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

very good
1,928 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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Ratings: 1,928 |  Reviews: 1,110
Photo of rgrholmes168
3.12/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- A nice amber color, but with a head that disappeared as quickly as I poured it. Very disappointing.

S- A black jelly bean smell to the beer. The roasted malt comes through.

T- A taste to match the smell. I didn't particularly care for the taste.

M- A medium mouthfeel. The taste really gets through when testing the mouthfeel.

D- Okay. Not much more than okay. It is a little bit too heavy to drink more than one or two.

Average beer. I don't like or dislike, but would pass this up on the aisle for another beer.

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Photo of lawman834
3.68/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A-Quite dark with a Ruby tint. Light tan head that dissipates quickly.

S-Roasted Malts with a hint of Licorace and Raisin.

T-Very full bodied, but pretty much all roasted malt. It has a bit of a fruity tinge of raisin and plum. Pretty tasty, not even close to my style.

D-You wouldn't want to drink too many of these. You can really feel the alcohol (but not really taste it). This would be great for sippin slowly on a cold gloomy day.

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Photo of Gmann
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear dark amber color with an average khaki colored head which left a light cap. The aroma is a bit disappointing, not very strong but what I did pick up was nice. Sweet roasted malt, a touch of grain and hints of dark fruit and carob. A nice roasted malt flavor, has a meaty taste with hints of port in the end, perhaps some boozy dark cherry flavor. The feel is light and has a nice fizziness, finishes with a malty sweetness, a touch sticky. Nothing really stands out in this dopplebock but it is still rather enjoyable. The 8.8 ABV is very well hidden.

"Imerial Series Edit"
The flavor of the brew seems to be on par with my original review of the "non-imperial" doppelbock. The aroma is a notch better but still not great. ABV is still well hidden.

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Photo of dnichols
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I sampled this beer at a local tasting event attended by 17 beer buddies and featuring 17 great beers from east of the Mississippi and Canada.

A: It poured a deed dark brown that had ruby edges, however, when back lit it was a clear dark ruby red. It had a moderate tan head supported by strong initial carbonation. The head receded to a ring around the collar and supported a modest thin lacing.

S: It was a real surprise when the dark malty aromas hit my nose with the smell of caramel and dark fruits. The bottle said it was brewed with extra malts and I believe it.

T: It tasted like it smelled....lots of rich and sweet cream malty flavors including plums, caramel, chocolate and raisins. It had a warm dry finish and it was very hard to detect the hight ABVs or any hops.

M: It was smooth and cream for a medium bodied drink. Moderate carbonation and a high ABV left a warm clean palate with no aftertaste.

D: This was a very smooth and rich Doppelbock. Clean and warm finish and an interesting malt body. I could hammer down two or three before the sweetness overcame me driving me to something with a bit better balance of flavors.

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Photo of Paul68
3.71/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a SA glass. Notched month is Nov.
Brown color with a nice cream colored head that faded fast with some lacing on the glass. Smelled of caramel and malts. Very sweet tasting with a hint of alcohol. i thought it was smooth going down and very drinkable.

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Photo of shertz
4.07/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into a dimpled mug. Enjoy by date is October, hopefully 2009.

A- Almost two-finger head. Rootbeer in color with some little bubbles rising upward.

S- Lots of sweet malts, with some piney hops in background. No hints of alcohol for having a big ABV. This is going to be sweet.

T- For not smelling the alochol, it certainly smacks you in the face on initial sip. Has a lot of Russian Imperial Stout characteristics if you ask me. Some citrusy hops in background, with sweet alcoholy malts.

M- Pretty thick beer, almost chewy.

D- Very tasty brew, that is very drinkable after first couple of sips. It takes a few sips to get used to that "in your face" alcohol. But very delightful afterwards. For the price, a very good brew.


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Photo of jwc215
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Freshness date of end of October notched on label:

Pours dark rubyish brown with an off-white head that thins, but lasts awhile before become a lasting, swirling patch. Some lacing sticks.

The smell is bready, caramelish, with a touch of Continental-type hop spiciness in the background. Malt-accented.

The taste is malty - caramel/toffee with a spicy fruity/rum-like balance. Nice malt complexities with just a hint of sufficiently balancing hops. Fruity alcohol is prominent, but not too sharp or covering. Finishes with a warming sweetness.

Full-bodied and rich, it leaves a sweet, but not sticky, aftertaste.

Well - it packs a certain punch, but there is a smoothness, and certainly a flavor, that makes it drinkable for the abv. A good interpretation of the style and one to have around in the cold/cool months.

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

Purchased at Stateline in MD. Pours with a thin head. Dark brown in color. Bready & malty smell. Taste is malty with a hint of sweetness. Not a very complex flavor but true to style. Mouthfeel is smooth & the ABV is well hidden. Very drinkable at almost 9%. I am a fan of the style & I will be getting this again.


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Photo of thirtysixbelow
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a - dark brown copper colored beer with a 3 finger tan head. Doesn't look too thick.

s - malty with mostly caramel coming through. Spicy and a little alcohol.

t - wow. totally wasn't expecting what hit my mouth from the looks of things. Huge amounts of malt. Extremely sweet with mostly caramel coming through. A little bit of a toasted flavor as well. Basically no hops to end. A little alcohol presence. A pretty clean finish. Did I say sweet?

m - thick and smooth. One of the heaviest beers I have had. Very little carbonation. This is what makes it so interesting is that it doesn't look so thick. I'm used to seeing total black when I drink a thick beer, but this looks like any dark ale.

d - This is a good beer to experience. I have now had every sam adams and can say that this one is the most out there. It is just balls to the wall malt and thickness. I wish it had a little more hops to balance it out. This beer is almost like drinking maple syrup. It's interresting, but not something I could drink often. I won't be disappointed having to wait another year to try it. Hopefully my palate will enjoy it more next year.

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Photo of CrellMoset
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Purchased and enjoyed at Lost Dog Cafe in Arlington, VA. Poured from 12 oz bottle into typical pint glass (non-frosted - always appreciated - but not the best glassware for a Doppelbock. Nonetheless ...).

Appearance was very pretty, a deep mahogany-brown, with a fast-fading cream-colored head, and almost no lacing of which to speak. The lacing that is present is thin and fades fast Carbonation is minimal and dies down quickly. A very thick looking beer.

Aroma was very sweet, with caramel and roasted malts dominating. Faint hint of alcohol. Not the most pungent beer, but strongly reinforces all the tones present in the ...

Taste was great, very sweet and bold. Caramel and toasted grain again take center stage, although there is a slight bit of hop bitterness and an alcoholic bite in the finish.

Mouthfeel is near perfect, creamy and luscious. Perfect level of carbonation, covers the whole mouth. Great feeling beer.

Drinkability is surprisingly good. Sweet but not cloying, and strong without being too noticeably alcoholic. An excellent seasonal, sessionable beer from Sam Adams, I make a point of purchasing at least one six pack when I see it on shelves around the New Year. Cheers!

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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 kipling
4.46/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle with a notched freshness date of September (presumably '08) in my complimentary Sam Adams Boston Lager glass.

I was happy to see a dense, creamy white, two finger-thick head form atop the beer upon a somewhat gentle pour. The head more or less subsided by the time I was a quarter of the way through drinking the beer, though a persistent ring at the boundary between glass and beer continued on during the course of this review, and a trail of faint lace remained to prove testament to the beer's travel from glass to gullet. The beer itself was a clear, dark amber. Grade A Vermont maple syrup makes a fitting analogy (in terms of color only).

There wasn't much nose to speak of until I agitated the beer quite severely through swirling around in the glass, and even then it wasn't assertive. What aromas I did detect smelled of caramel apples and over-ripe fruit.

What was lost in the aroma was more than made up for in the taste. Toasted roasted malts dominate, and are entangled with the over-ripe fruit that was picked up in the nose. To state this so matter-of-factly, though, does not do it justice. I was shocked at the strength with which the malt and fruit exploded across my tongue. Certainly the nose did not hint that such enormous power lay within this liquid concoction. The roasted, fruity goodness took hold early, ushered in a slightly warm alcohol burn, and remained long after. Damn fine.

The tongue and palate are not left to want. This beer seems extremely well-balanced to me, and surprisingly full for an American doppelbock. In fact, as much as I hate to admit it, many Sam Adams offerings leave me wanting more in this category. That is to say, they are weak in mouthfeel for my tastes. That has always been my biggest pet peeve with SA beers. The SA double bock sets the record straight. Me: 0 SA: 1. Rock solid from the tip of the tongue to the back of the throat.

I was so taken aback by the exceptional taste and well-rounded nature (by SA standards) of this beer that I had to have a second immediately. That's saying something for a brew this high in alcohol content. In fact, this doppelbock rates second only to Andechs doppelbock (which I had in plentiful supply in Stuttgart). Kudos to you Jim Koch and the rest of BBC. You have completely won me over with this, your most kick-ass offering. (P.S. your Imperial Pilsner was not too shabby either.)

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

A - Poured a dark brown with amber highlights into my Sam Adams glass..formed a light tan head that fell slowly and left good lacing down the glass

S - Very biscuity and nutty along with some hints of caramel and toffee..a very small hint of hops and alcohol

T - The taste was nice and malty with biscuit and nut flavors dominating and a hint of caramel..the finish was very subtle citrus hop flavor but still just a little hot from the alcohol

M - Crisp and carbonated and yet still a little chewy

D - Overall it was good but by the time I got to the bottom I was glad I was done with this one..the heat from the alcohol kind of made it a little laborious to get to the bottom

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Photo of dedrinker
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Attractive clear deep amber color with a thin light tan head. Aroma of roasted nut oils and a little caramel. Flavor is mildly stated rich caramel with some nuts trailing on the finish. Medium-full body. I expected more malty depth from memories of years ago, but I may just be fooling myself - there is enough bock-like depth of malt here to qualify for sure, yet those pesky Germans just seem to have this style locked down. The closest I've gotten is with Bell's so far, but this one does admirably. It does make this more subtle and drinkable though.

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Photo of Doomcifer
3.4/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Pours a very clear, dark amber/red color with a nice creamy, 1/2 inch beige head that sticks around for a little while before fizzling to a constant thin layer hovering atop the brew. Decent lacing noted.
Aroma is very sweet, very malty, cherries, anisette, dark fruits, and evident alcohol.
Flavor consists of more high dose malty sweetness right off the bat. Initial punch of huge malts, cherries, figs, raisins is followed by a slightly nutty taste with more residual sweetness, anisette, light bitter hop presence, and alcohol which leaves a nice warming effect down the gullet.
Mouthfeel is creamy, full-bodied but not as much as say, a Celebrator, light carbonation, and a dry finish. Not a bad interpretation by the boys over at Boston Beer Co. I wouldn't call it extremely drinkable, not would I call any other doppelbock so. Heavy with lots of sweetness.

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Photo of dgallina
3.82/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce slim brown bottle. Dated January 2008 on the bottle and notched best-before October on the label.

Pours very clear medium brown with red highlights. Only a thin film of head on top, but decent lacing through the whole drink. The smell is rich and pleasing. Alcohol-tinged raisins and plums blend with cookie dough and toasted malt base. A bit of spicy anise at the edges. The flavor is dominated by medicinal plum and alcohol notes on a slightly-metallic mineral water base. Sweet toasted caramel in the center gives way to a lightly astringent alcohol finish. Body is thick and a little oily, with abundant creaminess. A nice sipping beer that would be improved by a better-developed body.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

From the bottle: "Enjoy this beer now or age it to develop rich and unique flavors"; "Samuel Adams Double Bock is brewed with a half pound of malt in each bottle, almost enough for a loaf of bread. This rich, intense lager reveals a deep mahogany color and velvety smooth flavor. Samuel Adams Double Bock is one of our most sought after brews. Enjoy! [undersigned] Jim Koch".

My pour gave me two fingers' worth of thick, foamy, deep-tan head with great retention. Frankly, it looked like an ice cream float. The nose was very sweet and sugary, candy-like, actually. The color was a deep orangish-amber with NE-quality clarity. Mouthfeel was full, thick, and creamy with a rich sweetness on the tongue. It was like liquefied dessert! The finish had a definite alcohol presence, but tempered with a lingering sweetness. I probably would not want a steady diet of this, but on a cold winter evening at home, it was very pleasant.

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Photo of Bobzilla
4.55/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Yum. I'm having this beer with cheese doodles and combos, which is a both a gross disservice and at the same time appropriate for this beer.
The color is very dark brown until you can get some light to shine through it, revealing a shade closer to caramel brown leaning towards
red. Considering the high alcohol content (8.8%), the head retention is reasonable, with a little halo hanging on all the way to the finish.
It has a noticable smell of alcohol, and a bit of a medicinal character. There is also something reminding me of paint thinner in the mixture of smells. It is a bit distracting, but the other aromas seems fairly typical for the style.
There is a bit of diacetyl(?) in the feel and flavor. The sweetness of the malt mixed with the buttery character is quite pleasant. It has a smoothness in the mouth, with a light sting on the tip of the tongue. The hops are fairly subdued in the beer as is appropriate for such a malty mammoth, but do leave a nice finish on the back of the tongue.
This is an outstanding beer, but the high alcohol makes it a bit difficult to have more than a couple and continue appreciating the beer at your full capacities. This doesn't stop me from wondering about getting a keg of it at home! (Wee!)
In general, with a bit smoother mouthfeel and lighter sting from alcohol, it reminds me a bit of some mid to high range abbey style beers that I have had. (Similar to a Westvletern 10 actually...and doesn't have a plane trip, train ride, hotel in Poperinge, and bike ride built into the cost!)
Bravo, Sam Adams, and just in time for Lent. Now make us an Eisbock!

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Photo of imaguitargod
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful burgundy color with a small head. I wish this wasn't a seasonal because I want to have this available for purchase anytime I want. The extremely sweet and malty flavor of this beer makes it a dessert/meal of it's own and would be a great complement to a bowl of chocolate ice cream....mmmm mmmm good! The bonus is that it's rated at 8.8% abv which gets the job done nicely!

My only complaint is that it's not very carbinated.

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Photo of iceball585
3.73/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark reddish color, semi-transparent, one finger thick fluffy cream color head that lowered slowly

S- Creamy, caramel, dark fruits, malts, light hops spice, hint of alcohol

T- Sweet, winter spices, raisens, toasted malts, caramel, slight hops bitterness

M- Medium body, low carbonation, smooth, slight burn of alcohol

D- Worth trying

Not my favorite double bock but I would still buy it again. The alcohol burn is a bit more than I would like out of beer as well.

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Photo of ricchezza
4.41/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Deep caramel / brown.

Smell: Very sweet. No hop aroma.

Taste / Mouthfeel: Thick. Very malty and sweet. Definatley a bold drink with a satisfying taste that lingers on the tongue.

Drinkability: Excellent winter season brew. Perfect for staying in on a cold night and relaxing on the couch.

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Photo of Tuey13
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this many times but this is first time reviewing.

Probably one of my favorite Sam Adams offerings.... if only it was a year round offering.

Pours a brown, ruby red with a minimal head that dissipates quickly.

Smell is sweet malts and caramel with hints of alcohol.

Taste is sweet caramel malt with a bit of hops in the mix. Very smooth and creamy... definately a full flavored brew.

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Photo of witster18
3.1/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

pours dark with ruby highlights. nose is winey raisin and cocoa. Pours a thick head that retains well. Wo! Where's the date here. I guess it's alright but this is not my cup of tea. Loads of malt here...loads! Starts bitter then finishes with that sweet raisin again...a nice flood of heat hits with the alcohol and then a strong astringent aftertaste..both sweet and bitter. Best paired with anything Caramel. THis would be a great desert beer aside some caramel chip cookies. Low on drinkability...I know it's 8.8 but the imperial pilsner is FAR MORE DRINKABLE THAN this. Not my favorite.

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Photo of AshevilleSippin
3.1/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Short Version:
Incredible pour and aroma. Insane syrupy flat ultra sweet flavor with overpowering yeasty-bready rasin smells/flavors.

OK, my third and final beer of the Super Bowl evening was quite a night cap.

Although I understand that this beer gets high ratings, I'm having trouble following suit. And I don't want to let me style preferences unfairly penalize another beer-style I'm not familiar with.

Having said that, wow. This was something else. I like porters, stouts, even Russian Imperials. I even enjoy an occasional barleywine. This stuff was crazy though. Bad bottle perhaps? Expiry date is Oct '08 so it seems plenty young.

On to the review:

Poured a dark ruby color, clear and uncloudy, with a big meaty 3-finger head that surprisingly didn't hang around all that long.

Aroma was wonderfully complex and intoxicating. First thing that came to mind was dark raisiny sweet bread. Very strong yeasty bread dough. Chocolate. Some hops in the background. At this point I was starstruck and in love. Ready to run out and buy it by the case.

That's right about where the record scratched though. This beer was so crazy buttery and syrupy it qualified as 'slimy' going down. Full body is an understatement. This is a serious plus size. We're talking Cato - Lane Bryant. All the carbonation must've gone to the head because after that it was virtually undetectable in the rest of the beer. Flat.

Flavor was super malt with some yeasty-bread characters. Like they poured the malt syrup directly into the bottle with a shot of alcohol. Sans the whole brew process. Obnoxious.

After several minutes in the glass I started picking up alcohol on the nose and in the finish. No surprise considering the 8.8 ABV it's throwing around.

Finish is very strong and sticky. I'll probably still be tasting it after I brush and go to bed tonight.

If this is the way a double bock is supposed to taste then I should rate it higher. Please send me comments if I've committed a beer-style injustice here. I just can't imagine it's supposed to be this over-the-top flat and syrupy. How about a little hop or a little burnt flavor to balance things out just a tad. Too one dimensional.

Not buying this beer again although I appreciate tasting something different and applaud SA for having the cajones to brew and distribute it. I'm certainly better for having had one.

Ingredients: 4x Bavarian hops according to the bottle.

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Photo of jar2574
3.29/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12-22-2011 review
Small head dissolves over a couple minutes. Dark brown / red beer. No lacing. Disappointing lacing.

Smell is nice. Sweet caramel malts.

Taste is oaky, thick mouthfeel, sweet caramel flavors, a hint of hot alcohol.

Moderate carbonation, more than I'd expect in a doppelboch.

An OK beer, but I'm not craving another. Pretty average. And After I saw that I'd reviewed it in 2008, I left those comments below but adjusted my ratings above to reflect my current thoughts.

02-04-2008 review
Dark brown/ruby beer with no head.

Smells like malty sweetness.

Malts, malts, malts. Can't sense any hops.

Sweet, (almost syrupy). Little carbonation. Tasty, easy to drink. I haven't had many dopplebocks, but this one is nice.

Unlike many other darker colored beers, these malts aren't roasted, and the dominant flavor is sweetness.
A - 3
S - 3.5
T - 4.0
M - 3.5
D - 3.5

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Samuel Adams Double Bock (Imperial Series) from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.93 out of 5 based on 1,928 ratings.
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