Thursday, February 12, 2009

New Release: Grand Teton Double Vision Doppelbock

It's always been a great mystery to me that the chocolate bocks and doppelbocks of the world are actually lagers. These are, after all, thick black malt extravaganzas that seem to have nothing in common with the fizzy yellow liquids that also qualify in that category. Yes, I understand that they go through the same cold-fermenting, longer-aging process, but the outcome is as different from an American light lager as a bunny slope is from a double black diamond.

Putting this existential dilemma aside, however, one can find in Grand Teton's new Cellar Reserve beer one of the boldest examples of the doppelbock clan. At more than 8% ABV, Double Vision surely could produce a condition that lives up to its name, but that would mean you'd have to down a couple of these in one sitting, and that won't be easy.

Brewed with a quintet of malts that leave this with a deep brown color, the beer smacks you immediately with an overwhelming malt sweetness that, combined with its thickness, gives this quite a heft of body. As the beer warms, its burnt caramel flavor emerges, and it leaves a slight hint of vanilla on the backtaste.

Idaho-based Grand Teton is dedicating its four-beer reserve series this year to the Reinheitsgebot - the 1516 Bavarian beer purity law - and each of the beers will be brewed to commemorate one of its four permitted beer ingredients: malt, hops, yeast and water. Double Vision highlights the water growing near the brewery, though I promise you that "water" is the last word that will come to mind as you chew through this bold bock.

The Double Vision will be available, beginning Sunday, in 33-ounce bottles that allow for a secondary fermentation. Take one home and put some time aside for this one - it's thick, hearty and an all-nighter by itself.


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