Weekly Beer Geek: Perkulator Coffee Dopplebock
- Article by Luke G
- May 10, 2012
Perkulator Coffee Dopplebock
Dark Horse Brewing Co.
The Beginning: Dark Horse is a Michigan brewery, so there’s already some bonus points right there. It’s a coffee-flavored dopplebock, so there’s even more points for a dark sweet beer with a coffee kick. But the label has a two-headed, bat-winged goat demon perched on a flaming throne holding a coffee cup, which burns out my cool receptors so hard that I didn’t even have to make a conscious decision to buy it. Oh, uh, mumble mumble balance of beer styles and breweries and GOAT DEMON, guys! With coffee!
The Brewer’s Pitch: A while back I reviewed a Dark Horse beer, Sapient, that started life as a summer wheat and got changed to a Trippel of the same name. Well, Dopplebock began as Dark Horse’s only freely-distributed lager beer. Apparently an ordinary lager was “too normal” for this adventurous set of beer freaks so they made it into a dopplebock in deliberate conflict with Germany’s purity laws (they actually brag about this on the web site, an awesome slap in Europe’s fancy-pants face). Even the label has an awesome story, which is the result of a public art contest. One of two labels, it turns out, looks to be an endless field of percolators standing on a featureless plain. Yeah, I’ll take my version.
The Beer: Perkulator pours a dark amber-brown with glinting highlights and nearly two fingers of dense tan head with a slight pinkish cast. The smell is full and smoky, with hints of scorched coffee beans, molasses, and acidic tang. The taste that hits you is immediately that of coffee with an alcoholic bite, like Kahlua but less sweet. As you get used to the coffee, the beer flavors below begin to emerge. A sweetness characteristic of Bock emerges and makes a nice compliment, like a bit of sugar in the coffee. Deeper into the bottle a slightly more earthy characteristic emerges and the coffee loses some of its acidic bitter edge. By the end it's a smooth finish, clean and not too bitter, with little to no hopping even on the very back of the tongue.
The Breakdown: Damn this is a good one, and it just reaffirms my love for Dark Horse. You have to like coffee to appreciate it, obviously, as the overall characteristic might best be described as “thick black espresso.” It’s a little bit acidic which causes some burn on the way down, but the overall package is smooth and delicious. The sweetness and tang complement the coffee well, and the malt blooms up from the bottom to surprise you just as you get used to the lighter, sharper coffee. At 7.5% ABV it’s got more kick than most beer (although it’s a little light for a Doppelbock) but it really can’t sneak up on you too much, it would be like getting snuck up on by a tank.
The Bottom Line: For as long as I can remember my dad has had coffee with a splash of Irish Cream in the morning. Is it so wrong for me to just want to have a bottle of Perkulator?