Monday, February 29, 2016

2016 Double Vision Doppelbock – Grand Teton Brewing

It’s that time of the year again, when the next round of Grand Teton Cellar Reserve beers is released.  Leading the pack this year is Double Vision, first brewed in 2009 and re-released as part of the 2013 Cellar Reserve series and now re-released as part of the 2016 Cellar Reserve series.  The 2016 series has some great beers on the horizon with a return of Double Vision Doppelbock as the first release on February 15th, a Gose on May 15th, and the return of Wake Up Call Imperial Coffee Porter in April, followed by a barleywine brewed with rye in December.  It will certainly be an interesting Cellar Reserve release year!

                Doppelbock, literally a double bock is a traditional German Strong beer (Starkbier), also commonly referred to as a Fastenbier (Lenten beer).  The double bock originally started as a bock brewed in the 1630s by the monks of order of Saint Francis of Paola in Neuhauser Straße in Munich, doppelbock was a stronger version of the traditional bock the monks brewed and relied upon for sustenance as “liquid bread” during Lenten fasting.  During lent, the 46 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday the monks believed that the beer they brewed would cleanse their body and soulm and because it was a holy rite, imbibing the beer brought them closer to God.  Even the monks grew concerned that their strong beer was taking the holy rite a little too far so they sought and obtained papal sanction and continued to brew the beer in greater quantities.  Over time the strength of the Fastenbier brewed by the Paulaner monks gradually increased in alcohol content and the beer was first illegally then legally served to the surrounding populace.  The beer style has a checkered and interesting past since the first release was apply named Salvator, for the Savior the monks honored when they brewed and consumed it.  While I won’t go into the intricacies of the history of doppelbock here, the German Beer Institute has a great write-up on the style, and the Paulaner monastery that created it:

                I first reviewed Double Vision with the 2009 Cellar Reserve release.  The 2013 release was a great beer, and I picked up a few bottles that I enjoyed during the spring and early summer, so it was a great throwback to try the beer again three years later.

They Say:

                Double Vision Doppelbock was first brewed in 2009 to highlight our brewery’s wonderful water. Like all the great traditional brewing towns, our home, Victor, Idaho, is in or near some of the world’s best barley- and hop-growing regions, and is distinguished by an ample supply of top- quality water.

Our Double Vision Doppelbock is brewed with Idaho 2-Row Pale and German Munich, Cara- Aroma, CaraMunich and de-husked Carafa malts to an original gravity of 22˚ Plato. The malts provide a dark leather color with ruby notes, a luxurious tan head, and a bready aroma with a hint of smoke. It is lightly spiced with German Hallertau Tradition hops and fermented with lager yeast from a monastery brewery near Munich. In the traditional manner, Double Vision is fermented cold (48˚F) and lagered a full 12 weeks for smoothness. At 8.0% alcohol by volume, it is a deceptively drinkable springtime warmer.

The 17th century Paulist monks of Munich were allowed no solid food during their twice-yearly fasts. They brewed an especially nourishing strong dark lager they called “liquid bread” and named “Holy Father” to help them through the Lenten and Advent fasts. The beer was known as a doppelbock, which signifies a strong lager. Since “bock” also means “billy goat” in German, these beers are often decorated with images of gallivanting goats.

Double Vision’s slightly burnt caramel flavor and malt sweetness make it an incredible match for game—venison, moose, duck, goose, and wild boar—especially when prepared with fruity sauces or reductions. Try it with pork and sautéed apples, roasted root vegetables, sweet sausages, ham or prosciutto. It’s wonderful with cheese and dessert, too. Pair it with an aged gruyère, a caramel flan, or a crème brûlée.

Original Gravity (Plato): 22.0˚
International Bitterness Units: 40
Alcohol by Volume: 8.0% 
Color (Lovibond): 47.0˚

Double Vision Doppelbock will be available February 15th, 2016 in 1/2 and 1/6 bbl kegs and bottle-conditioned 6/750 mL cases.

I Say:

                Double Vision Doppelbock pours a translucent deep walnut with mahogany and garnet highlights when held to the light.  It’s capped with a thick, small bubbled khaki head with a light rocky breakup.  The head holds excellent retention and leaves moderate lacing behind in the glass.  Bready and caramel malts lead in the aroma with notes light chocolate, and a finish reminiscent of fresh baked whole grain bread crust.  Slight notes of alcohol and plum arise as the beer warms to room temperature.

                Rich whole grain bread crust leads in the flavor with notes of burnt caramel and notes of dark stone fruit.  Burnt caramel ad dark plum notes become increasingly prominent as the Double Vision warms.  Just shy of being full bodied with a moderately low level of carbonation, Double Vision is slightly viscous, a perception which was further enhanced for me by the brews full maltiness, and just the right amount of hop bitterness to balance the malty sweetness without the beer being perceptively bitter.  It’s fair to say that I really enjoyed this beer and I hope that Grand Teton Brewing doesn’t take another 3 years to re-release it.  Perhaps it could enter a seasonal rotation like Snarling Badger did a while back, so I guess if I had one request for Rob Mullin and the brewing staff, it would be that.
                Grand Teton Cellar Reserve releases have not disappointed me in the past, and Double Vision is yet another example of the high quality product the brewery releases on a daily basis.  Unfortunately Grand Teton beers are becoming increasingly hard to find in Wisconsin, but hopefully that will change sometime soon and the full lineup, along with every special release will once again be available.  If you do happen to find a bottle of Double Vision Doppelbock, by all means pick it up, heck pick up as many as you can get your hands on because it is a great beer that should age extremely well, if the 2013 release is any indication.

                That's all for tonight, check back soon...  I am trying to get more reviews out more often...

Happy Drinking!