Samuel Adams Double Bock (Imperial Series) | Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

very good
1,927 Ratings
Samuel Adams Double Bock (Imperial Series)Samuel Adams Double Bock (Imperial Series)

Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Massachusetts, United States

Style: Doppelbock

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Bierman9 on 02-07-2009

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Reviews: 1,110 | Ratings: 1,927
Photo of vdread
2.66/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Samuel Adams Double Bock pours a dark, reddish caramel color, with a thick sticky head that leaves spots of lace in the glass.

the smell is sour milk, sweetness, caramel, and a strong alcohol presence.

the taste is like drinking brown sugar. cloying, super sweet, and thickly malty. alcohol hits the tongue head on. strong notes of caramel and spice. do i detect some fruityness in there? if so, it is slight.

mouthfeel OK, it's' very syrupy and sticky

i could have liked this beer if it weren't for the overwhelming alcoholic presence. it kicks you in the teeth from the get-go. it ruined any nuances in taste i may have otherwise picked up. i finished the first 3/4 of my glass before it got too warm to handle. will probably not be seeking this out again.

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Photo of disastermouse
2.66/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I really wanted to like this beer. I'm pretty impressed with everything Sam Adams does (well, almost everything). This beer leaves something to be desired. It's not that I don't like the style, Optimator is one of my favorite beers.

A - One of the best aspects of this beer. Nice translucent brown. Head is killed by the alcohol very quickly.

S - A lot of alcohol in the nose, malt is there - not exactly buried, but not as prominent as I'd like.

T - The alcohol is way up front. WAY up front. With most beers, I'm drinking the malt and hops and the alcohol is just along for the ride - not with this beer. Not only is it not hidden, it trounces all over the brew. It really reminds me more of a Barley Wine than a Double Bock. I don't know what the issue is, as I've had Belgians this strong - Imperial DIPAs too. I've also had strong Stouts, but this one just can't hide the alcohol at all. It needs more SOMETHING to balance the alcohol. More hops? More sweetness to balance the alcohol? I don't know.

MF - Vapory mouthfeel, alcohol heat.

D - One is enough of these.

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Photo of jujubeast6000
2.7/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed 4/25/2009 (Bottle):

Pours a dark red colored body, wine looking. Head is average, off-white, and diminishing. Sweet, malty aroma. Some bitterness too, and molasses. Brown sugar and alcohol. Sickly sweet smelling. Thick mouthfeel. Sweet syrupy taste. Thick syrupy aftertaste. Some alcohol. No bitterness, but not as sickly sweet as it first seemed, based on first sip and the aroma. Some roasted flavors. Almost like a barley wine. Very much a sipping beer.

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Photo of misinformed
2.7/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pilsner glass.

A- Clear, dark mahogany. 1/2 to 3/4 finger tan head that dissipated fairly quickly, but didn't disappear completely. The beer left behind some small blobs of lacing.

S- Faintly sweet and malty. Not much else going on.

T- Very, very sweet. The first half of the glass I could not get over the taste of molasses. Later just a general candied sugar sweetness and malts. Some roasted grain and occasionally faint licorice. The finish was of roasted grain.

M- Medium consistency, I suppose. It is very smooth which makes me want to say it has a lighter consistency than it actually does. No carbonation that I noticed and just the occasional bit of alcohol burn.

D- Definitely a sipper. It smoothed out a lot and settled down as it warmed, but it still felt pretty uneven. Overwhelmingly sweet, almost to a sickening point for me. Admittedly I am more of a hop person, but I am starting to appreciate malt and the sweetness that comes with it. Still, I did not enjoy this very much.

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Photo of andrewt960
2.73/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A- Poured dark crimnson in color... almost burgundy. A head the reflected the body of the beer. the head didn't stick around for the whole beer.
S- Had rich malty smell, and had very little hops that were recognizable. It almost had a apple, or some type of fruit smell in the background.
T- Has aobviouse malt taste... and is very stong... both in alcohol taste and in the malt. Again, very little in the hops, but it's not meant to.
D- Comes off a bit strong and is a bit of an aquired taste. Not bad, but it's not my favorite beer. The 8.5 is nice and keeps you warm on the aftertaste.

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Photo of tapman
2.73/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A rudy, opaque brown, though there doesn't appear to be any sediment at the bottom of the bottle so it must be some super brown malt that they are using. Head is 1 finger and dissipates into a disappointing lacing, tough the head is easily resurrected with a vigorous swirl, the color of which is a light coffee brown

Smell is prune juice and hot alcohol. A little bit of floral (saaz?) hoppiness.

Medicinal, cloyingly bitter, a light sweetness and a decent toasty maltiness, but quickly covered up by hot alcohol. Unpleasant.

A little oily, but mostly full bodied with a good effervescence.

Everything is good enough, except for the taste. Why make a beer this big and make it so hot. I have to disagree with the Bros on this one and I'm sure that I throw a lot of personal opinion when I say I don't care for a beer that tastes like hot alcohol. Also, if there is no live yeast in the brew, what good would aging do?

P.S. After 10 minutes the beer is at approx. 65 F and tastes a hell of a lot better, but that's a long time to wait for a beer to taste better.

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Photo of jaluria
2.73/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A very disappointing beer with not enough flavor or texture to be enjoyable.
Poured a translucent, brown color with a soft, off-white colored head that left behind no lacing. Moderately high level of carbonation. Aromas of honey and malt seemed to dominate. The malt flavors didn't seem distinct in anyway; seemed as if just one variety of malt was used. Not complex or very tasty. A very subtle hop presence did enhance the overall flavoring of the beer, but not much, based on this style. Rather sticky and thin in the mouth with a overly sweet aftertaste that lingers and not enjoyable.
I won't be having this again. I wish I hadn't bought a 6-pack of it; one bottle was more than enough.

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Photo of clvand0
2.73/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a dark copper/red color with a very thin head that doesn't stick around long. The aroma was malty and had a caramel and sweet - maybe some friut in there. The flavor had some hops, but much more malt - very malty. The alcohol can be tasted in this one as well. Very sweet. Not a bad brew, but could deal with being a little more dry in the taste.

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Photo of Satchboogie
2.74/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle (2011) poured into an Ayinger Doppelbock glass

A: Pours dark amber brown, clear, with just over a finger of light brown bubbly head.

S: Toasted grains, caramel/brown sugar, toffee, dark fruits

T: The booze is a bit overwhelming (it's fresh). Upfront I get prune juice, burnt caramel, and pretty harsh booze. The middle I expected to be completely dominated by toasted malt, but it's surprisingly light. Coming to the finish is a medicinal and solvent quality with yet more booze. The vinous qualities are overpowered by the alcohol and harsh flavors. Too much prune, not enough toasted malt base, harsh alcohol. This probably will improve a lot with age, but fresh, it's hard to drink and not all that pleasant.

M: Medium to slightly full body, medium carbonation. It's a strange mouthfeel. While it seems fairly viscous, it isn't smooth or oily and the carbonation makes it seem light and airy... but it isn't.

O: I was expecting a solid beer, hoping for a great beer, but what I actually got was a disappointing beer. While there are a lot of flavors going on, there's too much prune, not enough toasted malt backbone, harsh alcohol, and an unpleasant medicinal/solvent taste. A complete letdown after getting excited by the nose. Perhaps with age this will become a much different beer, but fresh, I can barely drink it.

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Photo of williamherbert
2.78/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

The color is deep ruby red. Very little head. Hazy yet shiny and glassy. The look (misleading as it may be) points to that of a winter ale.

A vague smell of mild barley. Only a hint of a pale-smelling malt. An undefinable sweet berry aroma. Weak, yet still a bit saccharine.

Very sweet initial taste of cherry, but then a darker, more burnt berry. Dark but with a Nutra-sweet finish. Not my cup of tea. A double winter ale, with a slight Belgian ale/spicy finish.

There is a mild bite on the way down. Spicy and bubbly. LIke the feel of Coca-Cola. The flavors in this beer skew too much toward pucker, winter ale sweetness. Not bad... just not my style.

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Photo of robmorris31
2.78/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I was expecting this to be better tasting than most of the Bocks that I have tried, however it was not pleasing. Too bad, as it is coming from my favorite brewer!

The color was great just what I expected, the smell was very pleasing, as well, mouth feel was nice but it gave bit of a stinging after taste.

It was almost like a Porter Bock if there is such a thing.

Watch out this is an 8.8% ABV, which means it is about double the intesity of other beers.

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Photo of Mitchster
2.79/5  rDev -29%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

2003 Recipe: Brewed with 2-row pale and Caramel 60 malts. Hopped with Tettnanger and Hallertauer.

OG=1.0262, 8.8% ABV, 310 cal/12oz.

Brilliantly clear, dark ruby in color with a thin dark-beige head (despite a vigorous pour) atop medium-sized bubbles. Carbonation is moderate to mild, and head retention is poor. Aroma is malty in a caramel way, with ale-like fruitiness and very little hop aroma. As a matter of fact this smells exactly like a dopplebock I brewed 7 years ago, after it had bottle-conditioned for about a year. The ale-like diacetyl fruitiness is off-kilter for the style and ruins it for me. Mouthfeel is lightly cloying, yet very soft and smooth, with a medium, sticky body. Lacing is sparse. Taste begins immediately with extract-tang, and caramelized candy sugars (i.e.-NOT maltiness)...a very subtle and brief metallic note rears it's ugly head but thankfully disappears quickly...the hops are minimal, imparting just a little zing to the back of the tongue. Figs and dates are there but minimal compared to the German dopplebocks. As it warms, they become more apparent. Isopropyl alcohol is strong towards the middle and lingers until the lightly dry finish. Swirling the glass and letting it warm diminishes this effect. The finish has some earthy walnut and biscuit malt notes. There is a ruddy, rubbery feel on the sides of the mouth. The high alcohol is not entirely unpleasant, but makes for an unbalanced brew. I would enjoy this brew much more if it didn't taste like an ale, and had more toasty maltiness, not the caramel/extract I'm getting here. I have tried this beer nearly every year since 1992 and my opinion remains the same. Highly over-rated and paling in comparison to it's German cousins. I'll stick with my Optimators, Celebrators, and Salvators, thank you.

3/9/09-This is the 2009 "Imperial Series" Double bock-9.5% ABV. OG=24.5 Plato. 320Kcalories/12 oz. Brewed with 2 row harrington, Metcalfe, and Caramel 60. Hopped with Hallertau Mittelfrueh and Tettnang-Tettnanger hops. $3.10 for a 12oz bottle @ Jacks.

The package says this is NOT their normal dopplebock and the recipe changes attest to this. Pours out to a clean dark ruby, forming a modest yellow head with good retention and adequate lacing. Mild to medium carbonation...perhaps a bit less than the average Sam brew. The aroma is of candied apples, a hint of whisky, dark cherries and vanilla. The mouthfeel is pillowy soft and smooth with a dense body. The taste begins with rotting dark cherries and over-ripe fruits, followed by vanilla and a soft woodiness. This is abruptly followed by fusel alcohols which imparts an acrid off-flavor. The finish is of brown sugar, and the aftertaste is moderately sweet. Very little hop flavor and next to no bitterness. Not really a fan. Malty, big and bold, but the fusels ruin it.
L=4.0, A=3.0, T=3.0, MF=5.0, D= 3.5

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Photo of Rifrafboy
2.85/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours dark and with a substantial head. The nose smells cocoa and chocolate malt. Taste is thick and malty. This reminds me of a stout or a porter? Finishes sweet with a little alcohol accent. This is good stuff. This would go well with a nice steak.

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Photo of powoo19
2.85/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Ouch... I guess I am not that keen in the pallet for this heavy flavored beer. I was unable to drink the entire bottle. It's smell was good and has an impressive dark color but it was too hearty a beer for my taste. Since only trying it once I cannot insult it. I guess its just not my bag.

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Photo of jwilli7122
2.85/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Very very sweet. Maybe the sweetest beer I've ever had. Quite rich. Too much for my taste. I don't taste any hops, and I can't say I really enjoy this one. Chocolate cherry syrup comes to mind (with some alchoholic kick). maybe dopplebock is not my favorite style. It might be good- its just too much and too concentrated for me to really enjoy. Huge candy sweetness is not my thing, but if it's yours - this might be good.

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Photo of TuffNut87
2.86/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer looks beautiful in a tall glass..full bubbly head, deep amber color. Like their wee heavy the first drink is decent but grows excessively sweet. The flavors of chocolate and coffee would be better if not drowned in the higher alcohol content and sweetness. It is milder than the wee heavy but has some of the same issues.

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Photo of Brent
2.87/5  rDev -27%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Not quite up to par with this one. Poured a bit light in color for a doppelbock. Sweet malt in the aroma, with an equally sweet malt flavor profile that lacked balance and body. A harsh edge of alcohol grated in the background. Overall, light on body and roasted malt, heavy on alcohol and sweetness.

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Photo of Longstaff
2.87/5  rDev -27%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 2.5

Finally tracked this down. It looked dark and mysterious when I poured it out kind of thick like used motor oil. Dark brown appearance with some reddish highlights. Thick light brown head develops when poured roughly. Very faint malt aroma with slight fruity alcohol mixed in. Taste was dissapointing with no hop flavors noticed, just slight caramel malt flavors. Very little alcohol flavors that are indicitive to this style and it supposed 8.45% abv. Only thing going for it was the molasses like mouthfeel and it didn't have any offensive flavors. Too sweet and somewhat cloying for me to actually enjoy more than one. I'll stick to the more tastier Optimator for about the same price.

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Photo of chinabeergeek
2.89/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle. on the base of the neck, printed on the glass:


the back label, in the lower left corner, has "6565"

tasted in late april/early may 2009.

clear, dark coppery amber. 1-finger tan head, fades to wisps and ring. decent lacing, especially in the 2nd half.

aroma: malty caramel, almost savory, with a plum fruitiness. faint noble hops. but then the boozy alcohol comes in towards the back, plus phenols.

taste: starts out okay - malty, hint of figs and spice, but then boozy with distracting phenols or fusels. mild to moderate bitterness from the noble hops helps clean things up, but only ever so slightly.

feel: starts out hinting towards syrupy, but then the booze, phenols and fusels just come right in and ruin it all. astringent and solvent-like. carbonation is moderate, and even fluffy at times, but doesn't help.

a shame i never got to try the original version. these new "imperial series" beers have all sucked so far. god, i hope they don't mess up the hallertaur pilsner next...

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Photo of kbnooshay
2.96/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I can't reccomend this. It reminds me of Brooklyn's Monster barleywine, it is like drinking whiskey. The alcohol is out of controlll. There are some sips that are great, and others that are hell, hmm maybe it was my batch. Anyways it pours a beautiful red brown. THe mouthfeel is sticky with a somewhat carbonated feel to it. Not easy to drink yet sorta fun.

haha. I edited this review because the strength of a few of these really effected my english.

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Photo of Crosling
3.02/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This lager pours with a dark ruby color. Hard to get much out of the nose at all, perhaps a light note of wort, maple, fruit. Flavor actually has some nuance to it and a bit of depth. Notes of dried dark chocolate, roast, toffee and caramel. Nice finish as well. Respectable example of the style, but needs improvement.

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Photo of dsa7783
3.03/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz single bottle copped from Wine and Beverage Depot in Totowa for $1.99... Dark brown, copper, ruby-red appearnce with an immense, five-fingered heat that lingered on for a bit before receding... Smell was nice, with liquorice, caramel, and strong candied sugars... taste really mirrored the aroma, with an ultra-thick, and very rich taste that included noticeable malts, strong alcohol, which wasn't very well masked, caramel, cloves, honey, and slight vanilla, figs, and prunes... very overwhelming flavor that didn't go down too smooth... cloying and overbearing taste just didn't do it for me... average creamy mouthfeel, with rather poor drinkability due to the noticeable alcohol, rather high ABV, and overbearing flavor and taste... wouldn't recommend this one...

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Photo of PeatReek
3.04/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Moderately thin head, possibly due to an overly gentle pour. Head color is yellow with a hint of orange; lots of nice malty goodness coming. Body crystal clear and deep amber/orange. Smells huge! Vague prune & raisin overtones, and just malt! Like malted milkshake malt. Taste is very sweet, slight metallic tinge up front followed by that nice malty flavor. Thick chewy body. How alcoholic does this taste? During the sip, it's very subtle, but the aftertaste is a bit hot. I'd probably stick to one bottle of sammy's double bock.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.05/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Copper pour gathers itself and sits a beautiful, clear ruby color. Thin eggshell colored head is quick to breakup and all foam dissipates by mid glass.

Smells like dark bread soaked in caramel drizzle with some alcholic sophistication. Tastes the same.

I've been hearing this is one of Sam's best for a long time...and it's not. Not even close.

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Photo of mgdeth
3.06/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance - Rich copper color, head dissipates fairly quickly. Crytsal clear; appealing.

Smell - Malty aroma is present, but is considerably weaker than Salvator. A whiff of alcohol creeps into the smell as well.

Taste - Not quite as smooth as other doppelbocks I have tried. The flavor is malty sweet, but muted. There is also a roasted caramel flavor present and bready. It, however, is also relatively weak. To be fair, it appears that I purchased this beer after the freshness date marked on the bottle.

Mouthfeel - Poor. I tried this one in a blind taste test next to Salvator, and the Sam Adams is comparatively weak-bodied. Drink this after you have a golden ale, and all of a sudden it seems pretty imposing.

Drinkability - The taste is not too bad, but the beer has an aftertaste that I do not care for. The feel is a bit sticky.

Comments - It's surprising how poorly this beer stacks up against real German doppelbocks. With all due respect to other reviews of this beer, I am disappointed by this offering from what I otherwise consider to be a great brewery. Either that or don't drink this stuff wearing a blindfold while comparing it with Salvator. Once I ditch the blindfold, the characteristics of the beer improve slightly.

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Samuel Adams Double Bock (Imperial Series) from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.93 out of 5 based on 1,927 ratings.
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