Monks in the 17th Century fasted during the Lenten season, finding their nourishment from a strong, hearty beer they referred to as "liquid bread." Munich monks called this brew Salvator, Latin for "Savior." That beer emerged into a distinctive style called the doppelbock.
Ale Asylum on the north side of Madison currently has a great version of the doppelbock called Bamboozleator. It been out for just a few weeks and should remain on tap at the brewery's taproom for several more. Just a whiff of this beer's wonderful smooth malty nose and you'll understand what liquid bread means.
What is it? Bamboozleator Doppelbock from Ale Asylum.
Style: Doppel means double, and while these beers are similar to the bock, they are not double the strength. They are full-bodied, intensely malty and generally have levels of alcohol higher than 7 percent. Typically they are amber to dark brown, with an emphasis on malt flavor and aroma. Darker versions may have more chocolate flavors.
Background: Old German brewers say if a doppelbock is made correctly you won't notice its alcohol strength until you try to stand up. When coming up with the name Bamboozleator, Ale Asylum brewer Dean Coffey noted that you can get "bamboozled" by this beer when you try your hand at mobility. The beer comes in around 8.5 percent.
Coffey followed a very traditional German lager path in making this beer with mostly German Munich Malt. It was fermented for about two months before it went on tap. You'll find it only at Ale Asylum in pints for $4 and a growler with beer for $18.
- Aroma: Firm caramel maltiness with a hint of roastedness.
- Appearance: Dark, hazy bronze with a marbled soft tan head.
- Texture: Full bodied and soft.
- Taste: Caramel maltiness is assertive with a light fruitiness in the background.
- Finish/Aftertaste: The sweet flavors intensify as the beer warms.
Glassware: A clear vessel with a slight taper allows one to appreciate the malty nose and chocolate bronze color of the beer. The basic pint glass will work, but German beer fans might choose to showoff this beer in a clear slender cylinder; two common choices are Stange and Becher glasses.
Pairs well with: The intensity of this beer's malty profile makes it a nice complement to foods with sweetness. Veggies like sweet potatoes, squash, and even pumpkin soup will offer a tasting companion. Ham prepared with pineapple or apple is another great choice. It's also a match for after dinner-deserts like crème brulee.
Rating: Three Bottle Openers.
(I am using a one to four bottle opener scale: four is a great beer, distinctive, you'll have this over others; three is a beer you enjoy, reliable, close to its described style; two is problematic, lacks distinction, but worth having again; one is a beer that isn't true to its style, you would not recommend it to a friend.)
The Consensus: This beer has not received enough ratings to be evaluated by Beer Advocate nor Rate Beer.
The Verdict: This beer is a great full-bodied malty monster that salutes the passing of Madison's snowiest winter and celebrates those chilly but hopeful spring days. The smooth sweetness in aroma and flavor combines with the warmth of this beer's strength. But don't get too bamboozled by it at the tap room, it's really best as a beer to take home in a growler. My suggestion is it's perfect for that first outdoor barbeque meal of the season.