side. I'm not going to be playing much beer pong with this one!

 713 characters

Photo of skeetermoses
3.76/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Overall this is one of the better beers I have tried good caramel taste not bad very good to go with beef or perhaps a good meaty stew, nice winter beer good and heavy, actually would like to drink this one more. I am trying the one pint nine oz bottle not bad will try again but in a smaller bottle.

 300 characters

Photo of martinmayhem
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

been on the doppelbock tip lately and this one definitely doesn't disappoint. Great big sweet but not overly sweet malt character w/ hints of caramel. It's medium bodied that fringes on full. The drinkablity is a little better than average for the style. Its definitely no Celebrator but worth drinking again.

 309 characters

Photo of Lldeegan
3.84/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is another lighter than expected doppelbock. Pours a deep dark brown not nearly as light as the Salvator, with a minimal frothy off white head that quickly diminishes to a surface lace, leaving behind very little lacing.

The smell is very nutty with some licorice undertones, not overpowering, very nice subtle smell to it. I can hardly detect the alcohol.

Sweet malt rolls over the front of the tongue, with a touch of that licorice and nutty flavor, followed by a roasty flavor hitting the back towards the end with a hot alcoholic finish.

This is a nicely carbonated beer, more than I expected from the style. It leaves the mouth feeling a bit sticky, but not overly so, which can be a negative thing in my opinion when drinking a dark doppelbock.

Definitely a drinkable beer, it is pretty crisp while cold, and as it warms up more licorice comes out and it becomes a bit more sticky, so maybe not an all night beer. Another reason for this, as with most doppelbocks is that it is higher in alcohol and is something that could sneak up on you in just a few beers, so enjoy, but watch out, this ain't a Twizzler!

 1,123 characters

Photo of KTCamm
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle during game 2 of the ALCS. Pours deep brownish black with a little white foam. Has the appearance of an english brown ale.

Highly nutty smell, hints of chocolate and toffee.

Taste opens sweet, with notes of sour. Sticky mild hop at the finish. Nutty taste.

Moderately carbonated in the mouthfeel. Very tasty and drinkable. Well made brew.

 363 characters

Photo of taigor
3.76/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from 12oz bottle

A - Very dark body, almost black with very light head and lacing.

S - Very sweet with hints of chocolate and caramel.

T - Malty sweet with caramel and chocolate.

M - Carbonated and heavy, very thick like molasses.

D - Drinkable but heavy. Also, ABV is high but alcohol is not felt at all.

 317 characters

Photo of ibbjamin
3.03/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A friend picked up a 6pack of 12oz bottles for my birthday. I pour into my Spaten Optimator mug to review on the first one of the pack.

An aggressive pour yields a nice quarter inch and rising frothy off white head. Almost no head retention. Decent lacing. Color is dark brown on the verge of black.

Aromas of malts and dark molasses. Sweet and candy-like with hints of over ripe banana.

Taste is similar to nose yet seems to be lighter in character.

Mouth is somewhat watery and beer is medium bodied. Good carbonation.

 524 characters

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.3/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500mL brown bottle with a stamp of L041936o, not even sure this is even a freshness date. Pours a clear, very dark shade of brown with some crimson highlights around the edges. Medium sized tan foam fades at a somewhat slow pace without leaving any lacing on the glass.

Lots of dark fruit and burnt caramel smacks you in the face on here. Very bready, smells a bit like a fruitcake.

This is one smoooth doppelbock. Creamy, toffee and caramel maltiness just glides through the mouth and down the hatch. The fruit that was so readily apparent in the nose fades to barely a whisper in the flavor. Some warming alcohol makes an appearance in the finish. This is a tremendously drinkable and flavorful doppelbock, there is always room for some Optimator in my fridge.

 765 characters

Photo of JamesS
4.23/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a great deep brown, nearly black, color with very nice head and lacing. Nice deep scent, very sweet and malty with a slight coffee aroma. Great taste, a wonderfully thick, dark, and strong malt flavor; no real bitterness, great for a doppelbock. Went down great, no notice of the high ABV; a great thick and dark beer.

 324 characters

Photo of Anthony1
3.45/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark reddish brown body with a one finger tan head that looks beautiful in this glass. Transparent body with very little visible carbonation.

Dark bready malt (pumpernickel), cherries, raisins, and a good shot of caramel. Not mind blowing, but pleasing.

Sweet cherries lend a syrupy flavor up front with a hearty, bready backbone and a finish of raisins, toffee, and caramel. This is a very robust, hearty beer. Very satisfying.

Just a shade below full bodied with perfect carbonation. A very thick, lush mouthfeel. Big fan of this component.

 545 characters

Photo of drcarver
3.64/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I have had this beer numerous times in the past and love it. This is a review for the past bottle I had.

A - medium brown body with 1 finger of off white head. No lacing, little retention.

S - Smells like a good pizzeria. Malt, spice, breadiness, and a hint of smoke.

T - almost soy sauce like flavor with roast malt throughout

M - Surprisingly light-medium bodied with an astringency short lived aftertaste.

D - Love it and could easily kill several in one session. Although I was shocked to see the ABV in the 7s.

 520 characters

Photo of HalfFull
3.65/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 12 oz. bottle and poured into a large wine glass. Shows a moderate brown with bright ruby highlights. A thin off white head settles quickly, yielding some light lacing.

Toasted malts on the nose, with some light chocolate and rich buttery caramel notes. Bit of light smokiness lingers if the glass has stood still for a few minutes.

Flavor is sweet yet not so much as the nose might suggest. Caramel and a bit of brown sugar spiciness on the finish. Close is somewhat lingering and pleasant though a bit simple in its sweetness. A touch of the smoke flavor does reappear at the finish to mix it up a bit. Nice full bodied feel and easy drinking for its initial sweetness.

Overall a bit too roasted, even charred in a brown sugar sense in the background but has ample malts to balance things. Decent, not stellar.

 823 characters

Photo of howandmeg
4.4/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I really enjoyed this beer. Close to perfection in a couple aspects- full flavor, strong ABV and it won't max out your credit card.

Appearance- Dark brown/amber color. Rich head, not too thick.

Smell- Nutty roasted tones.

Taste- Full and rich. Definite roasted flavor and a strong malt flavor just enough to cover the higher alcohol. Very smooth and low carbonation make this easy to drink.

Drinkability- Easy to drink, but can be filling.

I put this on up with Celebrator and Aventinus.

 492 characters

Photo of philibum13
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It tastes a lot similar to a Sam Adams Winter Lager. It is a good, hearty beer and is recommended for cooler temperatures/seasons. It drinks as a fairly heavy beer. Although, its appearance is like a Guinness, it has a better drinkability. I'd give it a solid B or B+

 267 characters

Photo of nickeyx
3.55/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass.

Pours a deep amber brown a 1 finger off-white head. A nice, sticky lacing occupies the sides of the glass.

Smells sweet, maybe a little caramel or molasses. Smell is pretty mellow.

The taste makes up for the smell. The malty caramel and molasses are there with a bit of bitterness on the back end. A great taste for such a highly accessible beer. Definitely a high quality brew.

Mouthfeel is very smooth. Carbonation is appropriate and balanced. Very drinkable despite its medium/high alcohol content.

A great beer for novices and connoisseurs alike.

 582 characters

Photo of EgadBananas
3.82/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark and rich. Dark amber with the light shining. Smells very sweet. Molasses, slight chocolate, very mild tartness. Taste is sweet and bitter at the same time but finishes with a nice caramel sweetness. I find this to be a bit different of the dopplebock genre, but one of the best. It doesn't have the strong bitter taste that you would come to expect. It's not very thick but goes down easy and is very satisfying.

Fair strength, and smoothness makes this very worthy to drink in excess if you so choose.

I will always have a place in my heart for this brew and respect any establishment that carries it.

Give it a go.

 626 characters

Photo of 11thFloorBrewing
4.26/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful amber mahogany color with a quickly fading head. The color reminds me of a traditional dark wood pub and is just as inviting. Lots of sweet malt on the nose with a touch of roasted aroma. Sweet malt flavor is met first quickly followed by bitter roasted malt and subtle hops and finishes slightly dry with nice post-nasal malt aroma. The mouth feel is smooth and silky, just enough thickness to match the malt strength. This is definitely a beer I would recommend to a malt lover.

 498 characters

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

[Appearance]: Dark ruby red color, clear, fairly nice carbonation, small head, a little lacing.
[Smell]: Sweet malts, hint of dark fruit, touch of chocolate and spice.
[Taste]: Very rich in flavor. Sweet maltiness, caramel with a touch of chocolate and hint of spiciness. Finish off really smooth, slightly sweet and dry finish.
[Mouthfeel]: Medium bodied, slight creamy mouthfeel, carbonation is mild.
[Drinkability]: Very drinkable, smooth beer for high ABV.

 462 characters

Photo of dfitch81
4.44/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is probably the most prolific of the imported Doppelbocks, and for good reason: Optimator is an excellent example of the style, satisfying for the geeks but accessible enough to appeal to novices.

Pours a beautiful dark, dark clear ruby with a good centimeter's worth of tan head that I wish would last longer. As it is, the head dissipates rather quickly, leaving nothing to lace the glass. Oh well; the beautiful dark clear-amber hue still makes this brew a looker.

Smell is absolutely heavenly: dark molasses and brown sugar with a hint of coffee. Taste is similar to the smell, though I cannot overemphasize the necessity of allowing this beer to warm to room temperature before drinking. Cold Optimator is not that great: it's flavors are seriously muted. Let it warm up first - your patience will be rewarded. Funny, I can think of no other beer in which the temperature makes such a difference...

Mouthfeel is a perfect compliment to the taste, deliciously smooth and silky, good thickness and moderate carbonation. Drinkability is good for the style, though the sweetness and 7.2% ABV mean this is no session beer.

As fall begins and the nights grow cooler, Optimator is the perfect companion for a relaxing night: out on the patio, listening to the wind rustle the leaves, the wonderful scent from neighborhood fireplaces permeating the air.

 1,359 characters

Photo of electricfields
4.27/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured this with a finger and a half head. The body is dark and carbonated. Brown with a slight red tint. The head is sort of foamy and dissipates quickly. Lacing is minimal.

S: Slightly floral fruitiness. Not much in the way of hops. A slight caramel, maybe.

T: Roasted bready malts come out immediately. There's a slight floral bite in there. Part of that gives way to alcohol.

M: Crisp, carbonated, with a medium body. Not bad at all.

D: Delicious and does not really betray its high alcohol content. Definitely good drinkability.

 540 characters

Photo of Flightoficarus
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving type - 16.9 oz (1/2 liter) bottle into a pint glass

Appearance - A very dark amber, but not quite black. Very minimal foam head, and what did result was gone quickly.

Smell - Roasted malts, dark fruit, some slight chocolate notes.

Taste - Malty and nutty. Slight chocolate notes, and flavor from hops. Sort of reminds me of some brown ales I've had for some reason, but definitely a dopplebock.

Mouthfeel - A nice, full bodied mouthful without being very foamy, giving you the true character of the beer. Not recommended for fans of lighter beer! But fans of potent beers will rejoice.

Drinkability - This is a heavy beer. I wouldn't drink more than a pint or two of these. Filling and satisfying.

Overall, a very solid offering. Probably not my favorite dopplebock, but definitely recommended for fans of the style.

 831 characters

Photo of bushbeer75
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a mug

Spaten Optimator poured a clear reddish brown color with a bubbly 1-finger light tan head that fades slowly leaving behind a ring of foam.

Aroma is of toasted malt and little hops. Taste is of sweet toasted malt, a little nutty, and a slight chocolate flavor with light hops thrown-in to keep the taste balanced. Optimator has a medium body with medium carbonation and smooth on the palate.

This is my favorite Doppelbock to date and my favorite brew from Spaten.

 496 characters

Photo of cooncat
3.84/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured at fridge temp into a std. pint glass from the green bottle. Why do brewers still use green bottles? They gotta know green bottles are no where near as good as brown for keeping out light.

A hard pour barely raises a head on this beer; at least at this temp. Perhaps I should have poured more down the center than the side. A small tan head developed and quickly faded. No lacing on the side of my glass. The color is a beautiful red-brown, bordering on ruby highlights at the sides of the glass. The color kind of reminds me of Great Lakes Nosferatu.

Nose is pretty huge with malty sweetness. Not only a lot of caramel, but also some dark fruit in there as well. A whiff of alcohol is there too.

Taste follows the nose ... huge malt flavors abound, starting with a caramel that is sweet and full. Some raisin like dark fruit notes surface to add a bit of complexity. As this is warming its tasting more and more complex, and the mouthfeel index is going from med. to full. Slightest of alcohol notes in the back, just to let you know that this is one brew you need to respect. Carbonation is light, and there is just a hint of hay from the hops. This is not a session brew, so I can't give it top marks for drinkability, but you could probably do 2 or 3 of these before handing your car keys to someone else.

A fine example of a doppelbock, and one that's been around for a LONG time. If you are a 'malt monster', this is right up your alley. Recommended to malt-heads and fans of the style. Heck, everyone should try it at least once .. its a classic.

Na Zdravje

 1,576 characters

Spaten Optimator from Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu
Beer rating: 3.89 out of 5 with 3,087 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.