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

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1,109 Reviews
Samuel Adams Double Bock (Imperial Series)Samuel Adams Double Bock (Imperial Series)

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

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: 1,109 | Ratings: 1,922
Photo of optikon44
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a great American Double Bock - style beer. Nice amber color and pretty lace. Best served cool, not cold. Full of malty goodness below with a bit of hop attitude on top. This beer is big and filled with malty sweetness. It's creamy and smooth with a slightly smoky finish. Very respectable.

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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 budgood1
4.24/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

a re-review
pours out a beautifully clear ruby colour. a healthy one inch tan head adorns the glass. festive lace. although the nose is a bit can pick out the maltiness, hints of spice and definite whiffs of alcohol. taste is a no holds barred explosion of thick, sweet, beefy malt and a spicy alcohol finish. the raw spiciness must be the hops trying to balance the huge malt backbone. it has quite a creamy and smooth mouthfeel for being such a bruiser. a sweet caramel malt finish reminds of me of a good octoberfest on steroids. quite warming as it settles in the stomach. SA double bock packs a punch so be careful. whoever noted that this brew is a "boozy amber smackdown" hit it right on the head. while not as flavorful, complex or complicated as the other heavy hitters in the doppelbock leagues, this one holds it own by way of brute force.

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Photo of Pegasus
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a crystal-clear mahogany brown with a large tan head that retains well. Carbonation is superb, lots of small bubbles rise slowly to renew the head. Excellent lace rings the glass. Aroma is stunning with rich caramel notes, mild hops, hints of dark fruit, and a whiff of alcohol. Taste begins with rich caramel notes, followed by dark fruit notes, then sweet alcohol, and finally some mild hops. Alcohol is very warming. An absolutely superb beer, astonishingly good and not to be missed. Perfect for a blustery cold day in early spring.

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Photo of bditty187
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aged over a year:

Chestnut-mahogany hue, largely clear, this does have a lovely color. A foamy finger of off-beige head held reasonably well. The lacing was weak, only a few strings, but that can be expected. The nose has caramel malt notes, a bit of matly sweetness; the aroma is clean and understated. The palate has great depth. The sweetness has mellowed perfectly and the alcohol punch is very English Barelywine-like, caramel and a menagerie of fruitiness finish the taste on a tasty note. I’d say SA Double Bock has aged gracefully. I’ll save my other bottles for something special. Full-body, I guess a layperson would call it “thick,” the carbonation was low and natural, the mouthfeel is still a little syrupy but the fullness is very welcomed. This is an easy drinking beer, something to sip and savor. I think aging this was a very worthwhile experiment.

(The numbers are the same for both fresh and aged… weird!)

Old lame-ass review of a fresh sample:

Dark mahogany hue with ruby highlights, the head was weakly developed and thus negligible retention. The nose is malty with hints of fruit. The aroma is a bit understated. The palate has a rich maltiness, hearty, fruity undertones, spicy-candy sweetness and cameral notes. Full-body, syrupy, healthy mouthfeel, the carbonation was sparse. The finish is caramel-fruity sweet and most definitely warming, the alcohol is noticeable, not so much in taste but the affect on the brain! I would recommend you "sip" a few! Nobody can knock the BBC for this one!

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Photo of BeerBuilder
4.09/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours to a ruby color with a tan head that diminishes rather quickly. The aroma is malty, and fruity. I detected a faint cherry and date aroma. The flavor is rich and malty, very bread-like. It leads into a nice alcoholic finish. This is a full-bodied beer. I found this to be an excellent beer overall; I was nicely surprised.

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Photo of JISurfer
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I gave this one a shot to see how it would be without ageing first. It was a nice dark red color with a healthy head to it, that lasted a little while. I've already had the Triple Bock, but this one is way better in immediate taste. I also plan on buying a Triple and letting it age. Anyways, I thought this was almost like a heavier nut brown taste to it, but not too much of an alcohol taste to it. I will definately invest into another one for future enjoyment.

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Photo of goz
2.55/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pour is a medium-dark ruby, with a medium sized tan head, almost no lacing. Aroma is sweet, malty (caramel), and some fruityness also. Flavor starts with a strong malt sweetness, middle and end are mostly dominated with an alcohol presence that won't stop. Body is on the thin side of medium. Hints of cough syrup flavor come in towards the end.

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Photo of SixpointJMH
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

the bottle i've poured is a leftover from '02. it has aged nicely and has held up as good as or maybe even better than the current '03 batch. pours a deep ruby/brown with a decent head that dissolves at a moderate pace. there is an instant sweetness apparent in both smell and taste which is complimented by a generous malty flavour. it's a heavy brew, but one that's thoroughly enjoyable, especially after digging out from about a million feet of snow from this blizzard we in the northeast are currently enjoying. a bold SA brew. one of their best.

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Photo of Bierman9
4.85/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

New version, kicked up about 1% ABV (03APR09). Still a beauteous, clear chestnut hue, with a thin, fine, minimal tan head. Lacing is still quite attractive. Nose consists of nice toasty malts, with caramel and toffee sweetness, and light floral hopping. Mouthfeel is lovely, creamy smooth and chewy. Malty sweet sugars coat the tongue, yet are never cloying. More caramel and a smidge of brown sugar. Rum-soaked fruit-cake flavors come to mind. I could drink this all day and night! It sucks, though, that Jim Koch has opted to go with 4-packs vs. sixers, and at higher costs on top of that... Same scores... Prosit!!

*** ***

Latest tastings (09JUN06)... Have another Jan/Feb 2004 bottle... Not much different from last Dec... Is it a tad less full-bodied? Unsure... silky smooth, though. Still rich, smooth, creamy; lots of sweet malts, light caramel, brown sugar.... just a smidge of hops left.... a bit of a warming effect... Now at almost 2.25 years... lovely!!
Next up, getting into the 2005 offering, about 1.25 years old... garnet/mahogany, creamy beige head... seems to have better body than the earlier '04... a touch less sweetness than the '04, with a correspondingly higher bit of hoppiness, though still not bitter at all. Yes, still lovely, all around! Zum Wohl!!

overall: 4.8
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | mouthfeel: 5 | drinkability: 5

*** ***

Have opted tonight (04DEC05) to dive into a couple of bottles of Sammy from approx Jan/Feb of '04. Color, of course, hasn't changed; still with a creamy, beige head, and quite full, heavy, thick and smooth on the palate. Rich, sweet brown sugar malt coats the tongue. Lusciously malty yet not at all cloying. Caramel coats everything, yet there is still a smidge of a floral quality from the Noble hops bearing fruit at the finish. Coming up on 2 years in the cellar fridge (at a constant 48F), this bier is still top-shelf!!

*** ***

I have here tonight (10FEB03) a bottle from 2002, and a current, fresh bottle of 2003. Color is identical to each other, and to the '01: a rich, mahogany hue with tinges of ruby. Both have a fine, tan head, though the '03 was initially bigger, and lasts a bit better than the '02. Both leave a bit of lacing. (4.5 for each).
Aroma of last years is much more pronounced than the new model. Still a strong, malty sweet nose, with the '02 perhaps having more caramel (4.5 for '02, 4.0 for '03).
Mouthfeel for both is exquisite! Full-bodied and silky smooth on the tongue! (5.0 each).
The '02 has a more rounded flavor profile, more malty sweetness, with heavier caramel emphasis and even maybe a tinge of molasses. The fresher version, though still with malt aplenty, has an ever so slight bitterness that aging may quell somewhat. ( I still go with a 5.0 for the '02, and a 4.5 for the '03). I was worried that Sammy might have dumbed-down this bier like some others in the line-up, but from 1 bottle, I feel it's still up to it's standard as Sammys best, imho. Drinkability? I love 'em, so 5.0 for each. Prosit!!

*** ***

(Just scored a couple of cases at Shaws for $19.99 each!!!!) Am currently (20Jan02) drinking a 2001 leftover...aged nicely...Beauteous brown/ruby color, with a creamy, small white head. Some lace present.... Sweet, malty nose....some caramel and perhaps toffee and dark fruit. Lovely full body, with a nice smoothness on the tongue. Mucho malt flavor with a nice sweetness... seems like some caramel-like flavors are there too.... and the alcohol doesn't let you forget it's presence! I REALLY enjoy this bier!


Orig rating 4.5/4.5/5.0/5.0/5.0 = 4.80


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Photo of Delirium
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appealing amber bottle with black and red-gold lable. Smells of intense malts but tastes deeply of floral hops, pine, lime. I am reminded of a greek wine, which is traditionally aged in barrels made of pine.

Wonderfully alcoholic and malty to point of audacious obcenety. Woo Hoo!

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Photo of Bruiser81
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Ahh my first Doppelbock. This beer was a very deep amber color with a giant head. The smell was sweet like honey.The taste was surprisingly sweet as well. The sweetness in the taste matched the aroma.I don't know why but I was expecting something more like a stout. I guess I didn't know this style very well. The mouthfeel was creamy and full, which I enjoyed. It went down buttery smooth. I would have never guessed this beer has such a high ABV. This brew was a good introduction to the style and I would purchase again.

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Photo of Quaffer
3.09/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: This beer looked great. It was a deep brown-red color with a light tan haed. A thin layer of foam persisted almost throughout the whole drink.

Smell: A malty aroma with a very distinct sweetness to it.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth and fairly full bodied.

Taste: Well, this is a pretty full beer. A light amount of bitterness and a little bit of that good ol' alcohol bite. It was definitely matly, but all of this was overpowered by the sweetness. And not a good, malty sweetness. It had a lingering twang that reminded me of artificial sweetner. And it was strong. I bought a six-pack of this and a couple of times, followed a bitter beer with one of these. Big mistake. The sweetness was almost gagging. It was all I could do to finish the beers in those instances. Needles to say, for this review, I made sure that this was the first beer of the evening. Still, the twangy sweetness is too much.

I will probably steer clear of this beer from now on. It's not horrible, it's just that there are too many other great beers out there to waste my time on this one.

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Photo of jackndan
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sam Double Bock: I missed this last year, so I’m reviewing this fresh out of the twelve pack (this is a beer that ages very well). Great looking dark body, clear and dark. Tannish head, with great retention. Deep coffee aroma. The taste is smooth and sweet, with a hint of alcohol warmth at the end. The taste is very nice, somewhat molasses, and honey. A little raw, but very easy to drink and pleasant.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.28/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a huge off white cream head, with an amazing deep ruby tone tone. This beer just looks like a treat, and once you smell feel the sweet malt and wrap around your taste buds you will be sold. WIth full syrup flavors of figs and almost a mild brandy this beer is amazing. A standard in double bocks, definitely incredible in the amount of malt. A beer that is 8.4% purchased in WV was a dream come true, and I felt like I was being rebel breaking the law. It was sweet, then I realized they labeled the bottle malt liquor , and that might be why WV can import the Sam Adams Double Bock. A full mouthfeel that fills you up, nice and chewy. I still find this one very drinkable.

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Photo of waughbrew
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This dark lager looks beautiful with its clear dark amber body and good-sized beige head. The aroma is what you'd expect, rather pleasant. The flavor is very nice with hints of nuttiness and butterscotch. The mouthfeel is a little too syrupy for me, but not unpleasant. Decent drinkability.

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Photo of kunzbrew
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This brew pours a nice red amber color with a creamy head that last a while then reduces to a minimal collar, leaving a lace behind. A light malt hits the nose which is what I was not expecting. The first sip brings a strong maltiness like a dopplebock should be and mild malt flavor. The finish is nice but not great. Sam Adams has an uphill battle versus the Germans.


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Photo of oelergud
4.7/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally the SA Double Bock is out in the stores, I've been awaiting this great brew for so long and it's just as good as I remember it.
A very clear dark ruby and a light tan head makes this a beautiful beer, not alot of lace but enough for me.
The smell doesn't hide the caramel and high alcohol % and neither does the taste, very creamy and full bodied, make sure you get a little of the head with each sip as that makes it even better.
Leaves a caramel cover in your mouth and brings a cozy warmth to your bones on these cold winter days.
This is one of the few seasonal beers I stock up on so I can enjoy the taste for a good while after the brewers stop making it.
This is one of the best beers from SA and one of the very best winter lagers.

-Oelergud, Cheers!

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Photo of TXHops
3.34/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Sam Adams Double Bock 2003 edition

-OG: 1.084
-FG: 1.021
-ABV: 8.45
-2-row Harrington, caramel 60º
-Real Extract: 7.94
-Apparent Attenuation: 74.12
-Calories/12 ounces: 240-277(I calculate 277, SA website says 240)
-Tettnang Tettnanger, Tettnang Hallertauer

Double Bock pours an unfiltered, slightly murky, brownish orange color. The light tan head of tiny bubbles starts out strong, but within a minute or two, recedes to the edges of the glass only. The deeply malty nose smells of bread dough and alcohol: like leavening rum-based wheat bread. The flavor is alcoholic, then lingeringly malty, then slightly fruity (like the aftertaste of dates), then briefly bitter from a welcome appearance from the German hops. All of those changes take place in the span of about two seconds, and then the beer finishes alcoholic again, with a faint roastiness gathering in the corners of my mouth. This beer tastes stronger than 8.4%, though the mouthfeel, which is a little softer than most SA beers, feels like less than the original gravity would suggest. While still substantial, and quite sticky on my lips, the beer just doesn’t quite feel as thick as the final gravity suggests that it is.

I think that most of the German interpretations of this style achieve better balance between the toasty maltiness and the warming alcoholic flavors than SA’s double bock does. When I drink Optimator, Celebrator or Salvator, I’m not left with as much heat in my stomach as I am with Sam Adams’ rendition. The classic German versions also show more finesse with their strength. This is a complex brew and I found it to be pretty enjoyable, but I wouldn’t want more than one. The overall sensation created by Sam Adams Double Bock is more reminiscent of EKU 28 than of Salvator.

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Photo of RBorsato
4.88/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bright reddish-amber color with a low creamy brown head and slight lace. Big malty aroma !! Light caramel and light chocolate notes. Big malty flavor; dark caramel malt dominates. Full bodied, rich, creamy, and chewy with a warm alcohol finish.

I was worried about age but this aged incredibly well !! One of the best American dopplebocks to compare to imports.

Label states "Dark Lager" & "Rich bock brewed with extra malt".
ABV: 6.8% (per bottle).

'99 embossed stamp along bottle bottom. Tasted: 01/25/03

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Photo of Morris729
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2003 Edition. Pours a very dark amber color with a creamy tan colored head that fades into a nice lace. Nose is sweet roasted malts and alcoholic phenols. Very smooth and creamy in the mouth with flavors of rich sweet malts, dark fruits, and spicy alcohol. A very nice brew for a cold winter night. This is one of my favorite beers from Samuel Adams.

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Photo of LarryV
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured with a huge finely bubbled head. After a few minutes, the head dissipated to a light froth. Aroma is subtle, enticing. A deep reddish hue when held to natural light. The alchohol is definitely very present in the taste. Sweet, but not cloyingly so. The malt is definitely the king here with the hops coming through faintly in the background. Mouthfeel is very lush and creamy. I really enjoyed this beer, but I would say it needs to be respected in terms of alchohol. After just one, I found myself mildly buzzed. :)

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Photo of Wildman
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2003 edition:
This beer poured a dark reddish amber color and formed a nice light tan head that left laticed like lace as it subsided. Some carbonation is present. An aroma of malt and caramel. A flavor of malt and caramel with a touch of spice. The finish is lighter than some other bocks but a surprisingly good beer from Sam Adams.

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Photo of UncleJimbo
3.71/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep amber-red with HUGE tan foam head.

Smell: Mild, citrus-like aroma. Not much malt in the nose.

Taste: Sweet, malty, low hops, like a Red Lager. Some caramel notes. A slight aromatic hop flavor in the finish. A bit of alcohol presence.

Mouthfeel: A bit thin with low carbonation, but smooth, and clean with very low hop flavor.

Drinkability: Good, very easy to drink.

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Photo of kwill
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The initial appearance and smell of this beer left me a little disappointed. Not to say it was bad, just not quite what I was expecting. It pours a dark, red/brown with a thick brown head that disappeared a bit too quickly. The smell is good, but a little too sweet.

The taste is a bit too sweet with a light caramel taste. Mouthfeel is a little too thick and syrupy for a beer this sweet. The sweetness would not be so distracting if it finished cleaner and didn't leave such a thick and long-lasting aftertaste.

Overall a good beer, but it certainly can't stand up to some of the better doppelbocks like the Ayinger Celebrator or Paulaner Salvator.

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Samuel Adams Double Bock (Imperial Series) from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.93 out of 5 based on 1,922 ratings.
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