Thursday, April 10, 2008

Saint Arnold Spring Bock Review

Brewery: Saint Arnold Brewing Co. | Beer: Spring Bock
Style: Bock | ABV: 6.4%
Serving Method: 12 oz. bottle poured into pint glass

Saint Arnold Spring BockAfter a couple of diversions, we return to a beer from the Saint Arnold Brewing Company. My initial plan was to review around five of Saint Arnold's offerings in a row to give a nice (uninterrupted) profile of the brewery. Well, life has a funny way of getting in the way sometimes, but we're back on track (for now).

Next up, we have another of the brewery's seasonal offerings, Spring Bock. Compared to its fellow bottom-fermenters, the bock style of lager is strong and requires a few more weeks of lagering (cold storage). It originated in medieval Germany as a beer to celebrate Spring and mark the end of the brewing season. In German, bock means billy-goat, explaining why so many bock labels (although not this particular one) prominently feature goats.

Saint Arnold introduced Spring Bock in 1998 as the company's second foray into the world of lager. The beer is brewed with five kinds of malt (no adjuncts) and won a silver medal in its class at the 1998 World Beer Cup. In their description of the beer, Saint Arnold delivers a pretty overt dig at their rivals down the road in Shiner:

"By law in Germany, to call a beer a bock it must be brewed to a high starting gravity and thus to a high alcohol content. Our beer follows these guidelines. There are many beers in the United States that use the term "bock" for their beers which aren't really bocks. They may be perfectly good beers, but they're not bocks. They are just dark colored light bodied American lagers."
Ouch. They do have a point though, Shiner Bock weighs in at a paltry 4.4% ABV, while Spring Bock has a decisive advantage at 6.4% ABV. Let's see if the beer lives up to the smack-talk.

Appearance: Clear copper body with a decent creamy head that dissipates quickly

Aroma: Nice balance of malt and hops with just a tinge of booze

Taste: Roasted malt and citrusy hops dominate weaker tones of dark fruit, grains and nuts with the alcohol slipping in right at the end

Mouthfeel: Creamy and smooth with a good amount of carbonation

Drinkability: Goes down smoothly with a nice bitter aftertaste, I could easily drink a few of these despite the alcohol content

Verdict: Spring Bock is a well-balanced dark lager with rich malt and crisp citrus hiding above-average potency. With this beer Saint Arnold is really forcing me to rethink my standards for a good bock, and I love them for it.

: A-


Anonymous said...

I saw this at the grocery store and picked it up. Pretty good stuff. The alcohol finish offsets the malt flavors nicely.

Unknown said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it.