a doppelbock at the end of summer might not be a completely fair
review. However, I have had Spaten Optimator many times in the past and
it’s only been slightly better than the bottle I’m reviewing now. This
is definitely a German doppelbock personified – plenty of sweet malty
notes, slightly nutty, but some bitterness to balance it out. Not bad
for an InBev product.
I poured a 12oz bottle into a mug. It was bottled on 2/2/14 and cost $2.50 ($0.21 per ounce).
Appearance: Beautiful chestnut/mahogany hue. Translucent with
carbonation visible. Pours to a two-finger, tan, foamy head which laces
and retains somewhat well.
Smell: Slight skunkiness from the green bottle; otherwise very malty with an overt lager character.
Taste: The first thing I notice here is the classic macro lager
character. While I’m quite sure Spaten Optimator is an all-malt brew,
there’s something to it that screams “lager!” as soon as it touches the
tongue. It’s actually quite tangy at first, maybe even a little sour
(I’m chalking that up to green bottle and lightstrike), but it’s easily
overlooked. Once I get invested in the palette I start to notice flavors
of roasted peanuts, a touch of caramel, maybe toffee. The doppelbock
style is actually not too far off from the brown ale style in terms of
flavor characteristics and this beer is a good example of that. There’s
still some bitterness here, but actual hop flavor is mild. Slightly dry,
maybe even a bit metallic. Again, this is a fairly old bottle, so I’ll
bet a fresh serving would be more complex and less flawed, but as it
stands it’s still pretty good for a relatively inexpensive import made
by a macro brewery.
Drinkability: Spaten Optimator may taste like and ale, but it drinks
like the lager it is. The mouthfeel is thin and crisp, but not overly
fizzy. There’s a slightly slick or sour aftertaste, but I don’t mind it.
At 7.6% ABV there is mild warmth from the alcohol, and it does play a
factor in the taste as well. It doesn’t feel as heavy as those numbers
would indicate, but one serving is satisfactory to be sure.