Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Final analysis: Polar Jet Christmas Bock

Here's a wrap-up on our Christmas beer, which was originally intended to be a Doppelbock but didn't come out strong enough, so I had to demote it to regular Bock. Any way, here are the final notes on our Polar Jet Christmas Bock:

Style: Traditional Bock. Original gravity: 1065. Final gravity: 1015. ABV: 6.6%.

Appearance: Pours a very dark, nearly black, mahogany color with an ample, creamy tan head.

Smell: Malty aroma of sweet rye and pumpernickel. Just a touch of grassy hops.

Taste: Sweet up front, with flavors of dark molasses, sweet rye and just a hint of chocolate. A very slight banana note on the tongue, but otherwise very clean. The finish is bitter enough to keep the beer from being cloying, but not overly so. There's a hint of roastiness as you swallow, but the bitterness comes mostly from the hops. Any perceived roastiness seems to go away as it warms. Despite the maltiness of the beer, the hop bitterness is what lingers on the tongue afterwards. Slight alcohol warmth, but no astringency.

Mouthfeel: Moderate carbonation; full-bodied but only average for a Bock.

Drinkability: As is generally the case with a German-style Bock, it'll fill you up, but you can still drink it by the half-liter mug.

Final thoughts: It's funny. At first I thought this beer was crazy roasty for a Bock, but now I think it's more that it has decent hop bitterness (at least by Bock standards). I didn't use any roast grains, though I did use a generous amount of Carafa malt, so it shouldn't really be roasty. It's still too dark to fit the profile of a traditional Bock, but it's too big and malty to be a Schwarzbier. I suppose I could call it an Imperial Schwarzbier. The funny thing is I had a BJCP-certified judge try it and he said I could probably even enter it in a competition as a robust porter. So I guess the level of roastiness is in the palate of the beholder. Anyway, it really reminds me of the Bock I had at Spezial in Bamberg, minus the smoked malts. I'm actually thinking of brewing this again in the future with some Rauchmalz to make a nice Rauchbier. One other thing I might do next time is go with a little more Carapils malt to increase the head retention, which is good but could be better. Overall, though, it's definitely a beer I'd like to brew again.

Not sure what's up next... We still have a bunch of frozen cherries that I'd like to brew in a stout, and I'd also like to re-brew our Gose with more sour character (a la Ohne Bedenken). Stay tuned to see what we decide on!


Blogger Adam said...

Yeah, I'm one of those throw stuff in a pot and hope it comes out ok guys. I have yet to really feel like I could nail a style.

So for now it is all about seeing what happens when I use certain ingredients. Later...way later I'm hoping to challenge myself and try to nail a style.

9:00 AM, January 02, 2008  
Blogger Chris said...

Nice blog. I just found it as I am starting in on my first batches of brew. I've done Ginger Beer with moderate success, but I thought I would expand the enterprise.

Great Germany info btw! Dusseldorf Alt is a personal favorite. It brings back memories of... oh yeah, too much beer for memories.

If you are even in Czech Republic check out Eggenberg in Cesky Krumlov and Regent in Pivovar. Both are excellent. Half the fun is getting there, but well worth the trip.


3:29 PM, January 11, 2008  
Blogger Chris said...

... Regent Pivovar in Trebon that is.

3:30 PM, January 11, 2008  
Blogger Russ said...

Thanks for checking out the blog, Chris. I've been to Prague twice, but I'd love to return to the Czech Republic some time. If I do, I'll definitely heed your advice...

5:26 PM, January 11, 2008  

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