Wild Dog Collaborator Doppelbock is a Doppelbock lager by Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick, Maryland. It was brewed in the Summer of 2007 and released at the Great American Beer Festival that year. As the label states, Collaborator was an “open source beer”. A beer whose recipe was created by the brewery and its fans and released to the public. How cool is that!
Unfortunately, much of the story of how Collaborator came to be is lost. There is no mention of Collaborator on the Flying Dog website and the original Open Source Beer Project website (www.opensourcebeerproject.com) is no longer available. Fortunately there is an archive of the website on the Internet Archive here. From the archive, we can read a bit of the process Flying Dog took in creating the recipe, the artwork, and its release. Following the release the brewery talked of follow-up versions of the doppelbock recipe (v1.1) and a completely new beer (v2.0). It’s at this point that the concept seemed to fade away. The last post on the site was in June of 2008 and the most recent comment from the brewery was in March of 2009 on twitter.
Also worth noting, Flying Dog is the first craft beer I can remember having. I had their Doggie Style Classic Pale Ale at a Taco Mac in Marietta, GA however long ago it was. I remember thinking, “Wow, it’s kind of fruity!” which must have been my naive tongue picking out the Ale qualities of it in contrast to the quantity of Bud Light I had drank before it.
Name: Wild Dog Collaborator Doppelbock
Brewery: Flying Dog Brewery
Style: Doppelbock Lager
It may seem like we say this every time we release a Wild Dog beer, but our newest brew really is Flying Dog’s most unique beer to date. Collaborator Doppelbock was created through Flying Dog’s Open Source Beer Project, which gave amateur brewers a chance to give our brewing team recommendations and feedback on the everything from the grain, hops and yeast to the brewing process itself. We combined your feedback and created a unique Doppelbock recipe to brew up and release. Collaborator has a full body with a sweet malt profile and a slight roast character. The complete recipe and printable labels are available for download at www.OpenSourceBeerProject.com. We want to thank everyone who contributed to creating this beer, it truly was a collaboration.
As with their other beers, Collaborator’s artwork is from Ralph Steadman, best known for his work with Hunter S. Thompson. It’s Mr. Steadman’s artwork that first drew me to Flying Dog beers. Their Doggie Style Pale Ale is the beer that turned me on to craft beer many years ago.
Hops: Warrior, Mt. Hood
Malts: 75% Munich Type 1, 9% Munich Type 2, 2% Cara Munich, 2% Cara Amber, and 2% Melanoidin.
Yeast: Wyeast 2206 Bavarian Lager
OG: 19.5° P
FG: 5.0 – 5.5° P
IBUs: 22 – 25
Serving: 750ml. corked and caged bottle into a Frankfurt Mug
Appearance: Dark amber/copper color. Very clear and crisp. Half-inch of off-white head that fell quickly.
Aroma: Very sweet and malty. In a blind “smelling” I would have placed this as a barleywine.
Mouthfeel: Medium mouthfeel. Slightly slick and viscous.
Taste: Not as sweet as it smells, actually kind of dry. Fruity malt flavor also some slight toastiness. No hop presence. Slight oxidation certainly due to its age.
Collaborator is a solid Doppelbock - a style that is dominated by German breweries with few American representations (perhaps rightfully so…). The aroma was intensely sweet and I was happy that intensity did not carry over to the taste. At 8.3% this was a very drinkable beer.
By the time I popped open this beer, it was just over 5 years old. When I purchased this beer I had no intentions of keeping it this long. It ended up in the back of my beer fridge and was subsequently forgotten. From time to time I would dig to the back and find it again, but never found the right time for it. After a few years it seemed too callous to just drink it so I waited for a special occasion.
That special occassion came on a seemingly normal Thursday night. I had made home-made mustard earlier in the week for the first time and wanted to try my hand at home-made pretzels. My wife Rhonda made Wiener Schnitzel and Spätzle for dinner. With our very German dinner and appropriately German beer (though American-made…), we watched The Dark Knight) then saw The Dark Knight Rises at the midnight showing that night.
A lot goes into enjoying a beer: where, when, how, why it’s enjoyed, etc. Of course the beer itself has a great impact on the experience, but the rest of the circumstances can play a significant role as well. In this case, this was a perfect night for this beer and it definitely added to its enjoyment.
Food pairings: German Food of course.
Cellar-able: Yes, but probably past its prime at this point.
Comparable beers: Ayinger Celebrator, Thomas Hooker Liberator, Weihenstephaner Korbinian.