Ayinger Celebrator: Celebrate Good Times

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.

Ayinger Celebrator
This Hearty Beer is Perfect for Sipping on a Cold Day

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.

Kostritzer Schwarzbier: Back in Black

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.

Köstritzer Schwarzbier
Despite the Dark Colour this Beer is Very Refreshing

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: Buck the Trend

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.

This Heavy Beer was Originally Brewed as a Meal Replacement

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.