Michael Heniff's picture

91 Rating: Ora et Labora by Brunswick Bierworks

January, 2018
Judges Rating: 
21 / 24
6 / 6
36 / 40
10 / 10
Overall Impression: 
18 / 20

Ora et Labora New World Doppelbock by Brunswick Bierworks is a Doppelbock brewed with new world hops and is being evaluated as an Experimental Beer (category 34C from the 2015 BJCP Beer Style Guidelines). 

The Doppelbock style is known for its rich malt character of bready melanoidins with a clean yeast profile. Ora et Labora (which translates as "Pray and Work") is a collaboration between Brunswick Bierworks and the Trappist brewers of La Trappe from the Netherlands. This interpretation of the Doppelbock style is brewed with Opal, Loral, Mandarina Bavaria, and Ontario Newport hops (traditional Doppelbocks are only brewed with German noble hops that can rarely be tasted in the packaged beer). 

This beer pours clearly between amber and brown in color with a medium-tan head. The aroma is of prominent rich melanoidins of bread crusts, biscuits and bread with a hint of hops and a very clean yeast profile. The body is medium-full with a moderate-light carbonation an no apparent alcohol. The flavor is very rich with melanoidins of bread crusts, intensely rich bready character and hints of caramel. The esters are appropriately muted and the hops only become apparent in the flavor, though they fall well behind the malt character. The finish is moderately bitter with rich and complex malt melanoidins.

This beer is a very good example of a Doppelbock and should be sought out. Unfortunately, the brewers' desire to showcase new world hops on a Doppelbock background was underachieved as the hops are not strong enough to be showcased over the intense and complex malt bill. Regardless, this is a very good example of a Doppelbock that stands well on this merit alone. Cheers for this great and interesting take on a traditional German style!