Saturday, July 11, 2015

Shmaltz Bock Bock

4.5
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
Chad9976 (1394) - Albany, New York, USA - JUL 11, 2015
Does anyone remember when Shmaltz used to make the “Coney Island” brand of eccentric lagers? They sold that line a few years ago, which was a bummer to me because one of my favorite brews from that brand was the Barrel-aged Human Blockhead – an imperial doppelbock aged in bourbon barrels. It’s been a while since that beer was last sold, though “Bock Bock” seems to be its reincarnation. This is also a hefty doppelbock at 9.2% ABV and aged in bourbon barrels. It’s complex, robust, easy-drinking and a delightful beverage all around.

I poured a 22oz bottle into a Shmaltz snifter. It was bottled on 4/24/15 and cost $13 ($0.59 per ounce).

Appearance: A dark ugly shade of brownish/maroon. Blood red when held to the light. Initially pours to a small, off-white, soapy head; but it quickly fizzles away and leave no lacing.

Smell: Very sweet scent of molasses, brown sugar, wood, bourbon and some alcohol.

Taste: Judging by the aroma, I was expecting this to be an overly-sweet, cloying brew. And while I would say it’s indeed very sweet, it’s not what I would consider overboard at all. Right away the palette emerges with plenty of confectionery character: molasses, brown sugar and vanilla are all quite prominent. Additionally, there’s a lot of dark and dried fruit flavors commonly found in a Belgian brew: fig, dates, raisin (rum-soaked, of course), plum, cherry and black grape. Though not exactly vinous like wine, there is a fruity juicy component to this palette. The backend has the familiar bourbon flavor found in famous barrel-aged imperial stouts of wood, vanilla and alcohol. I’m sure this will be too intense for some drinkers, but for me it’s absolutely delectable.

Drinkability: I was a little worried I might have trouble drinking a 9.2% ABV barrel-aged beer solo. Thankfully, Shmaltz Bock Bock is remarkably light on its toes. Full-bodied to be sure, but in no way obese or intense. Though the palette is sweet, it does not have sticky, syrup sensation in the mouthfeel and leaves a rather clean aftertaste. There is minor alcohol warmth, but it’s in no way distracting or abrasive. Not exactly refreshing, but I was able to drink the entire bomber myself on a hot summer’s night – what does that tell you?

Score: 10/10