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 ChainGangGuy
4.42/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle - $2.79 at Hop City in Atlanta, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown-hued body with a frothy, off-white head.

Smell: Roasty, toasty nose with notes of coffee, chocolate, powdered toast, burnt nuts, dried, bitterish herbs, dark fruits, and a few stray drops of dark rum.

Taste: Toasted bread crusts sweetened with crushed toffee bits and yielding a roasted grain quality hinting at freshly-roasted coffee beans sprinkled with chocolate powder. Some cracked nuts. Subtle date-like dark fruitiness. Spicy, herbaceous Continental hops with a little bit of imparted bitterness. Light smokiness from a puff of cherry-flavored aromatic tobacco. Small hint of licorice. Lightly lingering roast on the bittersweet finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation. Amply smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: In the past, I have had issues with the Thomas Hooker flip-top bottles. A few flat bottles, a few infected bottles, and plenty of money down the drain left me nothing but ill will towards the brewery. So, it's nice that this revisit years later was a return to a mighty tasty doppelbock.

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

I wanted my 500th review to be something special and have chosen Liberator Doppelbock for the honor. This large, swing-top bottle certainly looks the part and I'm hoping that the bottle's contents will provide an unforgettable experience. Doppelbock isn't among my favorite styles, but dozens upon dozens of knowledgeable BAs can't be wrong, can they? Thanks in advance to wyllder for answering my plea.

Glossy sorrel suffused with crimson (like a thoroughbred's coat) with brownish amber accents at the margins, topped by a head of sturdy, light brown foam that displays unnatural persistence and eventually leaves gobs of viscid, abstract lace and one thick, chunky ring at midglass.

Gently malty nose of pumpernickel toast, cocoa, dark fruits and (surprisingly) hops. It isn't aroma-intensive, but it more than suffices. Whoa! I do believe Liberator will more than live up to the hype. The flavor intensity is exponentially greater than the nose would suggest. The beer is a concentrated, complex symphony of melted bittersweet chocolate, smoke, sticky dates, cinnamon and citric hops.

There's a lot going on within this toothsome nectar, all of it good. There's also a vinous quality, more along the lines of tawny port than anything else; a rich, decadent, earthy alcohol presence that warms the body and encourages contemplation, preferably in front of a roaring fire. Every bit of the 8% ABV is noticed, but I wouldn't change a thing, it's absolutely perfect.

The body/mouthfeel is ample, lightly creamy and lucious without a trace of heaviness. Sweet without being cloying, it finishes with a slightly slick feel that keeps the flavor in contact with the taste buds so that mere memory will not be taxed with too heavy a burden. If only I could keep this flavor in my memory once the bottle's contents have met their glorious end. I doubt that many bottles will be in my future unless I make a concerted effort to avoid that regrettable fate. And I just might.

This is a special beer. It's everything that I love about beer to the 'nth' degree. Doppelbocks may not have a place in this hophead's heart, but Liberator most certainly does. One of the great ones.

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Photo of drewone
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

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 paulish
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

A very nice 2005 vintage one liter, flip top bottle, that was served at cellar temperature and pour into various tasting glasses and finished off in a very nice pint glass.

A - Poured a very nice and very dark hazelnut colored brown. Lots of hints of reddish colored hues throughout the glass, and especially around the sides and bottom. I poured it very vigorously, purposely trying to get the biggest head out of it that I could. I was able to get a nice tan colored foam pillow on the top that rose maybe an inch and a half over the top before settling down to just a half inch layer that stuck around throughout the entire session. Some nice side glass lace that hung around for a little while, though by the time you were finished, the entire glass was pretty much clean, save for a bit of foamy lace left on the bottom of the glass. Very nice carbonation could be seen rippling up from the bottom. Big chains of bubbles not only streaking to the top, but also clinging to the sides of the glass.

S - The aroma was extremely pleasing, and very thick even from the first pour to the last room temperature smell. Deep roasted malts were commonplace here, with tons of sugary notes residing inside of them. There was a huge malt bill here, something that I was expecting just not to this degree. It is always a wonder when I get something in a vintage of a few years or so, which I never got to try fresh, it always makes me wonder what the fresh one was like, but that is for another day and the next time I am able to travel up to the northeast to get this one tap. The first thing I noticed was a very nice presence of caramel and earthy grains. These came across huge and noticeable right out of the gate. Really big with hints of smoky tones blended in as well. There was really quite the notable hint of alcohol which, to be honest, surprised me a bit as it was only 8% and I would have thought it mellowed past that after a few years, but it was there, muted but there and actually served to really thicken up the profile. Lots of nuttiness coming through now, the sweetness still there, but really being blended out now. Really very big and complex aroma, very nice and strong.

T - Now, keep in mind I have waited a long time to try this. I received the bottle over a year ago, and cellared it since, keeping it at ideal temperature with no light. I wanted to wait for the perfect time to try it, but that just never comes, so I just decided when the mood strikes I am going to go for it, well last night I just felt like it. Anyway, after the great show put on by both the look and aroma, I had high hopes for the flavor, and let me tell you, I was not disappointed in the least. A rich nutty caramel wave came crashing through my mouth upon the first taste. Really rich and smooth, it really just kind of sat there letting you absorb all of these rich flavors that just, well were wonderful. As I said the flavor of a rich roasted nuttiness was very well pronounced here and left me really looking for more, lots of caramel and earthy grain like flavors then coming in behind it, deepen the profile and adding a good bit of backbone to it. Slight alcohol warming, though only very slight, as this was just too flavorful to let that dominate. There was a touch of smoke coming through now, not a lot, but it was there, really giving it a bit of a punch. No real bitterness in here that I found, infact, quite the opposite, nice and sweet and grainy. The finish was quick, nothing really dragging on for too long, but not crisp or clean; a smooth drawn out sugary close was to be expected. I thought the flavors on this one were wonderful, really a treat and this was definitely living up to the hype for me.

M - This was one of the smoothest things I have ever drunk; I mean such subtle tones, such a rich flavor. The pour was not very active, but this one was far from dull or flat. There was a small, delicate amount of carbonation present, evident at first from the bubbles stuck to the glass, but it was nowhere near that carbonated when it was drank, more of a light silky smoothness that overtook it and really helped he flavors pop, while keeping it alive throughout the session.

D - Now this was absolutely superb along these lines. I could have easily kept going on it. Now keep in mind, it was enjoyed over the course of several hours, but still, it was completely drinkable and really just fantastic. Rich flavors, easy smooth profile, and a rich texture, not to mention well blended, but not hidden alcohol. I could go on this was great.

Overall I was happy to see that this one lived up to the hype. It was wonderfully rich, filling and just fantastic. I have no idea what the age did to it, but if it was detrimental, I would love to see what this could do fresh! Really a very high quality brew, and for the style one of the best, if not the best I have had. Definitely tops in terms of smoothness for sure. I f you can get it, seek it out, you need to try this one.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.07/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received as part of a BIF from Ineedabeerhere, thanks Joe! Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours a dark brown with about one finger of tan head. Light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of dark fruit, chocolate, and sweet malts or sugar.

t - Tastes of dark fruit, sweet malts, and molasses or sugar. Hints of chocolate.

m - Medium body and high carbonation.

d - I thought this was a real nice doppelbock. I thought it smelled great and that the sweet malts, sugar, and dark fruits smell and taste was very enjoyable. Would certainly try again.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500ml swingtop courtesy of Joe!

A: The beer is a nice dark mahogany color with lots of red highlights to go with the brown. The head is somewhat mild and light tan in color.

S: A really nice mix of sweet caramel malts and brown sugar along with a touch of chocolate and some dark fruits--namely cherries.

T: Pretty much what you would expect from the nose, though it seems to be almost cola-like with the mix of chocolate, cherries, and sugar. A nice sweet malt and sugar flavor and a surprisingly amount of bitterness to balance things out.

M: A fairly full bodied beer for a lager. The carbonation is crisp and medium in terms of the amount of it.

D: A really nice beer and one that I've been looking forward to try for quite awhile. Quite a lot of complexity and just enjoyable overall.

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

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance - Deep brown body that looks red when held up to the light. Off-white frothy head that leaves some lacing.

Smell - Dark fruit aroma followed by caramel and some chocolate. It smells like a Belgian Strong Dark Lager, without the yeast. Nice.

Taste - Not quite as impressive as the smell, but very nice nonetheless. Dark fruits and caramel malts. Some burnt toast in the back end, but it's not unappealing. Hardly sweet, despite the maltiness.

Mouthfeel - Good body. Not quite heavy, but certainly not light. Doesn't feel like a wimpy beer, despite that you can't taste the ABV. Medium-low carbonation makes it feel smooth and creamy.

Overall - The best doppelbock I've had. Better than Celebrator (gasp!). This is one of the few lager styles I really enjoy.

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Photo of orangesol
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of TMoney2591
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in an Ayinger Celebrator doppelbock glass.

Big thanks to my New England trading partners for this guy (I think I got one from a couple people and don't remember which came from where)!

The Leaving Falls Church uber-bender rolls on. This entry pours a translucent (if not clear) garnet brown topped by a healthy helping of tan foam. The nose comprises figs, dark wheat, cinnamon, nutmeg, raisins, brown sugar, molasses, maple syrup, plums, and cinnamon bubble gum (think Dentyne with flavor crystals). Damn, this thing smells kinda like a quad, only ... browner. The taste is a bit lighter than the smell, with more fruity notes and a heavier dose of baked oatmeal cookies. Beyond that, the elements of the nose all return. This is pretty dern tasty, baby! The body is a firm medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a ridiculously smooth feel. I gotta say, this is one of the best doppelbocks I've yet had. Get some!

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

12oz bottle courtesy of alpinebryant, thanks for the opportunity.
Pours a solid almost black with the faintest of garnet highlights when held to light. Bubbly off white head rises to the occasion before slowly receding to a ring on top. Smells of malt in spades. Smokey, dark sugar, fig, raisin, caramel, chocolates, soy, they are all there. Taste is a malt bomb as well. Rich dark malts fill my palette with tastes of caramel, fig, date, and hints of alcohol and a slightly earthy hop bite that keeps everything in check. Medium carbonation, thick body, syrupy mouthfeel. I really enjoyed this one. Sweet malty goodness with a burnt edge that keeps it from being cloying. If this were more available I would drink this a lot!

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

Thanks to Rob for hooking me up! TH Liberator Doppelbock pours a brown/amber color with a solid head and some decent lacing. The aromas are not particularly strong, but what is there is very inviting. Dark fruits, smoke, subtle hops, and malt are evident in the nose and throughout the taste. While I am not a huge fan of the style, I must say this beer is extremely tasty and drinkable. Andechser Doppelbock Dunkel is the only doppelbock I have had that I enjoyed more. I will certainly seek this out again. TH Liberator Doppelbock is one of the best lagers I have had in a long time.

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

Much thanks goes out to beergeek279 and cupbeerman for letting me join in on the sampling of this highly rated d-bock. We enjoyed it at one of the newest beer hotspots in the Burgh, the Pittsburgh Bottleshop Cafe where we sampled this brew in official Celebrator glasses, man are those things cool. Anyway on to this beer. Appearance: Deep dark ruby chocolate hue tan head forms nice and thick leaves some scattered lacing throughout the tasting session. Aroma: I was hit with some underlying vinous wine like character along with robust healthy dosages of chocolate roastiness, and a touch of underlying over ripened fruit notes. Seems bigger than the average doppelbock much more complex the hops send herbal tones across my nasal passage, not bad. Taste: Alot more chocolate flavor than your typical doppelbock seems porterish in many ways, but regardless tasty and so damn drinkable. A touch of raisin and alcohol sear the palate with mild overly ripened plums complex and good, but seems this one caught alot of hype. Don't get me wrong I love it but what sets this one so far apart from St Victorious or Korbinian, in my opinion not much. Mouthfeel: Medium body big lager here very delicate carbonation makes going down that much smoother. Drinkability: All in all a damn fine d-bock that I enjoyed, but I think I let my expectations ruin the experience for me just a bit. Incredibly smooth and flavorful robust version of the style very good I must seek out more brews from Troutbrook Brewing, well done.

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Photo of ejimhof
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of imperialking
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of rolltide8425
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of rab53
5/5  rDev +19%

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 RblWthACoz
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of jwc215
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to wolfsblood for this one!
500 ml flip-top bottle:

Pours very dark brown - almost black - with a thin light brown head. Lacing sticks.

The smell is malty - darkish - cocoa/toffee with a light earthy character mixed in.

The taste is rich and malty - chocolatey/toffeeish and grainy. Sweetness balanced by herbal/earthy spicing. Smooth and clean, as a good lager should be. Hearty and full-bodied fitting for the style.

A very nice example of the style. Alcohol covered enough - giving just a touch of warmth but not sharp in the least. Very drinkable. Malty rich but with a nice hop balance.

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Photo of malfunxion
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance is terminaly opaque, fully black, much more impressive than your everyday doppelbock, with a large, lush head, with resilient, creamy froth, very appealing, setting standards high from this auspicious image.
Aroma is fresh, full of yeast, malt, doughy, even, cookie-dough, can we say? Bread, ginger, and other spices, but still light, airy, creamy, very eggnoggy, and very, very nice.
Taste is complex and delicious, a wonderful blend, with an excellent presence in the mouth, a masterful marriage of beery parts, perfectly blended, nothing lacks or wants, nothing weighs heavy, either.
Chocolate and dark fruit dominate the palate, with palpable malt on the mouthfeel, a sturdy, even tenacious presence occurs on the tongue and parts of the senses. Starts to feel a touch like brandy, even port wine, with nutty, cocoa flavors never far behind, getting even a bit candyish, with a hint of licorice.
I've had several dopelbocks in my day,each a bit of it's own, some good, some great, and I even had the Andescher before this sample, and you know what? I have to say, TH knocks the socks off the competition, anyway, anywhere, anyhow! It's just got so much more, and then some! Best doppelbock I've ever had, when all is told, just a great sum of it's parts!

Huge cheers to sulldaddy for the bottle, almost too much for me to handle on my lonesome!

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Photo of MasterSki
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Got this in a trade with Dave (d0b) last October - hope it's still good, as I'm nervous about all things swing-top. Nice hiss when I popped it. Served in a pilsener glass.

A - Nice three fingers of tan foam with excellent retention but not much in the way of lacing - leaves a solid cap though. Murky raisin-brown brew with a few streams of tiny bubbles visible at the fringes.

S - Typical lager twang, roastiness, raisin, dark fruits, caramel, chocolate - almost like a stout but with lager yeast. There's also some alcohol present. It sweetens quite a bit as it warms up - so don't drink this one cold, otherwise you'll be missing out on quite a bit of depth.

T - Bitter roastiness, bread, a touch of caramel, vanilla, and semisweet chocolate. The fruitiness isn't very apparent in the flavor. Again, improves quite a bit when it warms up. The aftertaste is mild roasty bitterness. Alcohol is better hidden in the taste. There's also a slight sourness that might be the harbinger of infection - I don't recommend cellaring this past a year, and one should probably tape the crap out of the swing-top.

M - Smooth and velvety, creamy, mild carbonation, tons of residual stickiness. It's probably the best attribute of this brew.

D - It feels like an 8% brew, and the 500ml bottle size ensures this is a one and out. Otherwise it has most of the qualities I look for in drinkability - mild aftertaste and carbonation. It's an excellent American take on the doppelbock style, but isn't quite on par with Andechser or Ayinger.

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

08/23/05- Received two bottle in trade from Connecticutpoet, Stienlifter and Jetsbeer.

Presentation- 2005 bottled edition as stated on the label covering the swingtop. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Nice black colored pour, solid dirty brown 1/2 inch head and fair lacing.

Smell- Tons of dark chocolate in the nose with a nice whiff of dark roasted malt as well. Slight molasses smell too.

Taste- At first rather nomal for a run of the mill doppel, but then a huge chocolate coats your mouth in the swallow. Tons of dark burnt malt throughout. Not the mollasses/malty sweetness to put it over the top though.

Mouthfeel- A bit overcarbonated for a doppelbock. Semi-thick mouthfeel.

Drinkability- Definitely one of the better doppelbocks, but I still prefer Celebrator and even Weltenburger Asam-Bock. Still would buy this one if I could find it though. Very good brew indeed. Thanks for the bottles guys!

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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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