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

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 694 |  Reviews: 508
Photo of BeerResearcher
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16.9oz dark brown swing top bottle. Bottled in 2006.
It pours a very dark and deep ruby-hued mahogany color with a fast-fading beige head, along with thin scattered patches of lacing.
It smells like a hop monster with big whiffs of caramel and damp hay accompanied by notes of dried barley and leather.
Tastes of burnt creme brulee, sweet caramel, Ovaltine, milk chocolate, tobacco and leather are all quite upfront and noticeable. A slight background taste of prune juice is detected in the background.
A mellow Myers Lemony tartness provides some contrast to the big, bold malty body, as does a dose of a metallic bite. Though make no mistake, this brew is all about the malt structure with well-applied hop reminders.

Lovely Stuff!

 741 characters

Photo of doppelmeup
3.58/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I've been looking for this beer for a while, and was glad to find it at A-Wines in Cambridge MA. It comes in a 500ml swingtop bottle, and it has a 2006 seal.

Pours a dark mahogany, with a half inch head that slowly dissipates. Decent lacing remains on the glass as I drink this.

Not that much on the aroma side. Some hints of roasted malts is about it.

Taste is not nearly as sweet as other doppelbocks I've tried. Definite roasted malts prevail, with a distinct bitterness; whether from hops or alchohol it was hard to tell.

Mouthfeel was moderately thick and a slight bitterness remains.

Overall, I was not impressed by this beer. Perhaps it was old (it was a 2006) but even so I'm accustomed to doppelbocks having a much sweeter profile than this beer did. It wasn't a bad beer, but it was quite expensive (I paid $9 for the bottle) and I don't think it was worth the price. Bottom line, I'd drink it again but I wouldn't buy it again.

 953 characters

Photo of jjayjaye
4.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an almost opaque dark brown color with a light tan head that fades quickly. Little surface pools of tiny bubbles reveal activity beneath. Some lacing.

The smell is really sweet like molasses and brown sugar with a touch of alcohol in the background.

The mouth is medium bodied. Smooth and creamy, a tingle of carbonation with a burst of roast malt and a bit of lingering bitterness. A nice array of complexity

The flavor is sweet too. A mouthful of chocolate and roast malts.

Drinkability - Quite drinkable. I'm getting a bit of a burn from the 8% ABV but it's not distracting. Thanks much to blitz134 for this opportunity!

 641 characters

Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

mmm… So smooth and so drinkable. Luscious and full bodied with a smokiness that goes “pow” in your face but then rescinds to the background as one gets used to it. Dark malts and dark fruits, toast and butter, coffee, nuts, and chocolate. Perfectly balanced. I don’t know what more to say about this beer other then that it is nearly perfect. I love it. Many thanks to scthaden for the trade.

 396 characters

Photo of drseamus
3.28/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I got this from BeerBeing in Bday '07 and it is a 2006 vintage.

A: The beer has a dark body that has a ruby color when held to the light. There was almost no head.

S: It has an interesting aroma. There is a roasted note mixed with dark fruits, but there is another smell that is either alcoholic or phenolic.

T: The first thing I notice is the dark fruits, but there is a pronounced bitterness or astringency that is buried with the roasted malt in the background. The bitterness stays around as an aftertaste for a while as well.

M: The mouthfeel is good, about medium bodied.

D: I'm not crazy about this beer. It has too much roasted malt that creates too much astringency and bitterness.

 706 characters

Photo of Wasatch
4.88/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks goes out to nouseforotacon for this brew.

Bottled in 2006/SwingTop

Poured into a chalice a nice dark brown color, nice carbonation, an an amazing creamy one-finger plus tan head, which lasted forever, now some nice little islands and sticky lacing throughout the drink. The nose is of sweet malts, vanilla, and toffee/caramel. The taste is sweet and slightly bitter malts, nice touch of vanilla, lots of toffee/caramel. Medium body, smooth/thick with a nice chewy body. Very drinkable, man this is an awesome Doppelbock, probably the best I've had to date, quite different, highly recommended.

 606 characters

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

Allowed to warm and served in my Brooklyn Brewery Flute glass.

Appearance: I pushed that swing top and boy did the sucker pop. I was afraid it might have woken the kids. Pours a dark ebony almost black with a huge froth dark tan head that rose quickly in the glass. here and there lacing is thick, at spots.

Smell: Very roasty. Much more black malt and charcoal than I anticipated in a Doppelbock. I love that though as roasty porters are a particular passion of mine.

Taste: This is a very unique Doppelbock, because it is not only very roasty and smoky but it has a very hoppy aftertaste. The caramel molasses center I expect but the lawyer after layer of flavor is ... astounding. Fascinating and a lot of fun to review. wow.

Mouthfeel: Exceptionally smooth with a thick chewy feel but no excess sweetness (a serving of sweet barley but not too much). It is dry and even a bit hoppy, with a dark roasty dry feel.

Drinkability: This is a beer that is heavy and drinks like a meal but I could still drink my fill of it. Fantastic!

Hope this is helpful.

 1,082 characters

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

Big thanks to BeerBeing for this 500ml swingtop, 2006 edition

a - pours a deep dark brown with a slight burgundy tint, big tan head with good retention and lacing

s - dark fruits and roasted malt aromas, some sweetness, no alcohol

t - dark fruity sweetness up front, body is of intense roasted malt, slight alcohol on the finish, very smooth

m - medium-bodied, ample carbonation, mildly dry finish

d - smooth flavor and subdued alcohol make for a fairly drinkable brew

I'm not a big fan of doppelbocks in general, but this is certainly right up there with Autumnal Fire for the best I've encountered. Worthy of the praise bestowed upon it.

 657 characters

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

2006 - 500ml bottle
Pours a very dark mahogany with a 2 finger tan head that leaves a fair amount of lacing.
The smell is of sweet, dark, dried fruits.
The taste is similar to the smell with a hint of alcohol. No hop bitterness anywhere, nicely balanced in the malts.
I like the mouthfeel, it's a very creamy medium body.
Drinkability is very good, I could easily 3 of these and enjoy them all.
This is a favorite style of mine and an excellent version of that style.

 473 characters

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

Thanks to nflmvp for this one.
2006 edition
1-liter bottle

A: Pours a very dark brown with a massive frothy head that doesn't go away. Lots of lacing.

S: As expected, malty with caramel and toffee. Solid.

T: Roasted malt flavors with a bit of earthiness initially and some mellow sweetness as the beer warmed.

M: Medium-full bodied with light carbonation. Nice and smooth.

D: All around, this is a solid beer. Definitely a must try.

 450 characters

Photo of MaltyGoodness
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml swingtop bottle thanks to cooperrip

Pours a clear dark brown color with ruby highlights and a faint tan head that maintains. Spare lacing on the glass.

Aroma is caramel malty with a herbal hop smell. Light hints of butterscotch.

Caramel malt flavor upfront with a medium hop bitterness that starts immediately. Herbal hop flavor appears midway as it finishes malty with a hint of booze.

Full body, creamy texture. Light carbonation.

A nice dopplebock, and decidedly drinkable. A few more IBUs than I anticipated, but a rather nice variation of the style.

 575 characters

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

Poured out a very dark mahogony brown with a thick creamy tan head. The nose has lots of fresh grain, some coffee, alcohol, and light sour cherry/fruit punch. The taste starts mellow chocolate, then builds to thick creamy coffee and a maple syrup like malty goodness. The alcohol is expertly hidden, and the complexity of flavors layers nicely one on top of the other, they truly cascade. The mouthfeel is creamy, and the drinkability is phenomonal for such a big boy.

 468 characters

Photo of kernalklink
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The darkness of the brew does not convey its clarity on the tongue- Very well developed malt aromas and flavors- chocolate, dark fruits, some hints of smokiness, all very much separated not jumbled together. The huge malt presence wasnt overly sweet, but the body was somewhat watery for my taste in this style. Nice finish- wish there was just a little more hops on the end. Not over the top like some domestic bocks, and a great intro.

 437 characters

Photo of ubermunkey
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

beautiful dark red/brown with a nice thick off white head. smells of buscuits and bread. the taste was very nice, up front malt, like whole grain bread but slightly sweet, a little caramel and chocolate mixed in. slight tinge of hops at the finish. this one was thick, but smooth and creamy at the same time. a bit dry and just a hint of alcohol warmth after sipping. this is a wonderful beer, big and sturdy yet easy to drink at the same time. i'll have to scoop up some more to hoard for the upcoming summer months.

 517 characters

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 Pt .9 Fl oz swingtop bottle. Bottled in 2006.

AP: Dark Mahogony color with a one-finger deep light mocha colored head that displayed good head retention.

smell: I was expecting a very swet malt aroma...didn't happen. More like a Earthy and spicey, fresh baked bread malt scent. Only mildly aromatic.

Flavor: A big roasty and semi-sweet malt hits you first and a mellow creaminess follows with darkest chocolate over roasted oats and wheat. There's a wonderful balancing effect that the spicey and very earthy hops achieves. The aftertaste is a wet-earth, spicey and leafy mildly bitter effect.

Feel: Medium to full, this one was a bit heftier and substantial than the Ayinger Dopple which preceded it. Great American version of this classic. A true pleasure.

 772 characters

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

Poured from the one liter swingtop bottle into a wide flute glass the beer was a dark, "wood stain" shade of brown. A solid finger of tan head sat atop the beer and had excellent retention.

The nose is rich and bready. A little sweet malt upfront with a warm bread or warm bakers yeast aroma. Some slight alcohol in the nose with hint of sweet caramel and mollasses.

The beer is deceptively smooth and not overly cloying or sryupy. A nice big malty rich flavor comes through with notes of caramel, some brown sugar and toffee. Some rum soaked raison and fig also on the palate. A bicutty chew body but not "heavy" so to speak, more a fullness and robust character. Slight alcohol creaps into each sip along with a faint bitterness near the back of the tounge. The aftertaste holds some soft chocolate notes and a slightly increasing bitterness with warmth.

Mouthfeel is big, rich, and chewy. The beer never got cloying and the sweetness was not overpowers.

An enjoyable beer for sure. Easy to drink despite its relative "bigness." A little surprising bitterness for a malt dominated style was interesting, but well done in the beer.

 1,144 characters

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

A- Very thin like tan head on a dark brown body with a few amber hues. Just black when you look at it.
S- Some toffee malts and alcohol cuts through it. There are some dark fruits hidden in there also.
T- Some tasty sweet malts to it. Caramel mixed with some other sweet sugary candies. Alcohol tingles the tongue and gives a light warming. Also has some medium dry bitterness. Light dark fruits. Nice complexion to it.
M- Medium to full body with low carbonation. Almost a velvet smoothness to it.
D- Very good. The more I drink it the more I like it.

 556 characters

Photo of Westsidethreat
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1 Liter flip top.

A: Deep dark brown with garnet highlights. Overall quite clean with a strong opacity to it. Head is three inches tall of thick, creamy oatmeal colored bubbles

S: Rum raisin, black strap molasses, brown sugar, bakers chocolate and some cappuccino.

T: Begins with a good balance of bitter chocolate, mellow coffee and strong molasses. A lot more bitter across the front of the tongue than I was expecting. Maybe some peanut butter in the center of the tongue comes next with red fruits following suite on the tip of the tongue. Equal dry tobacco moments come through mingling with dried plums, dark toffee and chocolate cake batter. Finishes leathery with bitter molasses and savory moments.

M: Medium body with a good mouthfeel a tad on the syrupy side.

D: Good beer but isn’t living up to the reputation in my mind. But I will go as far to say that it’s the best domestic doppel on the market. I enjoyed it but Germany outshines tremendously.

 979 characters

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

Serving : 500 ml swing top bottle

Deep, matte mahogany ale reveals only hints of fine carbonation towards the rim just below a acorn colored slowly sinking frothy tower that leaves ample lacing in it's wake.

Loads of smoky malt, barley, burnt caramel, mixed nuts, and dry leafy hop aromas dominate the nose leaving just enough room for hints of molasses and dark fruits to peak through.

Rich, smooth roasted malts, burnt caramel and a hint of smoke make an flashy entrance, effortlessly flowing over the palate, eventually giving a way to a rougher smokey and grassy hop character on a high-toned mid palate. Bittersweet roasted coffee and chocolate malts and burnt caramel loose thier grip on the finish retreating to reveal lots of smokey malts layered with loads of bitter grassy hops which linger well into the aftertase. Layering is astounding but this stumbles a bit toward the mid palate losing it's direction and flavor in an akward attempt at proper balance. Alcohol is neaty tucked away under layers of interesting complex flavor.

Mouthfeel is dangerously full and smooth, very unctuous, slick and effortless. Ever evolving and changing in the glass, this one could keep my interest all night and with such a layered style and slick mouthfeel I could drink this all night.

While this is one great doppelbock I can only say that oak aging only makes this better by smoothing out the rough bitter hops and smokey malts while adding a bit of tasty oak on the mid palate and finish. I can't wait for the oak-aged liberator to hit the market.


 1,574 characters

Photo of aforbes10
4.68/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bought this at Capone's in Norristown, PA. "Bottled in 2006."

Pours very dark brown. a tight white head dissapates quickly, but reforms after each of the first 2-3 sips. Smells cool and hoppy right after the pour. Hoppin ess is unexpected. After warming a bit, it gets more of a sweet malty odor. some alcohol on the nose as well. Taste is absolutely, perfectly delicious. Completely smooth tangy malt with noble (the noblest!) hops and a slightly sweet roastiness. Some ethyl alcohol hidden way, way back beneatht he layers. as it warms it gets a bitterness not unlike a double IPA. interesting. Really tastes like a fresh pour from a tap, which is a nice sensation. overall, truely a tremendous dopplebock, though a bit outside the box perhaps. I'm really impressed though, especially with the way the built the hop character.

 831 characters

Photo of RidiculedDisplay
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a flute.

Appearance: Pours with a lively, fairly thick (about a finger and a half's worth) creamy coffee head. Lacing is extremely impressive, thick complete with both sheets and arms. An extremely dark brown body. Very nice for the lacing and head alone.

Smell: Goat cheese-like yeasty funk, nutmeg, cream, light bittersweet chocolate, and dark fruits. Dark cherries, coffee. The aromas are all nice, but I'm a little turned off by the goat cheese presence, to be honest, and I like goat cheese.

Taste: Dark cherries, plums, figs, light dried mango, coffee bitterness, light chocolate aftertaste. The goat cheese is still here, but it is much more harmonious than the aroma's iteration. Some hoppy bitterness perhaps? Hard to tell. Light candy sugar. A little coconut. Very, very well balanced, extremely pleasant stuff.

Mouthfeel: Coffee-like, medium-bodied thickness. Well carbonated. A little dryness upon swallowing, but very little.

Drinkability: Very pleasant stuff, extremely full-bodied and flavorful. The nose underwhelms me a bit relative to the flavor, but I still enjoy it thoroughly.

 1,124 characters

Photo of bennetj17
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark black color with only a bit of transparency about the edges. Not much head, but a nice frothy ring remains. The aroma is a nice, clean bouquet of dark fruit, licorice, and chocolate, not very potent though. The flavor is a nice and tangy mix of nutty chocolate and raisin, plus a decent amount of hop bitterness. Rich and smooth mouthfeel, solid carbonation. I really like this beer, although it's not much of a dopplebock. It's excellent because of the nice balance between the sweet and bitter flavors. Thanks to SkinnyElvis for the bottle(s)...

 552 characters

Photo of rousee
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had been waiting for just the right time to try this one out and our first real cold snap of January 2007 seemed like the perfect time. Pours a dark onyx molasses color with a nice 2 finger thick head of dark tan foam. The head diminishes fairly quickly and a nice coating is left on the top surface and around the sides of the glass. Leaves a small amount of thin lace on the sides of the glass as well.

Smell is a very nice combination of dark malts with elements of cherries and plums--also some tree bark and slight chocolate licorice elements.

Taste is much the same. Its no wonder this beer is so highly regarded as the taste is so spot on for the doppelbock style. Nothing too pronounced or overdone just a very pleasant flavor building sensation. I first get some nice malt--then notice hints of caramel, toffey, molasses and chocolate. Very nice indeed.

Pleasant carbonation with a slight sticky finish which is always going to accompany this style. On a cold January night, its close to perfect. Highly recommended.

 1,037 characters

Photo of leftmindedrighty
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml swing top, this beer has been cellared for 6 months and change before being opened.

Smell is wonderful, very sweet, malty, with a kick of hotness.

Taste follows suit, the very rich malt is very overpowering, but done in a great way. Faint hop bitterness, but the hotness quickly slaps that away. Good for the style, but a bit hot, that is something that only more time in the cellar can fix.

Overall, a great American Dopple, I have two more bottles that will be sitting for at least another year, and hopefully I can keep one for 2 years, provided I don't break down and drink it.

 596 characters

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

Thomas Hooker's Liberator Doppelbock is best served at regular cellar (45-50°F) temperatures from a tumbler or Willibecher. This top-rated doppelbock from Hartford, Connecticut pours up gently layered with good carbonation that creates creamish tan head that dissipates rather quickly due to the higher alcohol. The nearly opaque, dark brown color is very striking, but maybe to deep per style? The decadently rich, roasted maltiness exhibits a plethora of dark fruity complexity e.g. burnt raisins, Deglet Noor dates, Black Mission figs. There's just a hint of alcoholic warmth ...otherwise very clean! The flavor is simply dominated by the rich melanoidin maltiness with some spicy, Noble hop bitterness coming through the finish. The creamy, full-bodied mouthfeel has a chewy quality that makes a bit of a meal of itself. This select offering from Thomas Hooker has certainly made a name for itself in such a short time and desrevedly so! This is simply a malt lover's paradise! Suggested food pairings include hearty game such as black peppered venison, roasted wild boar or possibly cherry-glazed duckling. How about a few slices of buttery, rum laced Dresden Stollen bread after dinner? Here's to being Liberated!

CHEERS! Beertracker

 1,244 characters

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

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.