A Very Dark Gluten Free Rice Lager
Eckert Malting & Brewing
This is a unique review for a unique beer. The Doppel Dawg Lager. First of all, has anyone found a very dark rice lager in the gluten free beer market before? I haven’t. Until today. This “very dark rice lager” is brewed by Eckert Malting & Brewing in Chico, California.
It’s packaged in 12 ounce glass bottles (glass bottles are already starting to feel old school in the midst of the can revolution!) and is available in Central California. Most (if not all) of Eckert’s beers are proudly presented as “live and unfiltered”, and this one is no exception.
This isn’t the first review I’ve done for Eckert Malting & Brewing. You can find past articles written about their Eckert Select Lager, Kristina’s Challenge, Not A Quad Belgian and I even reviewed their gluten free take on the Resilience IPA, brewed to support relief efforts for the devastating Camp Fire that almost consumed the town this brewery calls home.
Before I move forward with the review, I want to highlight that Eckert Malting & Brewing is a 100% dedicated gluten free brewery. The name itself reveals that they are also a dedicated gluten free malt house. They specialize in rice malts, and all their beer is brewed on the grain they malt in-house. I find that pretty special. :)
If you’re ever in the area, be sure to pay them a visit. They have tasting room hours and you may even be able to find beers of theirs that haven’t quite made the blog. If you stop by, be sure to snap a picture to share with the Best Gluten Free Beers community. (Don’t forget to tag us!) One day I hope to make it there in person too.
The Taste Test
The Doppel Dawg “Very Dark Rice Lager”
Very dark lager is right! This Doppel Dawg poured with the thickest dark chocolate brown color I have ever seen in a gluten free lager. I could see absolutely nothing through it, even when held up to the sunlight. It poured thick and with a lovely head, that didn’t rush off. In fact, there’s still a filmy layer of bubbles at the top of my glass as I write!
The aroma is packed with roasty rice malts and a syrupy sweetness that smells like molasses. It also has some burnt marshmallow notes to it that has me feeling like I’m sitting around a campfire as I take it in.
Before I go on to taste, I just have to mention how beautiful this beer presents. The brownish-black color contrasting with the espresso cream colored head is gorgeous. Those little bubbles are climbing the edge of the class and it makes me so damn thirsty. Time to taste.
The beer doesn’t taste as heavy as it looks, but it is absolutely overflowing with flavor. The Doppel Dawg is incredibly malty and fruit forward, but without being too sweet. The sweetness is a bit molasses-like, but it certainly doesn’t overpower any of the beer’s other flavor characteristics.
The hops are there, but they are hard to notice on the front of the palate. They seem to pop through once the malt punch has faded slightly, so near the back of the palate and after the swallow. Despite being the darkest and most opaque beer I’ve ever had from Eckert Malting & Brewing, it’s body rests at a solid medium.
The carbonation is perfect, in my opinion. Just enough to contribute a crispness to the tasting experience, but still beautifully balanced with the flavor profile. Because there’s still a dry quality to the beer, the flavors themselves come through very boldly. Behind all the malt presence is a bit of a fruity brightness. I suppose that’s coming from the hops used.
On the back of the palate, there is no lingering bitterness–or at least not much–but there is a notable dark roast quality that sticks around for awhile. The words charred molasses come to mind. I think this is the flavor equivalent of the burnt marshmallows I described in the aroma analysis. It makes for a very interesting beer.
I can safely say that I have never had a gluten free beer like this one. Perhaps that’s why they simply dubbed it a “very dark rice lager”. Seems appropriate. Certainly fits the bill. And from a purely aesthetic perspective, this beer is as dark as half the gluten free stouts I’ve tried before, so I have to say…how’d you do that with just rice? Haha!
I am incredibly curious about what others have to say about this unique brew. Have YOU tried it? Did you like it? Comment below.👇