Sunday, January 6, 2013

Saranac Black Bear Bock

You don’t tend to think of winter seasonals as refreshing beers, but Saranac Black Bear Bock is one of those rare exceptions. While the palate is rather simple and direct there’s a definite refreshing quality to it that I don’t experience that often in the winter and certainly not in beers brewed for the colder months.

I didn't notice the label was torn until just now.
3.7
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (783) - Albany, New York, USA - JAN 6, 2013
I poured a 12oz bottle into a Saranac shaker glass.

Appearance: Amber/copper color; crystal clear with carbonation visible; forms an average sized, ivory colored, foamy head which retains and laces surprisingly well.

Smell: Mild sweetness with hints of candy and flowers, but otherwise a rather muted nose.

Taste: There actually isn’t a whole lot going on with Saranac Black Bear Bock, but what’s here is pretty decent. Since it’s a bock it’s a heavier, darker, and maltier lager than usual. There’s a gentle sweetness to the palate that’s similar to that of an Oktoberfest, but more Americanized. I get notes of caramel and toffee up front, followed by a mild dry bitterness through the mild and a bit of floral/citrus flavors on the back end. I’m genuinely impressed that this beer doesn’t have the usual "generic lager" qualities to it that so many other beers of this general type tend to have. There’s no obvious "lager" taste to it, nor anything that makes it seem cheap (though there’s nothing that makes it seem world class, either). It’s a good beer, but nothing more than that.

Drinkability: If there’s any reason to drink this beer it’s for its quaffability and quenchability (yeah I know those aren’t words). The mouthfeel is thin to medium with distinct lager-like crispness and carbonation. But the aftertaste is almost completely clean and while in the mouth, Saranac Black Bear Bock is surprisingly refreshing. At 6% ABV it’s light on its feet as it does not have the weight or density of something that big. It’d be easy to put back a couple of these back-to-back.
 Grade: 7/10