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A bock beer is a very strong type of lager, ranging in color from pale to amber to even dark brown. Bocks were originally brewed by Roman Catholic monks in Einbeck, Germany during the 14th century. Roman Catholic monks were required to fast during the religious season of Lent. Due to the high gravity of these beers, they contain higher levels of food energy and nutrients which helped sustain the monks during these periods of fasting. There are five different styles of bock beers: Traditional bock, Doppelbock, Eisbock, Maibock, and Weizenbock.

Traditional bock: Traditional bock beer originated in the northern German city of Einbeck in the 14th century, and was later recreated in Munich in the 17th century. Traditional bocks tend to boast a high malted barley content and a lower hop bitterness, which generally creates a sweeter finish to this low-carbonation beer style. Traditional bocks range in color from light copper to brown, typically with reddish hues, and usually contain 6-7% ABV.

Doppelbock: Doppelbock, or double bock, is a Bavarian-style beer that was first brewed by the monks of St. Francis of Paula. Alcohol content in Doppelbocks ranges from 6-10% ABV, though historically these darker bock beers were sweeter and contained less alcohol. Today the doppelbock flavor is very rich and malty, with toasty flavors and a stronger alcoholic taste. Most versions are fairly sweet, due to little added hop flavor. Examples of doppelbocks brewed today are Spaten’s Optimator, Troeg’s Troegenator, Birra Moretti La Rossa, and Samuel Adam’s Double Bock.

Eisbock: Eisbock beers were originally brewed in the Kulmbach district of Bavaria, Germany. Eisbocks are made by freeze distilling (freezing a portion of the water during the brewing process and removing it from the beer) a doppelbock to concentrate the flavor and alcohol content. This process is used to increase the beer’s body and alcohol content, which creates an Eisbock. Eisbock beers usually contain an alcohol content of 9- 15%, though some, like such as Japan’s Stone Iwamoto Co.’s Hakusekikan Eisbock, boast much higher alcohol contents of up to 28%.

Maibock: The Maibock style bock is a pale version of a traditional bock, usually deep gold to light amber in color, and is a much more recent development compared to other styles of this ancient beer. Maibock beers are often used as spring seasonal beers due to their common association with spring and the month of May. Alcohol content ranges from 6-7.5% ABV and the flavors of the Maibock style are usually drier and hoppier than most other bock styles. There is also more carbonation in a Maibock than most bocks. Famous examples include Hofbrau Maibock and Long Island’s Southampton May Bock.

Weizenbock: A Weizenbock beer is actually a stronger version of an unfiltered Weissbier or Hefeweizen, or German wheat beers. It is usually made with 60-70% wheat malt, with the other 30-40% comprising of Pils malts, Vienna malts or Munich malts. While all other styles of bocks beers are strong lagers, Weizenbocks are all ales. Weizenbock beers tend to have a slightly spicy, clove-like flavor due to special yeasts with which they are brewed. Examples include Samuel Adam’s LongShot Weizenbock at 7.2% ABV, and Harpoon Brewery’s Weizenbock, which weighs in at 7.8% ABV and boasts a deeper brown color and hints of banana flavoring.