Style Details

Strong Euro­pean Beer
BJCP Style Code
9 A
Deep gold to dark brown in color. Dar­ker ver­si­ons often have ruby high­lights. Lage­ring should pro­vi­de good cla­ri­ty. Lar­ge, cre­a­my, per­sis­tent head (color varies with base style: white for pale ver­si­ons, off-white for dark varie­ties). Stron­ger ver­si­ons might have impai­red head reten­ti­on, and can dis­play noti­ceable legs.
Very strong mal­ti­ness. Dar­ker ver­si­ons will have signi­fi­cant Mail­lard pro­ducts and often some toasty aro­mas. A light cara­mel aro­ma is accep­ta­ble. Ligh­ter ver­si­ons will have a strong malt pre­sence with some Mail­lard pro­ducts and toasty notes. Vir­tual­ly no hop aro­ma, alt­hough a light noble hop aro­ma is accep­ta­ble in pale ver­si­ons. A modera­te­ly low malt-deri­ved dark fruit cha­rac­ter may be pre­sent (but is optio­nal) in dark ver­si­ons. A very slight cho­co­la­te-like aro­ma may be pre­sent in dar­ker ver­si­ons, but no roas­ted or bur­ned aro­ma­tics should ever be pre­sent. Mode­ra­te alco­hol aro­ma may be present.
Very rich and mal­ty. Dar­ker ver­si­ons will have signi­fi­cant Mail­lard pro­ducts and often some toasty fla­vors. Ligh­ter ver­si­ons will have a strong malt fla­vor with some Mail­lard pro­ducts and toasty notes. A very slight cho­co­la­te fla­vor is optio­nal in dar­ker ver­si­ons, but should never be per­cei­ved as roasty or burnt. Clean lager cha­rac­ter. A modera­te­ly low malt-deri­ved dark fruit cha­rac­ter is optio­nal in dar­ker ver­si­ons. Inva­ria­bly the­re will be an impres­si­on of alco­ho­lic strength, but this should be smooth and warm­ing rather than harsh or bur­ning. Litt­le to no hop fla­vor (more is accep­ta­ble in pale ver­si­ons). Hop bit­ter­ness varies from mode­ra­te to modera­te­ly low but always allows malt to domi­na­te the fla­vor. Most ver­si­ons are fair­ly mal­ty-sweet, but should have an impres­si­on of atte­nua­ti­on. The sweet­ness comes from low hop­ping, not from incom­ple­te fer­men­ta­ti­on. Paler ver­si­ons gene­ral­ly have a drier finish.
Medi­um-full to full body. Mode­ra­te to modera­te­ly-low car­bo­na­ti­on. Very smooth wit­hout harsh­ness, astrin­gen­cy. A light alco­hol warmth may be noted, but it should never burn.
Over­all Impression
A strong, rich, and very mal­ty Ger­man lager that can have both pale and dark vari­ants. The dar­ker ver­si­ons have more rich­ly-deve­lo­ped, deeper malt fla­vors, while the paler ver­si­ons have slight­ly more hops and dryness.
Typi­cal Ingredients
Pils and/or Vien­na malt for pale ver­si­ons (with some Munich), Munich and Vien­na malts for dar­ker ones and occa­sio­nal­ly a tiny bit of dar­ker color malts (such as Cara­fa). Saa­zer-type hops. Clean lager yeast. Decoc­tion mas­hing is traditional.
A Bava­ri­an spe­cial­ty first bre­wed in Munich by the mon­ks of St. Fran­cis of Pau­la. His­to­ri­cal ver­si­ons were less well-atte­nu­a­ted than modern inter­pre­ta­ti­ons, with con­se­quent­ly hig­her sweet­ness and lower alco­hol levels (and hence was con­side­red “liquid bread” by the mon­ks). The term “dop­pel (dou­ble) bock” was coin­ed by Munich con­su­mers. Many com­mer­cial dop­pel­bocks have names ending in “-ator,” eit­her as a tri­bu­te to the pro­to­ty­pi­cal Sal­va­tor or to take advan­ta­ge of the beer’s popu­la­ri­ty. Tra­di­tio­nal­ly dark brown in color; paler examp­les are a more recent development.
Most ver­si­ons are dark colo­red and may dis­play the cara­me­li­zing and Mail­lard pro­ducts of decoc­tion mas­hing, but excel­lent pale ver­si­ons also exist. The pale ver­si­ons will not have the same rich­ness and dar­ker malt fla­vors of the dark ver­si­ons, and may be a bit drier, hop­pier and more bit­ter. While most tra­di­tio­nal examp­les are in the lower end of the ran­ges cited, the style can be con­side­red to have no upper limit for gra­vi­ty, alco­hol and bit­ter­ness (thus pro­vi­ding a home for very strong lagers). 
Com­mer­cial Examples
Dark Ver­si­ons –Andech­ser Dop­pel­bock Dun­kel, Ayin­ger Cele­bra­tor, Pau­la­ner Sal­va­tor, Spa­ten Opti­ma­tor, Tröegs Troe­genator, Wei­hen­ste­pha­ner Kor­bi­ni­an,; Pale Ver­si­ons – Eggen­berg Urbock 23º, EKU 28, Plank Bava­ri­an Hel­ler Doppelbock
Ori­gi­nal Gravity
1.072 - 1.112 SG
Final Gra­vi­ty
1.016 - 1.024 SG
6 - 25 SRM
7.0 - 10.0 %vol
16 - 26 IBU