Alaskan Birch Bock (Pilot Series)
Alaskan Brewing Co.

Alaskan Birch Bock (Pilot Series)Alaskan Birch Bock (Pilot Series)
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Style:
German Doppelbock
ABV:
8.5%
Score:
83
Avg:
3.64 | pDev: 14.29%
Reviews:
49
Ratings:
113
From:
Alaskan Brewing Co.
 
Alaska, United States
Avail:
Retired (no longer brewed)
Wants
  7
Gots
  9
SCORE
83
Good
Alaskan Birch Bock (Pilot Series)Alaskan Birch Bock (Pilot Series)
Notes:
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Reviews: 49 | Ratings: 113
Reviews by laituegonflable:
Photo of laituegonflable
3.41/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a vibrant red colour, slight fizz. Head is an off-white ring around the edge, decent lacing. Looks OK, but listless.

Smells like bubblegum. Massive sweetness incongruous with the look - lots of banana, cake batter and apple juice as well. Fruity, light and sweet; needs more grounding for me.

Taste is a bit more toffeed, but otherwise it's all the same notes of the nose, so points for some congruity at least. Banana, bubblegum, some spice notes - nutmeg and maybe some clove - and a nice vanilla note at the back, which sort of assimilates all the others into a bigger whole at the back. Slight metallic edge, but I still think it's a bit sickly sweet at the start. Decent, but really into this.

Fairly smooth with a proteinous body. Bit of spice at the back; quite nice.

Interesting beer, and a well-constructed palate. Not to my taste at all, sadly, but I can see others really enjoying this.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of yemenmocha
3/5  rDev -17.6%

Photo of Bitterbill
3.48/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

$7.35 for the 22oz bottle best by 081112.

A nice clear amber colour, great 2 finger head of stubborn foam, does very well with the lacing.

It smells very malty..maple syrup like but it's birch syrup. Worthy for the style and very inviting.

Really sweet up front from the birch syrup, slightly earthy, more sweetness, caramel malt kind of way, zero bitterness. Tasty but just a tad too sweet for my personal preferences. There's also a big bite from the alcohol that slows things down.

A nice mouthfeel here but again, the alcohol is too up front and given how sweet the overall taste is, it's a chore to drink.

A good effort from the brewery but I'd call it a slight miss according to my palate.

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Photo of TexIndy
3.87/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a pint glass. No dating info on the bottle but the website says it's a March 2012 release. It was a rich red-amber color with few carb streams. It had almost no head when poured and what was there quickly evaporated. No lacing.

The aroma is strong on birch syrup and caramel malt. A little booze maybe. Not bad but man it's sweet. The taste closely follows the aroma and again is very sweet. It's dances over the cloying line then comes back. Not getting any of the other traditional doppelbock aromas or tastes but this is supposed to be birch syrup heavy so can't knock it much. Medium to heavy mouthfeel with good sweet aftertaste but lacking in carbonation.

Overall, a good speciality doppelbock that I do recommend if you can easily get. While Alaskan is now in Texas this isn't one of the beers that they offer here yet. Got from Hoss in a care package. Rotation - glad I tried it but wouldn't seek out again. But would try on-tap. [N;O]

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Photo of Gavage
3.52/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours a light brown color with a short wispy head that falls apart quickly.

Smell: sweet malt and brown sugar is most noticeable by the nose.

Taste: very sweet malt profile, as brown sugar and ripe dark fruits are up front. Bitterness is mild and alcohol is mildly noticeable too.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Lightly crisp up front, smoother argue finish. The sweetness lingers on the tongue for a while.

Overall: I expected a little more from this beer, as it just was not as satisfying as I expected. One bomber bottle was more than enough for a session.

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Photo of woemad
3.55/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber purchased a while back at Huckleberry's in Spokane for $8.99. "081112" was stamped on the label, but it's not clear if that's when it was bottled or when it's best by. Considering the style and abv, I'm not too worried.

Poured a reddish amber color with a decent sized off-white head. Said head didn't stay large for long, but never entirely faded away.

Big, boozy scent grabbed the attention at first. There was also some brown sugar-like notes. There's a bit of a nutty scent in the background, as well.

Similar to the nose in that there's a boozy, brown sugary and nutty taste, but there's also a raisiny, dark fruit flavor lurking in the background, providing a little depth, but not enough for this to taste like a leading contender in the doppelbock category.

Body is somewhere between medium and full, with a slightly sticky mouthfeel.

This is a decent attempt at a doppelbock, but it falls short when it comes to the style's general complexity. If this had a little more depth, there'd be more fours in this review.

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Photo of Beaver13
3/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle. Pours ruby amber with a small fizzy off-white head that quickly goes to a thin film.

The aroma is sweet caramel and toffee, maple and honey.

The flavor is sweet sugary caramel and toffee with a slightly bitter drying finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation.

Overall, the syrup adds interesting notes to the doppelbock. It's a bit on the sweet side for me.

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Photo of ejimhof
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.03/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased from Berkeley Bowl West in Berkeley, CA. Brought back to Australia and shared with @tobeerornottobe and @Laituegonflable.

Pours a lovely clear and bright reddish umber hue, with a mild creamy beige head of fine bubbles. Minimal lacing, but the body is very solid. Body is very solid, and leaves fine carbonation when tilted. Very good looking beer.

Nose is smooth and round, with a bite of slightly medicinal astringency, which cuts through it and prevents it from being unanimously sweet. Sweet banana bread characters, hints of cinnamon bun and a wafty, slightly boozy phenolic note. It's very pleasant.

Taste is, ooh, surprising. I expected that phenolic or biting astringency to be very prominent, but instead, we get a truly sweet, syrupy beer, that doesn't ever get too heavy or overpowering. Mild maple syrup notes, along with a slight piney fragrance (is this birch? I wouldn't know). Feel is clear and smooth, almost glassy as it goes down.

Overall, good stuff: the birch syrup, I think, really comes through and gives an interesting twist, and the base beer is solid. Overall, I'm pretty happy with this.

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Photo of CHADMC3
3.87/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a toffee colored body beneath the thinner off white head which quickly dissolves to leave little lacing behind.

Sweet aromas of birch syrup and brown sugar and hints of fig float from the glass. The aromas are sweet and candy like with typical doppelbock malty sweetness as well.

The flavors are similar featuring the birch maple and brown sugar sweetness the aroma has with hints of earthiness.

The body is fuller with medium carbonation and a nice sherry like, dryer finish.

This is a pretty nice doppelbock, clearly even a bit sweeter with the addition of the birch maple syrup than others but you can certainly appreciate the Alaskan twist.

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

Picked up a bottle of Alaskan Birch Bock based on a sample at the St. Paul Summer Fest a few weeks ago. I have an affinity for "tree" beers after helping make a spruce ale with the MN Home Brewers at the first Teach a Friend to Homebrew day in 2005. The experience helped me get into homebrewing more, so "tree" beers have an odd emotional appeal to me.

Classic doppelbock color: deep copper to ruby. Dirty white head falls quickly over alcohol hotness and deep malt with a clear birch nose. Dark fruits and malt are smoothed by a slick oiliness over, what I assume, is a birch spicy note since it's low on hops. Very fun to drink.

Not a knock-your-socks off beer, but a testament to the creativity of the beer world. I like it and would drink it again.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
4.41/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Clear red brew, moderately-sized white head, no lacing. Initial pour coats the glass in bubbles. Brew has a thin ring of white head linger around the interface of the glass and the beer.

S - Strong, very fragrant malt. I am not sure where the malt ends and the birch syrup begins, because I'm not terribly familiar with birch syrup. It smells like malt with a bit of an almost rye-like spiciness. A bit of faint hibiscus and currants. Very nice.

T - Extremely potent malt with a hint of umami herbal balance, kind of like a mild sage and mushroom (but without the earthiness of most mushrooms). Very rich. Aftertaste is a mild sweetness and a bit of the earth-less umami mushroom. It is an incredible flavor in a beer, unlike any I can recall.

M - Very thick, smooth, refreshing.

D - Fantastic. I hope Alaskan keeps making this. Its a great tasting brew with more than just novelty. The birch syrup contributes an impressive flavor, but it is actually presenting something unique and delectable. I will definitely buy a bottle of this again (assuming I can find it).

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Photo of brewcrew76
3.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Slightly hazy brown, ruby red with a small tan head.

S - Sweet bready malts with some birch syrup. A touch of spice.

T - Sweet with caramel and bready flavors. Birch syrup reminds me of maple syrup but not as strong a flavor.

M - Light body with light carbonation. Sweet finish.

D - More a bock than a doppelbock in my opinion. The birch syrup adds nice flavor with being too sweet. Solid.

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Photo of JMBSH
2.5/5  rDev -31.3%

Photo of marct
4.75/5  rDev +30.5%

Photo of srandycarter
3.53/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Saddle leather brown, good off white head, some cling.

S - Malt upfront, syrup smell somewhat detectable.

T - Nice enough. Standard doppel with a bit of a maple like syrup note.

M - Lower carb than I would have liked, balance a little cloying.

D - Fun to try.

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Photo of NickMunford
3.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of mltobin
3.62/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on-tap at Roman`s in WI.

Appearance is dark copper with one finger head that is off-white in color. Its` nose has brown sugar, nuts and malts. For the taste of this doppelbock, I note raisins, caramel, some more of the nuts. Mouthfeel is medium with a slightly sticky finish. All in all, a pretty good beer, but nothing worth seeking out imo.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.52/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber,

A: Pours a dark amber to brown with a medium tan head which leaves some thick lace.

S: Heavy birch and maple syrup, dark turbinado sugar, distinct and inviting.

T: Classic malty dark dopplebock flavours. Dark bread, molasses, the birch is a nice addition. Sweet for sure, but never gets overbearing.

M: Full-bodied, never cloying which was astonishing in an American dopplebock with this much residual sugar. Crisp carbonation.

O: This was a really good effort from Alaskan. The best new beer I've had from them since the Baltic Porter. The bomber was pricey, but the QPR is good, a delicious strong beer with a unique touch. Well worth a pickup.

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Photo of phishsihq
3.42/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Birch Bock, a dopplebock brewed with Alaskan birch syrup. The brew pours a beautiful mahogany color, and it is caped with a thin, off-white head that provides spotty lace. Aromas of dark fruit and sweet malt hint at the flavors to come, and a little bit of sweetness pokes through as well. Malt forward, Birch Bock showcases the addition of birch syrup in the sweet finish, with a touch of alcohol lingering too. Medium-light in body, this dopplebock features a lower-level of carbonation. If you have access to ANY Alaskan Brewing Company's beers, do yourself a favor and buy them!

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Photo of beertunes
3.3/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in straight pint glass. Poured a semi-cloudy amber/brown color with an inch of tan head that had good retention and very light lacing.

The aroma was mostly sweet malts, with some different type spice notes that I couldn't really put my finger on. On the tongue, the malts were again the most notable feature. The beer was on the sweet side (coming from someone who likes sweet beers) and also had a noticeable alcohol taste. The did have a pleasant, earthy finish.

The body was fairly typical for the style, perhaps a bit too sticky sweet. Drinkability was good, I enjoyed my pint, but I'm not sure I'd have a second in a row, and I think a 22 would be too much at once for me. Overall, a solidly decent, but not really notable, beer. Worth trying if you see it.

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Photo of twelveinches
3.25/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of pkalix
4.25/5  rDev +16.8%

Photo of sprucetip
3.68/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Active, mahogany, thin tan head with little retention and no lacing. Good looker for what it's worth.

Malty sweet, toffee, a bit of dark fruit, and some warm boozy esters. Not especially deep, complex, or strong. But pleasant. ... Toward the very end of the sample it comes together better, but I still don't feel right bumping up to a 4. 3.75 anyone?? You can do 3.75 on "hads."

A little bit boozy and a little bit bitter, but sweet and malty is the primary character of the flavor here. I get some malty sweet and toasted flavors, embellished by toffee and dark fruit. But it's not quite as good as that might sound. The synergy of those elements isn't great. It tastes good, but not great.

Good carbonation, medium full body, moderately viscous, fairly strong warming, and some gentle bitterness in the finish.

Like many Alaskan Brewing beers, it's pretty good but not nearly amazing. I'd be proud of it if I made it, but would also be trying to figure out what I could do differently or better next time. I wouldn't recommend trading for it or going to great efforts to get it. And at $8.50 a bomber, I would maybe have one a year or so, if that. If I'm in the mood for a doppelbock, and I can get Celebrator, there is no question or discussion. That said, I do appreciate the attempt. But I keep wondering why Alaskan so often comes up short with these special releases. It almost seems like they purposefully dumb them down? I know they can make truly awesome beers (e.g. Smoked Porter, Baltic Porter, Barleywine), but so many of these special Pilot Series beers wind up being somewhat disappointing. Not bad, of course, but not sending me hustling back to the store for more before it's gone.

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Photo of hardy008
4.02/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Hazy ruby color with a small head which vanishes quickly, leaving no lacing. The aroma has sweet caramel malt, toasted malt, and birch syrup. Smells like this should be quite sweet.

The taste is also sweet, but not as much as the aroma. The taste has caramel malt, birch syrup, and toasted malt. Not very complex, but pretty good.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. The alcohol is well disguised. Definitely worth trying.

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Alaskan Birch Bock (Pilot Series) from Alaskan Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 83 out of 100 with 113 ratings