From the HBD Archive
From: Mike Fertsch <hplabs!uiucdcs!adc1.RAY.COM!FERTSCH>
Subject: Bock Ales
Date: 1989-04-13 16:48:00 GMT

Bryan Hilterbrand asks -

> since the subject of "bock" beers came up, I
> was wondering if a bock ale would taste good? I am considering making
> a bock ale for my second batch of homebrew, and I was hoping someone
> had experience with this.

Michael Jackson describes a bock beer as having "a gravity of not less than
16 degrees Balling (1.064 SG), and are made with roasted malts. Bock beers
are rich and malty tasting."

When judging Bock beers, I look for a) lots of malt sweetness, b) lots of
alcohol (it should be warming), and c) absence of a strong fruity
character. The cold slow ferment of lagered bocks reduces the fruity,
estery character in the beer.

Ales traditionally have a fruity estery character. I consider beers with
lots of malt sweetness, lots of alcohol, and a fruity character as Barley
Wines. Michael Jackson describes a Barley Wine as "an extremely rich
beer, with a powerful bouquet, and a barley taste which is almost fruity.
Barley wines are usually dark and bear some resemblance to German
dopplebock beers".

Although Barley Wines usually have a strong hop character (bocks and
doppelbocks do not), the proposed "Bock Ale" might be better classified
as a Barley Wine. My latest Dopplebock picked up a bit of estery
character, so I will probably enter it in a competition as a BarleyWine.

Getting back to the question, Bock Ales can taste good! If you want a
BockAle/BarleyWine then ferment at ale temperatures and use an ale yeast.
If you want a Bock beer, then ferment colder (I ferment at 40-50 degrees)
and use a good lager yeast. Either way, these strong beers are super!

Mike Fertsch

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