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.
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
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