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Alaskan Birch Bock (Pilot Series) | Alaskan Brewing Co.

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Alaskan Birch Bock (Pilot Series)Alaskan Birch Bock (Pilot Series)

Brewed by:
Alaskan Brewing Co.
Alaska, United States

Style: Doppelbock

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by jmdrpi on 08-30-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 49 | Ratings: 112
Photo of yamar68
3.67/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My palate is freshly raped by a glass of Hop Stoopid (sorry).

Poured from 22oz bomber to pint glass:

Nice looking bock. Looking rather still.

The nose certainly boasts some caramely birch syrup - such a unique ingredient and surprisingly distinguishable from other tree syrups. Nice. A bit of leather and toffee here as well.

A lot of the same notes tend to surface on the tongue with the addition of a pretty distinct mineral type finish. Smells better than it tastes.

The after taste detracts from the feel but the consistency is good.

I always love trying beers that utilize birch syrup.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.94/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a mug.

3.0 A: Clear orange amber color. One finger of frothy beige head. Retention is lacking, but it's possible that that's due to the birch syrup. No lacing.

4.0 S: Wow, the birch really comes through in this. The strongest aroma is maple nut candies, but with birch instead of maple. There's something else that's really distinct, but I just can't figure out what it is right now. Good bit of toffee with some caramel underneath. An almost tanginess that could come from the syrup or the malts. Light booziness. Candied date fruitiness.

4.0 T: Again lots of birch, toffee, and sugariness. Candied date, currants, and plum fruitiness. Not as tangy as the nose, but there's still a little bit of it. It tastes like it smells, but it's a bit smoother actually. Booze is well hidden.

4.0 M: Medium body. Good moderate carbonation that is almost spritzy. Good here. Super smooth.

4.0 D: Of the one other birch related beer I've had, this is by far the best. Done very well, tasty, and great on the palate.

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Photo of snaotheus
3.06/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle split into a pair of large snifter

Pours a pretty ruby color with very little head and lots of carbonation. Smell is alcohol and syrup.

Taste is unexplainably bland. Alcohol is plenty present, syrup is there, there is a little bit of a woody flavor, something about it reminds me of sweet tea.

Mouthfeel is sticky. Overall, too sweet and bland to be any more than average for me.

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Photo of TexIndy
3.87/5  rDev +7.5%
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 Bitterbill
3.48/5  rDev -3.3%
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 Halcyondays
4.52/5  rDev +25.6%
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 megahurts4
4.12/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Alaskan Birch Bock (Pilot Series)

Appearance: dark amber, small head, and some lacing.

Smell: birch and alcohol.

Taste: nice malt and birch notes.

Mouthfeel: medium and smooth.

This is a very nice brew. The flavors are very well balanced.

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Photo of hreb
2.24/5  rDev -37.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

22oz bottle pours red-brown, crystal clear, with a tiny amount of white head. Holy crap, intensely estery aroma. Flavor is similarly chemical. I don't detect any birch-beer like flavor, though there is some sweetness, either from that birch additives or from the normal heavy malt load of a bock beer. I didn't expect much, but this disappoints. Would not try again.

Pros are it looks decent in the glass, there's a pretty scene with a moose on the label, and it hides its ABV very well. Cons are that it hides its ABV with bad flavor. And everything else.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.3/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle opened on 6.1.12.

A - Pours a cloudy, red-amber with a small light tan head. Fizzy with good retention.

S - Sweet mapler, bready, carmel.

T - Sweet fruit, carmel, wood, raisins.

D - Ok carbonation with a medium body.

O - Sweet and woody. Boring.

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Photo of beertunes
3.3/5  rDev -8.3%
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 StonedTrippin
3.95/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

love the local ingredient concept. this is an exciting bock that pours a deep copper color with a hint of red and a nice 2 inch tan head that leaves some lacing. smells sweet and syrupy, birch like the sierra nevada life and limb. flavor is big malts up front that fade into a sweet earthy flavor. alcohol is present at the end. feel is okay, a bit thick and syrupy, even for a big bock. carbonation is mellow and the body is full. im very glad i got to try this, i liked it quite a bit. i wouldnt want much more than a bomber though

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Photo of beergoot
3.12/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Solid copper body, clear. Head is off-white and settles into a half-finger height. Lots of large carbonation bubbles initially, then it (and the head) settle down to finer bubbles and a finer, thicker bodied head.

Medium-rich malt smell. Some caramel sweetness.

Taste starts of with a light malt sweetness but is soon overtaken with bitterness, a rather strong alcohol taste, and a vague medicinal taste at the end.

Weak mouthfeel for a large beer. Strong hint of astringency in the finish.

A rather weak (in malt characteristics) and weird tasting doppelbock. I wanted to get fired up about this beer, but the bold off-flavors almost make this a below-average beer. Not bad per se, but I wouldn't rush out to try another.

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Photo of maximum12
3/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Big dopplebock, birch maple syrup. What could possibly go wrong? This beer sounds so good it's almost a sure-fire letdown. And I'm an optimist. 22 oz. bomber split with my wife.

Pour is disconcerting; this could pass as an amber in a dark house of ill-repute. No head, no bubbles. Nose is all-sweet-all-the-time; no untangling the birch from the maple to the malt. Recommended by 4 out of 5 dentists with low revenue numbers.

Birch Bock immediately send my blood sugar into the 250 range. Sextuplet dose of sweetness assails every imaginable portion of the body, rendering me instantly more alert & attractive. The 'birch syrup' is a nice touch, but the sugar is so overwhelming, it blasts out everything else. This could be an alcoholic soda for all I know.

This is a one-note beer. I do enjoy the mild syrup going on here, but it needs something besides 106 grams of sugar to make it palatable. Mediocre, & not approved by the ADA.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.91/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

651 ml brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a conical Guinness pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are high; I've taken quite a fancy to Alaskan brewery. Bottle acquired at Wades Wines in Westlake Village, California. Cost was $8.99 plus tax.

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

A: Pours a half finger head - quite thin, of slight cream, and bad retention. Head colour is a slight khaki. Colour is a semitransparent copper. Appears to be badly carbonated, but I can't tell in which direction; the head sucks but it's abound with bubbles. Non-opaque. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Birch wood and birch syrup are dominant; very pleasant and unique. I'm rather impressed in spite of its simplicity. Maybe unrefined brown sugar. All around rather inviting. A mild to moderate strength aroma. Some might find it somewhat medicinal, but I don't.

T: Birch is indeed present, and provides an interesting character. It has a sort of birch syrup (as in maple syrup but with birch, not in an artificial sense) note that I find pleasant. It's certainly an experimental flavour profile, but I find it enjoyable for what it is. A unique, experimentally bold beer that turns out on the better side of pilot brews. Unfortunately, its simplicity holds it back, but I'm sure Alaskan could find some way to use the birch note in future better beers. Decently balanced for what it is. Not complex or subtle, but you have to respect that they're trying something new. No alcohol comes through.

Mf: Far too thin, especially for the style. Wet and smooth. Way too undercarbonated, but not quite flat. Very poorly executed considering the flavour profile. Almost ruins the beer.

Dr: Drinkable and pleasant for what it is. Hides its ABV quite well. The flavour is agreeable but the mouthfeel is awful. Strangely, it's actually one of the better doppelbocks I can remember having. Sort of high priced even considering the import distance. I wouldn't get it again, but I look forward to seeing how Alaskan uses the birch note.


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Photo of hardy008
4.02/5  rDev +11.7%
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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Photo of Beaver13
3/5  rDev -16.7%
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 vkv822
2.66/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

22oz bottle into tulip snifter.

Pale amber with a bubbly bone-white head.

The nose and taste are fairly one-dimensional, with sweet malts.

Medium body, low carbonation.

Not offensive in any way, but very one dimensional, and not very interesting.

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Photo of jjanega08
3.69/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

No freshness dating.

A= Pours a deep translucent amber color with a small coca cola head that quickly falls into coca cola like bubbles with just a few sticking around.

S= The smell is full of caramelly malt. A lot of sweetness. I had the 25th Anny last night that was also brewed with the birch syrup and it had a woody character. I'm not getting the woody character in this one. The sweetness sort of reminds me of those candy cherries on top of ice cream. Not quite that pungent in aroma but similar.

T= The flavor starts slightly metallic with a nice caramelly sweetness backing it up. Actually one of the more enjoyable bocks I've had but the flavor seems to be quiet a bit. There is the strange cherry sweetness in it still that reminds me of the candy marichino cherries. The birch syrup again holds no woodiness like it did in the 25th anniversary. The alcohol is quite and can't be noticed. I find most bocks to be overly sweet for myself but this one isn't quite there. There is a bit of a bite to it from something I don't wanna say it's a hop bitterness because it isn't but there is something that cuts through the pure sweetness. Maybe it's the carbonation.

M= A nice amount of carbonation that I suspect cleans the palate a bit keeping it from being overly sweet.

O= This isn't a great beer but it isn't bad. I'm not a big bock guy that's for sure but this is tolerable and even somewhat enjoyable. The birch syrup I don't understand and I'm having trouble finding it. Worth trying and I may buy another.

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Photo of brewcrew76
3.75/5  rDev +4.2%
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 jsprain1
3.77/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- A slightly hazy brown colored with a very thin off white colored head. Retention is mediocre.
S- Smell is sweet with some spicy and very deep caramel flavors. Fairly mild for what is supposedly a doppelbock.
T- It's about the same here. Very sweet with deep caramel flavors, a bit of what I can only figure out is the birch flavor.
M- Light body, medium carbonation, long lasting finish.
O- It's a fun bock, not sure it satisfactorily is a doppelbock, but still worth a try.

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Photo of srandycarter
3.53/5  rDev -1.9%
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 allforbetterbeer
3.88/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a goblet. Bought for $8.00 at Coaltrain liquor in Colorado Springs on 4/9/12.

Pours a clear crimson body under a minimal off-white head. Very striking appearance. I am always amazed how red some beers can be.

Nose is rather faint. I detect a little alcohol, something rather like lager yeast in a homebrew, and a bit of dough.

On first taste this is so much like a failed batch of lager I tried to make (didn't ferment out very well) that I can't get into it. However this beer is of higher quality and upon closer inspection it shows that it is in fact nuanced. A big sweet lager base provides the foundation for the birch flavors, which are slightly woody and very sweet, almost syrupy in a natural sap kind of way. There is a little rich-spice note that reminds me of root beer. This beer doesn't taste anything like rootbeer, but there is some quality in it that does bring root beer to mind.

The mouthfeel is on the heavy side with lots of residual sugars to thicken up the body. Carbonation is lively but not oppressive.

Conclusion: This is an interesting beer, and to a normal BA I think it would be excellent. If it didn't share so much of its flavor profile with a past failed batch of homebrew I would like it more.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.07/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22 oz bottle into a Surly Darkness Chalice.

Appearance: Pours a deep, dark, and slightly cloudy brownish copper with a little ruby red. Moderate bubbles and about one finger of off white head that recedes into a few thin patches. Lacing is light.

Smell: A sweet smell of caramel malts and toffee with the birch syrup and a hint of spices. Some hints of citrus and earthy hops in the background. Also a light hint of dark fruits. Smells more like an English Barleywine than a Doppelbock, but it smells good and interesting.

Taste: A nicely sweet mix of bready caramel malts, birch syrup, and toffee. Hints of figs and other dark fruits. A little bit of spice. Nice presence of earthy and citrus hops giving a little more of a bitter bite than you would typically expect from a bock. The syrup blends in nicely. Well balanced.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Chewy and somewhat syrupy as expected. No noticeable alcohol heat.

Overall: A pretty interesting and tasty beer. Sweet but well balanced by the hops.

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Photo of Docer
3.4/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: (3.5)

- Pours a lightly cloudy mahogany brown. The brew has a nice reddish hue as well. Very minimal head.. leaves but a light dusting of off-white thin foam in the center, and a small ring around the edge. Pretty standard for the style.

Smell: (3.5)

- A sweet floral and citrus grain bed aroma. Light maple, thick sugars, and an earthy approach with some esters. Tannins and a fruity touch for sure. Creamy oats and grains. Interesting.

Taste: (3.5)

- A rather sweet brew with a fruity ester and tannin touch, light maple, and brown sugar. Grassy and earthy bitterness is light, but present. Little bready, but mainly just sweet. It's ok, but I can't say that I am blown away by this brew.

Mouth Feel: (3.5)

- It's a chewy one, and slightly drying. The sweetness lends a little stickiness and a cloying attribute. It's well carbonated with a common yeast.

Overall: (3.0)

- I love Alaskan Brewing, but have to say that this brew has 'average' written all over it. There certainly isn't anything wrong with the beer, but it doesn't stand out at all on all marks. I rate beers a 3.5 when they contain the quality I expect from a larger craft beer producer. A 3.0 can be found in a homebrew, but there would usually be something offsetting to get that. This beer doesn't have anything offsetting. It's just a little boring. Perhaps a big fan of the style would like to sit on a bottle awhile and let it oxidize. Not me.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
4.41/5  rDev +22.5%
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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Alaskan Birch Bock (Pilot Series) from Alaskan Brewing Co.
3.6 out of 5 based on 112 ratings.
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