I’m not sure where to start with this beer as this is the first time I’ve ever had a beer whose sour and bitter notes are pretty much at the forefront for its flavor profile. And according to BeerAdvocate.com’s definition of a double bock beer and Wikipedia under “Doppelbock,” this style of beer is supposed to be stronger in every manner imaginable, namely body, aroma, malt, and what have you are just stronger in general.
Both of the definitions insist that the hops content should be virtually unnoticeable but I find that this Gold Lion Lev Double Bock Beer has a pretty distinctive bitterness that usually comes with beers with a high hop content. When you first take a sip, that sourness hits you hard but subsides fairly quickly followed by a wave of hop bitterness that continues to linger for a quite some time. It’s not a Ballast Point hoppy but it’s that hoppy flavor is there and it’s noticeable. You’ll notice it on the sides of your tongue and just briefly, the back of your tongue. That flavor lingers for about 20-30 seconds before finally leaving your taste buds. The aroma? It’s skunky. I’m not sure how else to put it. If you’ve ever let a Pabst Blue Ribbon (or pick and choose your favorite American domestic beer) that reaches room temperature, that’s basically what this smells like. Maybe not the exact same but it’s close. Point is, this smell isn’t pleasant. The beer itself hasn’t even reached room temperature yet as I’m typing my experience of this beer but the smell is already present. I find this highly unusual. It may be possible that I may have grabbed a bottle from the shelf that isn’t fresh to begin with. That’s Bevmo for you.
Malt flavor is there. Maybe not nearly as prominent as the sourness and bitterness of this beer but it’s there. I want to say that you taste it right around the time you swallow and then you taste it again when you reflexively swallow almost immediately after the first gulp. I find that the bitterness overpowers that malty flavor though. That’s never a good thing. At least for me. Don’t take it the wrong way though. If the bitterness can be balanced out with other flavors, I actually don’t mind the bitterness all that much. In this beer though? I find that the bitterness really overpowers all the other flavors that this style of beer is supposed to represent.
Let me take off on a tangent for a moment here. Back in the day, I used to drink those tall cans of Four Lokos, Twisted Tea, & Mickey’s as well as other liquors that you can conveniently find at most liquor stores and certain supermarkets. They were cheap, high in alcohol content compared to beers, and generally were flavored enough that it wasn’t that bad tasting, at least to me. That malt flavor that is inherent in these 40 ounces tended to be quite prominent and I actually rather like the malt flavor. To be fair though, I haven’t drank malt liquor in a while and it’s certainly not the first thing that comes to mind when I want to drink. In any case, that malt flavor that is in this bottle Gold Lion Lev? It’s there but it doesn’t really linger so you can’t really fully appreciate it in the context of a double bock beer.
I hate to say it but if you have to choose a bottom shelf double bock beer to try, I would steer clear of this one. For whatever reason, this Golden Lion Lev is not rubbing me the right way. And interestingly enough, when this beers finally hits room temperature, the sourness goes away for the most part while the hop flavor comes to the fore. Malt flavor? It totally disappears at room temperature. It might also be the case that all the carbonation left the bottle by then so whatever malt flavor it was supposed to have has just fallen flat on its face without the carbonation to assist it. If you’re the sort that doesn’t care much for the malty taste, you can rejoice that when you drink this beer at room temperature, the malt flavor is virtually gone. My suggestion to you is to skip this beer, if you want to give double bock beer a try. I have yet to try out other double bock beers to compare this to but just basing this off on my experience, I would rather drink a American domestic beer, if that tells you anything.