Thomas Hooker Liberator Doppelbock | Thomas Hooker Brewing Company

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

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Ratings: 694 |  Reviews: 508
Photo of carln26
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had been able to try this beer in the past at a couple of festivals, but as many people have written, beer fests are not the best place for serious tasting. I was pretty excited to see this on the board today at RedBones. After all, this is the highest ranked dopple on the books. Deep black and clear, with a nice sized tan head. Subtle mahogany highlights. Mmmm malt. The aroma has sweet toffee, dates, caramel. Just a touch of espresso. The taste is like milk chocolate. Rich with a light roasted malt flavor. More fig flavor on the finish. Very smooth rich mouth feel, very drinkable. I’m still a believer that Celebrator is the best of this style, but what a great beer!

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Photo of Truh
3.63/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Stormed the gates and freed some prisoners with this one on 4/7/2005. 10.5-oz. goblet pour at Redbones.

Nice 1/8-inch head coating at start that degrades to a scrimshaw covering with some celestial-action. Deep, dark delicious brown hue with some sheeting action here and there. Roasted malt on nose with caramel and toffee notes, along with a cool alcohol smokiness. Char coat on mouth with just a tiny bit of fungal presence that gets wiped out quickly by the big malt bill. Very drinkable, true, but was thrown by the odd fungal/metal presence.

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Photo of mattcrill
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First off, thanks to cmaruschak for the opportunity to sample this beer. Truly a selfless BA.

Presentation: 1 L swingtop bottle with a "Bottled in 2005" label across the cap. They have the greatest bottles.

Appearance: Pours a deep crystal clear crimson with ruby edges. A fluffy tan head develops that is nice and thick.

Smell: Huge malts and some yeasty background notes. I also pick up some hints of cinnamon and cocoa powder. Nicely blended.

Taste: Strong malt presence perfectly balanced with cloves, some wheat bread notes, powdered sugar, some alcohol popping up here and there, carmel, and cinnamon.

Mouthfeel: Medium and crispy with nice carbonation. A nice clean, dry finish.

Drinkability: Dangerously drinkable. I found myself wanting more.

Notes: I've had some doppelbocks that were enjoyable but on the sweet side. This is not one of those beers. This definitely is a malt lovers dream but there is so much going on here and it is blended so well that I can see this appealing to all. Highly recommended.

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Photo of NEhophead
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1 Liter Swingtop.

Creamy tan head with amazing retention. Perfect ringed lacing that doesn't budge. Almost opaque, dark brown with a dullish red hue.

Milk and dark chocolate with hints of vanilla. Vinous aromas; grapes, dark cherries. Hints of caramel, toffee, and whaffs of alcohol.

Dark cherries, dark chocolate; Big roasted malt character. Delicate balance between chocolate and nut-like malt qualities. Vinous fruit; red grapes/cherries. Finishes very dry, moderately bitter. Aftertaste of toffee, warming alcohol, chocolate, and a touch of ripe fruit.

Full bodied; coats the palate well, but very dry. Regarding mouthfeel: I can't wait to try this on tap or after it has aged for a while.

Very drinkable at 8% abv. A very solid beer that could become an even better beer if you let it age a bit. My guess is that once this beer matures it will become even more mellow as its flavors become more well rounded. Nonetheless a great treat.

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

Presentation: 1 qt. 1.8 oz flip-top bottle with a “bottle in 2004” tap across the top.

Appearance: Big frothy tan head, dense and sticky. Excellent retention. Ruby brown highlights with a black center … clarity seems fine.

Smell: A very rich malty aroma, lots of toasted biscuit … faint chicory and mild charred husk. No fruitiness or steely crystal malt in the nose …

Taste & Mouth Feel: Very smooth and creamy with a laid back crispness that rolls over the full body. Wow, a very sturdy malt character … no syrupy sweetness or odd malt flavors. Lots of dry toasted malt flavor with a light burnt husk in the back ground. Hops are modest and balance well, kiss of herbal hop middle to end. More complex malt flavors though the drying finish.

Drinkability & Notes: Surprisingly this is very very drinkable and very clean. Hard to taste the 8% abv and the smoothness feigns the full body a bit. Quite an amazing brew.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep dark brown almost black pour with a bubbly khaki head on top. Looks like a nice doppelbock to me. A big roasty dark maltiness upfront with some nutty character and a nice sweetness. Some alcohol esters as well. I like it.

First sip has a huge tasty roasty, caramel chocolate malt with hints of roasted nuts and a nice mellow sweetness. There seems to be a hint of dark fruit as well...really robust and bursting full of great malt flavors. Just a damn fine doppel....awesome.

A nice full mouthfeel that is creamy and smooth. Goes down so easy and is wonderfully drinkable. Easily the best doppelbock I've ever sampled. Many many many thanks to kmpitz2 for sharing this great bottle with me!

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Photo of kmpitz2
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to ppoitras for this one. It pours a nice dark brown to black color with a 2 finger tan head that falls to a finger. The nose is really nice, with a big roasted tone to it. There is a slight chocolate sweetness, but mostly roasty. The flavor is awesome, with a big coffee tone upfront, followed by a sweet chocolate that moves to even more sweet chocolate on the finish. Damn, I like this. The feel is thick and creamy, just robust and awesome. Overall, I will have to seek out this beer again. The flavor and nose and feel just work so well together. Very nice beer here folks.

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Photo of swamiswamu
4.62/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pretty much fantastic. The swingtop pops and I pour into a Sammy Smith pint glass. A large, bubbly head dissapates slowly leaving some lacing. The body is a deep, dark brownish magenta. The nose is one of the best I've experienced. It had a floral, orangish aroma, not unlike a walk through a summer garden. The flavor is simply full, no better way to describe it. There's the rich roasted malt, with just enough hops to make you know that it is from this side of the pond. It is very drinkable, which is good considering the size of the bottle.

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

Package: Majestic 1 liter swing-top brown bottle. Brightly colored red label proudly proclaims “LIBERATOR” with a regal ram’s head profiled, with “Doppelbock” and “Lager” also noted. Blurb describes the blend of Moravian, Munich, Vienna, and roasted malts. Promises “a rich and creamy brew.” No ABV or date information listed (there was a paper “ribbon” over the top, but the shipper had taped up the top, making the paper seal unreadable), but this is from 2004.

Cost: Acquired via trade

Presentation: Blasphemously in a Ramstein weizenbock glass @ ~50º

Appearance: A reassuring “pop” of the swing-top. Pours a rich, opaque, almost ebony, brown; with a creamy, chocolatey head. The head was fairly tight, but not long lasting; resolving into a thick collar with a bit of stickiness.

Smell: Richly malty, with a buoyant underlayer of roastiness. A bit like Russian black bread with a touch of molasses. Additional nosing yields a faint whiff of chocolate, but not much in the way of alcohol or fruit. Hops are detectable, but not strong.

Taste: A rich, complex maltiness immediately suffused the palate, with a gentle sweetness sharpened by a firm, pleasant bitterness. Almost porter-like in its depth and mellow sweetness replete with chocolate and vienna roast flavors, but maintains that lager edge. Nice roasty character along with the classically luscious and smooth German hops again recalls the almost-sour flavor of black bread. A nutty flavor fills out the back end. Again, I was surprised that there was almost no hint of alcohol. The finish was medium to long, with a perfect balance of dry and sweet elements. My one quibble might be a dearth of fruitiness that I’ve detected in some other top doppelbocks, but this is made up by the wonderfully complex concentration of flavors here.

Mouthfeel: Although there is not much of an alcohol-warming sensation, the fine carbonation and medium-to-full body make for a cashmere-like mouthfeel..

Drinkability: Highly drinkable. I went through this liter like it was nothing. The first time I had one of these, I had two glasses the first day, and one the next so I could see how well it stored after opening (very well by the way).

Backwash: Quite a lot to say about this beer. First, it’s definitely of the first rank, although not necessarily head and shoulders above some other peers like Celebrator and Salvator. Although I’m not likely to have the opportunity to drink this regularly, I will endeavor to have this again on occasion. I’m of two minds about the bottle. It definitely makes a statement, and it is a good value (~$8 or so I’ve been told, especially compared to the ridiculous Rogue swing-tops) considering you get a great re-usable growler; but by the same token, the package definitely discourages grabbing one from the fridge when you might only want one. I was tempted to deduct 0.5 for drinkability, but that's too severe. Thrilling to know that such a world class lager exemplar is made just a state away.

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Photo of connecticutpoet
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2004 bottling.

This was an excellent looking deep ruby-red beer with a two finger head that looked rocky and full. Promising from the start... although the head dissipated rather quickly to about half a finger, it looked creamy and thick. Another minute and it was gone, leaving lots of lace.

The aroma was a mix of wonderful scents... sweet roasted malt, berries, chocolate, and a hint of roasted malt and caramel..

The flavor was likewise complex...initially slightly bitter roasted malts, then a combination of dark toast, sweet chocolate, coffee, and a very light hint of caramel, with a long roasted coffee-like aftertaste. The alcohol did work its way into the flavor, but in a subtle way. Just like it worked its way into me,,, subtly, but damn, a liter at 8% in an hour and a half did have an effect.

Mouthfeel was just right, chewy and good but not overpoweringly thick.

Drinkability gets a 4.5 only because of the price... if they sold it in smaller bottles it would be much better. But a VERY good beer. I can't compare it to other vintages, since I haven't had any others, but this one I liked a lot.

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Photo of LuckySevens82
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

1L bottle courtesy of ppoitras..thanks Pete!
Pours a very nice reddish brown hue with an off-white head. Very good lacing.
Smell is very malty (as to be expected). Caramel, burnt sugars, and sweet bread round this one out. There is a small, spicy, hop addition as well.
Taste is amazing. Coffee, chocolate, caramel, toffee, light hops, burnt sugars, and toasty malts. The balance of this beer is just about perfect.
Overall, this beer is so smooth and well made, it's amazing that it even stays on the shelf long enough for bottles of it to make it all the way down to me in FL.

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

This is one I have wanted to try for over a year now. Appears a very dark brown with a good tall tan head. Lacing was left in rings and clumps around the glass as the head stayed afloat. Scents of sweet berries and chocolate filled my nose. This is huge with malt, roasted malt and caramel aromas round this out. While being super malty it manages to stay balanced and very appetizing. Bitter sweet dark chocolate and roasted malt are the big flavors. Notes of dark berries added a nice twist to it as did the caramel. Other dark fruits a present in small underlying notes. Finishes up with a long lingering roasted malt. Mouthfeel is almost full and as creamy smooth as you could ask for. Simply a treat to drink. Drinkability is up there as well. Easy drinking the alcohol never shows its face and the fact this tastes damn good adds up to a real winner here. Many thanks go to ppoitras for this wonderful brew.

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Photo of xgrigorix
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One liter brown swingtop bottle. Bottled in 2005.

Deep burgandy in colour. Fluffy off white head that retains rather well.

Toasted malt aromas invite a sip.

Malty sweet toffee surprise. Plenty of caramel flavour as well. Well hopped herbal note running throughout. Medium-full bodied, robust carbonation. Not your average doppelbock.

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

one of my favorites at this years BOSTON EXTREME FEST
Jan. 29, 05. I've been waiting to try this for quite a while and I
wasn't dissapointed. Its got an award winning taste period, makes
you want to keep drinking this stuff! Nice dark reddish brown doppelbock(more like a blending style of some of my favroite
brown ales, porters),tan head with stickey lacing, somewhat on
the sweet, chewy side but such a great job of blending flavors,
one of the many highlights of why this is so good. The coffee/chocolate burnt fruity malt finish and strong alcohol sit back
there but never overpowers this fine beer. Find it if you can.

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Photo of ybnorml
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A very dark brown/black beer with mahogony highlights. Has a small dark beige head that leaves some lace. The aroma is evenly sweet and malty with a hint of vanilla in the background. The flavor starts of very rich with a chocolate-cherry character. Followed by an assertive roasted malt bitterness. That leads into a bittersweet coffee finish.

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Photo of shippos
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

obtianed through a trade, but I can't remember who. thanks whoever you were.

2004 vintage, 1L swingtop.

As far as reviewing this as a dopplebock, I can't I don't think it's right for the style. To me it's more like a strong brown ale or a robust porter. I'm just reviewing this beer as to what poured out of the bottle, styles be damned!

poured witha thick dense lacy coffee colored head on a dark brown body. sweet rich chocolate aroma lots of malt and sugar with a bit of a yeasty nose. rich and dense chocolate taste witha thick chewy mouthfeel. deepcaramel in the taste chewy and very balanced. finish is full of coffe and esspresso. this was so so drinkable, wished i had another.

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Photo of UncleJimbo
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2004 Vintage. 1 Liter swingtop bottle.

This doppelbock poured a clear, deep chestnut color with creamy, tan foam that clung to the inside of the glass. The smell was very malty with notes of caramel. The taste was richly malty and complex with notes of grape-skins Munich malt, roasted malts, and a touch of caramel malt. The mouthfeel was smooth and creamy with medium-full body and good carbonation. The aftertaste was full of malty flavors that lingered pleasantly. This was a very, very good beer. Thanks to Sulldaddy for this one.

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Photo of Billolick
4.48/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Happy to procure a bottle of this classy nectar. Large bottle, with swingtop with a sliver of tape indicating this was bottled in 2004. Pours deepest and richest of dark brown/black, murky. Tan head leaves all kinds of sticky lacing. Chocolate, malty nose. This is a big, deeply flavorfull brew. Notes of Chocolate, smoke, dark malts galore. 8% nowhere to be found in this world class quaffer. Wish I had bought more. Seek out and enjoy.

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Photo of MuddyFeet
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm a lucky bastard to get this one on tap. Yum! It poured a dark, but thin-looking, red-tinged brown into the 10 oz glass. The aroma is of mild sugars, raisins and prunes. Also, faintly yeasty. The flavor was just slightly on the bittersweet side, but with healthy dollop of fruit tones. The fruit flavors came across as dry. Similarly, the mouthfeel was nicely dry and with a very satisfying alcohol burn. It was a very smooth and easily drinkable beer. I was only going to have one glass but could not say no when the bartender asked if I wanted another, and had to drag myself away when he asked if I wanted a third.

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Photo of sbattert
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is my second 1 Liter bottle of liberator. "Brewed in 2004", this is a signature release of Paul Davis. The first bottle I consumed was back in March when it was released. I only bought two, and I couldn't wait any longer.

Porter like mahogony brown with a creamy looking tan head.

The aroma is breathtaking. It is a familiar chocolate like, prune aroma that I have found in a few beloved imperial stouts. I can't get past the heavenly aroma. I don't remember it having this significant of an aroma. I might have to stop my review right here.

Let me pause to describe the label first. There is a breaking chain around a ram being liberated. It says "Doppelbock Lager blends huge amounts of imported Munich, Vienna and Moravian malts with select dark roasted malts to achieve a rich and creamy brew." The bottle is overwelming 1-Liter size with a plastic swingtop.

Small notes of chocolate and prunes compliment a roated complex malty flavor. The mouthfeel is creamy and gets creamier the longer I hold onto it.

Looking forward to March 2005. Hope Paul is on schedule.

(I want the t-shirt)

Update: 1/31/05 - This years version is missing the chocolaty/prune aroma and flavor I so savored last time. Its really malty, really roasted nutty flavored, and really good. There's a very nice aroma. I'm going to buy a bottle to save for 6 months. Last year, the younger bottle was no where near as good as the one I held for 6 months. Very very good, almost Marley good, but not as good as last years at this point -- that just may be personal preference.

Maybe I'll have some more to see...

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.27/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured brownish black with low amber highlights when held to light. The head was tan, almost brown and rose tall to lace the glass as the beer was consumed. (note - the bottle opened without any hiss at all)

The aroma was well done with a strong malty presence and dark fruit aromas of raisin, plums, and a dark chocolate impression. Also present was a caramel note and a Munich malt impression.

The flavor was not quite as impressive as the aroma. The flavor was somewhat alcoholic and that was a detractant. The beer was rich with Munich malt flavor and the same dark fruits, raisins and prunes/plums permeated the palate. The flavor also contained chocolate and a slight coffee flavor. The bittering level was high enough to keep the maltiness in check.

The finish was just dry with lasting chocolate and caramel and a slight coffee in the aftertaste. The body was above medium full and very creamy. The alcohol warming was very apparent and lasting.

The aroma was rich and complex and the flavor had a good complexity but was lessened by the alcohol presence. A great beer no doubt, but deserving a place higher than Andechser Doppelbock Dunkel, no way.

1L swingtop bottled in 2004. Many thanks to yankeeheel. I see that it is a spring seasonal, the next time I get one I will try to drink it earlier.

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

Thanks wyllder! This is an exceptional brew. Dopplebocks are not my favorite brew, but thi scould change my mind. Appearance was a dark, dark chocolate with a creamy pillowy head. The smell is rich...burnt malt, candy, molasses, fruit, alcohol hoopy notes too! Taste is rich, mainly malt and molasses...a hint of fruit...a hint of hops on the finish. This reminds me somewhat of a great Imnperial Stout (which is one of my favorite types). Mouthfeel is substantial, chewy, smooth...reminds me of the richness you get in a high fat, premium ice cream (can they freeze this stuff?). This is 8.0 abv? Sure you can get some alcohol hints, but this is way too a very nice way!!! A definite top 10!

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Photo of garthwaite
4.62/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Sampled as part of a blind doppelbock tasting. This brew along with the Fish Tale's Detonator stood out above the rest when matched with a fine group of doppel's. Scary dark brown approaching black with a gorgeous, full cream-colored head. Rich, decadent nose of German yeast, biscuit/dough & roasted malts mixing with sugar-dipped plum. Full-bodied, meaty, mouth filling bliss. Chewable malty blend of toast & roast meet expected noble hops in an explosion of rich flavors. Dark bready fruit cake topped with licorice syrup and mild roasted vanilla. Hints of chocolate, brandy, and toasted almonds. Masterfully complex and downright delicious. Drink a bottle of this stuff and you won't need to eat for two days. Big time thanks go to pbrian for sending this my way.

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Photo of Fish113d
4.57/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving at room temperature into a tulip, it pours a nice 1/2" creamy head that doesn't move...did I put a sponge on my beer? :) It is dark brown in color and no light passes through the glass. Caramel is distinct in the odor w/ dark roasted chocolate malts w/ a hint of coffee tones as well (SUPERCOMPLEX)

Sweet toffee and coffee is the overall flavor w/ roasted malts and a very slight hops on the finish- reminds me of a dark roast hazelnut coffee. Nice carbonation hits on the front end of this beer w/ a nice full body and a great aftertaste of coffee. I could drink this all night!!!

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Photo of Wolfsdenbrew
3.99/5  rDev -5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep reddish-brown, opaque but not hazy, rich brown head that was huge, and left lots of lacing clinging from top to bottom.

Not much aroma but this beer was several months old, just a hint of sweet malts. I had been saving this one to enjoy Christmas Day.

The taste was a cornicopia of flavor: raisins, prunes, a bit of tart fruitiness, roasted and caramel malts, and a big dose of coffee.

It was lightly carbonated but real nice for the style and body of this one. Nice full body.

Great beer, still I think I like Celebrator a bit better, but maybe if I had this one fresh it would change my mind...

Thanks to the BA who sent me this one!

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Thomas Hooker Liberator Doppelbock from Thomas Hooker Brewing Company
4.2 out of 5 based on 694 ratings.
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