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Instigator Doppelbock | Sly Fox Brewing Company

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Instigator DoppelbockInstigator Doppelbock

Brewed by:
Sly Fox Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: Doppelbock

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.30%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by NeroFiddled on 04-07-2003

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 86 | Ratings: 104
Photo of AltBock
3.01/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bomber bottle that has a pretty much average label. The label shows 2 goat shadows ready to butt their heads together. On both sides of the goats are shadows of wheat stocks. Just below all of this is the anem of the beer in big bold letters and the Sly Fox symbol of a shifty eyed fox. To the far right side of the label is where they keep the US Government warning, barcode, and the refund values. On the far left side is a brief summary about the beer and the doppelbock style and a Sly Fox caution of "May incite goat fantasies and Bock Fest envy." Don't bother looking for a date becuase there isn't one anywhere.

Appearance: When poured into a Pilsner glass, the doppelbock has a mahagony hue that looked like it was blended in with some dark amber. Sitting on top of this beer was a tall 2 inch fluffy head of foam. For the color of the foam, I would have to say that it's an off white color. It wasn't beige and it wasn't white either. This head of foam had really good retention that left behind streaks and spots of lace and a small film.

Smell: The aroma wasn't in depth that i would have liked this doppelbock to have. There really wasn't much to it. The majority of this aroma was sweet roasted malts with subtle sweet caramel, a dark fruit here and there, and then it ended with an aroma that smelled like hay or what I would to call horse blanket. Although there were a couple of dark flavors in the aroma, it reality it smelled like there wasn't enough of them. For instance, there wasn't any chocolate or coffee aroma in here. I guess the horse blanket put a blanket over those aromas.

Taste: If I had to describe this beer in one word, it would have to be "sweet." Not sweet as in "Sweet, I got a great doppelbock!" It was more like "this doppelbock is sweet as candy." Not only was it sweet, but there weren't that many flavors after the sweetness. It started off with sweet roasted malts and then it went quickly into very subtle milk chocolate and caramel. After the subtle flavors had passed, in the comes the sweet alcohol that had a pinch of bitter roasted hops mixed in with it. No horse blanket in the taste, but just the aroma, there were alot of dark flavors (or good flavors for that matter) missing. This time they din't have an excuse for why they weren't there.

Mouthfeel: This doppelbock was somewhere in between being light bodied and medium bodied. It couldn't make up its mind. What is the aftertaste going to taste like if the aroma and taste were sweet? If you guessed sweet, you're right! It had a sweet based aftertaste of burnt malts and alcohol. It hid the alcohol real well because there wasn't all that much to cover up.

Drinkability: I had high hopes for this beer and in truth, it was in fact a bit disappointing. It could have been worse, but it could have been alot better than this. Other than the appearance, the best part of this beer was the price. Now I know why the retail price for this beer is between $4 and $5. It's worth a shot just once to say you've at least tried it.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
3.2/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sly Fox- Instigator

Appearance- Dark brownish/ black with no head.
Smell- Light nuttiness with hints of black licorice/ sambuca and cocoa powder.
Taste- Black licorice with sweet malt. Light cocoa powder comes through in the end.
Mouthfeel- Low carbonation, slighty flat.

Overall- Uninspiring but drinkable and worth trying.

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Photo of mcallister
3.21/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a very dark burnt brown sugar, apple pie top crust looking dopplebock. No redness as many will show just straight caramel colors. Pours with a small white head that fades very quickly.

Not much commotion in the nose. A floral hoppiness with dates and toffee. A heavy dosing of alcohol lies underneath with a herbal spicyness showing through.

A good solid beer with a very nice mouthfeel and slightly charred malts that are leaning toward sweet toffee and burnt caramel. Milk chocolate, raisin, and dates with an assortment of nutty characters and a hint of floral hopping and a very slight bitter finish. Herbal dosage exposes the mid palate and leaves things somewhat confused. Mouth is medium with a bit of tingle in the carbonation. Very easy to drink.

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Photo of lackenhauser
3.26/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Nice, garnet color with a fluffy tan head. Really quite a good looking beer. Low aroma-somewhat metallic and sharp. Malty flavor-mix of caramel and burnt raisens. Some bitterness and quite grainy flavor. Lingering dryness. OK body for style. An average beer overall. I dont find it to have the big malty, sometimes slight, alcohol tinge to it. Nor do I find the caramel smoothness that some have. Rather ho hum overall for me.

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Photo of Beertracker
3.33/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sly Fox Instigator pours up with ample carbonation that creates a low, creamish tan head that rings the deep copper-russet body nicely. The aroma is surprisingly fruity (dark cherry, plum, red grapes) with some underlying spiciness. Toasted Munich maltiness reminiscent of saltine crackers or soda bread. Hint of tartness. Sulfur? Moderate alcohol. The flavor starts of with some toasted breadiness that's underscored by a persistant bitterness that lingers towards the off-dry, acidic finish. Very uncharacteristic for a doppelbock. Medium-full bodied with some creaminess. Acidity is distracting. This is either past it's prime or maybe a bad bottle? Definitely worth a try. Don't be intimidated by the Instigator!

PROST! Beertracker

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Photo of DavidSeanNJ
3.38/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


Poured into a pint glass...

A- Dark ruby brown color. Massive cream colored 2 finger head, some lace and sediment.

S- Smell was really chocolatey with a hint of earthy biscuit.

T- Taste was really sweet, tons of malts going on here. Candy like flavors with a toffee/dried fruit feel. Chocolate and coffee hints as well, but the sugary malts dominated.

M- This one had a chewy and sticky mouthfeel, really heavy beer.

D- I enjoyed this pint, but was not blown away at all. This was good, but nothing spectacular. I would not pass it down if given the chance but would not seek it out.

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Photo of barleywinebrewer
3.38/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - pours a dark black / brown color with a huge tan head. half the glass on the first pour
S - Sweet malts, light ripe fruits and cola
T - similar to the nose with a hint of vanilla underlying
M - light bodied, over carbonated
D - too sweet towards a cola effect for me.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.42/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

As I half expected, the beer is overly carbonated and starts to foam up and gush out of the bottle as soon as I pop the cap. It was not so bad that I was not able to get all of the beer and foam into my glass. I ended up with about three fingers of concentrated, burnt amber colored brew underneath five-fingers of lightly browned, tan froth. When held up to the light the beer shows an almost brilliantly clear, deep, ruby color. Quite malty smelling with an enticing mix of richly caramelized notes and a whole grain bread character. Concentrated fruit notes of dried figs and prunes as well as a touch of roast grain notes seem to round out the aromatic notes. As the beer warms, rich, concentrated malt notes start to become noticeable; these evoke a richness akin to umami.

The beer foams up a bit as it hits my tongue. The body is a bit lighter than one would expect from a Doppelbock, but is consistent with the excessive carbonation. Some focused rousing of the beer releases a bunch of the carbonation and makes this easier to drink. Despite the lower body, mouth feel and sweetness, this beer is still quite rich and malty. Flavors of prunes mix with a rich, caramelized sweetness and a toasty malt character. The finish is somehow a little sharp, though I am not sure from what.

Well at least this beer was not noticeably infected / off in the flavor department, the excessive carbonation was a bit much, and I am sure it affected / reduced the body and mouth feel of this beer. Having said all that, this was still a pretty tasty beer, one which I would certainly jump at the opportunity to try a fresh sample of. As the beer warms hints of flavors and aromas start to suggest that something other than you standard beer yeast was involved in the bottle conditioning of this brew, though it never becomes more than a subtle backdrop.

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Photo of warriorsoul
3.43/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to DarkerTheBetter for another bottled Sly Fox beer...
Rust in color with less than a half finger of off-white head...disappears very rapidly with hardly any lacing.
Not huge in the nose...and not overly pleasant. Sour/sweet malt at first with an earthly yeast finish.
The taste is better, especially as it warms to room temperature....mildy sweet malt with a smoked quality that complements the sweetness. Not a lot of hops to bitter this up, which makes me very happy...especially for a US brewer...no alcohol detected.
Some molasses in the flavor as well...adds to the sweetness in the finish.
Mouthfeel is medium-bodied and the carbonation is mellow.
My least favorite of the few I've tried, but still a nice representation of the style.

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Photo of BeerGodz
3.44/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On Tap @ Varga Bar

Look: Deep ruby/brown color, creamy tan head with decent retention & lacing

Smell: Malt, caramel

Taste: Malt, brown sugar from beginning to end

Mouthfeel: Medium body & carbonation, sticky

Drinkability: Light flavors make this a good session beer

Overall Impression: Not as flavorful or as complex as the better German examples, but still a good local beer worth sampling. Great beer for Newbeez!

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Photo of Deuane
3.46/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Deep ruby copper with a thin light tan head.

S-Slight malty sweetness and not much else...very tame,

T-Decent malty sweetness with hints of brown sugar notes. Nothing crazy going on here, very simple.

M-Medium body with good roundness. Smooth easy drinking character.

D-Totally innocuous, malty, smooth and easy to drink....but a bit dull overall.

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Photo of tobelerone
3.47/5  rDev -11%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On taping Phoenixville. Pours a highly red-tinted amber color. Minimal head without much retention or lacing. Beautiful coloring but the head was pretty suspect. Aroma of caramel, bready malt, banana esters, prominent fruit. Smells a bit more like a dunkel weizen than a doppelbock.

The flavor follows suit. It's quite fruity and again there is a bit more of a banana note than one might reasonably expect for the style. Also lacks the big and profoundly chewy malt breadiness of the best examples of the style. Decent dark fruit and caranel sweetness and a semidry finish. I see past reviews are quite favorable, so perhaps there was something a little.off with this batch? Hard to say.

I also found the body to be a bit thin for a dopplebock and the carbonation a.little fizzy, which cut down on the overall smoothness I was hoping for. Pretty mediocre, but I'd like to try this again sometime I suppose.

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Photo of beerphan
3.48/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz bomber -> pint glass
no freshness date

Pours a rich brown with amber around the edges. A thick dirty tan head levels too a 2cm blanket. Very aggressive head, a standard pour produces 1/2 head 1/2 beer. Patchy lace. Lots of carbonation rises from the depths in droves.

Nose: Sweet malts, some alcohol, raisins, and a little yeast.

Taste: Sweet slick molasses and dark fruit dominate initially. After some warming the alcohol takes control and the taste borders on barleywine.

Mouthfeel is medium and slick.

Drinkability is high for a sipper but i doubt i could drink a ton these. A quality brew.

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Photo of claspada
3.53/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark burnt caramel color with ruby hues along the edges. There is a rather large tan head with great retention that left loads of lacing as it receded.

Aroms begin with toasted malts, brown sugar and sweet caramel covered apples. As it warms you get notes of smoked wood and red grapes as well.

The tastes begin with apple cider and dark red grape skin. Then it's quite caramel malt forward with hints of smokiness. As it warms you get more and more dark fruits; figs, dates and raisin.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium'high carbonation. Finish is on the sweeter end of the spectrum but the ample carbonation helps to balance the large malt presence.

Overall this is a nice American example of a classic German brew. Nothing worldly or revolutionary here or up to the quality of the authentic examples but a fine showing for a low price point.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.55/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Dull brick red with bright orange peel highlights. I'm a little concerned about the huge amount of carbonation that filled the glass with foam rather than beer on the pour. Fizziness is never a good thing when it comes to big beer. The fluffy ecru cap deflates reasonably quickly, without leaving much lace in the process. A second pour looks much better.

The nose (from what I can tell through three fingers of froth) contains no surprises. I like it more the more I sniff... and the lower the head falls. It's toasted caramel malty, nutty and slightly earthy. In liquid form it should be wonderful.

And it is. Sort of. It's a damn shame that something went awry during the carbonation process. I hate having to filter out the unpleasantness of all those bubbles to get to the malty beer beneath. There's nothing like brewing a good doppelbock and then ruining it prior to bottling. Maybe if I let it sit for a bit.

I like what I taste, but in its current state Instigator Doppelbock can't be considered a good version of the style. There's just too much to overcome with respect to the mouthfeel. The beer is much thinner than it should be and is much, much more fizzy. I can appreciate a dark maltiness, a dark fruitiness and a raisin puree sweetness that dries out considerably on the finish. Too bad they've been given such a lousy vehicle.

I hate it when I crack open a bottle of what is probably pretty good beer (that I'm unlikely to acquire again), only to discover that it has a major flaw that should never have been allowed to happen in the first place. I get the sense that Instigator is a solid doppelbock that never really had the opportunity to show me what it could do. Quality control is everything.

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Photo of naproxen
3.6/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

For a Doppelbock this was pretty standard fare, nothing mindblowing going on. If they were looking to be a mediocre textbook doppelbock, they win.

Poured from the bottle with a big frothy head, high on malts in aroma and taste. Also, as others have noted, pretty sweet as well. Given the aroma and rich auburn/dark brown hue I expected more complexity in the taste, alas the body was lacking something, and it left a sweet off tasting malt residue in my mouth. I was glad to be sharing this bomber, because had it been a solo mission it would have failed down the drain.

I have had much better doppelbocks, and this one is not really bad, just not amazing either. To me, that's just Sly Fox all together.

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Photo of kmpitz2
3.6/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 0z bomber. This pours into my glass a nice deep rubied amber color with a 3 finger, light tan head that falls at a moderately slow pace to a finger over top. Clarity is nice and good, and a moderate carbonation is bubbling towards the top. Putting my nose in for a sniff, I find a very nice balance between toasty malanoidans and a very vinous fruityness, almost bordering on grape. It has a nice sweet and fruity character. I enjoy it. Flavor hits very hard. Tons of alcohol really wash this one out. Behind it, there are flavors of toasted bread and raisins, but the alcohol really hits hard and penetrates the other flavors. It leaves a very nice melanoidan toast on the finish, with just a moderate bitterness. That alcohol really gets in the way. The mouthfeel is moderate, with a very light carbonation. The alcohol really drys this one out a ton, really making the sides and back of my tongue fell like all the moisture is drawn away. Overall, this one is not hitting me well in the flavor department. It is loosing a little of the alcohol punch as it warms and sits open. It punches much stronger than a 7.3% ABV. This one is going to be a sipper for a while.

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.61/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a light brown, glowing cola color with a wide white collar of head.

Smells of smoky caramel, molasses, red grapes with a hint of lime.

Tastes of a dirty caramel and smoky coffee with a drying citrus in the finish.

The mouth feel was medium bodied with a thickening carbonation.

Not too hot for the style but tasty none the less.

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Photo of mentor
3.61/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle provided by BeerBeing as part of BIF33.Thanks for the opportunity! Pouors a two finger caramel head over a dark brown liquid. Dark mahogeny reddish when held to light. Smells caramel, musty, touch of roast malts, and mildly of tettnanger hops.

Tastes wet sweetand fruity. Caramel, toffee (a touch scorched), a hint of dry baker's chocolate. Butterscotch, hint of banana, and a dash of cherry sour. Thick mouthfeel, but stingy fine carbonation fights off what could be a too thick and sweet liquid. Alcohol sting is low, but comes in late with a cherry and ester aftertaste that's a bit off. Overall,nice. Needed to finish fermenting a bit more to reduce the sugary and increase the alcohol. Near the style, but not quite.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.63/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A solid Dopple, but there are some classic Dopplebock character that this beer lacks. The beer pours a darker-than-expected brown hue, good head formation / retention, but light on the lacing. Aromas are strongly malty, very much like a Brown Ale. No fruitiness, but no caramelized, bready, melanoiden notes. Flavors confirm a heavy, complex malt bill that relies on malt additions for character and not the decoction process. Again, boardering on a Brown, the beer is flavorful and well-rounded, but not with the well attenueated, full-flavors that a Dopplebock should provide. A bit heavy to the mouth with a sticky feel. Finishes malty-rich with some chocolatey, nutty aftertastes.

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Photo of russpowell
3.66/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Props to GnomeKing for this one!

22 oz bomber pours an efferevescent chestnut/mahogany with a 3.5 fingers deep sand colored head. Above average lacing & some head retention

S: Licorice & chocolate & hints of wet card board/glue

T: Roasted grain molasses, & chocolate up front, then a hint of coffee. Licorice & hints of breadyness/fruittyness follow along with some pecan notes. Finishes with a hint of brown sugar, dryness & caramel

MF: Chewy with low carbonation

Drinks fairly easy for the abv, this on light end of the dopplebock spectrum, but not bad at all, just not a really good one. Lacked some asthetics

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Photo of JohnnyM2002
3.7/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark caramel color with a fluffy head; smells of caramel and roasted toffee. Tasted lighter than most doppelbocks I've tried - it felt thicker in my mouth, almost syrupy, but it went down very smoothly and light. I think I would have enjoyed it more if it were in a 12 oz bottle or on tap...the larger serving size was a little much for me, but other than that, my first Sly Fox experience was a good one.

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Photo of Sammy
3.72/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Fresh, thanks to Dr. Jay. Nice dark chocolate colour. Malt chocolate aroma., Taste is sweet and not cloying, with licorice spice, a bit of toast malt. Tasty and could pass as authentic German from a blind taste, from the little I know. Quite drinkable

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Photo of grassrootsVT
3.72/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Recently had this on tap at Johnny Brenda's.

Had been anticipating trying this brew since i first read about it. Due to this, perhaps i was let down. At pour, there was little to no head, and the carbonation level was rather low. Usually a lower Co2 level aids in the accentuation of malt depth, but not the case here. The color was perfect, true to style, a caramel [munich or cara-munich?] and chocolate malt enriched doppel - and the smell was as easily indicative of its ingredients. However, upon the first sip my reaction was: "this is not a decocted bock." Surely, i am a malthead; i try and take this into account when i experience new beers - but having tasted the riches of decocted doppels - i felt like the malt depth was lacking on this one. Therefore, the choc. and munich malts were present in the taste, but the mouthfeel and general taste impression were not quite as i would have expected. I could be wrong, I'm not sure - perhaps Brian did use a decoction mash - but, either way, suffice to say, i think it could have used more munich malt...
However, i find this to be a very drinkable beer - a well attempted outing and i think i will venture back to try it again....just to be sure.

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Photo of jcdiflorio
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a tulip glass,a creamy,thick,rocky,off white colored head.A deep ruby red almost chestnut.Very cloudy,murky appearence.A bisquity,sweet,winey aroma a hint of alcohol and molasses.
A fruity,winey taste a warming alcohol sensation.A medium mouthfeel,with lots of carbination.A dry finish with a cidery bite. A good dopplebock,very complex,fairly drinkable for the style,a very wine-like quality to this beer.

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Instigator Doppelbock from Sly Fox Brewing Company
3.9 out of 5 based on 104 ratings.
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