300px-shinerretrologoShiner is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and in honor of this milestone released its Commemorator beer. I didn’t know anything about this beer when I picked it up on sale at Gomer’s in Midtown today, but I had a feeling that because of its “-ator” name it was a doppelbock. I was right, according to the company’s website this is a doppelbock weighing in at 6.7% ABV and only 17 IBUs.

Doppelbocks are an example of German “strong beers” or starkbier that were supposedly brewed by monks to act as a sort of liquid bread to sustain them throughout the season of Lent, when monks would fast. Doppelbocks are usually very malty with little or no hop bitterness or aroma. 

The Commemorator pours a very clear brown/tea color with red highlights and a thin head. Not much aroma was coming off this beer when I initially poured it. I disliked this beer for about the first half glass, but as it warmed toward room temperature (63°F) it improved immensely for me. Initially I was getting a lot of metallic aftertaste and not much good on the flavor. Once it was warmed up I was getting a bready maltiness with slight hints of caramel way back in the flavor. The aroma, also once warm, was similar, although with a slightly pee-like undertone that I didn’t go gaga for. 83513241g7lwxmux

I don’t have much experience with doppelbock beers, so I have to admit I don’t have a whole lot to compare this to in order to really make a judgment about whether it’s good or bad. It’s very easy to drink, but suffers a little from a thin mouthfeel. Also, it was really pretty awful when it had been out of the fridge for only 15 minutes or so. At around 60° or so it was not bad. I wouldn’t be pouring any of this down the drain, but at the same time there is nothing here that is wowing me to much degree. I tend to like a little more complexity in my beer and this is very one-dimensional, but for that dimension it seems fair to midland.