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Old 03-15-2008, 06:17 AM   #1
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Default Spaten Optimator

Thread for tastings of Spaten Optimator, Beer of the Week March 10-16 2008 and all further tastings.
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Appearance - Deep amber with red hues. Small, tight, light tan head. Lace around glass and has legs. Brillantly clear.

Aroma - Malty, slighty fruity.

Flavor - Strong malt flavor, dark, almost burnt caramel. No real hop bitterness. Just enough to balance malt. Sweet but not heavy or cloying.

Mouthfeel - Thick, rich and smooth. Dries in the finish.

Overall - A fantastic example of the style. Extremely drinkable for the gravity. I love the smoothness of the malt and the complex malt and caramel flavors.

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Old 03-15-2008, 02:17 PM   #2
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Aroma: Sweet, dark malt with mild caramel dominates. Moderate dark fruit (dates and prunes). Mild DMS. Slightly lightstruck. Mild, floral, noble hops. Definite Munich malt character, but only mildly bready. Mild melanoidins. Mild, fruity alcohol. No esters, acetaldehyde, or diacetyl.

Appearance: Deep bronze with ruby highlights. Clear. Poured fizzy, light tan head that did not last, except as light film.

Flavor: Deep, dark malt character with mild, toasty notes. Mild fruitiness seems to come more from dark malt and alcohol than esters. Mild caramel increases in an otherwise clean, slightly bitter and alcoholic finish. Smooth while in the mouth, but finishes a bit hot. Sweet, but not cloying and balanced just toward malt. No hop flavor beyond the aroma. No acetaldehyde, diacetyl, or other off flavors.

Mouthfeel: Moderately-high carbonation is a bit fizzy for the style and inappropriately fluffs up an otherwise full, almost chewy body. Moderate alcohol warmth in mouth and throat during finish. Smooth and clean, with mild astringency in finish, but not particularly dry. Carbonation sting detracts from other aspects of the beer until it fades.

Overall Impression: A very nice beer, but lacks on the decoction character that I enjoy so much in other examples. It also is quite bitter among the widely available doppelbocks. The fluffy carbonation is a bit unfortunate and makes it difficult to enjoy the complexities that are in there, somewhere, as evidenced by the wonderful nose (except for that bit of skunk). Of course, that carbonation lessens with a little time, but I pulled the bottle from the fridge quite some time before opening.

Optimator was the second doppelbock I ever had (Salvator being the first), so it has a spot in my heart and a place in my fridge, but I doubt it ever will rank among my favorites. Still, the bitterness makes for a somewhat refreshing beer, which is unusual for a doppelbock and might be exactly what the Spaten folks wanted. That certain DMS character that identifies all Spaten products is familiar and welcome, and actually makes this a nice Summer doppelbock.

Packaging: I continue to wonder about the friggin’ green bottles. Why do folks keep going with the green bottles? Since this is a dark beer that I grabbed from the back of the shelf, the damage was minimal, but it was there. The double spade is fun.


TL

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Old 03-16-2008, 01:56 AM   #3
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My local commercial dealer has Spaten products at 11.99 for a twelve right now, save another quarter if you buy a whole case. I saved the quarter.

$13.95 for 24 empties at the LHBS, I got ~2.5 gallons of Optimator for about ten bucks. Excellent deal.

It is dark brown. It doesn't have a lot of head. It is pretty darn malty with none of the Brit esteriness that comes from ale yeast. Packs a wallop.

Agree with TexLaw re green bottles. We all know the Germans know better. The 12 pack package is pretty light tight, but come on now fellas.

Try some, its good. I think I like the Ayinger Celebrator better, but I'll get back to you after further testing.



EDIT: 03-16-2008 I like the Optimator better than the Salvator. Now that I have finished one of each I can't exactly tell you why. Next time I don't have anything to do for a few hours I'll put the Optimator head to head against the Celebrator.

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Old 05-26-2008, 04:08 AM   #4
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I bought this beer because it was in the back of the cooler in the dark. I've had several six packs from Spaten that were skunked because of the green bottles, so I had high hopes for this one. I was right!

Having just smoked a cigar, my palate is slightly off, but the Optimator is REALLY good after a smoke, so I'll review anyway:

Appearance:
Deep, dark brown with brilliant red and gold hues when held to the light. Very clear. Thin tan head, no lacing, slight legs.

Aroma:
Wanna know what Munich malt smells like? This is it! Sweet caramel and VERY pronounced malt (think malted milk balls). Slight chocolate notes. A bit of dark fig or plum along with very slight spice - perhaps nutmeg.

Flavor:
MALT!!! I love it. Caramel and brown sugar with a hint of that sweet spice from the aroma. Balanced, leaning toward sweet, in terms of bitterness, but no discernible hop flavor.

Mouthfeel:
Full, but not heavy. Moderately carbonated - not overbearing, but any more carbonation would be too much. Very smooth. I don't get the heat that others are mentioning - either I have an exceptionally stored six-pack, or the cigar has numbed my palate a bit.

Drinkability:
I want to drink the other five right freakin' now! 'nuff said!

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Old 05-26-2008, 04:20 AM   #5
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SWMBO's favorite beer. There's always at least a few in our fridge....

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Old 05-26-2008, 04:30 AM   #6
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I started a thread a looong time ago on this beer, looking for a recipe. This is one of the best beers on the market IMO. It's also one of the best bargins out there @ 1.97 a 20oz @ LLS
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Old 05-26-2008, 04:46 AM   #7
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I don't have a clone recipe for you, but it's got to be about 90% Munich with maybe just a little dehusked Carafa, fermented cold with a clean German lager yeast. Hops are surely noble and likely just a single early addition. Crystal malt probably isn't to style, but I'd be tempted to add some 80 or 120. A decoction mash is definitely in order.

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Old 05-26-2008, 05:06 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuri_Rage View Post
I don't have a clone recipe for you, but it's got to be about 90% Munich with maybe just a little dehusked Carafa, fermented cold with a clean German lager yeast. Hops are surely noble and likely just a single early addition. Crystal malt probably isn't to style, but I'd be tempted to add some 80 or 120. A decoction mash is definitely in order.
Thanks Yuri
Great advice
I think I am going to make this my first Lager.
Cheers
JJ
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Old 05-26-2008, 05:12 AM   #9
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One more thing - I've seen DMS mentioned a few times in reviews of this beer. I'm not getting a ton of DMS, but I'm a few beers plus a cigar into the evening. Keep the boil short (no more than 60 mins) to preserve a bit of that character.

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Old 08-01-2010, 12:51 AM   #10
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First time with a doppel, so far so good. Picked up a chilled 6er this afternoon, since I was in the mood to try something new.

Drinking from the bottle, just because my pint glasses are all dirty. Therefore, no notes on color/appearance.
Pure malt on the nose, gives you an idea of what you're in for.
First taste lets you know it's definitely a stronger-than-average beer, but the alcohol isn't overpowering. No notable hoppiness, but that's most likely because the maltiness overpowers it. Notes of caramel and maybe toasted biscuit.
It hits the tongue smoothly, and has a mild carbonation.
Burnt caramel aftertaste, but not unpleasant.
Overall, a great brew, something I would not hesitate to buy a 6er of.

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