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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,332 | Ratings: 3,042
Photo of Cyberkedi
4.36/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful rich chocolate brown. Aroma is strong, mainly malty, and tempting. Flavor is rich and malty with hints of toffee and a smoky undertone. There is not the least bit of bitterness. Smooth, very pleasing, this beer is great all by itself, especially after a meal.

 277 characters

Photo of Mosstrooper
4.37/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from 12oz into a Guinness branded tulip pint glass

Appearance: Deep, dark reddish-brown with a little bit of a tan-ish head that dissipates quickly.

Smell: Heavy on the malts (caramel?), sweet.

Taste: Sweet and roasty with a slightly bitter finish and a very nice aftertaste. The aftertaste might even be better than the beer itself!

Mouthfeel: Medium-full bodied with a slight carbonation up front.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. Filling, so I don't know if I'd sit down and have more than one or two at a time, but this is something I would love to have in the fridge to reach for on a fall evening. Actually- I'm drinking this for lunch as I review it; this can be a meal in itself! Hooray doppelbock!

 715 characters

Photo of KKB
4.37/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - A dark brown, ruby-walnut looking glass of goodness; about a finger of very light brown/off white foam at the beginning, leaves very little lacing.

S - The smell is completely charming, with sweet malt smells that have tiny roasted scent but really you can tell they were not roasted for long, a nice fruity aroma too as well as slight citrus and caramel.

T - A symphony of flavors, right off the bat I can tell this is one of the better doppelbocks I've had before. The malt hasn't been roasted to the point where it gives you that really chocolaty flavor and instead is nice and mild and sweet with a little bit of bitterness. Then there is a really nice woody taste to've got to let this beer get really warm to enjoy it though. Pretty much room temperature is when the fruit and hops start really coming out to form a wonderful hoppy, malty, fruity beverage. All flavors obsequious to the malt while the bitterness keeps it in check. while still playing important roles... There is chestnut in here as well, I do declare.

M - Medium to full body. Very light carbonation that makes for a very slight syrupy aspect that is very pleasant. Silky and creamy toward the end.

O - Very good doppelbock. Just a pleasure to drink. It's different too, which is nice. The malt play a very unique roll that is not overwhelming as in many others, but is still commanding (I'm only giving the overall a 4 because I hesitate to give this beer a 4.5. It is so so good, but 90% and above is reserved for royalty).

 1,516 characters

Photo of dacrza1
4.38/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark, brazen brown body with a white settling head; occupies the Celebrator glass well... excellent tracings of lace... heightened malts.... the sweet aroma is warming and inviting... smooth, medium-bodied with little effervescence around the tongue and below...creamy... the pitch of bready yeasts and malts are empowering, rich and rewarding... the end is warming... in the first of six doppelbocks sampled, the Optimator sets a brisk pace... the malts arrive as expected, balanced as the lion and lamb month they 're intended for...

 535 characters

Photo of marc77
4.38/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The dense off - white head sits on top of a gorgeous, absolutely clear deep ruby hued potion. The incredible clarity signifies a long and well lagered brew. Sweet, toffeeish, toasty, bready, Munich malt notes along w/ that signature decoction produced melaniodin complexity dominate the malt aroma profile. Chewy in aroma chewy and malt flavor as well. The carbonation is perfect, providing for a very smooth and rich mouthfeel but allows for ample head retention as well. Optimator tastes sweet, but the sweetness is accompanied by rich, luscious and complex malt flavors and is barely balanced by a mild hop bitterness. I don't think it's possible to brew a doppel as rich and complex as this one using single temp infusion and domestic malts. Something about that German grain... Optimator finishes w/ heavily toasty malt flavor and a delicious sweetness that isn't cloying. Cleaner in overall profile and more drinkable than Salvator. Yum.

 950 characters

Photo of steveh
4.38/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A -- Clear, deep, dark chestnut color with ruby highlights. A thick tan head that settles slowly leaving good lacing.

S -- Earthy character, mellow dark fruit character, vague DMS, some toasted malt with caramel character coming through, alcohol back.

T -- Big malty hit up front with a mellow earthiness or herbal quality in the middle, finishing with some dark fruit character. Aftertaste is toasted bread and smooth alcohol.

M -- Slick to syrupy mouth-feel with a medium-full body.

D -- Good drinkability for a big beer. A definite savoring style.

 554 characters

Photo of stella77artois
4.38/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into Weizen glass.

As a long time fan of Spaten Original and being a fan in general of Bock's and Doppelbocks, I naturally wanted to try this. Unfortunately, no local stores carry it. Was lucky enough to find some across the lake in VT.

A - Average looking doppelbock. A very dark red-brown, slightly lighter in the light. A very thin off-white head which dissipated quickly, but left some residual. No carbonation noticed.

S - Not a whole lot here. Lot's of malt, some caramel and a general creaminess. A nice smell, just a little on the light side.

T - Damn, this tastes good. A very good representation of a bock. Malt and caramel noticed in the taste as well. Also some toffee, and even some cinnamon. A very creamy and malty taste, without the huge amount of sweetness that many bocks carry. A very, very good taste beer.

F - This is where the beer seperates itself. This is one of the more drinkable bocks. Don't get me wrong, I do greatly enjoy the thickness and feel and a normal doppelbock, but sometimes it can get a little heavy. Not the case here. Still a thick and powerful feeling beer, but a lot of carbonation was felt on the tongue, and the beer wasn't as heavy feeling. First doppelbock I've tried that I consider crisp.

O - A damn good doppelbock. Plenty of taste, not so heavy that you can't drink a few. Highly recommend this beer to any bock fans, or anyone who enjoys dark lagers in general.

 1,442 characters

Photo of beerman207
4.38/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have always been a fan of the Octoberfest brew by Spaten and have wanted to try this one for a while. I wasn't disappointed.

Appearance: Poured a copper/red color

Smell: Smelled of malt and a bit of honey

Taste: Tasted tones of honey in there which were muted but was a nice suprise.

Mouthfeel: Well Balanced

Drinkability - I would rate this as high for drinkability.

 376 characters

Photo of DevAJ
4.39/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hit me surprisingly hard for only being 7.6% abv, but then again I could have just downed it too quickly. If I downed it too quickly it's because it was surprisingly easy to drink.

 181 characters

Photo of KonigObHops
4.39/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a very deep brown with a thick light brown head.

The aroma is smokey with a hint of raisins.

The initial taste of the beer is sweet with toasted malt in the middle. The beer finishes smooth with a smokey raisin aftertaste.

The mouthfeel is extremely smooth almost to the point of being creamy.

Overall this is a very good dunkel. It is smooth and very drinkable with a complex taste that you would expect from the style.

 442 characters

Photo of car2052
4.39/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle to pint glass.

A: Clear dark brown, almost black. Small lacing of tan head.
S: Strong smell of caramel malt, sweetness, toffee, cereal grains, and a plum/prune scent.
T: Sweet, yet strong malts akin to a porter show up first, followed by a bran cereal taste. Minimal hop taste. Not as much fruit in the taste. Finishes with an alcoholic bite at the end.
M: Medium to heavy. Malts coat your tongue at the end.
O: Not a bad doppelbock. Will have to try more to compare.

 494 characters

Photo of neonbrown82
4.4/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've never been much of a fan for doppelbocks, but this one is quite good. A little bit more crisp and less "muddy," but still has a nice sludgy mouthfeel.

Pours to a dark nutty brown with a thin white head that fizzes away to nothing in a matter of seconds. When held to the light it is revealed to be quite clear and ruby colored with a nice carbonation. Looks good.

The smell is very malty, earthy and nutty. A slight roast and chocolate/caramel. Good, but requires a strong whiff to get the whole of it.

The taste is also very dark and malty with some good earthy, nutty, and roasty flavors. Has a nice sweetness to it. Too little hop bitterness to detect, almost. Finishes very clean, and with no detection of a high alcohol content.

The mouthfeel is very crisp and carbonated, also stings a bit, whether from the alcohol or the carbonation. Also manages to be quite thick and sludgy. Very interesting. This is a very dangerously drinkable doppelbock. I would recommend it, even if you aren't a fan of the style, like myself.

 1,043 characters

Photo of RichieS2
4.4/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Samuel Adam's glass.

A - A deep ruby color, only able to see through when it is held up to the light. Respectable carbonation and a frothy white head.

S - Very malty, a promise to the sweetness to come.

T - Very sweet, it hits from the moment the beer hits your tongue and does not let up. Some slight hoppiness at the end.

M - Pleasingly warm and thick.

O - Great, try this one!

 411 characters

Photo of howandmeg
4.4/5  rDev +12.8%
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 Cthulhusquid
4.4/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look: Dark brown body, little to no white head.

Smell: Dark fruits and molasses. Kind of like a fruit filled rye bread.

Taste: Same as the above, but with a distinct kettle corn flavor.

Feel: Medium body and carbonation. The alcohol isn't hidden very well, and drinks like an 8%-9% beer.

 290 characters

Photo of deejaydan
4.41/5  rDev +13.1%
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.

 432 characters

Photo of d1ckvanswype
4.41/5  rDev +13.1%
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.

 1,048 characters

Photo of Dizzy
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
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.

 438 characters

Photo of Nibbley
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
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.

 261 characters

Photo of tjsdomer2
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
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.

 434 characters

Photo of ordybill
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 OZ bottle into a pint glass. The appearance is a dark copper color with a small tan head. The aroma is malt and caramel. The taste is an excellent match to the aroma with a small amount of hops. An excellent beer.

 235 characters

Photo of ommegoose
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
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.

 2,519 characters

Photo of sld66
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
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.

 322 characters

Photo of granger10
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
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!

 584 characters

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.

 860 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

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