Bamberg Bocks

My parents came to stay this weekend and on the first night my Belgian Dubbel style brew “The Scrubber” went down very well. It’s medium brown, fruity and spicy though not as heavy as the big Belgians, more like a Rochefort 6 (in style, it still has a way to go in quality). After a month in secondary fermentation and three more in the bottle it’s beginning to build a good head too.

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Not a real Belgian but trying very hard!

On the second night, however, we decided to try something interesting and a search through the cupboard turned up three different Bocks that came from Bamberg via my friend Moritz’s father. I don’t remember ever having tried a Bock before and don’t know much about them other than that they’re strong German beers which were, I think, traditionally a spring speciality.

Of the three, one was from one of Bamberg’s oldest breweries- Klosterbräu’s Bockbier, while the other two were from Weyermann- Michael’s Maibock and Hopfenstern-Weizenbock. I started with this, it’s basically a 6.8% Weißbier and is very good. My dad normally doesn’t like Weißbiers as they’re too cloudy for him but he found this had a cleaner flavour which I agree with. The normal spicy flavours are there with strong orange notes but I wonder if the extra alcohol makes it all a bit better defined, slightly less woolly.

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Dad with Weizenbock

Next I tried the Klosterbräu Bockbier. It was the strongest of the three at 7% and had a very simple flavour; I thought it just tasted of diluted malt extract but my dad was more precise, likening it to the taste of beer that is only just starting it’s fermentation. He enjoyed it very much and wondered if Klosterbräu had intentionally stopped the fermentation early to produce that flavour.

Michael’s Maibock was last.  It is in the same strength range at 6.5% but in terms of flavour it was completely different, just as the first two were from each other. Jess tried this before me and had been squeaking excitedly about it for some time. She described it as having a subtle nose and a smooth, peachy flavour with melon notes. It is a remarkable beer, floral and light but with a decent kick too.

So after all that I still don’t know if a Bock is really a style or just a strength indicator, however I’m very pleased to have discovered three great beers. On the night my favourite was the Weizenbock with Michael’s Maibock a close second. It was Jess’s choice while my dad went for the malty Klosterbräu Bock.

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