Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice...
Posted on 3/27/2012 at 11:09 PM EST (449 days ago)
1 Member Rating | Bad Overall | 7/10 Appearance | 3/10 Aroma | 3/10 Mouthfeel | 3/10 Flavor
I like to think of myself as a rather fair and unbiased person when it comes to reviewing beers. If anything, I sometimes give the benefit of the doubt in favor of a beer or brewery when I am on the fence about something. Maybe it is the part of me that knows it can't be easy competing in such a fast growing and highly creative world like craft beer. But there are times when a beer leaves me with my hands tied and I have no choice but to put it in its place. Recently I found myself in such a situation when I sat down with the Voodoo Vator Doppelbock by Atwater Brewery.
In all fairness, I was rather impressed from the initial pour. The coloration was an almost opaque brown that only when held up to a light source revealed some dark crimson hues around the edges. A khaki colored and fizzy head built up rather quickly off the pour, but dwindled down to a thin cap that left some decent lacing through most of the session. Based on just the visual factor alone, the Voodoo Vator not only looked promising, but almost intimidating. Unfortunately, looks can be deceiving.
When I went in for the first smell of it, I got a big pop of prunes and black cherries and was immediately confused. I decided to give it a few minutes to calm down and breathe in hopes that it was me that was out of whack. After about 5 minutes I returned, and much to my dismay, so did the fruity welcome. Determined to push through it, I ran into some burnt sugars and a strange metallic smell after some deliberate digging. If you can imagine what those strong black cherries might smell like if they were stored in a tin can for a length of time, then you have an idea of what I was getting. It took me quite some time to find any signs of a malt base, and when I did it was faintly caramel and rather thin at best.
Going in for the first taste, it matched the nose almost perfectly, but sadly this meant it didn't taste much like a doppelbock at all. The dark fruits were very upfront again, but I will admit they had a bit of a chocolate coating that seemed to tone down the tartness a bit. It seemed to fall dangerously close to a candied feel however, and that metallic tart cherry taste just kept fighting its way through anything that even remotely resembled a flavor associated with the malts. If you add all that on top of a highly carbonated and thin body, you can see why I found myself shaking my head in disappointment for the rest of the session.
I know I recently gave a nod to Atwater Block Brewery in their attempt at the Vanilla Java Porter due to the fact that they at least took a shot. However after this experience with the Voodoo Vator Doppelbock, my nod may have to change to a bit of a sideways tilt. I wasn't expecting a life changing doppelbock when I sat down this time, but I was hoping for at least something that remotely resembled a doppelbock. Granted the label said doppelbock, and it looked like one in the glass, but that's where the similarities ended. I would have a hard time recommending it to anyone other than in one of those ''in a pinch'' situations. This makes twice they have gotten me, so I guess now its shame on me.
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Posted on 3/28/2012 at 8:14 AM EST
Sigh, that's unfortunate. I always hate to see a bock get misbrewed. The way you describe it, i.e. metallic tart cherry taste and such, seems like it might come across as a want-to-be sour ale? Totally speculating of course, just trying to see any rhyme or reason behind this oddball brew.
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