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
Reviews: 86 | Ratings: 104
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 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!

 421 characters

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle served in a glass beer mug.

Caramel color with a fizzy beige head that thinned to a light layer leaving bits and pieces of lace.
The aroma is filled with sweet dark fruits and molases.
The taste is worthy of this brew being called a 'malt bomb', sweet and sticky all the way through.
Medium bodied with mild carbonation.
Goes down way too easy. If you like sweet malty beers this is a 'must try'.

 409 characters

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

On tap at the Sly Fox Goat Race & Bock Fest on 5/3/09.

A - Chestnut-colored body with burgundy highlights and one-finger creamy beige head that deposited spotty lace around the glass.

S - Malty, earthy and slightly herbal with a leafy hop character. Malt is primarily roasty with a subtle toffee sweetness. A faint waft of alcohol also sweeps into the mix.

T - Sweet and malty with a warm alcohol presence and plenty of roasted and toasty malt character as well as sweet caramel and toffee notes. Touch of leafy, earthy hop bitterness in the finish.

M - Medium to full bodied with a chewy, syrupy texture and subtle carbonation. Sweet on the palate with a mild hop finish.

D - Fine Dopplebock with a well-concealed alcohol presence. Gotta have some bock for the goat races!

 781 characters

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

 736 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 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.

 707 characters

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.

 353 characters

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

On-Tap

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.

 596 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 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.

 3,042 characters

Photo of dsa7783
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle purchased singly from Gary's in Madison for $4.99...
An aggressive pour yielded a full, five-fingered foamy and frothy head that nearly receded the glass and left a tremendous amount of lacing...
Nutty, malty, brown aroma replete with caramel, sugars, and vanilla...
Taste strongly complemented the smell, with an obvious suggestion of malts, licorice, caramel, vanilla, dehyrdated fruits, and toffee...
Decent, creamy, fruity, and malty mouthfeel with an equally good level of drinkabilty without any hint of alcohol present... Very malty, with a noticeable hint of prunes, figs, and dates...
Creamy stuff...
Not Sly Fox's best sample, but a good stab at the style nonetheless...
Worth a try...

 708 characters

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

got this one from DrJay as part of BC2. thanks jay!

22oz bottle. sampled jan 13/08.

pours crystal clear deep red-brown with a small dense off-white head. the head quickly drops to a ring around the glass. no lace.

aroma is nice. great malt. toasted multi-grain bread. hint of alcohol. light caramel and toffee. touch of lager character. bit of dark fruit. very light coffee and baker's chocolate. hint of smoke, but that could just be from the fireplace.

taste is good. nice hit of caramel and toffee to start. toasted muti-grain bread. bit of alcohol. nice lager character. bit of alcohol. great depth to the nice toasty malt. bit of sweetness, mostly as caramel+toffee.

mouthfeel is good. low carbonation level. solid medium carbonation level.

drinkability is good. well balanced and nice. drinks more like 4% than over 7%. great malty character keeps you going back for more.

 884 characters

Photo of Biscuit033
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a dark brown/ruby with about a finger of off-white head with minimal lacing.

S: There is molasses, coffee, caramel, sweet maltiness and some hoppiness that is coming through.

T: Red and dark berries, coffee, chocolate, molasses, with a bit of green apple hoppiness.

M: Malts coat the mouth until all you are left with is hoppy bitterness. There seems to be more carbination than necessary but as if bubbles are very tiny.

D: This beer is very drinkable especially on a cold fall evening. The alcohol is not perceptable at all in the taste. This very well made beer.

 579 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 PEBKAC
3.84/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

It's about that time again kids. Time to reach on back into that dark, damp box & grab yourself a prize. No telling what kind of dangerous wildlife those month old leftovers in there can attract. Be prepared.

After making my way back from the crevices(& making sure I still had all my fingers), I pull out yet another bomber that I had thought had been lost. I believe I purchased this guy back in April, so I feel safer then I would be popping the tupperware some of the things in here.

This bottle is a Royersford edition, at least that what my eyes tell me. Having two separate pages for Sly Fox is really a pain sometimes.

Anyways, the beer pours out with very little inspiration. Just enough head develops with the stirring of the fluid, but none ever sticks around. You can just make out the some carbonation through the deeply rich ebony color. About as close to black without being opaque as possible.

The smell is of everything burnt. Burnt charcoal, molasses, burnt maple & honey as it seeps into the barbecue fire. Nothing caramelized, as it is all too well done. Alcohol creeps in towards the end. Be prepared for something sooty & sweet.

Taste is a mash of maple syrup, charred chestnuts, bitter coffee, & licorice. The end completely drowns in a sea of caramel, burnt molasses, vanilla, & all too much alcohol. A residual bitterness sits in the middle of your tongue for much after.

Carbonation is on the lower end, body is thinner then I assumed it would be. Not syrupy, but slightly sticky if you have warm hands.

Twenty-two ounces wasn't too difficult. Just the taste of alcohol impeded me more then anything. A more intense doppelbock than I'd care to have normally. Just not a smooth as it need to be to really enjoy the mishmash of flavors presented. :|

 1,781 characters

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.

 765 characters

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.

 271 characters

Photo of MuddyFeet
3.92/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dense rown but when held up to the light a nice red glow shines through. Not much in the way of a head and what there was dissolved completely. Nose is richly sweet with wheat and malted sugars.

Flavor is heavy on the wheat and sugars. Some toffee and butterscotch candies come through as well. Also picking out just a tad of roastiness. Medium to full body but only some slight alcohol longers after I swallow. Even with only a moderately high ABV this beer went to my head awfully fast. A nice after dinner drink with dessert--much like a good scotch.

 564 characters

Photo of shaebs99
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bomber

Appearance: Pours a dark brown/amber with decent size head that quickly disappates and leaves no lacing. Beer is clear with light carbonation

Smell: rich and malty with a fruity and raisiny aroma.

taste: sweet, brown sugar or some dark fruitiness. maybe a little disappointing, but still nice and complex (only had a few other Doppelbocks, but they included Liberator and Celebrator which I consider a bit more flavorful. )

mouthfeel: light carbonation. I would consider it kinda of light bodied when compared to other rich doppelbocks.

drinkability: A beer that I will try again. You won't receive any arguments from me that there aren't better doppelbocks out there, but still a very solid effort and definitely worth a try.

 755 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 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 boelker62
3.9/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - A simple, not quite fizzy head that settles immediately, especially out of a bottle. It is a little more pronounced, though no significant lacing, when on tap. Deep amber hue, almost brown. Seems right on to me for the style.

S - Heavy malty nose with a tinge of roasted pear. Yes, pear. Light yeast leftover from the process.

T - A moderately sweet initial flavor, and a heavily sweet finish of average length.

M - Significantly oily texture, but the only drawback I really find is the fizzy nature of this dark lager. Maybe that's my IPA favoring coming out. It is significantly carbonated in the bottle.

D - No overpowering alcohol or any one feature that makes this hard to keep going wth n any occasion. Definately recommended and worth storing. Who knows how this will age...?

 800 characters

Instigator Doppelbock from Sly Fox Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 86 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.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe