Spaten Optimator | Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu

very good
1,332 Reviews
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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Reviews: 1,332 | Ratings: 3,042
Photo of acevenom
4.72/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a 1 pint 0.9 ounce bottle into a 22 ounce brandy snifter. Pours dark brown with a dissipating tan head that leaves some lacing. The smell is of sweet dark roasted malts and a bit of caramel. There's maybe a bit of fig in the smell. The taste is of lightly sweet malt, fig, caramel, a little bit of bitterness on the back end. It's not cloyingly sweet and the ABV is not noticeable. The mouthfeel is full and the flavors linger in the mouth, but it is very pleasant. The carbonation is well done. Overall, this is an excellent beer and is still one of my favorites.

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Photo of Psyopticon
4.7/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This will be my first review of a Beer and I'm truely excited to start off with the Spaten Optimator. With this said, keep it in mind this is my first as I go through the A.S.T.M.D of it.

I came across this beer in a German style tavern located in Silver Lake, CA named "The Red Lion Tavern". I never really expanded my tastes passed the normal domestic beer, so this was my first real break outside of common grocery store beer. I randomly picked Spatan Optimator and this is how it went.

Appearance: At first, I was rather intimidated. It was dark, and was barely transparent towards the bottom.

Smell: The smell was actually quite nice, different than any other beer I've smelled at the time. Had a rich caramel smell to it.

Taste: The ultimate. I never really understood why people liked tap beer at the time I tried this. But after tasting this out of a bottle later on, I realized why. Like the smell, it tasted of Caramel which is quite nice, and really makes this one of my favorites.

Mouthfeel: The S.O does have somewhat of a syrup-like texture yet somewhat smooth, but this isn't something that really concerned me.

Drinkability: With this beer having a decently high ABV of 7.2%, it's not really a beer you can have a few of and be fine. I had 3 glasses the first time and it pretty much kicked my ass at the time being the lightweight that I am. But it was the perfect drink to go with a pretty gnarly bratwurst & sauerkraut.

This is at the currently point in time, my favorite beer right now, and It's a joy to bring a 6-pack of it to a friends place and watch them enjoy it as well.

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Photo of SirLicksalot
4.7/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle to pint glass
A dark bronze pour with a light head. Nice malty rich smell. Slightly sweet a little hoppy.
Fantastic balance of flavors, no single flavor characteristic was overpowering. The rich malt provided the sweetness to offset the slight bitterness of the hops. This was a taste so potent, it may have reversed my neutering operation.
I’m no German Shepherd, but this is a beer that you should drink from a Kaiser Wilhelm helmet in order to wash down a couple of yards of bratwurst. The flavor is so rich that it does mask the impressive 7.6% ABV content, so this brew can sneak up on you if you’re not careful.
I tried this one on the recommendation of a Schnauzer, and was not disappointed. It now ranks in my top 5 favorite beers.

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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 BuddyP87
4.68/5  rDev +20%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My dad was in the Air Force and spent time in Germany and had this beer back in the 1960's, he said I had to try some, I am glad I did. This is a full body beer that will put you to sleep. If you are used to American beers be warned, this beer will put you to sleep.

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Photo of KodyBrannon
4.68/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer hooked me from the first sip. It was a darker in color than i expected, but had a lighter taste than the look. Very smooth on the first sip and good to the last drop. The smell of the beer, is very mindfull of a heavy draught like guiness, but the taste goes more along the lines of an english ale, I would recomend this to anyone that wants to try it. I will be keeping this one in constant supply.

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Photo of ski271
4.67/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Everybody knows that beer tastes better on tap that out of a bottle, and I couldn’t think of a better example than the Optimator. I also had this beer at Schnitzel’s Tavern in Bellefonte, PA, a German restaurant that knows how to pour a beer.

This doppelbock is a very dark, slightly-reddish brown beer with a small to medium sized off-white head that mostly diminished except for a thin layer that lingered for most of the way down and left a decent amount of lacing. Aroma is heavy of roasted malts and a caramel sweetness, which I’m a sucker for, but it was also slightly fruity. Taste follows suit, being dominated by the sweetness of the roasted malts, but there was also a light hops presence and a hint of grape or currant. The finish is wonderful and lingering with a nice hops kick and a little alcohol. The mouthfeel is thick and creamy with low to average carbonation. I adore this beer and think there almost needs to be separate ratings for bottle and draught. I'd give it a 5 for taste if only it tasted consistently as good as it does at Schnitzel's.

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Photo of fitzy84
4.65/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had at Moan and Dove. Dark but clear appearance with some amber hints through light. Immediate lacing. Very rich in malts, grains and nuts in aroma: very enticing and thick smells. Really incredible taste: rich but not too heavy, malty and hoppy. Medium body balances out its delicious dimensions from getting too extreme. Overall, an awesome drink.

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Photo of logansboat15
4.65/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Spaten Optimator has always been one of my favorite versions of the Doppelbock style. Pours a beautiful dark copper with decent head and faint lacing. Aroma comes forth as a peaty, meaty, full-bodied whiff of malty deliciousness. Tastes like a sweet caramel apple on steroids. Sweet going down, going to light dry to the finish. Heavy, chewy mouthfeel makes this an exceptional brew, both in bottles and on tap. So smooth that extra care must be taken if consumed in a party atmosphere. Goes great with a hearty chicken mole or greasy enchiladas.

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Photo of 86MonteSS
4.65/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sure, why the hell not.

It's a deep brownish coloration with just the right head.

A sweet, full-bodied aroma made my heart cry for joy... seriously.

The taste is thick and malty, but just hoppy enough to keep the kids from loving it.

The finish says "hey, you just had one hell of a beer, ya fat, lazy bastard."

And I say, Spaten Optimator must be the best German beer I've ever had.

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

OK... I've previously reviewd this as served on tap. But I recently purchased a case to have on hand at home.

The 12 oz green bottle poured into a pint glass seemed so small when compared to the normal serving I enjoy at Mecklenburg Gardens in Cincinnati (1 Big ol' Litre!). But it poured nicely producing a 1" head of frothy beige foam. The color was dark brown... very dark.

I sniffed the edge of the glass to catch the aroma of chocolate sweetness with some fruity character... perhaps spiced prunish. It seemed more hoppy than as served on tap and also a bit more carbonated, but not overly so. Actually very well balanced.

The mouthfeel was smooth. Very nice without a hoppy bite. The aftertaste leaves a sweetness in your mouth for a long time!

Drinkability is excellent with this strong Dopplebock. This is and probably will remain as my preferred Bock. I might be in the minority, but I prefer this one over Celebrator... although, I've never had Celebrator on tap.

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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 brdc
4.64/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Small capped bottle poured into a tulip.

Nice brownish color with crimson highlights, topped by an average sized tan head with good retention and lacing. Aroma is malty as expected, toffeeish and caramelized, with some unexpected fruity hints.
Clean taste on an almost full body, with layer upon layer of malts, sweetish, toffeish and caramelized, but well balanced by an underlying bitterness.
A very good doppelbock.

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Photo of alfistheman
4.62/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Being a recent fan of the hefe's, the more citrus sweet wheat variations, this has been the beer to change my mind and mix it up.

A- Deep oak red color transparent enough to see shapes through. THe head is carmel thick, and laces beautifuly.

S- Carmel and Brown Sugar Malts, some hops and sweet chocolate in there, very apealing

T- Smooth brown sugar, toffee and carmel flavor to the malt... after I taste grassy, rather earthy hops, very well balance of bitter and sweet.

M- Mid Body, smooth and great carbination, not too much or too little. I don't get the oily after taste I get in many thick dark styles of beer like some porters, very smooth.

D- Even with the high ABV i find myself wanting to chug these. Once the ABV sets in a bit I am able to slow down. Might be best to alternate with a less ABV's if you like to pound beers like myself.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.62/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An excellent doppel that is fit for year-round consumption if you ask me. The doppelbock pours a rich, dark reddish/brown colour with an ample beige head. The aromas are all malt, and plenty of it! The taste is malty as hell, with a nice alcoholic, spicy kick to it. The mouthfeel is thick and rich, but not over-the-top and the drinkability is excellent for a doppel.

High marks!

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Photo of gc4hokies
4.62/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Maybe because this was my first doppelbock I tried about 10+ years ago, but this one is on my list of all time favorite beers. There's something about the aroma and flavor that makes me think of oompa bands and alpine hats.

As I sit here writing this review, I have a glass of Ayinger along side the Optimator. And I realize the Ayinger is a higher "ranked" beer and it might be a more "refined" beer, but to my untrained palate, the Optimator just tastes better.

Ok, on with the review...

It pours a very dark brown with cherry highlights (very similar to the Ayinger - can't tell the difference). Nice frothy white head.

Aroma is wonderful. Dark caramel malt aromas and sweetness. Taste is dark fruits, raisin, with roasting caramel notes. Sweet malt is predominant with very slight hop bitterness. At 7.6 abv this packs a punch but alcohol is faint.

Overall, this is my standard for what a double bock should be. Delicious

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Photo of MattNidiffer
4.61/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Beer was on-tap, poured into a pint glass with a light, half-finger head.

Appearance: Dark, with a light beige, sudsy head. Not very frothy, lacing is consistent throughout.

Smell: Dark, toasted malts, small notes of apple and syrup. HInts of salty caramel are picked up after the first initial whiff, and once the head clears, the apple aroma comes through a bit more strongly.

Taste: Very round, dark caramel flavor, followed by a strong flavor of roasted malt. Light hints of pepper, and small notes of hoppy bitterness. Well-rounded, hoppy finish, that leaves the palate with a sweet, almost bread-like aftertaste. Very pleasant all-around.

Mouthfeel: Slightly soft carbonation, very smooth to drink. When sipped, it leaves the palate feeling surprisingly tingly for a darker beer. (Think Guinness, but slightly more carbonation.)

Overall: Very pleasant beer all-around. For all you seasonal beer-drinkers out there, this might not be your first choice while lounging at the beach or by the pool, but you can't beat sitting by the fire with a glass of this stuff in hand on a crisp autumn day. The flavor and the mouthfeel are this beer's strong points, if we're looking at it from an overall experience standpoint. With its roasty caramel notes, finished up by its sweet breadiness, this beer is one of the smoother dark beers out there.

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Photo of Dmann
4.6/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Now this is some good shit! I have heard a lot about this beer and other Doppelbocks but since I'm such a hop-head, I usualy pass them up when it comes time to go to the store. I will pass them no more. This poured a great brownish color with great head that settled on top till the last drop. The smell was filled with toffee and carmel. The flavor was out of this world with a great carmel taste and just a touch of hops in the end to round it all out. For an import macro, this is about as good as it gets.

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Photo of tconboy
4.6/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown. I like the flat coke analogy. Head dissipates. Light lacing. Tastes of sweet delicious malty goodness with a hint of brown sugar and caramel. Incredibly smooth and very drinkable. Thankful I decided to pick up this as a throw in on a pick your own sixer so that I could celebrate the week's end today. Takes me back to Germany.

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Photo of heath1agnew
4.6/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

appearance- pours a deep red brown with a two finger head that slowly goes down to thin head. lacing is visible.

smell- great malty smell, hints of bread and banana.

taste and mouthfeel- wow. tastes of malt, with a sweet bready aftertaste with a warm finish of alcohol. and even though the alcohol is for sure present it is NOT overpowering at all. mouthfeel is smooth and creamy.

drinkability- very easy to drink.

this beer is everything i hoped it would be, can't recommend it enough.

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Photo of 1234Jack
4.6/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On sale at my neighborhood QFC at $2.81 per pint.

500 ml bottle. Gold wrap around the cap and neck. Double-spade front icon, medieval "Optimator" on front.

"7.6% Alc/Vol". Label also says "Malt Liquor".

Smell out of bottle is a flood of maltiness. Later smells in glass add apple. Even later are aromas of licorice.

Barely transparent dark red amber-brown in glass. Head is not super aggressive, bubbles like to remain tiny towards the lace, which isn't super sticky.

First taste is chocolaty malt. Similar to the flavor of chocolate malt milkshake.

Second taste notices a comfortable feel on the mouth, with carbonation present but not overpowering. Bubbles feel micro.

Aftertaste is pleasant. Bitterness just barely dances on sides of tongue.

Nice flavor. Perfect winter/festive/seasonal beer.

This may be one of my favorite beers. Alcohol content with flavor that isn't like drinking a mud-meal. :)

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Photo of RootedFool
4.6/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Large tan head on the pour, over an inch tall, dense and frothy. Body is opaque, blackish brown, and bright crimson when held to the light. Smell: prune juice, toasted sour dough bread, raisins; thick and rich. Taste: opens with a bitter-shelled blast of prune-like tartness all over my palate, followed by a raspy bitterness that takes center-stage, flanked brilliantly by the bright fruitiness. The finish is a thin, mildly puckering citrus rind bitterness, with the fading sweetness of dark fruits in the background. Middling carbonation. Mouthfeel like whole milk, really perfect. I picked this up on the cheap and I'm very impressed.

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Photo of Mike707
4.6/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an over sized wine glass Optimator is a delicious malty Doppel Bock with Caramel and toasted malt notes. Definitely a cooler weather brew. Not as good as Paulaner Salvator Double Bock though!
Still can't go wrong with Optimator!
Why don't any American or Californian's brew a Bock or Doppel Bock ? All the so called "Micro Breweries" think the more Hops the better. Adding more Horsepower to a car doesn't necessarily make it better unless you add bigger brakes, suspension etc...
I don't drink those "New Jack" beers that taste like my Dad made it at home. Unless I'm drinking his.

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Photo of Cheesy_McDuck
4.59/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

dark dark brown color, almost black. This beer is delicious, but at times overwhelmingly alcoholic. I feel like this is the kind of beer Thor would drink as a night cap. Incredible German flavors and craftsmanship!

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Photo of highwaychile82
4.58/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This happens to be one of my all time favorite beers. It has a distinct earth tone color and a great but not overpowering taste. This is the "dark" beer I give to my friends to prove to them that dark isnt always bitter or "a meal in a can." Optimator is one of those rare exceptional beers where taste, body, and color come together delicously and quite often in... my stomach!

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Spaten Optimator from Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu
3.9 out of 5 based on 3,042 ratings.
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