Eisbock

9B. Eisbock
Overall Impression:
A strong, full-bodied, rich, and malty dark German lager often with a viscous quality and strong flavors. Even though flavors are concentrated, the alcohol should be smooth and warming, not burning.

Aroma:
Dominated by a balance of rich, intense malt and a definite alcohol presence. No hop aroma. May have significant malt-derived dark fruit esters. Alcohol aromas should not be harsh or solventy.

Appearance: D
eep copper to dark brown in color, often with attractive ruby highlights. Lagering should provide good clarity. Head retention may be moderate to poor. Off-white to deep ivory colored head. Pronounced legs are often evident.

Flavor:
Rich, sweet malt balanced by a significant alcohol presence. The malt can have Maillard products, toasty qualities, some caramel, and occasionally a slight chocolate flavor. No hop flavor. Hop bitterness just offsets the malt sweetness enough to avoid a cloying character. May have significant malt-derived dark fruit esters. The alcohol should be smooth, not harsh or hot, and should help the hop bitterness balance the strong malt presence. The finish should be of malt and alcohol, and can have a certain dryness from the alcohol. It should not by sticky, syrupy or cloyingly sweet. Clean lager character.

Mouthfeel:
Full to very full-bodied. Low carbonation. Significant alcohol warmth without sharp hotness. Very smooth without harsh edges from alcohol, bitterness, fusels, or other concentrated flavors.

Comments:
Extended lagering is often needed post-freezing to smooth the alcohol and enhance the malt and alcohol balance. Pronounced “ICE-bock.”
History: A traditional Kulmbach specialty brewed by freezing a doppelbock and removing the ice to concentrate the flavor and alcohol content (as well as any defects).

Characteristic Ingredients:
Same as doppelbock. Commercial eisbocks are generally concentrated anywhere from 7% to 33% (by volume).

Style Comparison:
Eisbocks are not simply stronger doppelbocks; the name refers to the process of freezing and concentrating the beer and is not a statement on alcohol; some doppelbocks are stronger than Eisbocks. Not as thick, rich, or sweet as a Wheatwine.

Vital Statistics:
OG: 1.078 – 1.120
IBUs: 25 – 35 FG: 1.020 – 1.035
SRM: 18 – 30 ABV: 9.0 – 14.0%

Commercial Examples:
Kulmbacher Eisbock

 

Doppelbock

9A. Doppelbock
Overall Impression:
A strong, rich, and very malty German lager that can have both pale and dark variants. The darker versions have more richly-developed, deeper malt flavors, while the paler versions have slightly more hops and dryness.

Aroma:
Very strong maltiness. Darker versions will have significant Maillard products and often some toasty aromas. A light caramel aroma is acceptable. Lighter versions will have a strong malt presence with some Maillard products and toasty notes. Virtually no hop aroma, although a light noble hop aroma is acceptable in pale versions. A moderately low malt-derived dark fruit character may be present (but is optional) in dark versions. A very slight chocolate-like aroma may be present in darker versions, but no roasted or burned aromatics should ever be present. Moderate alcohol aroma may be present.

Appearance:
Deep gold to dark brown in color. Darker versions often have ruby highlights. Lagering should provide good clarity. Large, creamy, persistent head (color varies with base style: white for pale versions, off-white for dark varieties). Stronger versions might have impaired head retention, and can display noticeable legs.

Flavor:
Very rich and malty. Darker versions will have significant Maillard products and often some toasty flavors. Lighter versions will have a strong malt flavor with some Maillard products and toasty notes. A very slight chocolate flavor is optional in darker versions, but should never be perceived as roasty or burnt. Clean lager character. A moderately low malt-derived dark fruit character is optional in darker versions. Invariably there will be an impression of alcoholic strength, but this should be smooth and warming rather than harsh or burning. Little to no hop flavor (more is acceptable in pale versions). Hop bitterness varies from moderate to moderately low but always allows malt to dominate the flavor. Most versions are fairly malty-sweet, but should have an impression of attenuation. The sweetness comes from low hopping, not from incomplete fermentation. Paler versions generally have a drier finish.

Mouthfeel:
Medium-full to full body. Moderate to moderately-low carbonation. Very smooth without harshness, astringency. A light alcohol warmth may be noted, but it should never burn.

Comments:
Most versions are dark colored and may display the caramelizing and Maillard products of decoction mashing, but excellent pale versions also exist. The pale versions will not have the same richness and darker malt flavors of the dark versions, and may be a bit drier, hoppier and more bitter. While most traditional examples are in the lower end of the ranges cited, the style can be considered to have no upper limit for gravity, alcohol and bitterness (thus providing a home for very strong lagers).

History:
A Bavarian specialty first brewed in Munich by the monks of St. Francis of Paula. Historical versions were less well-attenuated than modern interpretations, with consequently higher sweetness and lower alcohol levels (and hence was considered “liquid bread” by the monks). The term “doppel (double) bock” was coined by Munich consumers. Many commercial doppelbocks have names ending in “-ator,” either as a tribute to the prototypical Salvator or to take advantage of the beer’s popularity. Traditionally dark brown in color; paler examples are a more recent development.

Characteristic Ingredients:
Pils and/or Vienna malt for pale versions (with some Munich), Munich and Vienna malts for darker ones and occasionally a tiny bit of darker color malts (such as Carafa). Saazer-type hops. Clean lager yeast. Decoction mashing is traditional.

Style Comparison:
A stronger, richer, more full-bodied version of either a Dunkles Bock or a Helles Bock. Pale versions will show higher attenuation and less dark fruity character than the darker versions.

Vital Statistics:
OG: 1.072 – 1.112
IBUs: 16 – 26 FG: 1.016 – 1.024
SRM: 6 – 25 ABV: 7.0 – 10.0%

Commercial Examples:
Dark Versions -Andechser Doppelbock Dunkel, Ayinger Celebrator, Paulaner Salvator, Spaten Optimator, Tröegs Troegenator, Weihenstephaner Korbinian,; Pale Versions – Eggenberg Urbock 23º, EKU 28, Plank Bavarian Heller Doppelbock

Dunkles Bock

6C. Dunkles Bock
Overall Impression:
A dark, strong, malty German lager beer that emphasizes the malty-rich and somewhat toasty qualities of continental malts without being sweet in the finish.

Aroma:
Medium to medium-high bready-malty-rich aroma, often with moderate amounts of rich Maillard products and/or toasty overtones. Virtually no hop aroma. Some alcohol may be noticeable. Clean lager character, although the malts can provide a slight (low to none) dark fruit character, particularly in aged examples.

Appearance:
Light copper to brown color, often with attractive garnet highlights. Lagering should provide good clarity despite the dark color. Large, creamy, persistent, off-white head.

Flavor:
Complex, rich maltiness is dominated by the toasty-rich Maillard products. Some caramel notes may be present. Hop bitterness is generally only high enough to support the malt flavors, allowing a bit of sweetness to linger into the finish. Well-attenuated, not cloying. Clean fermentation profile, although the malt can provide a slight dark fruit character. No hop flavor. No roasted or burnt character.

Mouthfeel:
Medium to medium-full bodied. Moderate to moderately low carbonation. Some alcohol warmth may be found, but should never be hot. Smooth, without harshness or astringency.

Comments:
Decoction mashing and long boiling plays an important part of flavor development, as it enhances the caramel and Maillard flavor aspects of the malt. Any fruitiness is due to Munich and other specialty malts, not yeast-derived esters developed during fermentation.

History:
Originated in the Northern German city of Einbeck, which was a brewing center and popular exporter in the days of the Hanseatic League (14th to 17th century). Recreated in Munich starting in the 17th century. The name “bock” is based on a corruption of the name “Einbeck” in the Bavarian dialect, and was thus only used after the beer came to Munich. “Bock” also means “Ram” in German, and is often used in logos and advertisements.

Characteristic Ingredients:
Munich and Vienna malts, rarely a tiny bit of dark roasted malts for color adjustment, never any non-malt adjuncts. Continental European hop varieties are used. Clean German lager yeast.

Style Comparison:
Darker, with a richer malty flavor and less apparent bitterness than a Helles Bock. Less alcohol and malty richness than a Doppelbock. Stronger malt flavors and higher alcohol than a Märzen. Richer, less attenuated, and less hoppy than a Czech Amber Lager.

Vital Statistics:
OG: 1.064 – 1.072
IBUs: 20 – 27 FG: 1.013 – 1.019
SRM: 14 – 22 ABV: 6.3 – 7.2%

Commercial Examples:
Aass Bock, Einbecker Ur-Bock Dunkel, Great Lakes Rockefeller Bock, Kneitinger Bock, New Glarus Uff-da Bock, Penn Brewery St. Nikolaus Bock

Helles Bock

4C. Helles Bock
Overall Impression:
A relatively pale, strong, malty German lager beer with a nicely attenuated finish that enhances drinkability. The hop character is generally more apparent than in other bocks.

Aroma:
Moderate to strong grainy-sweet malt aroma, often with a lightly toasted quality and low Maillard products. Moderately-low to no hop aroma, often with a spicy, herbal, or floral quality. Clean fermentation profile. Fruity esters should be low to none. Very light alcohol may be noticeable. May have a light DMS aroma.

Appearance:
Deep gold to light amber in color. Bright to clear clarity. Large, creamy, persistent, white head.

Flavor:
Moderately to moderately strong grainy-sweet malt flavor dominates with some toasty notes and/or Maillard products providing added interest. Little to no caramel flavors. May have a light DMS flavor. Moderate to no hop flavor (spicy, herbal, floral, peppery). Moderate hop bitterness (more so in the balance than in other bocks). Clean fermentation profile. Well-attenuated, not cloying, with a moderately-dry finish that may taste of both malt and hops.

Mouthfeel:
Medium-bodied. Moderate to moderately-high carbonation. Smooth and clean with no harshness or astringency, despite the increased hop bitterness. A light alcohol warming may be present.

Comments:
Also known as Mai Bock, but there is some dispute whether Helles (“pale”) Bock and Mai (“May”) Bock are synonymous. Most agree that they are identical, but some believe that Maibock is a “fest” type beer hitting the upper limits of hopping and color for the range. Any fruitiness is due to Munich and other specialty malts, not yeast-derived esters developed during fermentation. The hops compensate for the lower level of Maillard products.

History:
A fairly recent development in comparison to the other members of the bock family. The serving of Maibock is specifically associated with springtime and the month of May.

Characteristic Ingredients: Base of Pils and/or Vienna malt with some Munich malt to add character (although much less than in a traditional bock). No non-malt adjuncts. Saazer-type hops. Clean lager yeast. Decoction mash is typical, but boiling is less than in Dunkles Bock to restrain color development.

Style Comparison:
Can be thought of as either a pale version of a Dunkles Bock, or a Munich Helles brewed to bock strength. While quite malty, this beer typically has less dark and rich malt flavors, and can be drier, hoppier, and more bitter than a Dunkles Bock. Has more of a rich malt character and more alcohol than a Festbier.

Vital Statistics:
OG: 1.064 – 1.072
IBUs: 23 – 35 FG: 1.011 – 1.018
SRM: 6 – 11 ABV: 6.3 – 7.4%

Commercial Examples:
Altenmünster Maibock, Ayinger Maibock, Capital Maibock, Blind Tiger Maibock, Einbecker Mai-Urbock, Hacker-Pschorr Hubertus Bock, Mahr’s Bock