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What is a Bock Beer?

Ah, bock beer. Just the sound of it hints at something stronger, more flavorful, and more complex than your everyday lager.

So just what is a bock beer and why would you want to drink one?

Here, we’ll take a look at this thick, dark German beer style and its history, flavors, production process, and nutritional facts.

Finally, we’ll look at a couple of related beer styles for those who want to explore the deeper depths of German beer culture.

Overview of Bock Beer

Bock beer is a German-style stout or strong lager with an alcohol content of 6-7%. The deep amber or light brown color comes from the darker malts that are used in the brewing process.

The taste can range from sweet and malty to roasted and darkly bitter depending on whether you choose a Helles Bock or a Doppelbock or Eisbock (we’ll get into those styles later).

The body is rich and full-bodied with low carbonation. Bocks tend to have more hops than other lagers which gives them their unique earthy bitterness.

Bocks are strong yet drinkable beers that are usually brewed in the fall. While they’re not as widely available as some other styles (such as Pilsners), they’ve consistently been popular in Germany for centuries!

Here’s what you need to know about these delectable German beers:

  • Alcohol content: 6-7% ABV
  • Color: Deep amber or light brown (depending on the type)
  • Taste: Sweet and malty to roasted/darkly bitter (depending on the type)
  • Body: Rich & full-bodied with low carbonation

History and Origin

The history of bocks dates back many centuries in Germany where they were traditionally brewed during the cold autumn months as a festive celebration ahead of winter.

It’s thought that the name “bock” evolved from an old German dialect word meaning “goat”—a reference to an old tradition involving goats accompanying townspeople around town while celebrating these beers!

It wasn’t until 16th century Bavaria that breweries began producing them year-round due to their popularity among local drinkers.

Over time, different variations began popping up throughout Europe due to Brewer experimentation with ingredients such as hops, yeast strains, malt types etc., leading to four main categories currently being produced today (we’ll get into those below).

Nutrition Facts of Bock Beer

Bocks contain approximately 160 calories per 12oz bottle making them significantly higher in calories than most other pale lagers but not quite as high as stouts & porters. They also contain more carbohydrates (8g per bottle) but this does vary slightly between styles so it’s best to double-check before ordering one! Here are some other nutrition facts for 12oz bottles of bocks:

  • Calories: 160
  • Carbohydrates: 8g
  • Protein: 1g

Style and Flavor Profile

The flavor profile of bock beers varies depending on which type you order but generally most all types are relatively sweet and malty with just enough hop bitterness for balance without being overpowering.

They tend to be smooth & full-bodied without any sharp burnt notes often found in other dark ales such as stouts & porters.

There are four main categories that make up this style—Helles Bocks (light), Dunkles Bocks (dark), Doppelbocks (double strength), & Eisbocks (ice filtered). Here’s what you can expect flavor wise when ordering each style:

  • Helles Bocks – Light & malty with subtle hop bitterness
  • Dunkles Bocks – Roasty & slightly sweet with light caramel & raisin undertones
  • Doppelbocks – Robust malty flavor profiles with notes of dried fruit/dried cherry
  • Eisbocks – Higher alcohol content resulting in larger malty flavors & notes of caramel & coffee

Ingredients and Production Process

Bock beers share many common ingredients such as barley malt, water yeast hops & adjuncts such as corn or wheat flakes which can give them their characteristic sweetness or creaminess respectively depending on usage levels.

In general, they’re brewed using the same steps involved in producing any type of lager beer—mashing/lautering grain bill then boiling hopped wort before cooling it down & adding yeast for fermentation before packaging/carbonation occurs either naturally or via artificial means like kegging or canning.

Related German Beer Styles

For those who want to explore deeper into German Beer culture, there are several related styles worth checking out!

If you’re looking for something special to try, Weizenbock (a wheat variety) and Maibock (a lighter golden-colored version) are always popular. Schwarzbier (an ultra-dark black beer brewed mainly outside Bavaria) and Festbier (similar tasting but stronger ABV usually celebrated during festivals) are also great options.

For those looking for an even bigger punch, Waldhausen Importer offers their classic extra-strength triple-smoked Dopplebok at 11% ABV!

Brewing a Bock Beer at Home

If you’re feeling adventurous why not try brewing your own bock beer at home? There are plenty of resources online that can help guide you through the entire process step by step from basic ingredients through fermentation all way down to packaging/bottling of finished products ready for serving friends and family members.

Bonus points if they love it enough and decide to brew their own batch once they see how good yours tastes ☺


To sum up, bock beers make for excellent autumnal drinking partners. They provide something a bit special compared to the standard pale lagers to which we are accustomed to drinking on a day-to-day basis.

Bocks are full of flavor due to their higher alcohol content and darker malts used in the production process. So why not treat yourself the next time you’re out and try an authentic German experience? Enjoy the company of friends and family over a nice cold pint of bock beer! Prost!

Author Image Fabian
I’m Fabian, homebrewer and beer taster. I’m also the editor of Beer100. I love travelling the world and trying out new handcraft beer and different beer styles. I’m not an expert in brewing beer, but I know a few things about beer, which I share on this blog. If you need help or have a question, please comment below.

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