This week’s Know Your Styles is being brought to you by Forrest Wester. Forrest is known as Fweezle in the Forums and if you’ve been paying attention, he’s an extremely knowledgeable beer guy. Thanks again to Paul from the Wine and Cheese Place in Clayton for supplying the beers for this feature.
Brief History: The Bock style of beer has it’s origins within Einbeck, Germany. Mostly brewed for special occasions and religious festivals, these beers were typically consumed by the Roman Catholic monks of Germany during fasting periods. These darker beers provided them with energy and nutrients, thus earning the nickname “liquid bread”. The monks who first brewed the darker/stronger doppel (double) bocks originally named their beer “Salvator”. It is now traditional for breweries to brew doppelbocks with names ending in -ator.
What you should be smelling: A strong, toasted, malty aroma that tends to veer toward “nutty” but never roasted or burnt. Slight alcohol aroma is acceptable, with darker versions showing hits of chocolate and ripe fruit (plum, prune, ect). Little to no hop aroma should be present
What you should be seeing: On the lighter side of the spectrum, deep, dark golden color is apparent, while darker versions tend to be brown/dark brown to almost black. The lagering process should produce a noticeable clarity. Fluffy, creamy persistent heads are typical, ranging from bright white to slightly off white. Stronger, more alcoholic versions such as Samichlaus tend to have a brief head that disappears quickly, often producing “legs” down the glass, commonly seen in other stronger beers and wine.
What you should be tasting: A fairly sweet, rich, toasted maltiness is the most apparent flavor, with mild hints of fruitiness and caramel. Darker versions often have a very slight chocolate presence. The toasted malts in the aroma lend again to the slight “nuttiness” in flavor. Slight alcohol flavor is acceptable, but should be smooth, never be burning. And like the aroma, little to no hop presence will be noticed. Low carbonation with a creamy, full bodied mouthfeel with lighter versions having a noticeable crisp finish.
How you should you be drinking this: Traditionally served in a pilsner glass or mug/stein, but can also be served in a goblet or chalice to experience the full malt aroma, especially for the darker versions. Serving temp should be around 50 degrees. As the beer arms up, more malty/fruity notes become apparent.
What you should be buying: On a personal note, I have been pretty ambivalent toward trying a lot of lagers in the past. This particular project has really opened my eyes towards the many different options out there for lagers. The ones I picked up for this assignment were Ayinger Celebrator – which is just out of this world, Samichlaus Bier – a quiet little monster, and Tucher Bajuvator which is also very delicious. Other choices could be Spaten Optimator, Bell’s Consecrator, Rouge’s Double Dead Guy, or newly arrived in St. Louis at The Wine and Cheese Place – Weihenstephaner Korbinian.
Related Styles: Maibock/Helles, Traditional Bock, Eisbock