Ayinger Celebrator from Brauerei Aying (Privatbrauerei Franz Inselkammer KG) in Germany pours a deep chestnut-ruby colour with amber highlights around the edges when held up to light and a small tan coloured head that gets retained as a thin, but frothy collar without leaving much lacing. This doppelbock has a rich and complex malty aroma with a strong oak tone. Dark fruits, chocolate, coffee and molasses can all be found and a hint of alcohol comes out as you make your way through the glass.
The taste of Ayinger Celebrator follows the aroma and is equally rich and complex. Dark fruits, chocolate, sweet malts, roasted grains, oak and a hint of vanilla are all present before a bitter and herbal finish takes over. The mouthfeel is creamy and hearty with a low-medium carbonation and a yeasty sensation on the tongue. The aftertaste is dry with oak and fruit tones. This heavy beer is surprisingly drinkable, with little trace of alcohol aside from a pleasant warming effect.
Köstritzer Schwarzbier from Köstritzer Schwarzbierbrauerei GmbH & Company in Köstritz/Thüringen, Germany pours an extremely dark burgundy-brown colour with a thick, creamy and frothy head that laces your glass and settles as a thin layer. The aroma, which develops more as the beer warms, smells of fresh grains and freshwater. There is also a roasted chocolate tone, hints of dark fruit and a slight smokiness.
This beer carries a satisfying body and a creamy mouthfeel that helps it slide down your throat. I find Köstritzer Schwarzbier dangerously drinkable thanks in part to a crisp and clean finish. The taste is a bit on the sweet side and malt forward. Like the aroma, I get a roasted chocolate body primarily. There’s a nice, grassy, slightly spicy hop bitterness to keep things balanced and I get a distinct mineral flavour just before the finish takes over.
Doppel-Hirsch from Der Hirsch Brau and Privatbrauerei Hoss in Sonthofen, Germany pours a clear, rusty ruby colour with a slightly small head that leaves little lace but survives as a collar. The aroma is slightly astringent or metallic at first, but after this hearty beer has had time to breathe it smells of fermented fruit, wet grains and dark roasted malt. A buttery toffee accent comes through as it warms.
The higher than average ABV really comes through in the taste of Doppel-Hirsch, even when it’s cold. The beer is quite sweet and fruity with a fresh grainy tone, a deep malt backing and a definite woodiness. The mouthfeel is a bit chewy and bready but smooth. Fruit and alcohol come through on the tongue and the beer has a surprisingly quick and tart, clean finish.