Instigator Doppelbock | Sly Fox Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
87
very good
86 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Instigator DoppelbockInstigator Doppelbock
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Sly Fox Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States | website

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.

BEER STATS
Reviews:
86
Ratings:
104
Avg:
3.9
pDev:
8.72%
 
 
Wants:
9
Gots:
2
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 86 | Ratings: 104
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

 251 characters

Photo of kylehay2004
3.76/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed at the tasting room in Pottstown, PA

A: half finger head on a clear deep amber body. Nice lacing.

S: aroma is light with caramel malts and toffee mostly.

T: spices and herbal throughout. The spiciness is what I want from the style with the malt backbone well represented proving caramel toffee and brown sugar notes.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: the malt profile is excellent. The notes as above don't mesh well though to make this a great bock.

 479 characters

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.

 684 characters

Photo of oberon
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a .5 liter stein a deep mahogany color with some deep ruby tint a thinner almond colored head atop,malt tilted aromas to be expected deep caramel and brown sugar intertwined with some roastiness and a hint of iron.Somewhat sweet upfront deep brown sugar and caramel flavors to start off mixing with some roasted nuts and candied orange a slight drying in the finish but this stays more of a sweet sustaining brew.A tad thin but it goes down well a solid "big" malty lager here.

 489 characters

Photo of Kegatron
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap @ Sly Fox Phoenixville on 5/1/11 during the annual Bock Fest and Goat Race. Served in a mug.

Pours a deep clear copper, with a finger of off-white head. This retains with some creamy bunching around the edges of the glass, leaving back a good looking cascade of foamy lacing. The aroma has a strong ripe fruitiness to it from the hops, which melds with rich notes of cocoa, caramel, and bread. The hops overall give this a real push in the nose.

The taste is a mix of toast, cocoa, caramel, and that same ripe citric fruitiness. This is all backed by a firm wave of earthy bitterness that leaves this dry with some lingering juicy fruit notes. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, maybe a bit fuller, with a sharp and lively feel to the carbonation, yet this still stays smooth with a low alcohol feel.

This seemed a little hoppier with the flavors than I remembered it being but I still rather liked this, as that ripe fruit just added another layer of complexity to all already rich malt profile here. Very smooth and easy drinking for the size as well, this is a nicely made Bock Beer.

 1,096 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An almost black body reveals deep mahogany highlights when held to the light. The foamy tan head drops slowly to a thin but solid cap and remains in place throughout the serving. As it drops it leaves temporal sheets of lace. A very nice appearance! The aroma expresses floral and mildly grassy hops amidst a deeply toasted malt character with hints of light fruitiness. As might be expected, its firmly malty body is creamy and smooth across the palate. The flavor is rich and surprisingly complex with more hop flavor than is usually associated with the style. It starts with some dark, mildly roasted, and lightly acidic malt that warms to become much more caramelish and softly sweet before crossing-over into a lingering, dry, roasty, and bitter finish. Very nicely done! It's exceptionally clean and well brewed with a subtleg alcohol and vibrantly fresh malt and hops. It's a bit more roasty than many examples, but that gives it an edge of distinction. Certainly worth trying.

 984 characters

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.

 1,729 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
4.12/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

brown color with a smallish off white head. Quick fade left behind a somwhat flat looking brown liquid with no head, lace, or side glass contribution.

Aroma was decidedly smoked with a nice hint of caramel in the back. There was some earth grain present and more of a dark grain tone.The flavor was nice, classic dopplebock with lots of smoked flavors and a great overall malt profile. Thick flavor with a somewhat tangy finish

Very smooth with little in the way of carbonation

 479 characters

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

 627 characters

Photo of WVbeergeek
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Mad Elf chalice sort of similar to a Celebrator glass with a little more curves. Appears with a large tightly formed light tannish beige head, quite resilient definitely sticks around for quite a bit. The head is paired with a dark ruby plum hued body bubbles quickly rising and as the head dwindles nice scattered lacing forms on the chalice with each sip. Aroma: Vinous ripened raisins, tart muscat grapes more ripe fruit soaked in mellow alcohol with mild distan powdered cocoa tones with herbal German hops coming through as well. Taste has a soft quality more of those powdered cocoa highlights with accentuated tart fruits including apples, raisin, and more white grape acidity matches well with the overall bready feel. Mild bitterness with herbal grassy hops and finishes with a somewhat leafy tobacco character. Mouthfeel is medium bodied really smooth and mellow carbonation soft warm feeling once it coats the palate. Drinkability: This is a quality American brewed doppelbock flavorful, it really satisfied my palate with depth. They seem to really have a talent at finding what works for them yet fulfilling those traditional style guidelines at Sly Fox.

 1,181 characters

Photo of jwc215
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle:

Pours ruby brown with a thick, towering tan head that slowly descends to a lasting foamy head. I like a good head on a beer, but the foam filled the glass to excess, covering some of what's underneath.

The smell, once the head settled to a reasonable amount, was pleasant. Dark berry-like fruitiness, caramel and earthiness. Peppery alcohol lets the abv level known, but not to an overpowering degree.

The taste is berry-like fruitiness upfront that remains the main characteristic throughout. Caramel and some subtle chocolate notes give it sweetness. Nutty and earthy background.

The feel is thinner than expected for style, but holds on firmly to medium body. The carbonation is just too much, though. Fortunately, it doesn't kill it, but it does have an impact.

A nice doppelbock that is limited by too much carbonation, IMO. Still, well-worth trying as it does have a nice taste to it.

Thanks to jcwattsrugger for giving me this one!

 971 characters

Photo of Billolick
3.84/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bomber, pours dark auburn amber, clear with a quickly departing tan head, leaves no lacing and not even a hint of film left on top. Carbonation issues? Cola, malty nose. Plenty of sweet malt, but not cloying, vanilla, cola, warming and enjoyable, would like a head on this one however...

 296 characters

Photo of drabmuh
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer served on draft at the Goat races at Sly Fox. Beer is dark brown with a mild haze, thin tan head, low retention, low carbonation, no lacing.

Aroma is malt malt malt. Smells like a doppelbock.

Beer is medium in body and pretty malty sweet throughout. The finish is a little dry, overall a decent doppelbock and I'd probably have it again.

 344 characters

Photo of WesWes
4.94/5  rDev +26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The beer pours a deep black color with a thin tan lace head. The aroma is perfect. It has a rich malt scent that is dominated by an intense caramel aroma; awesome!!! The taste is great! This beer has got the best damn flavor for a doppelbock. It has an intense dark malt character. It is rich with caramel malts and finishes sweet. The mouthfeel is perfect. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is the best doppelbock ever. It goes down slow and is very enjoyable.

 484 characters

Photo of Gavage
4.29/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: pours a deep burgandy / brown color with a thick three finger tan head. Nice lacing develops during the session.

Smell: roasted malt, chocolate, and brown sugar sweetness.

Taste: a hearty malt backbone here, with brown sugar, toffee, and hints of bitter dark chocolate. Mild bitterness rounds it out.

Mouthfeel: basically smooth with soft crispness at the start, but moves to an entirely smooth finish. The maltiness lingers briefly into the aftertaste. Medium-heavy in body.

Drinkability: I found this to be very drinkable and enjoyable. The alcohol is not noticable at all as with some other doppelbocks. Glad they decided to bottle this one so I can get it close to home.

 700 characters

Photo of Wasatch
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to NJpadreFan for this brew.

22oz. Bomber

Pours a nice clean/clear dark brown color, nice carbonation, nice little creamy tan head, which leaves some nice small islands and sticky lacing. The nose is malty, nice touch of toffee, slight spicyness, and some caramel. The taste is slightly sweet, nice malty flavor, tones of toffee, spice, and caramel. Medium body, well rounded brew. Drinkable, so far this is the best Sly Fox for me to date.

 458 characters

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.

 1,847 characters

Photo of Zorro
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled due to BIGsBIF and the kindness of BeerBeing.

22 oz Bottle.

Pours a clear coke a cola brown colored beer with red highlights. Head is tan and average in height and density.

Smell is sweet and fruity for the style. Lots of grape and figs with wheat bran in the scent. Some nutty sherry wine aromas mostly walnuts. After this warms up some spices arrive mostly brown sugar and cinnamon.

Taste is semi dry and fairly bitter for the style. First flavor sensation here is Raisin Bran cereal. Fruity flavors of plums and maple syrup. Fair flavor of tobacco here as if there are Fuggles hops added. After a bit a fairly strong cloves after taste appears. Bitter cherry taste evolves after a while. A good non-sweet Doppelbock. Only possible flaw is that it is a bit astringent after a while.

Mouthfeel is good.

The good, a DRY Doppelbock that I like a lot a little cool. The Bad astringent when warm. The verdict a good beer for spicy food or very sweet desserts.

 982 characters

Photo of John_M
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap during the goat races.

The beer pours a copper amber color with good head retention and lacing. Don't get a whole lot on the nose... just some sweet malt and light dry citrus. The flavor profile replicates the nose, though the beer was bit sweeter/maltier than I had expected. Still, it's pretty enjoyable and easy drinking, with some nice cherry and baked apple flavors. There's a hint of bitterness on the finish that helps to buoy the sweetness. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a fairly long, quite malty finish. Alcohol is well integrated into the flavor profile, making for an entirely too easy to drink beer.

While nothing extraoridary, I thought this a very enjoyable, easy to take bock beer.

 710 characters

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.

 908 characters

Photo of weeare138
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was psyched when I saw it('05 version) on the board as this has been a perennial favorite of mine, usually rivaling those of the German lineage doppelbocks. The appearance was what I expected of the brew...blackish with a slight head and lacing as it goes down. Smelled nicely blended with a malty, fruity(black grapes), perhaps, roasted almond smell to it. This wasn't as carbonated as I had anticipated but there where some slight bubbles as I would bring the glass away after a sip. Hides the alcohol nicely and is very smooth sipping and going down. This is a pretty good drinking double bock.
In my opinion, a very good brew, although it seems to be missing a component of years past. IMHO, this one would make a world of a difference if aged but it is still a tastey critter to sink your teeth into. I actually like this one more than the St. Vic.

Finger licking good!

 881 characters

Photo of beerthulhu
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark mahogany red with an initial 1 finger foamy reddish-beige head that quickly settled leaving only a fair and splotchy lacing.

S: a sweet caramel aroma, light chocolate and bread on nose.

T: Light cherries, lots of dark molasses and brown sugar add sweetness that is compliment by a nice bread backbone. There is a rich chocolate nature and some alcohol upon warming is detected. Starts out very sweet then warms to a nice dried fruit and bread palate.

M: Light mouthful with a very sweet caramel malt presence.

D: Very clean as most of their beers and is very easy to drink for a doppelbock.

 613 characters

Photo of akorsak
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at the Brass Rail.

A: The doppelbock is a dark, concentrated tea shade of brown. Full enough to be opaque with a half a finger of head, the bock sits very still.

S: The nose is caramel bready, sweet with darker fruits lingering around. The grains are well-toasted, not burnt, with a toffee sweetness. Hops don't do very much.

T: The doppelbock is a comfort drink, loaded with rich malts that are calming. Toffee and toasted bread, a combination of sweet and not-so-sweet, is rich from the first sip. Hops are a little more evident here, earthy of course, but the bock can't escape its malty focus. While the beer is warming, booze is never really a factor (although it does hit pretty hard with no warning).

M: A rich doppelbock, a little to filling and big especially as the weather warms. The toasted malts and toffee deliver solid flavor.

D: A nice sipper, the bock is a little to big (and almost out of season) to be a go-to. I'm guessing that it'll be perfect at the Goat Races on Sunday.

 1,012 characters

Photo of ppoitras
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Screw-cap growler received via GIF8 by stewdawg. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/4" tan head over the clear medium brown brew, which also exhibited some burgundy highlights. Head is pretty quickly down to a tight layer of bubbles, with some lacing, but the legs of the brew is more impressie. Aroma is malty with dark fruit notes. Taste is hearty grain, with moderate fruitiness in the middle, and closes with light tannins and alcohol, and a definite warming aftereffect. Mouthfeel is smooth, and maybe a bit thin, but that helps the drinkability, so it's give and take. A nice easy dbock, more drinkable than one kind of should be for the abv. Safety first!

 706 characters

Photo of DrJay
4.17/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle. This poured a clear, dark chestnut with reddish purple highlights and a fluffy, light brown head that left thick, clumpy lacing behind. Good retention too. Big, malty aroma with a bit of dried fruit, alcohol, raisins, and cakey malt -- like a fruitcake. The fruitiness faded a bit as it warmed though. There was a bit of yeast character present, along with some caramel. Low bitterness with lots of cakey malt, but it wasn't overly sweet. The fruit character was a little less pronounced than in the aroma. Slightly metallic aftertaste. Medium/full bodied with smooth, creamy carbonation, light alcohol warmth, and a bit of dryness. This beer tastes great, but there was a lot more fruit character than expected.

 727 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Instigator Doppelbock from Sly Fox Brewing Company
3.9 out of 5 based on 104 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.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!