Thomas Hooker Liberator Doppelbock | Thomas Hooker Brewing Company

508 Reviews
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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Reviews: 508 | Ratings: 694
Photo of mbrasi
4.42/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in 2006, flip top exploded off the bottle and breaded malt filled the room. Pours dark dark brown, almost black with a huge off-white rocky head. Oh, this is good, sweet, rich and creamy. No oxidation, This brew is up there with celebrator. Toffee, chocolate, and roasted malts dominate. Very smooth and drinkable the alcohol is well hidden. Top of the line.

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Photo of cookin420
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Swingtop bottle poured into a Stella glass.

Very deep brown with tones of nothing but black and a surprisingly light red only at the narrow bottom of the glass. Thin foamy head is cappuccino colored. Bottle conditioned but clear with a good pour.

Huge mole asses aroma. Also sweetened coffee, honey and prunes. The smell of the yeast is muted. Spicy hops are also faint but compliment the malt well.

Some depth in this one. Chocolaty and sweet with the roastiness coming at the finish. Much more subtle than the smell. Slightly tart in the finish as well to balance with very nice results, very well done.

Excellent feel. Slightly high carbonation for the style but Hooker usually bastardizes things with great results and this is no exception. Smooth and wet but not the least bit oily. Near perfect.

I could get down on these pretty heavily on a cooler autumn eve.

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

Will Mr. Thomas Hooker set me free? Or will he imprison me in a cell of Doppelbockish hell?

Pours dark cherry/ruby, and settles in a pitch dark that when held up to the light makes the middle appear to glow as the sides reshow the dark cherry color. Thick, tan 2 finger head that's now but only a floating skim.

For some reason or another I'm having a tough time even tracing anything here. I'm really sniffing hard. Gimme a second...ah, here they come. Let me be like everyone else and call it complex. Roasty, raisins, malts....a nice and warming beer.

Taste and mouthfeel is where this beer shines brightest. At 8%, this is a damn shock. I can't taste any booze here. For a dark strong beer, this has got to be one of the smoothest beers I've had. Nice hints of dark fruit, with a tiny bite that makes you notice how creamy it is. Nothing here is over-powering, and akin to the nose, it's very varied. This is a great dessert beer.

I wasn't expecting much from this beer because of the rather sheepish cover art, but I was very much surprised at how friendly and delicious this beer was. I know for certain if I'm planning to cozy up to warm fire nibbling on some bon-bons....I'll be sure to have some Liberator to set me and my loins free.

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Photo of TonyReaves
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz. into a mug. Little bit of head fades away, leaving a thin layer of beige foam atop a dark brown beverage.

Smells like molasses, dark wheat bread, dark chocolate, roasted meat.

Sweet, smoky and meaty flavor. More molasses and chocolate. Long finish that reminds me of dark chocolate with a bit of a metallic aftertaste.

Good amount of carbonation keeps the beer feeling lively, not too cloying.

Drinkability? Well, you can't session this, but that's not what these are made for. Could I see drinking these in lieu of food for Lent? Hell yes.

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Photo of diddly
4.11/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass.

Color is a dark brown, with hints of red. Tan, thin head.

Smells sweet and roasty, with hints of wood from aging.

Tastes fairly sweet, but more roasted. Little to no bittnerness, but some dark fruitiness for a well-balanced flavor. Slight warmth from alcohol.

Mouthfeel is very smooth from sweetness.

Overall pretty good, but it doesn't seem superb. The 4-pack I bought was about 11 months old, so that could certainly play a part. Very rich, and seemingly thick, but it doesn't feel it as you're drinking.

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Photo of JoshJayne
4.11/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a four pack of bottles. I have heard that this beer was the cat's meow so, putting my feelings about the style aside, I gave it a whirl.
Smells sweet, slightly roasted, lots and lots of malt. Only when it warms up do you get any notion of the 8% abv.
Pours dark brown like cola with an off white head that fizzles out sort of quick. Little lace in my case.
Taste! Big malt flavor, roasted and molasses but not a hint of booze at first (maybe drinking it too cool).
Nice full bodied mouth feel, not syrupy or too heavy, carbonation is perfect. Great balance, very drinkable beer. Good thing they put this guy in a 4 pack and not a sixer because I could drink these all night. Makes me want to try more beers in this style.

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Photo of ksbrainard
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This swing top bottle I just got last week, was bottled in 2006. The top gave a huge POP when I opened it, but did not fizz over.

Appearance: Black. Big head that is slowly fading but never really goes away. It is pretty and inviting, and almost looks like a stout, but the head is not as dark.

Smell: Caramel, chestnut, and raisin hit you in a nice way at first. I picked up one time a slightly metallic smell. Overall it smells brown and malty, and almost smells like a stout, too. No hops to be found.

Taste: Big, dark, and smooth! Roasted malts provide upfront bitterness, which continues through the middle. The bitterness plays off the nutty dark fruit flavors beautifully. Chocolate tastes begin to emerge, and the roasty bitter kicks in just in time. It is as if the flavors in this beer each know what the other is doing, and makes the perfect move to compensate just in time to maintain an exquisite balance of the richest flavor.

Mouthfeel: This is very clean, yet full. Doesn't bog you down with stickiness, but there's not a hint of watery in there at all. I guess that smoothness is what the whole lager thing is about, anyway. Just great!

Drinkability: I am inspired. This is excellent and I don't want it to end. It made an awesome copmanion to my pasta with sweet red meat sauce, and could stick around for dessert, too.

I feel honored to have this made virtually in my own back yard, right here in Connecticut!

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

First off, let me explain what happened when I tried to chill this brew quickly.

I put this huge 1 liter flip top bottle in the freezer, which I do all the time with other beers and never have a problem. After about 45 minutes I took it out and slowly began to open the top. Big pressure rush and volcanic action all over the kitchen. That really pissed me off, but after I let it sit and released the pressure a couple more times, it finaly subsided. Not really sure why that happened but luckily it didn't seem to affect the beer.

Poured into some pint glassed, me and a friend gave it a whirl.

Appearance: Beautiful rich very dark color and creamy light brown big head which stayed for a while with thick lacing.
Smell: Malty, molasses, slight citrus, almost a perfume scent, really nice.
Taste: Very nice, all the things I mentioned about the smell but got better as I drank. One of those beers where you keep looking at the glass and saying "damn this is awesome"
Mouthfeel: Velvety, creamy, realy exceptional.
Drinkability: I felt I could have drank much more, not pissed I had to split it, but wish I would have bought another bottle.

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

Thanks to Brez07 for this 12 oz bottle. Poured into a mug.

A: Dark brown, looks like cola.

S: Not exactly complex. Sweet, smokey, hoppy, in that order.

T: Nice. Smooth. Nothing overpowering, if anything it's a little bland. Not bad though.

M: Medium bodied, and the carbonation is exactly what I'd expect from this style.

D: I could suck this down all day.

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Photo of altgeeky1
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

"Bottled in 2006". Flip-top bottle. I miss when all such bottled had ceramic tops, but anyways.. pfft! when you open it.

Very dark, approaching a brown/black. Got a finger's worth of head but it settles down quick. Lace extending from the edges towards the center, almost covering completely.

Very malty, with a coffee, coffee, caramel, floral and especially molasses background. Enjoyable.

Tastes as it smells, exactly, but maybe with some plum or raisin. Perhaps I was hungry, but on the first sip my saliva glands exploded. There's so much dark creamy malt goodness.

This is very drinkable. It's so good you stretch it with sips, but you could gulp it if you had another one waiting in the wings. Very rich. A keeper.

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Photo of joshsbeerblog
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

murky in appearance, no head but oily legs. malts in aroma are much more complex and appealing than most heavy-malt beers. alcohol comes through in both aroma and taste. full flavor includes both of these as well as dark, tangy fruit. creamy mouthfeel.

i originally bought this beer to marinade meat in, but that would definitely be a crime. a simply fantastic beer.

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Photo of windigo32
2.88/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

I got this bottle in trade. It's a 1 pint hinged stopper bottle.

A: There's just something about the way dark beers look that is very appealing. It pours a deep brown with an off-white head that stays on the surface. The bottle looks cool too.

S: The smell is nice. Caramelly, slight earthy leather tones.

T: I was expecting great things in this department from what I heard from others but was disappointed. There is a nice caramel undertone, but the prevailing taste I got was just bitterness. Oddly, its still not the worst tasting beer I've ever had.

M: Dark beers always feel good in the mouth. This one isnt super smooth, but the feel is good.

D: Frankly, this didnt make me want to go looking for more of this beer. Like many of the others I've had, it was an expansion of my taste base, but I would probably pass on it were it offered again.

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Photo of rsgcwhite
4.01/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Deep brown with a frothy head the color of roasted marshmallow.

My first instinct was that the aroma was very faint; but as I adjusted,the roasted malts smell followed by a yeasty, brown bread and caramel odors.

The first was a rush of liquid bread, then a strong sensation of fruity flavors -dark cherries, plum, a raspberry thrown in for good measure. Think deep, red and purple fruits, and the musky essence of their fermentation. It almost has a Madeira raisin-wine sort of sweetness, the sort of thing that develops in a lot of beers only after aging. The malts and hops are there, of course, but the plethora of other flavors can distract you. What an interesting, complex assortment of flavors to contemplate.

The mouthfeel is creamy and 'big'; you get the essence of the 8.00% ABV, but it does not detract from the quality of a beer.

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Photo of kfoss99
4.56/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2004 vintage. 1 litre, swing-top, brown bottle poured into an imperial pint glass.

Appearance – Very dark brown/black with tints of mahogany around the edges. Large, tight, tan head that leaves thick lace on the side of the glass.

Smell – Initial sweetness followed by a balance of roasted malts and floral hops.

Taste – Starts with bitter-sweet chocolate, towards the back of the mouth the hops make a subtle and pleasant appearance, finishing with the taste of coffee.

Mouthfeel – Creamy, but not heavy, the carbonation is extremely smooth.

Drinkability – A serving of less than one litre will not be enough to satisfy. This lager is smooth and complex.

My thanks go out to ErikTheRed for the very kind offering.

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Photo of e11a627
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Translucent, brown/black with a hint of red. A nice tan ring of foam around the glass.

S: Nutty, chocolate, malty.

T: Malty. Couldn't disinguish what else. Nothing too special stood out.

M: Nice carbonation. Not a lot of an aftertaste but perfect in that way.

D: Good, clean beer. Goes down very easily. I just don't think I'm a big doppelbock fan but overall a good beer!

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Photo of apowar
4.02/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Shared in a tasting with Eli, Bram, and Dan. 500ml bottle.

Pours the color of light molasses or cola with a very finely carbonated light tan head.

Aroma explodes with sweet chocolates, raw cane sugar, fig, and a bit of alcohol as it warms.

Up front, the taste is rich with marshmallow, semisweet chocolate and it finishes with persistent sweetness, a touch of bitterness, roasted malt and a bit of warmth from the alcohol.

Mouthfeel is quite decadent and luxurious. Very soft carbonation and medium bodied.

I'm not extremely familiar with the doppelbock style, but this isn't my first. I was surprised not to find the typical ripe banana and spice flavors, but that being said I thought that the flavor profile was great and mouthfeel was like that of an imperial stout. Pleasure to drink.

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Photo of SeussMD
4.82/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally time to review a beer from my adopted home state. And what better to start with than Hooker Liberator?

Serving size: 12 oz. bottle poured into my trusty Buffalo Bills pint glass. They might lose a lot on the field, but I win every time I fill it with fine craft beers. When I pour, it's never "wide right."

Pour: Rich ruby burgundy/brown with aggressive khaki head, starts with a good inch and recedes to 1/4 to 1/8 inch. Laces exceptionally well.

Smell: Oh man, where to start. Coffee, chocolate, dried fruit (cranberry, fig). Heavenly.

Taste: Lovely blend of malty goodness with coffee, chocolate, dark wheat bread and fruit notes. Dry hop bitter on the back end but as it warms, less so and more fruit.

Mouthfeel: Velvety smooth on top, dry to the point of effervescent on the back end -- mouthwatering. That diminishes somewhat as it warms.

Overall: Thoroughly enjoyable. Nice kick to it, too, at 8 percent ABV. A serious beer that commands your palate's full attention. Lots of beers are interesting or refreshing; this is truly delicious. Yay, Nutmeg State.

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Photo of JFazekas
4.66/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Presentation: 16.9 oz swing-top bottle.

Appearance: Dark rich body that poured with 2 inches of carbonation in a becker glass.

Smell: Full of rich malts, dark fruits, and hints of licorice and spicy yeast.

Taste: Outstanding. The rich malt base is a treat. Malty overtones with hints of darks fruits provide an excellent flavor. The hops provide an espresso-like bittering that blends exquisitely with the malt. The 8% is completely hidden.

Overall: The hands down the best dopplebock I have ever had, although I haven't had very many. The bitterness blends well with the malt. You would expect a bitter flavor at the end but it goes does so smooth. I'd like to see how the oak aging flavors this, but it is definitely excellent as is.

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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.

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2.63/5  rDev -37.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Based on the reviews I'm starting to wonder if stores in NJ got a bad shipment.

A - Mine poured a more or a reddish brown/ light amber color and not the dark brown I would have expected from the style. The medium head had nice lacing and stuck around for a while.

S - The smell was sharp and tart. It was almost citrus like.

T- Very tart. There was little to no sweetness that I would associate with the style. I got some hop bitterness but without the malty flavor to balance it

M- Medium mouthfeel. The tartness lingered on the palate.

O - I ended up pouring it out about half way though. The tartness was overwhelming and out of character for a dopplebock. I will have to give this another shot later. My experience seems out of line with a lot of the other reviews I read. Hopefully just a bad bottle.

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Photo of bwatson
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tasted from a 2006 bottle on a wet spring day. Deep brown in color. Little to no head that quickly vanished. Interesting aroma of pears and tart fruit. Tastes smokey and bitter with sweetness hiding in the background. Alcohol is present as the beer warms to room temperature on the nose and taste. Smooth and full of body. Thick on the tongue. A nice sipper on the perfect day for it. Very nice.

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

i like this beer. a lot. all the benefits of a lager (ie crispness and clear taste) with all the oomph of a stout (ie extreme malts and smokiness). pours an almost black body which allows just the hint of light through. the head leaves me hanging a bit, but retention is nice. even the most casual sniff reveals the strong malts and hops that went into this brew. upon taking a sip the taste reveals the malts but more importantly the dominant hoppy flavor that defies the normal scale of evaluation for doppelbocks. the beer retains most of its crispness but loses a bit of the edge as you finish.

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

First, I love the 1 Liter bottle. If I ever brewed my own beer, this is the bottle I'd use.

It pours a beautiful black tar color, very thick in appearance. It poured with an inch and a half of thick, tan head.

The aroma was wonderful. There is so much going on there that it's hard to put into words. Yeast, malt, fruit, chocolate, coffee, tobbacco.

The first sip was all it took and I knew. Again, it's so rich and lovely that it's hard to describe. Malty, chocolate and raisiny fruitiness. Some hints of lighter (even citrus) fruits and a nice fresh tobacco. It reminded me of some fresh cigars I bought from a local tobacco roller in the Dominican Republic...just rich, complex yet balanced. Not overpowering in any one aspect. Very rich and tasty.

I drank the liter with no problem. The alcohol is present but not really at the front of my mind when drinking it. You could have told me it was 5% ABV and I would not have blinked. It's amazing how rich and strong it is, but I felt like I could have drank another liter.

Makes me want to cuss it's so good. The best doppelbock I ever expect to have. It went straight to number one on my chart.

I only hope it becomes a regular for Troutbrook. It easily could be their flagship brew.


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Photo of Excalibur33
5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

All I can say is, Wow! Not my favorite style, but some beers are just this good regardless of type. For a "heavy" beer, it's remarkably drinkable, with a wonderful, smooth carbonation. This is an all-around fantastic beer. The color is a deep brown with a small hint of red, and a full, tan head that hangs on forever. The slightly sweet aftertaste leaves me craving more.

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

This is the SECOND time that I have had this on-tap at home (admittedly, in 5 gallon logs, we're not talking about full kegs here)... I liked it enough the first time around to get it again, but I think I like it even more this time around - I did notice that this keg had a date on it that suggested that it was less than three weeks old - given that this keg is so young, I thought perhaps that the first one was older and that this beer is better younger - but I don't really know how old the first keg was, so this is just conjecture... Either way, this is really a good beer. The mouthfeel isn't great - in the mouth it sort of feels a bit light or carbonated (even though it doesn't look that way) - perhaps this is just a function of the high alcohol - but I love the taste. Speaking of alcohol, its high - that seems to take away from drinkability and I can smell it a bit on the nose... But overall, I recommend it.

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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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