It's the best time of the year for fans of the bock and doppelbock styles of beer, with seasonal releases now in full swing. very notable.
What is it? Dominator Doppelbock from O'So Brewing of Plover.
Style: The doppelbock is a full-bodied, deep amber to dark brown lager. O'So's version is a "dark" doppelbock with a rich bronze, almost black color. Its flavor should feature malty sweetness, especially lightly toasted caramel and chocolate malt character. Fruity esters can be common but not overwhelming. Hop bitterness is evident but not excessive. The doppelbock will have a strong alcoholic strength ranging from 6.5 to 8% ABV.
Background: Dominator is a big, chewy, malty doppelbock with texture and mouthfeel that stand out. It's made with Munich malt, Nobel hops and a special seasonal yeast called Hella-bock. Those ingredients combine for a distinctive sweet and smooth character that is solid and memorable. The beer ferments for more than eight weeks.
Since Buttera had planned a Fat Tuesday release, it debuted this week in Madison on select tap accounts including at the Malt House on the east side. It should be available throughout the city within a week or so, both in bottles and at other taverns. Dominator was released last year in kegs, but this is the first year it was bottled.
Buttera says he did have some difficulty getting the label of this doppelbock approved. The term "dominator" didn't sit well with federal regulators, who often bristle at terms that might suggest alcoholic strength. The beer finishes at 8.5% ABV and sells for about $10/four-pack.
- Aroma: Strong, firm, solid malt aroma.
- Appearance: Deep bronze with a vivid ruby tint. A thick, soft, tan head.
- Texture: Full-bodied and soft. Wonderful mouthfeel.
- Taste: Smooth malty flavor, a sweet spicy background with a light roastedness.
- Finish/Aftertaste: The malty flavor never really lets up. A dry hoppiness and alcoholic warmth emerges amid the spicy sweet tones.
Glassware: The footed pilsner is a great glass for the doppelbock, but Dominator has a personality that needs a glass to reflect its bold assertiveness. The Willi Becher, with its tall profile and inward taper at the lip, will focus the malty nose and show off the beer's brilliant ruby hues.
Pairs well with: A doppelbock of this quality goes well with the heartiest of German food, ranging from sausage to schnitzel. Italian entrées with slightly sweet sauces are great companions, too.
Rating: Four Bottle Openers (out of four).
The Verdict: I really look forward to the bock season. This is a malt-lover's beer -- a "malt bomb," as Buttera calls it. The Dominator has a soft, smooth texture with loads of sweet malty tones that gradually build into a spicy warm finish. It has wonderful dark color, full-bodied mouthfeel, with alcoholic warmth. Dominator Dopplebock is a beer that should handle aging really well. I can't help but wonder what this beer might be like if cellared for a year. But given its limited release, it's a little hard to justify not enjoying right now -- because, after all, it is the season.