Had this been a review written around the time of its initial release in May, the telling of the story of Bock Bock from Shmaltz Brewing Co. might have had a far different ending. It was then that I had my first sample of the brewery’s barrel-aged American bock, and let’s just say that if I were a chicken, I’d have been crossing the road in search of another beer.
The problem with that initial taste wasn’t that it was a bad beer, it was that it didn’t seem to have much of the flavor you’d expect after having been aged in a combination of bourbon barrels provided by Jim Beam, Heaven Hill and Buffalo Trace. Whether it was a rogue bottle or something else, it tasted like a bumped-up version of a bock and that was about it.
Now a few months later, I would say after trying the beer again that the one phrase that comes to mind is the old adage – so much for first impressions.
Bock Bock is a big, malty brew with flavors of rich toffee and caramel infused with light wood tones, some vanilla and a fairly potent shot of bourbon. Based on that, I don’t think anyone would deny that the beer is barrel forward, but the malt base is big enough that it doesn’t entirely steal the show. At the same time, a boozy tone lingers throughout, and an alcoholic bite is fairly prevalent well into the aftertaste.
On the tongue, Bock Bock has a medium-full body with moderate carbonation. The beer is sweet, but not overwhelmingly so, and there’s a hint of bitterness that sneaks in and tries to help balance things out in the finish. The alcohol is undeniable, though, and for me that’s the one thing—the only thing—that keeps the beer from getting higher marks. Bock Bock is good, I’d just like its feathers to be a little less ruffled.