Bock beer in general has a history in Germany but the Doppelbock has a specific past as well. Doppelbock means a double bock (see Bock). This variation to the bock beer supposedly came about in the 18th century by the monks who came to Munich from Italy. Monks regularly had to fast which meant no consumption of solid food and the longest period of fasting was for Lent which lasted for 46 days. Liquids were thought to cleanse the body so they would make many liquids from grain. The Paulaner monks brewed the first Lenten strong beer that gave the Doppelbock the recognition as the “liquid bread” for the monks. Apparently the Paulaners felt guilty drinking such good-tasting beer, thinking that this strong beer was too much of an indulgence for Lent they decided to send the Lenten beer to Rome for the Holy Father to taste. During the long travel to Rome the beer experienced strong heat conditions and lots of tossing causing the beer to become sour. When the Holy Father finally tried it he thought it was disgusting and therefore allowed them to drink it because he thought it would be good for them! The name “Salvator,” after the Savior, became the title of the strong beer that is now referred to as the Doppelbock.
This crafty beer style eventually caught on and breweries around Germany imitated the Salvator. The Paulaner brewers objected the imitation due to the use of their title, Salvator. Doppelbock beers are now commonly named with an “ator” ending such as Optimator, Maximator, or Celebrator.
The Paulaner Salvator is copper colored and is rich with malts. It is a bottom-fermented beer which means that it is fermented at colder temperatures and with as little air-contact as possible. Bottom-fermented beers are stored for a longer period of time (about 6 months or longer). The Paulaner Salvator is a great representation of the Doppelbock and would be a great choice if you want to have a little taste of German culture 🙂 This beer has dark malty tones but is medium-bodied. Typical of most Bock beers, it is not hoppy.