Weihenstephaner Korbinian

Review Date 4/2/2005   Last Updated 9/15/2016   By John Staradumsky

Good day, folks, and welcome once again to the wide and wonderful world of doppelbock beers! You know the style, those warming and wonderful German beers that are most common in late winter to early spring. And what better time for a beer that’s so rich and hearty, packed with sweet malt goodness and a little extra alcohol to take the chill off the warming, but still cool evenings?

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Doppelbocks may well be my favorite beer style. I’m often asked if I were to be stranded upon a desert island with just one beer, what that beer might be. I don’t think I could narrow it down to a particular beer, but if I had to at least choose a style, it would be doppelbock.

And I would not be at all unhappy to have a few cases of Weihenstephaner Korbinian among that number. Korbinian is a delightful brew, and a bit different from many of its doppelbock cousins. I think it accents chocolate notes a little more than the others do, with a more restrained nutty maltiness. Then too, the name departs from the usual custom of ending the name of doublebocks with the “ator” suffix (Paulaner Salvator , Spaten Optimator , Tucher Bajuvator , Augustiner Maximator , etc.).

But those wonderful folks at the Weihenstephan brewery can get away with that, since they claim to be the oldest brewery in the world. That certainly earns you some brownie points. They’ve been brewing since 1040, which means in a mere three and a half decades they will be celebrating their 1000th anniversary. Come see me in 2872, Budweiser, when you can claim the same.

Of course, Korbinian wasn’t around back then. Bocks and doppelbocks are a much more recent invention. Weihenstephan doesn’t call its beer a doppelbock on the label, though that is what it really is. They call is at Dunkles Starkbier, or dark strong beer. At 7.4% alcohol by volume, this is a beer about half again as strong as most.

Weihenstephaner Korbinian pours to a deep mahogany color with a towering creamy head formation and a heady nose full of molasses and chocolate notes. The palate has lots of deep dark chocolate flavors with lighter notes of nutty malt, banana, and vanilla.

The body is thick and sticky, and only slightly ameliorated in the finish. The alcohol warms slightly there, and cuts a bit through the sweetness, though Korbinian still finishes sweet. As doublebocks go, this is a fine one indeed, though again it seems to accent chocolaty malt favors over melanoidin-induced nutty ones.

Too big in body to really accompany food, Korbinian does instead make a fine pre-meal beverage to whet the appetite. It serves equally well as a post-meal libation to slowly sip and aid the digestion process.

Update 9/15/2016: I still find Weihenstephaner Korbinian to be one of the benchmark doppelbocks on the market today. So smooth malty, toasty nutty, chocolaty and delicious, it's a beer that I should drink more often, and I think I just might. At the reasonable price of $3.99 for a 16.9 ounce bottle, I think I just might, again. Why don't you?

And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.

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

(B)=Bottled, Canned