German Dark Beer – Traditional Bock Beer
In Germany the dark beer is called “Bock Beer” which is sweet, relatively strong (6.3%–7.2% by volume); a lightly hopped lager.
Originally it was known to be a dark, malty, lightly hopped ale that was first brewed in the 14th century by German brewers in the Northern German town of Einbeck.
The Einbeck style was later adopted by Munich brewers in the 17th century and adapted to the new lager style of brewing.
Due to their Bavarian accent, citizens of Munich pronounced “Einbeck” as “Ein Bock” (“a billy goat”), and thus the beer became known as “Bock”. You can regognize this beer visually with a goat on the bock beer labels.
Color: Clear, and color can range from light copper to brown, with a bountiful and persistent off-white head.
Taste: Malty and toasty, possibly with hints of alcohol, but no detectable hops or fruitiness. The mouthfeel is smooth, with low to moderate carbonation and no astringency. The taste is rich and toasty, sometimes with a bit of caramel.
If you google “Bock Bier” you can find all kinds of online shops that sell some German brands and also some American versions. I personally would prefer the German versions.
There are different versions of the Bock Beer:
German Dark Beer – Maibock
This bock beer is paler and a more hopped version, and is generally served at the popular German spring events such as the May festivals.
German Dark Beer – Doppelbock
This is a stronger and maltier version – 7-12%. The alcohol amount has doubled too, hence the name: Double Bock.
Doppelbock was first brewed in Munich by the Paulaner Friars, a Franciscan order founded by St. Francis of Paula.
Taste: Intensely rich and malty, with some toasty notes, and possibly some alcohol presence as well. The darker versions may have a chocolate-like or fruity aroma. The alcoholic strength is noticeable.
Color: Not a clear beer. The color is ranging from dark gold, for the paler version, to dark brown with ruby highlights for darker versions. It has a large, creamy, persistent head.
This is the strongest and most alcoholic, full bodied malty beer in the German bock tradition. The bock or Doppebock beer will be frozen and the blocks of icy water that form to concentrate alcohol and flavor are removed.
Taste: Full bodied, very malty. There is no hop aroma or flavor, alcohol and malt dominate.
Color: Amber to dark brown.