Color will range from rich golden to a very dark brown. When held to light, darker versions often flash with ruby highlights. Head color is dependent on the beer color and will vary from brilliant white to off-white. Often has a pillowy head with good retention, but stronger versions may have an unimpressive, quickly disappearing head. These stronger examples may even display appreciable legs. Clarity should be quite good due to lagering.
Assertive maillard built maltiness bringing toasted and light caramel aromas in the dark versions. Less pronounced toast and little caramel in the lighter versions. These light versions may have a slight light noble hop aroma while darker versions will have practically no hop aroma. Dark examples may have a whiff of chocolate and an optional medium low dark fruit quality, but should never presume to present anything resembling roast or char aromatics. Depending on the beer’s strength a low to moderate alcohol character may be present.
Doppelbock should present a very smooth, moderately-full to full body with moderate to somewhat low carbonation. No harshness or astringency should be noticeable, but a slight alcohol warming — never burning — can be present.
Richness is the cornerstone. Darker versions will be rich, malty, with noticeable maillard products combined with toasty notes; optional slight chocolate whispers and a possible low dark fruit character. Lighter versions will have less notable maillard products though they will still tend toward rich malt flavors and light toast. A clean lager quality is characteristic. Some noticeable alcohol warming is normal but should never veer into the range of harsh or burning. Pale versions will have more of a perceptible crispness than their darker cousins, but even these should have an element of good attenuation noticeable. Both the dark and light examples usually have a sweet quality derived from their low hopping rates. There will be little noticeable hop flavors with more being acceptable in the lighter versions than the darker ones. Bitterness will range from somewhat low to medium with the balance always skewed toward the sweet malt.
For best presentation and greatest appreciation a Doppelbock should be served at 48 to 52°F in a Mug, Pilsner, Stange, or Tulip glass.
Gamey meats such as venison, boar, duck, and goose will work very well with Doppelbock especially if served with some sort of tangy or fruity reduction sauce. Pork and potatoes is another beautiful match. It will also fit with the earthy qualities of a lot of Mexican dishes and carries an aged-cheese and prosciutto platter perfectly. For dessert match it with a custard or chocolate element.