3.6AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
UPDATED: SEP 30, 2012 I like to think of myself as something of a “formalist” critic, meaning that whatever I review, I judge it against itself. However, there are certain times when you can’t help but judge something based on external factors. Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock is a good example of what I mean. Since this is a rare, expensive seasonal beer I found it very underwhelming. Had it been a more standard craft beer I might have given it a higher grade. But when you pay $17 for one bottle of beer you have an expectation and this just didn’t live up to it, hence the average rating.
POUR, COLOR AND AROMA
Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock is bottled in 25oz bottles, resembling a bottle of wine. It pours quite rough at first but eventually smoothens out. It forms a small, tan, soapy head which doesn’t linger for very long. The appearance is seemingly opaque black, but is actually dark ruby red.
There isn’t much of an aroma to speak of; just a dry scent reminiscent of most bocks or black lagers.
I didn’t know what to expect with Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock. I’d recently tried another chocolate beer and was underwhelmed. Surely a $17 bottle of chocolate beer that contains imported ingredients from Europe and Africa MUST be rich and tasty, right?
Well, not exactly. This brew tastes like a generic bock with just a hint of dry chocolate flavor in the aftertaste. Much like other bocks I’ve tried, I found the flavor to be slightly sweet but without the nasty cough syrup quality of most bocks. This tastes more like a black lager and has almost a cola-like taste.
But where is the chocolate? The description on www.samueladams.com reads like pure hyperbole compared to the actual taste of this beer which is rather bland. Not that it tastes bad, not in the least, but for $17 I want a much tastier beer.
At least this beer is very easy to drink. It doesn’t have any harsh, spicy qualities to its palate and does have just the sweetest finish so it goes down extremely smooth. I have a feeling this clean finish was specifically engineered since this beer is likely meant to appeal to anyone who likes chocolate, not just craft beer drinkers. Even the lightest lightweight will have no trouble downing this brew. But considering the price, this isn’t a beer you’d want to slam anyway, so feel free to savor it.
I was able to drink an entire 25oz bottle in about 30 minutes without feeling overwhelmed in the least. Unique beers like this have a reputation for being “extreme,” but at only 5.5% ABV Sam Adams Chocolate Bock is weaker than some mass market beers. It should be noted that it does contains 230 calories per 12oz serving – ay, there’s the rub. You might want to opt for it instead of cake or ice cream for dessert.
This is one of those beers that stumps me because I cannot think of anything negative to say about it, yet I can’t enthusiastically endorse it, either. It would work well as a Christmas or Valentine’s treat as it could be easily enjoyed by the non-connoisseur and by men and women equally. Just don’t expect this beer to be the liquid, alcoholic equivalent of a Godiva bar.