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
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?