I've long been enamoured with the doppelbock, but Ayinger's Celebrator has long evaded me. Thankfully, a bottle found its way to me in a suitcase from Glasgow over Christmas, and it didn't disappoint.
Celebrator is dark mahogany in colour with an off-white, tiny-bubbled head and instantly gives the nose some serious apples. Red apple syrup, toffee covered apple and rum and raisin pudding make for an appropriately wintry aroma. The palate gets much of the same treatment, but runs through the gamut of doppelbock flavours too; rum-soaked dark fruits, raisins, candied apple, toffee and chocolate malts and a lingering impression of blackberries and cherry. The complexity is great despite the mere 6.7% ABV, and compares favourably to the likes of Doppel-Hirsch, wonderful though that is.
A fine beer by any standards, and definitely one to seek out and enjoy, as ever, with as much mature Gouda as you can shovel onto the lower portion of your face.