Spaten Optimator | Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu

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very good
1,317 Reviews
Spaten OptimatorSpaten Optimator

Brewed by:
Germany | website

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: 1,317 | Ratings: 2,988
Photo of deejaydan
4.41/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a perfect ruby with millions of tiny bubble streaming up. Slightly frothy head, and moderate lacing. Smell is grainy, not the malt bomb that I had hoped for in this one. Taste is exceptional, sweet carmelly malts with no alcohol burn whatsoever. Mouthfeel is thick and lush, coating your mouth. Drinkability... I think this is one of the best dopplebocks out there. A bit heavy for daily drinking, but a nice treat to pick up.

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Photo of d1ckvanswype
4.41/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Poured from 12oz green(!) bottle into a Duvel glass, formed a finger of khaki head which died quickly. Appears dark brown, but shows a deep garnet when held to the light. Smatters of lacing.

S: Caught a slight whiff of skunk from the bottle, but it aired out by the time I poured it. Dried cherries, prunes, raisins, a touch of coffee, molasses, honey, wheat, sweet roasty malts. Man, this smells really, really good, if a tad sweet.

T: Almost exactly the same as the nose, with a nice twinge of nuttiness, barley syrup. Very mildly astringent, which leads to a very clean finish. Aftertaste is almost better than the sip.

M: Mild carbonation and a pleasantly lush mouthfeel leaves you feeling refreshed, but the sweetness does tend to get a bit sticky after a few sips.

O: While I have to knock off some merits for the green bottle, this is a remarkably good brew from a macro brewery that needs to be shipped across the ocean to reach me. I'm glad to see one of my gateway beers actually tastes better now that I'm a bit more knowledgable.

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Photo of Dizzy
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown with garnet highlights, off white head leaves a ring around the edge of the glass and a large patch in the middle. Aroma is malty sweetness and a faint roasted aroma. Taste is malty with some roastiness, not much here as far as hops are concerned. Medium mouthfeel with average carbonation. Alcohol is hidden so well, it would be easy to session this, but it might not be a good idea...This is easily one of my favorites.

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Photo of Nibbley
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a lovely dark brown with a nice tight cream colored head. Aroma is of fresh baked bread and a hint of apple strudel. Tastes of fresh bread and big yeasty doughnuts with a good mouthful of carbonation. This is one of my favorite beers and i enjoy it daily.

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Photo of tjsdomer2
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Excellent tan lacing that remains on the glass. Blood red; perfect to the Halloween season.

Smell: Sweet vinegary grapes. Smokey oak as well. Again, definitely a great seasonal.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Initially some dry smokey grass. Oak follows with a hint of raisin. Mouthfeel starts nice and yeasty and is a bit thin overall. Despite this, it makes a nice crisp and bold comeback in the finish.

Overall: An excellent beer.

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Photo of ommegoose
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased a 12-pack at Evanston First Liquors.

Pours out of a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. A very dark brown with hints of red, orange and purple when held to the light. A fast pour doesn't yield too much head and it fizzes out pretty fast. Doesn't leave anything on top, and looks very shiny and oily, which suggests lots of aroma and flavor. In fairness, this is the last of the 12 pack, and I've had this sitting in the fridge a while. I seem to remember there being much better retention with previous bottles. I like this beer best very close to (if not at) room temperature. The bottle artwork is nice.

Smells so dark and malty. Strong suggestions of prune and raisin. Sweet like ripe dark fruits. Also just reminds me of various breads, like pumpernickel or sourdough. This just puts a smile on my face. It's not the most complex, but it's potent, and just dessert-like enough to make this beer feel like a treat. I like that you can give this one a strong shake and pull big differences out of the nose.

Flavor is very malty and yeasty. Like a dark bread. Balanced out by a raisin/prune sweet and sour mix. Caramel, molasses and toffee are detectable in the sweetness. Maybe a trace of hops, but they don't play much of a role here. Finishes with a subtle dark cacao, and relatively clean. Not at all sticky, which would be an easy trap to fall into with this kind of beer. Might be just too sweet for some, but I have a pretty high threshold for sweetness. Recalls various dessert treats at times, like dark gingerbread or raisin bread, or a dark plum compote.

Mouthfeel is what I would look for here. Thick, slick, and a bit oily. Goes down quite smooth. Some warming, but I'd never call it a burn. There's a tradeoff between alcohol presence and increased flavor and aroma as the beer warms. Carbonation is rather low.

Drinkability is dangerous for a 7.2% beer. I've downed quite a few of these in a sitting without too much thought before. I go out of my way to pick up a 12-er once or twice a year. It doesn't hurt that other doppelbocks are not as readily available in such format or for a better price. Always a good change of pace beer, but not an everyday type of beer.

I must confess that I have not really tried other doppelbocks despite my strong affection for this one. I might re-review if drinking more of them changes my standards. On its own merits, this is a delicious beer, and really quite impressive for the mass-produced nature of it. Would love to try it really fresh someday.

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Photo of sld66
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into my Pilsner glass (only beer glass I have right now). Brown, almost muddy, opaque appearance. Nose is slightly sweet, not overwhelming, maybe some toasted nuts. Medium body, very smooth, well rounded taste. Hints of chocolate. Could easily drink another depite >7% alcohol content. Excellent.

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Photo of granger10
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was quite a treat. I have seen this one at my local store for so long without giving it a try, I don't know why. Anyways, it poured a deep brown color with a beautiful head that held up quite well. The nose was roasted malt mixed with a fruitiness, maybe plums. The taste was strong in the malt department, mainly with caramel but also some chocolate and earthy malts as well. The hops stay in the background but are needed to keep the malts within their limits. A slight alcohol flavor hits me in the aftertaste which really makes me only want to drink more. Quite a great beer!

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Photo of mariposafan
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
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 ChrisBowers
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Excellent example of the style... Nose is of chocolate, toffee and caramel. Sweet malty richness with the first sip, and a satisfying mouthfeel. Alcohol is quite warming. Some fruity esters present here. Lots of rich chocolate undertones and a well balanced finish. Excellent brew.

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Photo of taez555
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a very dark brown, yet clear, body with a small off-white head.

The nose was a mixture of maple syrup, pure malt, some smoke, wood, roots and LME. If you’re a home brewer you’ll know what I mean. It smelled like concentrated malt syrup. A very unique and inviting smell.

Taste was thick and very full bodied. Very, very, very rich malt and more malt and malt and earth. Sort of a backwoods kind of flavor as well. Just enough bitterness to give it something to hold onto, and nothing really strong in the way of hops. Again, the hops are mostly use to give just enough balance. This beer is a malt machine.

Really a fantastic beer. MALT!!!. An amazing beer if you want something big and malty without having to have a hop attack.

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Photo of Stunner97
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- dark brown that is see through still when held to the light, very light carbonation though bubbles can be seen lightly running up the glass, very thin to almost no at all white head

Smell-- Super sweet caramel, tons of malts just shooting into your nose, great molasses and sugar smells instantly fill your nose, slight alcohol can be smelt

Taste- Lots of caramel and malts up front, very sweet at first then you are ridden into with some back end bitterness that help round this beer out, some sweet fruitiness can also be slighty noted, Id best describe the fruits as caramel apple flavor, also a slight alcohol taste in the finish could be slightly noticed

Mouthfeel- thick and very syrupy, full bodied yet light, moderate carbonation, slight alcohol can be notice on the mouth

Drinkability-- I gotta say this is one my first beers i started getting more into after only originally know American macros but I really do think this beer is underrated, I think its a really good example of its style and an amazing beer to drink, its sweet malty and delicious, its alcohol being high is slightly noticeable though still hidden enough to be very enjoyably drinkable, this is one i look forward to visiting ocasianally when i feel the need for a break from the usual lighter beers, hoppy beers, or the wheat beers, a beer i am glad to have in my rotation and worth a try if you haven't, one i think i will always enjoy even compared to the others i have tried of the style i still come back for more optimator

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle served in a 14oz glass mug.

L - clear dark amber color with a beige head that settles to a foamy ring/thin layer that left a good coating of lace.

S - sweet roasted malt aroma, very nice scent.

T - roasted malt flavor is dominant with a touch of bitterness on the dry finish.

F - medium bodied with a good carbonation feel.

D - goes down nice and easy.

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Photo of kbub6f
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The smaller, 12oz green bottle bought locally (Grapevine refrigerated shelves), a few days in my fridge, reviewed 45F-65F.

A dense tan head coughs up big bubbles. It collapses slowly. Lacing is thin but sticky. Ruby highlights show up in the dark dark beer if you hold it to the light.

What a nice, toffee malty smell. Mere traces of fonk. The front is malty, but also quite fruity. Creamy caramel takes over in the middle leading to a toffee finish with a touch of spice. Aftertaste is sweet toffee caramel and a surprisingly pleasant alcohol flavor.

Man, what a great beer! Deep. Complex. Sweet but not too sweet. Yum!

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Photo of JonB1958
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at the Bavarian Lodge.

The dark brown, almost-black pour came with a small head that vanished pretty quickly. The smell is like bread in a glass: Sweet and malty and complex, with some fig or raisin overtones.

Like most of the style I've tried, the carbonation is light and hop profile is in the background, although this seems to have a bit more hops than I expected.

Taste is fantastic, moving all around your mouth with a carmely malt and some dark fruit flavors. Halfway through the glass, I felt the warmth of the ABV come over me like a wave.

A great beer experience.

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Photo of rednrag
4.43/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is my second dopplebock(the other being Salvator). I think i'm in love. The taste blows me away on this cold winters day. Cant wait to try the other ones. The Germans are true masters of their craft, wonder what it would be like to try one in Badtolz or Munich?

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Photo of joedon
4.43/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Really close to ideal dopplebock. Very dark with a tan head that was short-lived. Smell mostly of malt and bread. Taste is big dark malt-chocolatey and a little bit sweet.

Mouthfeel is just right: very filling, chewy and has a lingering malty sweetness. I could drink many pints of this fine beer.

I'm surprised Optimator doesn't rate higher with BA?

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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.

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Photo of gonzo46and2
4.44/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a mahogany brown with very little head. No lacing either. The appearance is the only category this beer lacks.

Smell is wonderfully full of malt, pine, brown sugar, soy sauce-like smokeyness and dark fruit. Almost bacony.... like a rauchbier.

Taste is delightfully sweet and full of malt. There's a bit of bitterness from mild hops.

Mouthfeel is perfect. Not too thick and good carbonation.

Drinkability... well the abv will fool you if you don't check the bottle. It tastes like a session dopplebock but is a bit too strong for that.

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Photo of bradford
4.45/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

After passing this beer for a long time, I finally caved and bought a six pack
Looks ok, actually not very good to me for some reason.
I dont get much on the nose either. Obviously a malty lager smell, but I can't distinguish much else
Tasted excellent. Full, rich, complex, and most importantly, tasty.
Mouthfeel was pretty good. Very thick but also crisp
Drinkability is excellent. This one goes down easy and tastes great

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Photo of cornet1
4.45/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This review stems from a 1 PT .9 OZ "bomber" with a bottled on date of L34653 which means the 346th day of 2005. This bottle is exactly one year old (happy birthday!). The smell is extremely malty. The strong malt is apparent the second the bottle is opened. It poured a nice deep brownish ruby color. There was a nice 1 1/2 inch head after pouring. The taste is very malty and the alcohol is only somewhat noticeable for a 7.2%. I really can't detect any hops, just pure malty goodness! I know that the Ayinger Celebrator is rated higher than this one but I find them both to represent the doppelbock style equally. However, the Celebrator does seems a little bit more smooth than the Optimator. I highly recommend this doppelbock by Spaten and be sure to seek out the 1 PT .9 OZ "bomber" cause the 12 OZ bottle is just never enough!!!!


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Photo of mimicic
4.45/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Probably one of the beer I love which I can get it for really cheap near my house (Wegmans in Rochester).

12oz bottle (6.99 for 6 pack =D)

Appearance: Amber Dark. Has little thin foam on the top.

Smell: Very unique. Sweet aroma with maltiness

Taste: Sweet and malty

Mouthfeel: Really rich and warm. Malt covered and taste stays in your mouth for long time

Drinkability: Good beer to drink, but I wouldn't drink more than 2 bottles. This beer is really really rich.

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Photo of cerevisiaephilus
4.45/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer is one of my favorites. A ridiculously malty beer, that isn't to sweet. Its just right. This beer has a great nose on it from which one can detect a bit of alcohol and a good dose of malt aroma with maybe a little honey scent in there too. Almost no detectable hop presence, but I'm sure without hops it would taste odd.

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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 Offa
4.45/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is a very tasty, yet highly drinkable doppelbock.

Very dark brown with some red, it has a medium, pale tan head steadily shrinking to thin foam then a ring. It leaves a few wisps of lace but very little.

The aroma is rich whole wheat bread with prunes, musty grain, a bit meaty with hints of molasses and steak sauce, esp. tamarind. It's very nice.

The taste is also quite nice, being musty whole wheat, raisins, hints of charred herbs, wood, and licorice, but the latter fades soon and a caramelly chocolate quiality becomes stronger, along with a little molasses. It has an alcoholic prune-like spiciness and starts sweeter before a somewhat drier, clean finish. It's tasty, nicely balanced, and highly drinkable, if not as rich and complex as some.

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Spaten Optimator from Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu
87 out of 100 based on 1,317 ratings.
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