Small Batch Series No. 5: Pecan Smoked Doppelbock | Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling

no score
Awaiting 10 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Small Batch Series No. 5: Pecan Smoked DoppelbockSmall Batch Series No. 5: Pecan Smoked Doppelbock

Brewed by:
Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling
Texas, United States

Style: Doppelbock

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by johnnieoz on 03-24-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 9 | Ratings: 63
Photo of BeerandWhiskeyHQ
4.74/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottled: 2-19-13
7.5% ABV

Non-transparrent dark brown almost black body accompanied by a medium-sized quickly dissipating mocha head.

Extremely rich malt nose, hints of smoke, cocoa and vanilla

Holy shit! Incredibly rich and smooth burst of initial flavor. A heavy mouthfeel that is so velvety smooth and extremely pleasant. Fully rounded smoke flavors and rich malt with a slight hint of alcohol lurking under the smoke and roast that warms the palate. There are slight undertones of fruits and maple that mellows and balances the all out full roast character. It finishes with a sugary sweet and light roast finish that lingers for a respectable amount of time.

There is an absolutely perfect reason that this beer was the Gold Medal winner at the 2013 World Beer Championship. Incredibly rich and smooth, the partial Texas Pecan hand smoked malt adds a great addition to the character and has a respectable alcohol content that is enjoyable without going over the top. I nursed this beer to the last drop and too bad it was brewed the one and only time in 2013 because this is the best Doppelbock I’ve ever had and one of the best beers I’ve ever had the good fortune to taste.

 1,219 characters

Photo of kojevergas
2.38/5  rDev -38%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

Bottled 02/19. Batch 13. 375ml brown glass bottle with appealing green label and black wax-ed over pry-off pressure cap acquired at a local bottle shop for $6.99 USD and served into an Avery stem-tulip in low altitude Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. Expectations are below average given the brewery and the series; every beer I've tried in this series has been a letdown. No style (aside from "ale") is indicated on the label, but I'm reviewing it as a doppelbock.

Served cold - straight from the fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a one finger wide head of pale khaki colour. Decent creaminess and thickness. Head retention is below average - about 1 minute. Inconsistent lacing sticks to the sides of the glass the head recedes. Consistency and complexion are a bit wanting.

Body colour is a murky dark brown; very moat-esque. Poor clarity. Lacks vibrance or glow. No floating yeast particles are visible, but I wouldn't call it a clean appearance. It's subpar for a doppelbock.

I'm not particularly excited to try this beer based on the appearance.

Sm: Has a definite smokiness, but it lacks the meaty pork character of a rauchbier. Not ashy or charred either. I definitely couldn't isolate pecan character, but it's a distinct kind of smokiness, sure, and I think it works well here, though there're plenty of metallic off-notes and it seems a bit stale, if not infected. There's also some evident unbecoming acidity. Other than that, all I pick up is a generic maltiness and some caramel..

This beer has a painfully simple aroma littered with off-notes and doesn't feel in any way German in character.

An unpleasant aroma of average strength.

No yeast character, alcohol, or hop character is detectable.

T: The smoke is actually quite timid, and some of the pecan wood comes through - which is lovely. Unfortunately, the doppelbock build is lackluster. I don't get a distinct German vibe from this flavour profile, and the malt choices seem all wrong. I pick up caramel, brown malts, metallic notes, some bland bready malts, and some medicinal character. There's also a hint of artificial fruit extract/syrup which some might find cough syrup-esque.

It's a chaotic mess of a flavour profile and lacks cohesion. It's in no way subtle or intricate. The off-flavours really hold this beer back. Below average depth of flavour. Average duration and intensity of flavour.

This flavour profile never comes together, and overall the beer lacks the rich complexity and subtle yeasty notes of the best doppelbocks. Pecan smoking is an interesting approach, but the execution is way off.

Mf: Astringent, gushed fairly harsh, coarse, and dry. Stale. Basically, it's completely wrong for a doppelbock, though it does have decent body and thickness. Overall presence on the palate is poor, and the texture doesn't complement or accentuate the taste. Poor execution.

Not oily or hot.

Dr: Ranger Creek continues to disappoint. I'm not sure why some of these small batch beers even make it to market; I guess it's because they sell to chumps like me even though they're low quality. This is difficult to drink on account of its lack of redeeming attributes and I'd caution friends and trade partners against trying it. That said, I guess it hides its ABV decently. The discerning doppelbock drinker will find nothing of interest here. Move along.


 3,498 characters

Photo of AtrumAnimus
4.69/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

First impressions. This is a nicely presented bottle before you even open it. The wax sealing is a nice touch implying that this is something really special. The description is also extremely tempting. This humbly labeled Pecan Smoked Dobblebock that is aged in bourbon barrels is an impressive attempt before you even get to the beer itself.

The pour is beautiful. This beer is a very rich and cloudy beer that is the color of black coffee with a nice thick tan head that settles slowly leaving some decent lacing. I would rate the appearance as perfect.

The nose is nice as well with sweet malt, fruit, subtle hops and hints of coriander, nutmeg, bread and bananas. My first impressions make me think of a banana nut bread and beer when I smell this one. The bourbon is definitely there but very well blended with the complexity and does not stand out as dominant.

The mouthfeel is rich and not watery. This beer has a mouthfeel that matches the nose and the pour nicely. I think this is just right for what they were trying to achieve. BRAVO!

Overall I really like this beer. It is fantastic in complexity of flavors and appearance. A bold attempt at a smoked beer in a style that is very unique and difficult to master. This beer is a testament to the skill of the brew-master and team that put this recipe together. An excellent job that is befitting the spirit of Texas!

 1,380 characters

Photo of TBoneJones
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Dark brown (near black pour). Barely a head, nice body.
Smells like sweet toasty brandy, some pineapple/ coconut milk, cotton candyish.
Tastes really good up front with a sweet bourbon bite, with a surprisingly fizzy carbonation. The bite escalates right off the bat, nearing an apex of near metallic flavoring. However, after the initial sip, it balances out for me and the taste im left with is a cherry/ cough syrup flavored, smokey yet sweet malty, aspirin/ smarties-candy flavor that seems more than the 7.5 abv listed by this site . Interesting, and certainly complex. It looks bottled for aging, yet i dont think i'd bother cellaring a beer of this lower a strength. I'm drinking this 2 and a half months after the signed bottle date of 2/20/13. I can see where this beer could be either a big hit, a big miss, or somewhere in between (in other words anywhere) among craft beer drinkers. For me it just works.

 918 characters

Photo of EgadBananas
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: nice dark reddish brown color, opaque, cream colored head, finger, really i pressed with the toned down carbonation, which seems to be something ranger creek struggles with.

Aroma: sweet candied sugar, dark fruits, wood and mild smoke. Comes off a little like an old ale to me.

Taste: candied fruits, sugar, molasses, plums, dates, hint of cocoa, smoke and caramel. Though not lacking in flavor, It was a little on the overly sweet side.

Mouthfeel: good, low carbonation, creamy, full bodied.

Overall: a bit sweet, and I'm not certain it fits as a great dopplebock, but its uniquely tasty, sweetness aside.

 622 characters

Photo of DRyan
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured in Ranger Creek tulip at 50 degrees
Full beer review at (Ryan's Reviews)

SMALL BATCH #5 pours a deep mahogany brown – a porter-esque near-black that is richer than most doppelbocks I’ve had – and is topped with a off-white head that recedes pretty quickly, but leaves behind nice lacing on the glass. A sniff reveals what I thought it would: smoke, but right behind it are some scents I really didn’t expect: a little wild funk. Upon reading some more about the beer, and seeing that it is aged in Ranger Creek’s own bourbon barrels (they are a “brewstillery,” they make both beer and whiskey) the funk makes more sense.

My first sip threw up the red flag, as it was all smoke… but the smoke receded quickly and was not overpowering at all. The smoke is there, especially on that first sip, but it is restrained and nicely fits in with the rest of the flavor profile. The main part of the flavor is a medium roasty malt, nothing heavy like a porter or a stout, but most certainly a bock. SB#5 is dryer and crisper than most of the doppelbocks I’m familiar with and is less sweet than I’d usually expect for the style, and I think this works very well to help tone down and balance the smoky flavor the pecan wood imparts. The bourbon barrels help impart just a touch of bourbon flavor, but more so the time in the wood adds some cinnamon and light vanilla to the flavor profile, as well as just a touch of sour / funk.

SB#5 is a much lighter and thinner beer than its look would make you realize; if it were heavy like a stout, or like you might expect to look at it, it would drag down the delicate interplay of flavors that are so complex within it. This is a very easily drinkable beer, much more so than I would have ever ventured to guess for a rauchbier. While I enjoyed this beer fresh, I am looking forward to see how this ages. The Small Batch series are all made with aging in mind, and are wax-dipped to attempt to facilitate better seals in your cellar; I think that with some time on this one the funk will play up a bit stronger and that’s a flavor I enjoy.

 2,216 characters

Photo of USMCPayne
3.49/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

I was really excited about this beer because it had rave reviews by friends of mine. Unfortunately, it didn't live up to them. First, the beer was difficult to open and made a rather large mess when chipping off the wax coating over the bottle. It's a nice novelty idea that looks nice but in practice, fails. Second, the bottle cap must have had some moisture on it when they coated it in wax because it was fully rusted (outside and in). Perhaps this could account for the following flavor notes...

Appearance - very dark, caramel and black colors, fairly hazy which doesn't really matter in darker beers like this. There was no head whatsoever and only a slight amount of carbonation in the beer.

Smell - very pleasant, you can definitely smell the bourbon in this one. I didn't catch any hop aroma but the malt aroma is there and slightly sweet, perhaps from the addition of the bourbon aging.

Taste - lacking. The bourbon is very powerful in this beer, so much so that I got hardly anything else from it. Cold, carbonated bourbon. Theres a bit of an aftertaste of the smoked pecan in this but I missed the malt entirely.

Mouthfeel - nice and thick, slighly chewy, as a beer of this style should be.

Overall I wish it had lived up to the hype from my friends. Maybe the smoked/bourbon beers aren't my thing, maybe this one had some flaws (rusty bottle cap? really?). I may give this another try, but not for awhile.

 1,424 characters

Photo of champ103
3.26/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a dark brown, nearly black color. A large beige head eventually rises and sticks around for a minute. Light lace is left behind.
S: I can't really put my finger on this. An odd mix of smoke, cinnamon, baked bread, and slightly metallic/astringent. A mess.
T: Yep, this is a mess. Cinnamon, peppery spice, smoke, slightly ash like. Metallic and tinny. There is really no definition or structure here. Just a miss match of flavors and characters that all work at odds with each other.
M/D: A medium body. Fine to moderate carbonation. Fairly smooth. Not hard to drink. Though not something I care to come back to often.

My description here does not do this justice. Everything is just kind of there, and I can't make heads or tails of it. Interesting to say the least, but that is about it. This is probably a one and done for me.

 838 characters

Photo of johnnieoz
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Hand-written bottling date: 2/19/13

A: Dark auburn with a small off-white crown.

S: Slightly smoky and sweet with a definite bourbon waft to it.

T: Packs a lot of flavors, ranging from dark fruit to smoky goodness, that haven't quite come together yet.

M: Most definitely a doppelbock - light on the palate, going down smoothly, leaving a slight, burning aftertaste.

O: In some ways reminiscent of a good smoked Doppelbock like Schlenkerla's, yet the boubon-barrel-aging gives it an unique touch.

A beer that's great for drinking right now, but the flavors will come together together even better in a year or so. Kudos to Ranger Creek for using this underused style for a special release.

 697 characters

Small Batch Series No. 5: Pecan Smoked Doppelbock from Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling
3.84 out of 5 based on 63 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.