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St. Nikolaus Bock Bier - Pennsylvania Brewing Company

Not Rated.
St. Nikolaus Bock BierSt. Nikolaus Bock Bier

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

348 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 348
Reviews: 203
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 12.18%
Wants: 75
Gots: 19 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Pennsylvania Brewing Company visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
Bock |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
Munich and various roasted malts give it a very malty, rich flavor with a hint of burnt flavor. 100% imported Hallertau hops, moderate bitterness and aroma.

(Beer added by: SheepNutz on 12-03-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 348 | Reviews: 203 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by dmamiano:
Photo of dmamiano
3.35/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

fairly dark brown with a decent tan head that left some lacing behind.
Malt dominated in the nose as expected.
taste was pretty good, not as 'big" in the malt as I expected though. Hints of burnt sugar, fruts but seemed to be a bit thin on the mouthfeel

dmamiano, Dec 26, 2010
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown with some nice reddish highlights showing thru with no head to speak of,arom is on the lighter side of almost buttery notes and some sweetness.A real chewy tasting brew with some caramel sweetness and some earthy unsweetened chocolate flavor that hits and lingers thru the finish,very appetizing.A nice full flavored beer to drink before bed.

oberon, Dec 30, 2003
Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer review from BA Mag Nov 2007.

Some old world folklore in Germany with St. Nikolaus. A deeper look into the folklore and a helper of the saint, Knecht Ruprecht, would beat or possibly eat children that were bad. Thankfully that is myth and the real St. Nikolaus was a Greek from the 3rd century. Either way, we'd rather be good and drink a bock.

Stunning dark chestnut-brown color with good clarity, the lacing is not too bad either with a few patches left on the glass. A clean alcohol, sweet molasses cake-batter and a faint herbal hop in the fresh aroma. The smoothness has depth with a medium crispness in a slick malty body. An abundance of malty, bready and sweet graininess, more on the bready side than anything else. Mild-mannered hop bitterness keeps the beer on an even keel. Toasty and borderline roasted grain flavors in the semisweet finish.

A tasty treat and a great switch from the plethora of winter warmers. Not that there are many German-style Bocks imported into the US; this one stands out the most with a true-to-style flair. Give this one a go.

BeerAdvocate, Jul 07, 2010
Photo of orbitalr0x
3.68/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle pours into my glass a deep ruby brown that retains a lot of clarity when held to the light. A half inch of fizzy eggshell head on top. Aromas begin with roasty, chocolate malts. Somewhat fruity as well with a light fig aspect. Grainy with a touch of herbal hops. Pretty good.

First sip brings a crisp, lightly roasted malt with accents of chocolate, caramel and a dark fruit background. A bit of a bready aspect. Slightly sweet it flows down with just a touch of herbal hop bitterness. Finishes clean.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with a medium body and ample carbonation making it an easy to drink brew. Overall, this is a solid bock and I can appreciate it even though it's not one of my favorite styles. This is my first Penn Brewing beer and hopefully I'll have a chance to sample more in the future.

orbitalr0x, Nov 14, 2007
Photo of muskiecf
4.58/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am not normaly a darker beer fan...but this is the bomb. Smooth with a roasted carmel sweetness, not too sweet, just right in my book. I dont have many other bocks to compare it with as most I've tried I didn't much care for. This brew is something special. Thanks to Tom Pastorius for bring the Penn Brewery back to greatness. This brew will make for a great holiday season! lol If you enjoy lagers that aren't pussy beers...try this, it just might surprise you.

muskiecf, Nov 03, 2010
Photo of DWolf
3/5  rDev -23.9%

DWolf, Dec 28, 2012
Photo of sponberg
4.55/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Anybody seen my stocking?

Pours a dark russet with a thinnish, but pretty persistent, head. An aroma like I opened my Christmas stocking and Santa dumped a truckload of malt in it - as it should be!!

Very malty and round - pushes all of my "malt" flavor buttons in a big way. Big and chewy decoction-like flavors and some background butterscotch give way to more chocolate like notes in the finish, along with some hop spiciness and well controlled alcohol that balance this baby out nicely. No spices and it doesn't need any.

First time I've tried this, and it's well up into my top 10 holiday brews.

sponberg, Jan 07, 2003
Photo of Billolick
3.95/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I sampled a 12 ounce bottle, that came with freshness dating notched onto the label. (month only unfortunatly) Pours dark honey brown, with a rich malty nose. Tan head, leaving some sticky lacing. Medium carbonation and also medium bodied. Sweet malty brew, notes of vanilla, cookies, caramel, toffee and bananas, Almond nut liquer in the back ground. Nice, smooth winter sipper.

Billolick, Mar 25, 2005
Photo of tigg924
3.3/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: ½ inch head, moderate carbonation, dark brown in color, clear

Smell: toasted malt

Taste: toasted malt, chocolate, and slight holiday spicing

Mouthfeel: slightly sweet, moderate carbonation, medium bodied

Overall: An ok holiday offering. I could certainly drink a six but for the price, I think I may pass. None of the flavors are overpowering and I think this beer could use a bit more ummph.

tigg924, Jan 17, 2012
Photo of reitzbrewing
4.75/5  rDev +20.6%

reitzbrewing, Nov 23, 2013
Photo of Mora2000
3.58/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to bman1113vr for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a medium orangish-brown color with a white head. The aroma is toffee, grain and other malts. The flavor is lightly roasted malt, some alcohol and some lighter toffee malts. Medium mouthfeel and low carbonation. A clean tasting lager, but nothing really stands out.

Mora2000, Mar 27, 2010
Photo of frenchblood21
4.22/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From bottle into tulip.

Appearance- Dark brown...no head whatsoever. Decent lacing.

Smell- Brown sugar, malt and honey hit me right away. Yeast and hops come through in the end.

Taste- So much different than the nose. Much more hops. Malty with honey and spices.

Mouthfeel- Great feeling in your mouth. Just right.

Overall- I could never drink a whole 6 pack of this stuff, but one or two on a cold night does a body good.

frenchblood21, Jan 20, 2012
Photo of jakester
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was from a sampler case I got at Shangy's. I drank it in a pilsner glass. The month numbers (no year numbers!) were on the back of the bottle, but nothing was notched. No date on the case, either.

Pours a brilliant dark mahogany with a slight brown tint. Not much carbonation evident. A one finger head of tan foam forms on top, drops off after a while to islands and a ring. Intermittent splotches of lacing are on the glass.

Aroma is of rich dark bready malts, very clean. Notes of dark cherries, brown sugar, and burnt candy apples. Just a wee hint of spicy hops. Some DMS arises as it warms.

The flavor is rich, dark, and caramel-y malts, very yummy. Notes of dark cherries and plums, with maybe a port wine character. Good level of residual sugar , with some heat at the end. Aftertaste is rich and dark.

Mouthfeel is rich, smooth and creamy, with soft carbonation. Finish is long and sweet and delish.

This is a good representation of the style. Rich and complex with a sound malt base. I would buy a case of this.

jakester, Aug 22, 2005
Photo of jcdiflorio
5/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a tall slender pilsner glass from a 12oz.brown long neck bottle with crimped-on cap. 20 years on top label.

Beautiful clear ruby red color,thick/rocky off-white towards tan head.Good retention with chunks of lace sticking on the sides of the glass,lots of strings of tiny bubbles racing towards the top of the glass.

A delightful fruity and spicy aroma,woody,very malty with a sweet carmell/roasty/light burnt,smoke and hints of chocolate,very complex and inviting.Can't seem to keep my nose out of this beer.

A delicious,complex taste,very malty with sweet carmell/toffee tastes, also
chocolate,a bit nutty,a nice tartness,finishes crisp,clean with a lingering spicy/woodyness.

A medium mouthfeel,very creamy,slightly cloying a treat for the palate.
Very robust,tasty and enjoyable.Could drink all night,and have done it many times over the last 20 years. The beer gives me something to look foward to every Christmas season. Here's to another 20 years.
Everybody need to try this Christmas jewel !!!!

jcdiflorio, Dec 05, 2006
Photo of kpantz
4.03/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Executive Summary: In a word - smoooth. Nice malt (both roasted and bready in character) flavor profile here. Not too aggressive on any one dimension - makes this a highly drinkable bock.

Appearance: Pours a deep ruby/amber (more ruby than amber) into the glass. Finger thick, fluffy head is loathe to recede. Lacing isn't all too prominent.

Smell: Bready malt aroma. Hints of coffee and chocolate. Sweet smelling.

Taste: Sweetness is pretty short-lived on the tongue, as roasted malt flavor takes over, and then it finishes out with a distinct hop character (though not overly bitter in the back end). Coffee flavor is present, as is a certain fruity character (cherries, perhaps).

Mouthfeel: Lighter than I expected, but it's not a doppelbock, ferchrissakes. Carbonation is very low, which really enhances the smoothness of this puppy.

Drinkability: Yeah, I could dump back a six pack of this. Good, complex (but not too complex) palate and a light body. 7.5% ABV goes unnoticed (until the 3rd or 4th bottle, that is).

kpantz, Mar 20, 2007
Photo of ADR
4.33/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2003 bottling...dark reddish hued brown color, very attractive. Head is lightly yellow and rises to 1/2 an inch. Lacing is fine and intricate. Aroma is spicy and hoppy, granular pine-like hops combined with an overal cinnamon tone. Nice body for a Bock, fully medium with fruitcake maltiness, all the way down to walnut, holiday spices, and a sassy prickliness. Finishes strongly with moderate and pleasant aftertaste. This is a more recent brew than my days in Pittsburgh, but its very nice. I wish Schell would do this kind of Lager for the holidays, rather than straying into English-style Ale territory so much. Thanks to an old Pittsburgh bud, P. D. for the bottle.

ADR, Dec 24, 2003
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: This local favorite christmas brew pours a perfect toasted crimson brown hue with a nice silky smooth tan nice sized head, leaving behind specks of lacing. Aroma: Spieces, toasted nuts, with a great Hallertau hop aroma going down, malty and rich smelling definitely a warming bock bier. Taste: Carmel malt sweetness with toasted nuts and a nice bitterness from the hops tames the barrage of sweet malt and festive spices. Mouthfeel: Medium to light in body mild carbonation just a bit spritzy. Drinkability: Classic by all means when referring to a local christmas bock beer, in the Burgh.

WVbeergeek, Dec 01, 2003
Photo of chinchill
3.53/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a 12oz bottle.
Clear, dark, red-brown ale with a good off-white head that fades slowly.
S: The aroma is mainly of roasted malts, with only faint hints of yeast and hops. Attractive but light.
T: The taste is well-balanced but a bit under-flavored.
M: Medium body seems a bit too thin, good, if slightly high, near-medium carbonation.

O: Certainly a good beer, but tame for style (versus European versions): a bock leaning towards an amber

chinchill, Feb 15, 2013
Photo of mrosenfeld32
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

mrosenfeld32, Jul 12, 2012
Photo of rhoadsrage
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a deep transparent walnut brown body with a medium head of off-white. The carbonation is one of gentle tiny bubbles.

S- This beer has a nice caramelized malt aroma with a hint of sweetness.

T- This beer has a smooth caramel malt flavor with some deeper roasted malts in the background. There is a soft sweetness with a hint of alcohol and smoky flavor at the finish. After the finish there is a faint bitterness from hops with some sulfur hints that balances the sweetness.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with some nice light fizz quality to enhance the mouthfeel.

D- This is a smooth nice lager that has good balance and nice roasted malt notes.

rhoadsrage, Jan 11, 2006
Photo of LXIXME
4/5  rDev +1.5%

LXIXME, Mar 23, 2013
Photo of brewQ
3.73/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It was Mardi Gras and a Bock sounded right.
I asked the Pittsburgh area bar what they had.
I was quite surprised to see Santa on the label!
Seemed like a blurring of seasons.

The dark jewel like color made me think of a Porter.
A firm and steady off-tan head reinforced that image.

The nose was chocolatey and malty. Though it was not overwhelming in the taste. Actually quite clean and balanced.
Residual sweetness in the finish.

A great brew. I'm still a bit baffled on the style and presentation: Bock, Doppelbock or ? Santa?

brewQ, Feb 10, 2005
Photo of Merles
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%

Merles, Jan 04, 2012
Photo of Beerontwowheels
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%

Beerontwowheels, Dec 27, 2011
Photo of TheycallmeTim
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into an American pint glass.

A--Penn St. Nick pours up a delicious reddish caramel color with a one finger creme colored cap that fades to skim pretty fast. Lots of little bubbles pock the rim of the skim throughout the tasting. Nice and lively for a lager.

S--That grain liqueur of melanoidins you expect from the style reign mightily here, providing plenty of syrupy nostril-coating sweetness. Undercurrent notes of bing cherries linger behind the sweet bready aromas. Sulfur and hops are nonexistent, as they should be.

T--More of that concentrated malt punch--I know calling a lager fresh is a little contradictory, but I can tell a difference in the brightness of the palate on this beer as opposed to the German imports. It's a welcome one, as it keeps the malt sweetness from being overbearing or stale. Bread notes range from biscuit to honeyed whole grain to dark pumpernickel. Minimal fruit, and again no sulfur, although some weird sour/bitter tug comes in on the finish, which is my only complaint. It's almost hidden by an interesting smoky flavor that creeps in as you near the beginning of the end, so to speak, and the finish starts (the "burnt" flavor the label mentions? dunno). Overall a satisfying and steady dose of the full profile of what malt can do, as even the bitterness I think is more from the grain than from hops.

M&D--Mouthfeel opens up with some lively carbonation, enough to make this creamy rather than watery, as the Mahr's Christmas Bock I tried was. Drinkability is average as this is a little strong for the style, but nowhere near unforgivable.

This holds its own not just as an exceptional domestic version of a style I hardly ever see from US breweries, but against the top German representatives in its class as well. Worth seeking out.

TheycallmeTim, Jan 25, 2009
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St. Nikolaus Bock Bier from Pennsylvania Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 348 ratings.