Posts Tagged ‘bock’

Minhas Craft Brewery

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

The Minhas Craft Brewery in Monroe, Wisconsin has claim to the title of second-oldest operating brewery in the United States, founded in 1845 as the Blumer Brewery. From 1947 to 2006 the company took the name Joseph Huber Brewing Company, and since the most recent acquisition, Minhas.Joseph Huber Premium Beer They continue to produce the popular Berghoff, Rhinelander, and Huber lines of beer, in addition to a few interesting new brews. Tonight I will be tasting two classics that date to the Joseph Huber days, a premium lager and their bock.

First up, the Joseph Huber Premium Beer, an all-malt lager. This beer pours a pale golden yellow color, with just a bit of a haze and a swiss-cheesy head. The nose is both grainy and sulfuric. The malt gives a rich bready aroma with some hints of barley husk. This is somewhat disturbed by a level of sulfur several ticks more than is appropriate: the smell of corn makes picking out the malt and especially the hops difficult.

This beer has the body that comes from an all-malt beer without being too thick or sweet. The bread and grain flavors from the malt provide a rich foundation. However, as with the aroma, the taste of this beer is overpowered by a cooked corn flavor.Huber Bock A bit of a fruity sweetness, reminiscent of pears, follows along at the end. Overall not a bad beer, save my one complaint.

On to the Huber Bock, which pours a very deep, dark mahogany color with a fair bit of creamy, sandy brown head. The nose is relatively mild, displaying a moderate sweetness with some caramel malt, bread, and toast characteristics. As this beer warms the aromas come out more, yet they remain elusive.

The flavor is malty and noticably sweet, though not too much so. Despite the rich toffee and caramel flavors, this beer is quite balanced. The playful sweetness teases your tongue as it dances towards the back, accompanied by hazelnuts and roasted chestnuts. A noble hop bitterness balances this with subdued herbal and earthy flavors. The full body supports this beer without getting in the way.

+Joseph Huber Bock

3.6 (3-7-7-4-15)

-Joseph Huber Premium Beer

2.5 (2-5-5-3-10)

(p.s. Enough of these non-local beers. Look forward to my next post about an exciting freshman Iowa brewery.)

Weihenstephaner Vitus

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

I stopped in at the Radegast beer hall on 3rd Street in Brooklyn. Plenty of wood and dim lights decorate this bar that has at least a dozen choices on tap at any given time. They’ve got a fair bottle menu of mostly German lagers and Belgians to boot: the entire line of Lindeman’s impresses me, the Boon Gueuze impresses me more. Lively staff, mustard produced in-house, and (according to my buddy Trevor) tasty sausages.

I had a draft of Vitus, a bock beer made with wheat (weizenbock), produced by the oldest brewery in the world, Weihenstephan. The brewery (as well as the university of the same name) sit atop a mountain overlooking the town of Freising in Bavaria. I’m not sure the Radegast should be offering this beer in 1.5 liter mugs; just one full liter of a beer over 7.5% alcohol is probably plenty.

The Vitus pours a golden straw color and deeply hazy. The generous head is frothy and bone-white. A strong spiciness and shades of banana lead the aroma and are accompanied by cloves and an earthiness.

Rich bready malt flavor and some residual sweetness almost entirely hide the alcohol. All that is present is the spice and just a hint of heat. A light herbal hop character complements this and balances the malt. The faintest hint of bananas. Creamy carbonation gives a soft and rounded body.

Overall this beer is wonderful. Flavorful, but still dangerously sessionable. A quote from my tasting notes: “how does it hide the whatsit percent alcohol?”

++Weihenstephaner Vitus

4.4 (5-8-8-5-18)


Friday, September 24th, 2010

Bacchusbräu brewhouse - Photo courtesy

Photo courtesy

This is the first of several posts that I took notes for in Germany but didn’t get around to finishing. The last few weeks there and the first few back home were hectic. Anyway, on to the beer.

While traveling with my mother around the Middle Rhein Valley, I had a chance to try the beer from one of the smallest breweries in Germany, Bacchusbräu in Bacharach, Rheinland-Pfalz. On their 200 liter brewing system Armin Mahl makes the beer to go along with wife Annette’s wonderful cooking. But this is truly just the Theatergastronomie adjacent to the theater they built, which features marionette shows as well as ones with regular actors.Braumeisterbrötchen On one side of the building, directly facing the old city wall, and beyond it the Rhein, there is a patio under the canopy of an old carousel and a fence made of barrel staves.

I was impressed with just about everything about this place. They bake a rich and savory mini loaf of multigrain bread called Braumeisterbrötchen – Brewmasters’ Rolls – that are stuffed with fillings. The vegetarian one had cheese, mushrooms, onions, and caraway seeds, and was divine.Cat at Bacchusbrau Oh, and their cat is ridiculously friendly.

I started out with the standard lager, Loreley. They call it a pilsener but it really seems to me to be a classic Munich helles. Named after perhaps the most famous rock in the world, Loreley is easily one of the best German beers I have had the pleasure to taste.

A yellow gold with a beautiful haze is topped with some creamy white head. The rich malty aroma is thick with bread and just a little sweet. Delicate floral noble hops dance.

Bacchusbräu Loreley and 1689The flavor of Loreley is barely dry, but still has a strong malt richness. The high quality malt used clearly shows through, so the beer tastes quite fresh. The palate is full and round without intruding. It is not bitter, but rather remarkably balanced.

Next I had the Münchner dunkel, called 1689. I’m not certain what the name refers to, though I know that year there was some unpleasantness related to the Nine Years’ War in nearby Mannheim and Heidelberg.

A pleasingly opalescent very pale hazelnut brown with some white head. The aroma is light, with malty caramel and hints of hops, and a little sweetness. It is promising, but much too fleeting.

The flavor is also a bit on the mild side. Caramel and toast malt flavors are complimented by an earthy and herbal hop character. The hops also lend a reasonable bitterness. Something is making it a bit astringent, Bacchusweizenwhich grows more prominent through the taste. The palate is full but still drinkable, but the 1689 would benefit from a bit more carbonation.

The wheat beer is named simply Bacchusweizen. It is naturally very hazy, and by looking at the bubbles rise, clearly very active. Golden straw in color with a creamy, cloudlike white head. The aroma is light and bready, with a lot of cloves as well. Some floral on the nose could be from hops.

The taste of the Bacchusweizen is dry, with a solid clove flavor. There is a good wheat character manifesting as bread and rich maltiness. The light hop flavor is spicy, complimenting the clove from the yeast. The palate is dry and quite lively. The adding of flavor hops to weizen is a relatively new concept, but there are a few that do it do good effect, including this one. Even discounting the hops this beer is a unique hefeweizen, drier and spicier than most. Very refreshing.

Finally the bock beer, Burg Stahleck – Verlies. Burg Stahleck is the castle overlooking the town of Bacharach, now a youth hostel.Bacchusbräu Berg Stahleck - Verlies Verlies is the German word for “dungeon”. They properly serve this strong beer in a hefty stone mug.

It is richly hazy, with a deep caramel brown color and creamy tawny head. The aroma is rich and sweet with caramel, dark fruit, and a rich spiciness of cinnamon and cardamom, pepper and cloves.

The flavor is malty and sweet. The spiciness on the taste is quite strong, dominated by cinnamon and pepper. The alcohol makes itself apparent with a warming sensation. The whole of it almost gives the impression of brandy. The Verlies is full but not cloying, active but not bothersome, and rich but still drinkable. Just well-crafted strong beer goodness.


4.2 (3-9-8-4-18)

++Burg Stahleck – Verlies

4.2 (4-9-7-4-18)


3.8 (3-7-8-4-16)


3.8 (4-7-7-4-16)

Bell’s Consecrator Dopplebock

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

This afternoon I am trying the Consecrator Dopplebock from Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo, Michigan. This 8% beer is another newly available in Iowa thanks to the recent legislative change.

This copper-colored lager has a creamy tan head that slowly fades away. The nose is light but complicated. 2010-03-27-consecratorThere is a general malty sweet aroma of caramel and dark fruit. This is accented by a sharp spiciness from the hops and hints of alcohol.

Consecrator has a thick malty flavor with a serious hop balance. The malt is caramel sweet with toast and brown sugar. There is a flavor that borders on smokiness, reminiscent of rye. The sweetness is balanced by an earthy hop bitterness. Noble and grassy hop flavors are significant but subtle, if only due to the strength of the other flavors. The palate is strong enough to carry the flavors, but perhaps a bit thick, coating the mouth just a little long.

An impressive beer. Balanced in every respect, with many intriguing flavors.

++Bell’s Consecrator Dopplebock

4.4 (4-8-9-4-19)

Capital Maibock

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

Yes I’m a hophead, so the first time I was blown away by a malty beer it was an almost religious experience. That beer was a Capital Maibock several years ago. Let’s see what I think of it now…

Capital MaibockBrewed by the Capital Brewery in Madison, Wisconsin, a brewhouse well known for their highly acclaimed Blonde Doppelbock, the Maibock is traditionally the palest and hoppiest of the German bockbier pantheon. I meant to drink this a few days ago, when it was still May (or rather Mai). C’est la vie (or rather das ist Leben).

The Maibock is brilliantly clear with active carbonation. The color is a pale amber gold, bordering on straw. There is some near-white head, though it doesn’t last for long. The nose is relatively subtle, but preponderantly malty. Biscuits and light toast stand out, with a bit of fresh grains and hints of caramel. Through that I can detect just a bit of grassy hops.

The taste is immediately sweet but not unpleasantly so, a lingering malty sweetness. It is lively and refreshing, though I know it is over 6% alcohol. Reminds me of a sweet bread (challah?), but there is also the flavor of light caramel. Subtle. A delicate and pale beer such as this is quite a challenge to brew, so props to Capital. Leaves a complex lacing on the glass that I wouldn’t expect given the unimpressive initial head. All in all a solid, drinkable beer.

Now that spring is all but gone, it’s time to get tasting some summer beers.

+Capital Maibock

3.3 (3-6-7-4-13)

Millstream Schokolade Bock Release

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

msb6Today is the official release of Millstream‘s 2008 Schokolade Bock. So if you supported Obama, have some to celebrate. If you supported McCain, drown your sorrows in bockbier.

Bock, as legally defined in Germany, is any beer brewed to a starting gravity of 16-17 degrees Plato. This means they are at least 6% alcohol. In Iowa, you cannot brew beer much over 6%, so ours is on the lighter side. It’s not my recipe to give away, but I can tell you we use a fair amountmsbp1 of chocolate malt, Northern Brewer hops for bitterness, and Glacier hops for flavor.

It’s very clear (it’s filtered, actually). The color is a deep mahogany and the head is creamy and off-white, leaves some lacing but doesn’t last long. The nose is rich and malty, sweet, with strong roast character.

The taste is pretty sweet, with a prominent roast bitterness and toasty malt flavor. There is a hint of chocolate and just a little caramel. The palate is creamy, but a little cloying.

+Millstream Schokolade Bock

RateBeer: 3.0 (3-6-6-3-12)

Moerlein Barbarossa and Emancipator

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

I got these two bottles of Moerlein beer in a trade way back on Dark Lord Day. To the stranger that gave them to me, I’m sorry it took me so long to try them!

First up: the Barbarossa Double Dark Lager. The bottle points out that it is named for Holy Roman Emperor “Barbarossa” Frederick I of Germany. I can only assume that by “Double Dark Lager” they mean a double, or heavy, version of a German black lager, or schwarzbier.

It pours an almost clear, deep caramel with a creamy khaki head. The aroma is delicately malty, with a sweet caramel character and notes of fresh biscuits. There is also something of a metallic tinge to the aroma, probably because these are twist-off caps and the beer has been slightly oxidized.

The taste: remarkably clean. Dry, with touches of caramel malt flavor and toast. Again, there is the slightest bit of oxidation, likely my fault for treating this beer badly and drinking it old. The palate is wonderfully dry, with a smooth but not overpowering carbonation. I could easily have another. By the way, this one has left thick rings and serious honeycomb lacing on my glass.

On to the doppelbock. Here, Emancipator refers to the “emancipation of America’s honorable brewing tradition” in 1933. Emancipator pours a dark auburn with a similar creamy tan head. The nose is pretty strongly metallic, which again I will attribute to cap-related oxidation. I can still get a strong roast malt and burnt coffee aroma.

The first taste is thick and very creamy. Later, I can pick out some of the roast flavor, but it is much too sweet. I feel like my mouth has been coated, and not in a good way. The metallic character cuts through the sweetness more than the malt flavor. Very cloying.

+Moerlein Barbarossa

RateBeer: 3.8 (4-7-7-5-15)

+/-Moerlein Emancipator

RateBeer: 3.0 (3-6-6-2-13)