Wee Heavy vs. Doppelbock: Side-by-Side

sensory analysis Nov 15, 2022

In this episode of the Beer Scholar "Classic Style Side-By-Side" series Advanced Cicerones Chris Cohen & Chris Crowe sit down to taste and discuss the differences between classic BJCP commercial examples of Scottish Wee Heavy & German Doppelbock. We went with the archetypical McEwan's Scotch Ale vs. one of Cohen’s faves, Weihenstephan Korbinian. These are both widely available, so you should be able to do this one at home.

These beer styles have similar characteristics — they both feature lots of Maillard browning type flavors, they're dark but not roasty, and they’re fairly strong. The Wee Heavy is an ale, while the doppelbock is a lager, however, thanks to their dark malt both feature flavors of dark dried fruit. So how can you tell them apart? The big difference is in the malt. The Wee Heavy is much more caramel focused and likely uses crystal or caramel speciality malts in the recipe, whereas the doppelbock uses primarily Munich malt in its grist and is all about dark bready flavors, almost like pumpernickel bread. That's the big giveaway. Although it's not too hard to tell which is which, these beers turn out to be surprisingly similar in most respects!

The Beer Scholar "Classic Style Side-By-Side" series, we compare similar classic styles, discuss them, & provide tips for how to pick them apart in a blind tasting. This is all about helping you pass the Certified & Advanced Cicerone exams. Tasting blind is HARD, we're here to help!

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sensory analysis