BEING BASED OUT of Hershey, Pennsylvania, (yes, that Hershey), it’s fitting that Tröegs Brewing has a preference for malty and fuller-bodied beers. One that particularly invokes both qualities is Troegenator, their doppelbock. Style overviews of these amped-up dark lagers almost invariably allude to their origin as the “liquid bread” German monks historically brewed to sustain them through the winter months. Beer at large is often given the same soubriquet, but few styles so accurately embody it as the doppelbock, and Tröegs’ interpretation is especially faithful, for good or ill.
Troegenator pours a mixture of earthy brown and dark scarlet or cranberry, considerably redder overall than several touchstones of the style (e.g. Spaten’s Optimator, likely the most broadly known). Its head is acceptable for its 8.2% ABV and full-ish body, comprised of small bubbles that stack decently well. The first knockout comes from the aroma, gobsmacked with malts as if the bottle were a mini-mash tun with all the wet barley still there for the snacking. Once that wave has washed on, raisins, chocolate pecan, cherry, and shortbread swirl up in its wake, though the mineralic wash in the medium carbonation helps keep these impressions in line. This is still a lager, after all, not a dessert ale.
Indeed, despite the glut of aforementioned flavors, the grain bill is rather well-composed and none too excessive: Pilsner, Munich (lots of these), and enough Chocolate to supply color and some finishing toast touches. The latter may roughen up the mouthfeel a little too much, though, giving the beer a bit of coarseness of rustic black bread. Meanwhile, the IBU of 25 is towards the top of the typical range with a jot of earthy spice near the finish from Magnum and German Northern Brewer hops. After the malt-packed smack at the front of the flavor it’s a welcome counter that invokes the German precedent without deviation. And for all its early heft Troegenator utilizes its yeast well: the body is decidedly robust but not ungainly, and the finish allows chewy hints of nut and cherry while keeping itself organized and not too sweet. Still, overall the Troegenator is a touch too rough, doing perhaps more homage to bread than to liquid.
Served: 12 oz bottle