Home / German Beer Styles / Bock
Bock is a strong lager (over 6.4%), usually medium to dark brown, with only enough hops to balance the malt. Some use wheat malt as well as barley malt. Bocks are often heavy and full bodied, but with a noticeable sweetness. There is a huge difference in flavour to the Pilsner style, but stalwart lager drinkers will probably adore them. There is less hop bitterness and more malty sweetness. Bock is usually associated with Germany (particularly the town of Einbeck, where the style is thought to have originated), though it also found elsewhere. It is thought that the name "bock" is derived from "Einbeck", being gradually shortened to "bock". Goats usually feature on the labels, as bock is German for goat. This may also be a sideways reference to the strength of the beer.
Maibock is traditionally drunk to mark the onset of summer and is usually paler and less full bodied with a little more hop bitterness. It is a reminder of the days when beer production was seasonal. Hellesbock ("light bock") is similar in style.
Doppelbocks ("double bock") are stronger than a normal Bock (at least 6.9%) and usually maltier with more depth of flavour.
Eisbock ("ice bock") is made by freezing doppelbock and removing the ice crystals to produce an even stronger drink (the alcohol freezes at a lower temperature and therefore remains in the beer in a greater concentration).
Weizenbocks are a stronger version of a wheat beer (Hefeweizen) and quite different to the other bocks, being top-fermented beers rather than bottom-fermented lagers. Schneider Aventinus is a good example. Some beers brewed outside Germany are also quite different to the bock style described above. Chouffe Bok (Belgium), for example, is a strong, sweet, dark, top-fermented, bottle conditioned ale rather than a lager, but well worth seeking out -- a delightful, smooth, rich, warming beer. Perfect for a winter evening.
BrewStyles: Traditional bock by Ray Daniels. Includes useful notes on the history of Bock beers.
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Last updated: 1st October 2004
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