Larossa Birra Doppiomalto

Review Date 5/13/2005 By John Staradumsky


That crazy Bruguru. He’s definitely off his rocker this time. Choosing a double bock beer to represent Italy in a bottled tour Around the World in Eighty Brews?. Why, it’s madness, you say! Everybody knows that double bocks are German beers, after all.

Well, not everyone knows that. Try telling the Italians. Because while it’s true that most double bocks today are German, an Italian one should not seem so unusual. That’s because the Paulaner monks who originally created Salvator (my selection for Germany in a bottle), the first doppelbock, were actually Italian, having built a monastery in Munich.

Moretti actually has two similar beers they call double bocks. One is called simply “Doppio Malto” and is actually an ale. The more familiar is Moretti La Rossa, which also says “Doppio Malto” (double malt) on the label. This is an old favorite of mine and a beer I have been drinking for many, many years.

”La Rossa” means “The Red”, and as the name implies, this beer is red in color with a slight brownish tinge. A good sized tan colored head formation forms quickly upon a gentle pour. The nose is bursting with rich sweet malt, and the palate certainly delivers on that promise. This is a thick, sticky sweet brew packed with rich, nutty-malty melanoidin flavors, a little chocolate, chewy caramel, and a hint of molasses.

This tastes like a decoction mashed brew to me, but one can do incredible things with a bit of Munich malt these days. . The finish is rich with alcohol warmth, not surprising in this high alcohol style. There’s just the faintest bit of hop bitterness to balance some of the malt sweetness, but the beer still finishes on the sweet side.

That 18 you used to see on the label neck is not the alcohol content (which is a formidable 7.2% by volume), rather it was the original gravity in degrees Plato, which works out to about 1.072 conventional. For some reason it’s been removed. Perhaps Heineken, which bought the Moretti brewing concern not long ago, thought it unnecessary. Still, the beer seems to have better distribution now thanks to the Heineken association.

This is a wonderful sipping brew. I really don't enjoy beers of this strength with a meal (though you could nicely pair this one with vanilla ice cream). Overall, double bocks are too cloying for me to pair with most dishes. As an ingredient, however, the only limit is your imagination. I have used double bock effectively to pan sear turkey medallions, where the sweet malty beer caramelized onto the meat to very good effect.

However you pour it, Moretti La Rossa is an excellent double bock and a true taste of Italy in a bottle.

 Glad I tried it?  T

Would I rebuy it??


*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.

(B)=Bottled, Canned