Thomas Hooker Liberator Doppelbock | Thomas Hooker Brewing Company

Thomas Hooker Liberator DoppelbockThomas Hooker Liberator Doppelbock
694 Ratings
Thomas Hooker Liberator DoppelbockThomas Hooker Liberator Doppelbock

Brewed by:
Thomas Hooker Brewing Company
Connecticut, United States

Style: Doppelbock

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Hopped with German and Czech hops and fermented with Bavarian lager yeast, this traditional doppelbock blends an extensive amount of select dark malts to achieve its rich and creamy character. Rich and filling, this brew is a malt lovers dream.

24 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 03-15-2004

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 694 |  Reviews: 508
Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

on-tap at Cambridge Brew House, served in a pilsener glass, man CBH gets it right on so many levels

A - this doppelbock arrives stout black, with a creamy coffee colored head, too dark to see any carbonation

S - a dark fruit, raisins or dates, and molasses aroma with slight teasing vanilla hints

T - this has a sneaky sweet taste, kind of a nondescript sweet, not at all bland, just hard to describe, especially for a 9% ABV. there are roasted nutty flavors, with an anise aftertaste

M - sooo smooth, this begs to be still on your tongue for an extra 10 seconds

D - this is so easy down, its so slippery, this is high quality, even above to Ayinger's celebrator

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Photo of HardTarget
4.12/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle Inspection: Big flip top brown bottle, some marketing about malts, no date or other info.

Aroma: A very appealing artificial cough syrup grape. Sounds odd, but it really does work here. Some clove, some molasses, very sweet smelling.

Appearance: Deep brown clear glass with a short lived head that dropped to a collar and hung on to give a touch of lace

Flavor: That grape taste from the nose, some spices (anise?), dark malt extract, and an odd mushroom middle. Just a touch of metal in the lingering finish. A very smooth overall taste, a clear lager quality to it.

Mouthfeel: Smooth texture, heavy body, full carbonation and a very dry finish.

Overall Impression: Full and rich, grape esters, easy drinking. Just a touch of oxidation in my sample, but it’s my fault. The bottle was so pretty I found it hard to pull its trigger. Still, the month in the fridge didn’t to do much damage, but I wouldn’t suggest this one to age.

Thanks to goodbyeohio for the trade.

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Photo of bjohnson
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Redbones, 10.5 oz. glass, review from notes.

A: Pours a dark mahogany brown color with a slight one finger off white caramel colored head that retains nicely and leaves pretty decent lace.
S: Spicy and malty notes dominate the nose. A bit of caramel and possibly molasses are thrown in there too. Smells delicious.
T & M: Tastes of malt are the most prominent with a spicy characteristic. Flavors that also dance through the mouth include molasses and caramel. Not overly spicy, malty, or sweet, but very well balanced and medium to full bodied. Smooth tasting db that coats the mouth almost as its going down.
D: Definately a drinkable beer. This was my desert beer after dinner. Very drinkable however as it's not very heavy. Could have a few of them, especially if I had a 25 oz'er.

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Photo of falloutsnow
3.79/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a two centimeter head that's dark tan in color. The froth is densely foamy, yet still manages to appear pillowy or cloudlike. This eventually settles down to a half-centimeter foam topping to the beer that lasts indefinately. The beer's body is dark brown away from light and a deep, cavernous ruby when held up to a point source. Semi-transparent with visible and prolific-looking carbonation.

The aroma is of malt and prominent coffee and cream aspects, especially notable as the beer warms. I was a bit disappointed with the scent as it was not very complex, relative to other doppelbocks, and was weak on delivering the toast or roasted malt aspects I've come to expect.

Where I feel the smell falls short, the taste lives up to expectations. It features a thick, coffeeish, roated malt body. Chocolate, molasses, espresso, and deeply toasted bread (maybe even a bit burnt) are in the forefront. Towards the back there's the slightest hint of hop bitterness. Aftertaste is of coffeebean bitterness with toasted bread flavors. The balance in the taste is excellent - there is no cloying sweetness even with all the malt, an example of the brewer knowing how to handle his ingredients and craft well.

Mouthfeel is heavy to medium-heavy bodied with a moderation amount of carbonation feel. This comes across as a thick and creamy beer, right on for the style. The finish is dry.

One of the darkest and deepest doppelbocks I've had the pleasure of tasting. While its appearance is impressive, the beer lacks much of an olfactory emphasis and isn't quite as deep or complex as one would expect from the amount of malts used or when compared to doppelbocks of similar caliber. Still, quite tasty and drinkable, a seasonal offering to look forward to.

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Photo of RoyalT
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – This poured a beautiful dark brown in color indicating the massive malt content. The head came up nicely as well. It was heavily browned and showed good retention.

Smell – The big, juicy malts have a nice molasses undertone. The raw sugars are big at the nose and actually made my mouth start to water. I should emphasize that with all this sweetness it managed not to be overly sweet. The solid malt base could handle a dump truck full of sugar.

Taste – The malts are milder at the taste, but this is still a big beer. There’s a nice barleyness to the flavor and it seems to be more balanced. The overall flavor profile is rough around the edges, just like I prefer my DBs.

Mouthfeel – This is a heavy medium-bodied with some light malty bitterness and a very smooth feel in between the cheeks.

Drinkability – This may be too raw for the uninitiated, but the true DB lovers will find this an excellent example of the style.

Update – I want to extend a huge round of applause for BeerGuy for bringing this all the way out here to Seattle. He is a real stand up guy, and this BA gift was greatly appreciated.

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Photo of villainchiwwin
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

1 liter, poured in Aventinus glass, then poured again, and again....
deep mahogany with a massive head demonstrating gradations of tan, slowly fell but left audacious, chunky clumps of lacing. sharp attack, nicely subdued chocalety sweet with dark bready smells. delicious rich blend of roasted dark coffee, faint chocolate, and hazlenut tastes---molasses. palate has fine carbonation full big malty richness like heaven. delicious.easy to delight in. i'm very happy.

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Photo of TastyTaste
4.78/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at David Copperfield's in New York City.
Dark brown body, no light allowed to pass through. Big creamy head on the pour, slowly fades, leaving a curtain of lace on the sides of the glass. An excellent doppelbock that seperates itsself from most of the beers in the style. A very definitive roasted malt flavor melds very nicely with the standard Doppelbock brown sugar flavors (which, coincidently, are not as pronounced and overwhelming in this beer). A smooth, easy drinker. Definitely one of the best in the style.

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Photo of poppercherry
3.65/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer was served to me in a pint glass. The color was near black/ dark brown. A strong smell of malt was present. The texture compares best to a caramel consistency. It was a thick, but smooth beer. There was hints of chocolate, coffee, and hints of subtle fruit and flowers.

I enjoyed this beer from the first taste, but as I continued drinking the beer; I enjoyed it even more. The flavors in the beer seemed to intensify!

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Photo of Crosling
3.91/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Original Notes: Dark Ruby. Subtle, earthy noble hop variety with notes of currants, plums, slight smoke and chocolate in the nose. Aroma was severely lacking. Deep Dark fruitiness (plums, grapes), chalk, smoke and chocolate in the flavor. Well hidden alcohol but lacking in both aroma and taste. Not very complex.

New: Tasted several times on my visit to Boston and was impressed by the malt character. Aroma and body could be improved, but the beer is very nice and one of the better American bocks.

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Photo of Hautacam
4.17/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown with a small head that disappears quickly.
Smells mostly of roasted caramel malt...some alcohol...nice.
Pretty sweet, heavy roast malt flavor... not too sweet. Chocolate...caramel...maybe a hint of licorice....slight hoppy bitter throughout...all nicely balanced with alcohol.
Mouthfeel almost syrupy..low carbonation.
Pretty drinkable....this is a dessert in a pint glass.
Very good.

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Photo of Hibernator
4.76/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thomas Hooker Liberator
1 liter swing top brown bottle
Bottled in 2005
Served in a 20 oz tulip pint glass

Pours a deep, dark brown color with ruby highlights on the bottom of the glass. Fluffy tan head that leaves awesome patterns of webbed lace.

Whiffs of chopped nuts, milk chocolate and German hops.

Rich, thick roasted malt presence. Hints of sweet chocolate flavors and cashews drizzled in caramel. The mouthfeel is robust and perfectly balanced. Very malty and chewy with some dark fruit flavors. Extremely smooth, creamy and pleasing to the palate.

The drinkability level is off the charts. An excellent beer that helps welcome Spring on this unseasonably warm day in early March. Highly recommended.

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Photo of walleye
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

sitting at my favortie brewery(kuhnhenns) with other people who rate beer, wohlfs, scroff, styles, llgrgg, flemdawg and eyedrinkale. thanks go to wohlfs for this one. poured a nice mahogany, with a off whir head. aroma malts, caramel, cherries, chocolate, dark fruits. flavor malts, chocolate, cherries, and other dark fruits, a little on the watery side but a good beer.

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Photo of Lnedrive14
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2005 Bottle.

An extremely tasty brew, no doubt, but tasted alongside the Celebrator, the latter is my pick as king (or queen) of the Dopplebocks.

Pours a dark brown with a faint hint of light shining through. Lots of fruitiness in the nose - especially sweet fruits like cherries and red grapes. Taste hits hard with malt character. Little bit of hop bitterness, mostly up front, which dissipates into a strong malt aftertaste. Modest sweetness.

Mouthfeel is great. A highly drinkable brew, but one that did not leave me yearning for more like the celebrator. A great brew nevertheless, and one that I would like to have again in the future.

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Photo of merlin48
4.65/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2005 bottling, large(liter?) swingtop bottle obtained via trade with Brewfan. Many Thanks! Pours a deep, dark, opaque chestnut body with a perfect head. After several pours of this enormous bottle, the head held an amazing consistency of two inch tall, creamy beige hued, tightly knit foam that wouldn't budge unless I slipped my lips upon it. Sheets of lace were eventually draped down the sides of the imperial pint glass.

Aroma was a bit roasty for style, but featured waves of malty toffee, brown sugar, caramel, and a hint of molasses. Fresh plums and black cherries add a fascinating fruitiness. A hint of floral hops add a rosewater note to the exceptional nose.

Mouthfeel is creamy and full bodied. Moderate carbonation is spot on for the style.

Taste is complex, and utterly sinful. Vienna and Munich malts are put to excellent use on the palate here, as a variey of chocolates mingle with smooth toffee, and a bitter dark roastiness. McIntosh red apples and fresh plums creep into the profile, as well, and add to the bitter cherry and occasional nutty walnut notes. Floral hops add some bittersweet character that pushes the flavor profile far beyond anything I've encountered in a doppelbock. The finish is bitter and roasty. Closer to a porter than a dopplebock as it closes.

Toastier and roastier than its German cousins, but more complex and ultimately a more exciting example. Clean and fresh, all the way through, this is an excellent lager to drink on a winter day. I would suggest sharing this one with a friend, or three. Very highly recommended!

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Photo of UnionMade
5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Barrel aged version. Buffalo Trace bourbon cask.

Dark, dark brown, topped with a frothy mound of cream colored head. Very similar in aroma to regular Liberator, of course, but with a very subtle, elegant touch of vanilla, wood and bourbon. Plenty of roastiness, noticable hops, and rich pruney fruit. The flavor opens with that blast of refined roastiness I love in this beer, extra, extra creamy and smooth with the touch of vanilla and cream the barrel aging provides. I mean, I don't know how this beer can get any smoother or more luscious on the palate. Full bodied, creamy feeling like it were a nitro pour, but with all the flavor. Plenty of prune fruitiness, with a bit of an exotic fig flavor. Excellent with the light bourbon quality. Headstrong hops in the finish, very floral with a not-so-subtle hint of pine. Plenty of roastiness, although no charry burnt flavors. For all the woody quality, the actual bourbon is very tame. I like that, as it doesn't threaten to override the beer. Just a hint of booze in the finish. Everything you like in Liberator, with an extra bit of fine detail. Stunning.
My one complaint is that this beer goes down WAY too easy, and you'll find yourself drinking more than you probably should. Hey, that's what a designated driver's for, right?

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.37/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a clear dark brown color beer with a huge brown foamy head with perfect retention. Aroma of roasted malt with some butterscotch. The roasted caramel malt with subtle hints of banana also dominates taste. Body is above average but could have been fuller and carbonation was at the right level for the style. Alcohol is well hidden. Overall, this is a very good beer but would have appreciated a bit more complexity (more chocolate, more banana).

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Photo of blitheringidiot
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Split a 2005 bottle with fellow BA SkinnyElvis that I picked up thanks to fellow BA Shappuding.

Midnight brown still hue pour topped with a settled khaki head that jung i for the ride and left slight drippy lace.

Malty bread & cake aroma with some slight brown sugar notes.

First swigs: Deep toffee meets toasted malt. Spice wafer and hints of cocoa with a copper penny aftertaste.

Feel is dense and thick. Full bodied while being soft and effervescent. Hidden 8.0% ABV that was undetectable.

Last swigs: A tasty dopple...oh yeah! 144/4.33

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Photo of Franchise
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a dark brown almost black liquid that leaves a thick head that sticks with the brew. The smell of this beer is sweet, brown sugar, herbal hoppiness, as well as a fruity essence within the nose. As you sip this brew the 8% alcohal is very hidden, there is a toffee sweetness to this brew on the forefront of the palate followed by a slight coffee nutty taste almost similar to a porter very nice. The overall brew is fantastic and the smoothness of this bock just makes you want to drink it all day but watch out cause it sneeks up on you.

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Photo of Goldorak
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Really dark reddish brown, with a greying head that was compact, but tapered off into an island in the center of my glass.

Smell: Very dark, roasted malt aroma, that exuded cooked plums and blackberries, but also a little plastic or rubber notes. I didn't ask how old this was...

Taste: Plenty of chocolate and coffee, plenty of malt and a pronounced, bitter aftertaste. I enjoyed it, but something tells me this bottle wasn't at it's best.

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Photo of orsulacp
4.06/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I got this one at NE Bev Co on a trip to Orange, CT, 7.99. It was bottled in 2004 according to the label over the cap. It poured very dark amber with light tan fluffy head with good retention. The smell had caramel, coffee, figs, and some roasted nuts. The taste is great, malty sweet caramel, then some fruit, like apples or figs, and then a slight bitterness like dark chocolate. It has a creamy medium/heavy mouth feel that leaves some of the bitterness behind.

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Photo of bultrey
5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Liter bottle courtesy of Venom at this summer's Ommegang fest... finally decided to break this puppy out with a meal of roquefort-stuffed pork chops. First off, this beer was a gusher -- when I popped the grolsch-style bottle top I had foam everywhere, and had I known how good the beer I was losing precious ounces of was, I would have wept openly.
Poured into a tulip glass, this beer was a gorgeous raw umber color (remember those crazy Crayola colors?) with a thick and creamy tan head. Smells so vinous, along with some real plummy dark fruit, and even a hint of anise -- very much like a Belgian double. I could smell it all night. The taste is so complex, it takes a while to sort things out -- tannic grape skins, tobacco, cocoa nibs, chocolate covered dark fruits, plums, and then a little nuttiness, like almonds or hazlenuts. The finish is oh-so-dry and exceptionally smooth, the alcohol is... well... what alcohol? Drinkability is sky-high -- You could do it up in the tulip glass and savor each and every flavor, or you could be just as happy pouring the whole damn thing into a liter mug and guzzling it down with some bratwurst.
I have been Liberated. Thank you Loren.

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Photo of Dewey0603
3.81/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This pours a dark reddish color with a huge creamy tan head.The smells not as strong as I would have hoped,but you can detect a roasted malt and roasted chocolate scent.The taste is very strong on all levels.You can taste roasted malt,chocolate,fruit,and even some nuttyness.In the aftertaste, you can taste and feel the alcohol warmth.It's almost like brandy.The m/f is heavy and well balanced.This is a very tasty beer,but I don't think I could have to many of these.It is extremely rich and bold and almost like a meal.

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Photo of lou91
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1L bottles in 2005 flip top. Slight fizz on flipping the cap. God bless the dopplebock brewers. Big rich malty caramel nose and alcohol with a nice thick beige brown head. Nice initial tastes of caramel, sweet malt and a long dry bitter aftertaste. The taste was good but not great. The sweetness and roasted malt were not working well together. As it warmed, the alcohol becomes more pronounced and further mucks thing up. This is big and boozy with some interesting roasted malt and bitter chocolate but I hate to say that it did not wow me. Thanks to AKSmokedporter for this,

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Photo of grumpy
2.9/5  rDev -31%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

WOW! And I don’t mean that in a good way. I am completely baffled by the nearly unanimous love of this beer. I have sampled it on two different occasions from the 1-liter bottle, at varying temperatures. Not only does this beer not satisfy my occasional craving for a Doppelbock, but I find it an average beer, at best, in every regard. I don’t know where to start, by I’ll try.

Appearance: Well, it’s arguably too dark for a Doppelbock, but it’s not unappealing in appearance. I think the previous reviews have addressed this category in detail.

Aroma: Malt, roastiness, a bit of fruit, and cream. Fairly pleasant.

Taste: I’m sorry, this beer just doesn’t do it for me. The roastiness is far too pronounced and detracts from the underlying sweet malt and cherry flavors. The hop balancing comes across as astringent and drying, and is hard to distinguish from the roast flavor. I would describe this beer as part Schwartzbier, part Porter, and part Brown Ale. It doesn’t deliver a lot of anything for my money. Totally lackluster. It doesn’t come across as a big beer, the alcohol is nearly imperceptible, and the flavors are all subdued. I have tried to set aside my expectations for a Doppelbock and just assess this beer on its own merits. That doesn’t help. It’s just an average beer.

Mouthfeel: Very thin – no sense that one is drinking a big beer. Perhaps a smidgen too much carbonation for the style.

Drinkability: One pour of this is sufficient. After that, I lose interest, and I don't have much to begin with.

So, now the quandary. Do I cellar my two remaining 1-liter bottles for a year or so, and give it another whirl, or do I put this beer on the trading block??

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Photo of trumick
4.52/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep, dark, reddish-brown with tan 1 inch head and spotty lacing.

Scent is of carmel bready malts, toasted nut, molasses and chocolate.

Taste is huge roasted malts, nutty-chocolate, dark fruits, floral hops and finishes dry, dark chocolate with just a hint of citrus in the mix. It all stays for a long time after each sip.

Mouthfeel is very silky smooth, medium to full bodied with the perfect amount of carbination. This is perfection.

Drinkability is well above average. The 8% abv is not noticeable and the mouthfeel is so nice that this beer goes down easy, almost too easy.

I love the swing-top bottle. I wish more breweries would use this packaging. It makes it easy to seal it, and come back later without losing anything.

I highly recomend this one. Many thanks to HopGoblin for the trade.

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Thomas Hooker Liberator Doppelbock from Thomas Hooker Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.2 out of 5 with 694 ratings
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