Swing-top opens with a resounding pop. Big, meringue-like head in coffee color. Oaky smoke in nose and palate, but sweetened by slight Bourbon and vanilla notes. Suggestions of tobacco and Spanish root. Peppery, warming finish. Feisty, robust American: no more German than Bourbon is French.
The old fashioned package is to an adult what a giant chocolate rabbit is to a kid: fantastic. So is the beer: big, dark, rich, flavorful, mysterious, complex and strong. The cloud-like tan head sits atop a rich coffee color, with highlights of red. The nose is sweet and floral. On the palate, there is an exuberant malty character of buttered pumpernickel soaked in organic maple syrup with hints of chocolate, coffee, tobacco, licorice, leather and honey. One big bottle, a hunk or two of cheese, some fresh dark bread, a few beer loving friends — that’s dopple pleasure.
The monks in Munich surely lagered doppelbock in wood when they created “liquid bread” for consumption during Lent, but they just as surely didn’t use bourbon barrels. Bourbon is apparent on the nose, but not alone. Vanilla and oak blend seamlessly with dark fruit, particularly figs and prunes. More dark fruit flavors, even slightly juicy grapes, emerge in the mouth along with toasted caramel and more bourbon — balanced by spicy tannins (hops or wood?). Wonderfully integrated. Not just a dark lager with bourbon on top — all the flavors are baked in. Liquid bourbon bread, anyone?