Paulaner Salvator

Review Date 10/15/2004  Last Updated 6/18/2020 By John Staradumsky


As a beer enthusiast, I’m often asked what my favorite beer is. Some creative souls have even inquired were I stranded on a desert island with only one kind of beer, what might that be? This is indeed a very difficult decision to make, and to be honest I am not sure it’s a fair one to ask of me. But if I really were pressed to answer, I suspect my reply would likely be a doppelbock (aka double bock), a good German one mind you.

Doppelbocks are probably my favorite overall style of beer. They’re potent, packed with flavor, and a pleasure to gently sip on a cold winter night, a cool spring or fall one, or even in the hot summer. I just love filling a tall half liter glass tankard with a fine doppel and reveling in its sweet malty delights.

So, when I decided to conduct a beer tour of the world by bottle, thus going around the world in eighty brews, it was inevitable that Germany would be represented by a doppelbock. This was a difficult decision to be sure, since Germany is home to so many wonderful brews, and so many wonderful styles. Among the best of them by any reckoning, however, is doppelbock.

There are many wonderful German doppelbocks, to be sure, but the original is Paulaner Salvator. The Paulaner brewery is located in Munich, Germany, and dates back to 1634; they’ve been brewing beer for a long time, and they’re might good at it. Paulaner Salvator may not be my favorite doppelbock (that would likely be
Augustiner Maximator ) but it is a fine example of the style all the same.

Those of you out there who think it’s a sin to drink should know this: beer and religion have gone hand in hand for many centuries. The Germans call Munich Munchen, which means literally “monks” or “monk’s home”. The Paulaner brewery is named after Italian monks who revered St Francis of Paula. These monks were known as “Paulaners”. When fasting, the Paulaner monks could drink only liquids, and a rich and sweet ancestor of the doppelbock we now know as Salvator helped provide calories and nutrients.

If you have sampled a few doppelbocks, you may have noticed that most of them end in “ator”. This has become common practice for German brewers over the centuries; today you will find American microbrewers following suit. There are exceptions to the rule, of course, but they are few and far between. But let’s get to the bottom of things and crack open a bottle, shall we?

Paulaner Salvator pours to a deep tawny ruby amber color with a light, short lived head formation and a wonderfully sweet, nutty malt nose. The palate is sticky and sweet, full and rich, and it just glides over the tongue with its silky, luxuriant texture. Notes of sweet dark molasses quickly emerge, along with nutty malt, hints of chocolate, caramel, and a host of delightful decocted dark malt flavors.

The beer finishes sweet with a bit of alcohol warmth; at 7.5% alcohol by volume, Salvator is about twice again as strong as most beers. A gentle suggestion of hops keeps the beer from being too cloying.

They don’t get much better than this. So why not pour yourself a glass of this liquid bread today? It truly is Germany in a bottle.

Update March 16th, 2014: To celebrate my 50th birthday, my daughter was kind enough to take me to Taco Mac's Prado location, home of 160 taps when you factor in The Fred Bar. This was also the occasion when I hit my 500th credit (500 different beers at Taco Mac). What better beer, then, than one of my very favorites: Paulaner Salvator. This delightful toasty nutty malty treat was rich and warming, loaded with melanoidins and a hint of molasses and just the right grassy hop balance to keep it from being too sweet. A real treat in the bottle or on tap.

Update June 12th, 2014: Paulaner Salvator Doppelbock is one of my very favorite beers in all the world, and there are few places better to drink it than at Der Biergarten in Atlanta, where I enjoyed a mug tonight. No short pour on this one here, folks; you can get a half liter for $6 or a full liter for $12. It was its usual nutty malty melanoidin blast self, and did this glass of liquid bread taste even better in the fantastic atmosphere here? It just might have.

Update 6/18/2020: Enjoyed a wonderful, delightfully nutty malty glass of Salvator this evening. I picked up a six-pack at Sherlock's this week for $9.98, a fair price indeed for a world class beer. The beer is stronger than in the past, as my bottles say 7.9% alcohol by volume. Doppelbocks are my favorite style of beer, and this is one of my favorite doppelbocks. Why nopt pick some up and see for yourself how amazing Paulaner Salvator really is?

Paulaner says:

Our brewing history begins with this beer. And the history of strong beer in Bavaria – it was the Paulaner monks who invented this bottom-fermenting double bock. We have been brewing the Salvator for over 375 years – always according to the original recipe, which has been continuously refined over the years. The head is the colour of caramel and the beer is chestnut brown, combined with a seductive flavour of chocolate to give a pleasing intensity on the palate. Along with this comes the finest Munich malt, rounded off by a light note of hops in the background. Often imitated but never duplicated: The father of all double bock beers, whose names always end in “-ator”!

INGREDIENTS: Water, hops, malt

HOP VARIETES: Herkules, Hallertauer Tradition

MALT VARIETES: Pilsner malt(light barley malt), Munich Malt (dark barley malt)


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