I was never really a big lager guy, well, I guess I was a BIG lager guy seeing as the only lagers I really cared for were Dopplebocks. Big, rich, malty, toasty, dark fruits, full body, dark, clear, warming. When it finally came time for me to brew my first lager I jumped in with both feet. I brewed a Dopplebock, low and behold, it took 1st place in its category, and I am told did well in the Best of Show round (but didn't get to the final table). 7 months after brewing I finally got around to doing the review, and the time lagering has been of benefit as it has really begun to come together even more than it was in May for the competition. I was shooting for a Salvator like beer, and I think I got fairly close.
Look: Pours a super clear garnet with ruby highlights, thick tan head with medium size bubbles, fades to a thick cap which eventually becomes nothing as it warms. Light lacing, long legs.
Aroma: Deep aroma of malts, burnt raisins, toasty breads, plum skins, a little molasses, alcohol, light metal (dissipates as it warms), chocolate as the beer warms. No hops, no DMS, no diacetyl, clean lager character.
Flavor: Taste starts off with chocolate, then leads to plums, alcohol, sweet breads, toasty, rich melanoidins, deep malt character. No hops, no DMS, no diacetyl, clean. Towards the end, as it warms, there is a kind of flabby fruit flavor in the finish.
Mouthfeel: Medium-light body, fluffy carbonation, semi-sweet finish, bitterness is perfect for balance, light alcohol warmth.
Overall: Looks great, everything I was hoping for, perfect color and clarity, the head needs help though as it falls flat eventually. Clean beer. Whoever says that you have to brew a smaller lager to get enough yeast to do a Dopplebock was wrong (this was a 2L starter stepped up again to another 2L), as was the person who said Melanoidin malt won't give you the same thing as decoctions. Rich malts, deep melenoidin character, raisin and plum, light chocolate, smooth, alcohol is clean and warming. The body is too light, needs to be chewier. Next batch needs to have a thicker body, better head retention, and a fix to the flabby finish (water chemistry/pH maybe?).
NOTE: This beer took first place in May 2013 in the Sasquatch BJCP comp in Bocks, and took 2nd Place in February 2014 in the KLCC BJCP in Bocks.