St. Nikolaus Bock Bier - Brewer's Reserve - Pennsylvania Brewing Company

Not Rated.
St. Nikolaus Bock Bier - Brewer's ReserveSt. Nikolaus Bock Bier - Brewer's Reserve

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding

146 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 146
Reviews: 96
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 9.52%
Wants: 58
Gots: 15 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Pennsylvania Brewing Company visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
Doppelbock |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: jcdiflorio on 11-22-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 146 | Reviews: 96 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by thecheapies:
Photo of thecheapies
3.96/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

22oz bomber. 2011 Vintage.

Poured into my snifter a ruby-edged chestnut color with hazy translucency. The head was restrained and never really wanted to form. Showing a ring now, after less than a minute.

Musty maltiness with lots of raisin, fig, dark toffee, treacle syrup, bread crumb, and age tang. Smells full and rich with only a small note of oxidation. Definitive German malts. Hints of candi sugar, plum, and nectarine.

Big malty doppelbock with a cornucopia of dark fruits, pomme, breadiness, and caramelly toffee. Held up pretty decently. Some medicinal notes, but they're weak. Raisin, plum, brown bread, toffee, oxidized apple, rye-like spice, milk chocolate, light Band-Aid, and some solvents. Opening salvo of dried fruit. Middle is very bready and the finish follows with a stamp of bitterness and some leftover fusel alcohol. Dextrins very much present. Chewy and still impressively carbonated. Big enough, but I'd still call it smooth and easy. Alcohol has a few bit parts. Body is a tad thin, which is not the preference. Flavors are interesting and wooly.

I recently had a Randall-ed version with rye whiskey-soaked oak chips (2012 vintage) that I thought was excellent. I know this beer rather well. Private Reserve always treats me right and it was fun pulling this from the cellar and seeing what was up. Flavors mellow slightly and the body falters a bit, but the complexity is quite a feat. Recommended for all you German beer lovers out there.

More User Reviews:
Photo of heddar33
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of BeerIsland
3.76/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Picked up this 2013 version bomber at the estimable Krugel's Georgetown Deli in Wilkes-Barre. Pours beautifully into the goblet. Fluffy head packed it in early but ring and lacing look nice. Extremely deep brown; almost black. Slight spice or something to the nose; otherwise aroma somewhat muted. Not the chewiest DB I've had but decent heft. Alcohol is pretty muted; very drinkable. Very good flavor. Nice beer overall.

Photo of merlin48
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml batch 001, many thanks to BEERchitect for the bottle! Pours a cloudy chestnut body with a small beige head that leaves delicate patchy lacing on the glass. Aroma is malty toffee, some cocoa, herbal hops, raisins, and some ripe pears. Medium body and carbonation make for a smooth feel. Taste is highlighted by malty toffee with cocoa undertones. Herbal and earthy hop bitterness is up to the task for balance. Dark fruity notes(figs) and some fresh pears in the background serve up some welcome complexity. Very nicely done.

Photo of SkinnyElvis
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 002. Pours with a thin head. Nice lacing. Dark amber in color. Smells very bready and malty. Taste is malt with some sweetness. Mouthfeel is very smooth and this is also very drinkable. I was not planning on reviewing this until I took a sip & thought that this was a very good bock. Recommended.

Cheers.

Photo of jcdiflorio
4.78/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750 bottle,foil wrapper with crimped cap,in a velvet bag,sevred into a Delirium tulip glass.

Clear,deep alburn color,2'' tan head very dense and creamy with excellent retention. Very tiny bubbles tightly knitted on the sides of the glass,leaving some sticky webby lacing on the glass.Comes to life like the first pour with every swirl.

Complex aromas,moderate, very fruity with dark fruitiness of figs/dates.Roasty,chard wood with spicy noble hops,with the slightest hint of alcohol.

Dark fruity tastes come through first, followed by an easy complex maltiness roasty,some coffee,dusty chocolate with light burnt notes.Very well balanced with a nice pleasing spicy woody hoppiness. No alcohol tastes of a beer that's 8.5%.

Extra smooth and creamy,has a very light mouthfeel,just melts away in your mouth. Unbelivable drinkability,just kinds of slides down. Just can't belive there is alcohol in the beer. You do feel it though. Must try beer,get it while you can. I'll be looking for a case.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 Vintage:

Appears a murky mahogany brown hue with a large beige head forms fine even thick bands of lacing as it dwindles down my glass. Aroma contains deep complex malt layers filled with dark fruits like plum raisin with mild oak characteristics. Brown sugar with caramelized over ripened fruit soaked in alcohol, with tame herbal earthy hop notes smells great with a touch of holiday spice bread in the finish. Flavor is creamy with soft spice pungent ripened fruit tart raisin with mild alcohol brandy on the palate. A complex mix of oak, dark chocolate, and spiced fruit cake with minimal medicinal herbal hoppiness going on. Damn good well mixed flavors and not just because I'm all about Penn Brewing, this is what St Nick Bock used to taste like every year. Mouthfeel is full of moderate soft carbonation body is medium not too heavy and rides effortlessly smooth along the palate. Drinkability is incredible you finish off a 750ml bottle and you yearn for more so do like my good buddy jcdiflorio did last year and just shell out enough for a whole case. I loved it well balanced awesome flavors and incredibly smooth drinking.

2014 Vintage:

This beer has totally changed pitch black with ruby highlights way more chocolate notes than it has ever had...I just picked up a fresh bottle from Giant Eagle Market District.

Looks really dark when held toward the light there's a deep blood orange crimson hue going on with khaki tan head forming thick and super carbonated, this head slowly dwindles and forms some intricate lacing.

Aroma is dominant with dark chocolate or cocoa notes, it always had more of a raisin/ripened fruit note on the nose. Maybe a bit of light earthy hops other than that it's very easy to describe compared to the complex work that the Brewer's Reserve St Nik Bock used to be.

Flavor is creamy smooth with dark chocolate and hint of fruitiness, more milk chocolate actually there's a good bit of creamy smooth dark malts meshed together without much hop bite at all...this beer has easily been reformulated since my last review and I tried it last year as well scoring it at a 3.5 out of 5 which was much lower than my original written review of 4.4/5.

Mouthfeel has more cloying sweetness there's dark chocolate, milk sugars, and all other heavy residual sugars left on the palate that were never in this beer...bigger than the standard St. Nik bock but weigh different than this has been since it's inception...I'm guessing they formulated this closer to a stout or imperial porter than they did a doppelbock. Then there is Penn Doppel Sticke nearly perfect double altbier!!! Go figure!

Overall, Tom Pastorious' ghost will haunt this brewery as much as I want their Penn Dark, Penn Gold, and St Nik Bocks to return to their glory days...I'm a realist, and the amount of bad kharma exchanged during Tom Pastorious fallout with a company he started in the late 1980s has scarred this company exponentially! Hit or miss like all of Penn's beer...that's right I can't even spell it bier, you know why because this used to be the best German style brewer in the US. Nowadays chocolate meltdown and nut roll ales are overshadowing their German roots which formed this brewery, for that and that alone the current shareholders and administration will pay for what they did! Physically assault Tom, when he was trying to revive his creation after a horrible deal where brewing operations where moved to the Lion Brewery in Wilkes Barre, PA...Tom is the reason we all drink Penn in the Burgh...and he is the reason we still drink Penn brewed in the Burgh!!! Get back to your roots or die, Hofbrauhaus doesn't need you to survive but Pittsburgh core beer drinkers do need you!!!

Photo of mrosenfeld32
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of jamiemottram
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of NotMilko
4.68/5  rDev +11.4%

Photo of dacrza1
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Jet black body with milky soft brown, swiftly settling head--intimidating in its snifter! Malt is considerable, but not obtrusive... smooth early, with a bit of effervescence and a warm finish--not feeling like 8.0%... a bit of peat; rich, full-bodied malt, a little smoke and a pleasant finish... I've had bocks with a third of the alcohol that strained the tastebuds more--smooth! As winnings from a fantasy football wager, this beer (courtesy of Ryan, again!) 2007 batch #001 is a winner also, the second pour producing a smoother, creamier drink--a fitting February/March pleasure.

Photo of Stigs
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A lovely drinking bock, and happy for me I found it at StateLine Liquors. Pours dark, not overly foamy. Malty yet not too sweet.A tad of sourness, good moderate roastiness and mdoerate chocolate. Balance, above average mouthfeel. Great after dinner digestive. Spot on.

Photo of dirtylou
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, thanks bort

appearance: the dreaded green-glass bottle...poured into an unmarked chalice, very rich cola-mahogany body with ruby highlights, creamy light tan head

smell: woody, nutty, cherry and apple,

taste: a very refined bock - creamy, full of spice, sweet apple, roasted malt, bready, cherry. a festive arrangement with great depth

mouthfeel: really nice - creamy and complex

drinkability: good

Photo of cjgator3
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch #001

750ml bottle that comes in a red velvet bag that resembles santa's sack. Pours a dark brown color with an off-white head. The aroma is very malty with a nice array of holiday spices. The taste much like the aroma features a nice big malt backbone dark fruits and spices dancing around on the tongue. The drinkability is very high for this beer, especially considering the high ABV. Overall, this is a really nice beer that is highly recommended!

Photo of hoptualBrew
4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

2011 vintage, 22oz bomber

Cola brown with ruby edges. Clear in appearance with no cloudiness present. Actively rising carbon dioxide. A medium light khaki head dies down to a thin film, lacing is rather lackluster.

Sweet toffee candy, mixed nuts, mineral water, bakers chocolate hit the nose in aroma. Really nailed it here. Beautiful meld of characters.

Classic dopplebock flavors, well done. Great balance of sweet german malts with a touch of chocolate and roast character.

Medium body, would probably be more full in mouthfeel if not for the amount of carbonation.

Overall, solid beer and one I wish I had waited to crack open in the colder months but just couldn't stare at it in the fridge any longer. This would be the perfect beer on a cold October/November night by the campfire.

Photo of nickd717
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle sent as an awesome extra in a trade with Davolebomb. Thanks, Dave! Shared with family at Christmas dinner. The incorrigible neophytes that they are, they were saying things like, "Is that a beer? It looks like a wine bottle! I've never seen something like that!" Pfft! Ignoramuses.

Pours a dark, clear reddish-brown color with a nice lasting tan head.

Aroma is malty and sweet with toffee, roast, and dark fruits.

Flavor is very good, malty and roasty, fairly complex, with toffee, caramel, spices, and black cherry.

Smooth on the mouthfeel with medium body.

Drinkability is very good for the style. Overall this is a really nice beer.

Photo of russpowell
4.8/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Got this from melbatoast93, Cheers Hart! Or should I say prositz?

Batch 001 pours an effervescent chestnut/ mahogany with 2 fingers of rocky sandy head. Good lacing & head retention

S: Faint herbal hops, a bit of chocolate & not much else, until it warms & then booze & dark fruit take your nose for a ride!

T: Herbal hops, caramel, cakeyness, & a touch of dark fruits up front. A whisper of black patent malt & dark chocolate, a touch of dryness, nice breadyness, apple pie spices, figs & plums as this warms. Finishes fruitty, dry, chocolatey & just a touch of herbal & tobacco hops

MF: Medium bodied, chewy & rich, soft carbonation

Drank very easy, this one took a little while to open up; my suggestion: serve closer to ale serving temps than lager. A very good bock as good as most or better than ones I've had in the fatherland or any where else!

Photo of hippityhops85
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 002. Poured from a 750ml green (sigh) bottle into my Yards Real Ale Invitational glass. Bottle reads 7.5% abv rather than the 8.5% noted here.

Pours a beautiful chestnut/deep amber with a good 1 1/2 finger of great, tight tan head. Active carbonation in the glass present. FANTASTIC lacing. Looks great.

The nose immediately hits me with mild cinnamon notes dancing around a really strong maltiness. Reminiscent of chestnuts, decaying leaves and dark fruits.

The taste is so amazingly subtle with a plethora of flavors playing around each other on the palate. Dark fruits, deep malts, cinnamon among others. A true symphony in the mouth.

The mouth feel is spot on. Medium bodied with great carbonation that really brings out the more subtle notes of this malty beast.

This is such a good offering from Penn Brewery. They did absolutely stunning things with the Bock style. This, quite possibly, is the best American offering of the Bock style. Please, pour me more!

Photo of akorsak
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A foil-wrapped 750 mL capped bottle presented in a red velvet (or faux velvet) satchel. Batch 001.

A: The bock is a chocolatey brown color, hot chocolate with extra syrup added to darken it up. A 3 finger head arose on pour and is sporadically lacing around the glass. There is little indication of on-going carbonation.

S: Chocolate on the nose mixes with caramel malts to create a semi-sweet aroma. Toffee adds a further dimension of sweet malts, as do dark raisins and some brown sugar.

T: The bockbier is quite thick and luxurient, fully of fruit flavors and boozy warmth. Apples (green, slightly tart), raisins and brown sugar continue from the nose, showing off more intensity than the nose let on. Chocolate, both baker's and milk, emerge in a sour-sweet format. Breadiness abounds, toasted grains that are strong but not too biting, instead assisting the overall flavor profile. A full-bodied ale that sticks to traditional roots.

M: The mouthfeel is malty and full, a warming drink that doesn't overpower the tastebuds.

D: The 8.5% and 750 mL bottle leave me content with the one I've got. This would be a excellent Christmas Eve beer.

Photo of bluejacket74
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle, Batch # 001. Served in a Sam Adams BL glass, the beer pours dark brown with about a half inch tan head. Head retention and lacing are both excellent. The aroma is very malty, it smells like dark fruit, burnt wood (oak?) and a bit of spice. Taste is similar to the aroma, but there's some spicy hops and a small amount of alcohol noticable in the finish. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it has moderate carbonation and a nice rich feel to it. Drinkability is pretty good too, it's very smooth and goes down very easy. I think it's a pretty good beer, I'd definitely recommend it to others to try.

Photo of BeerSox
4.88/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750ml capped green bottle into Scandinavian mug. 7.5% ABV. Batch 002.

Deep mahogany hue. When held up to the light I can see that the beer is clear, with ruby highlights. A thick and dense two finger even head slowly settles to a thick cap. The settling head leaves behind about a finger of solid lacing. Rings of solid lacing.

Very light, but also very complex. Those usually don't occur together but this one somehow pulled it off. Heavily toasted grains give off a little bit of brown sugar and caramel.

My first impression from the flavor is it's extremely smooth and creamy tones. Some roastiness builds in the middle and shifts to a slight bitterness. A bit of caramel comes in here and there.

Smooth, yet complex. Oh so drinkable. A good amount of roasted malts and caramel. A very enjoyable bock. Recommended.

Photo of hoppymcgee
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sick tonight and reviewed from notes.

Batch #1 Big 750 shared with the Boise Peeps.

Slightly hazy deep brown amber.. good head and lacing.

nose is toasty malts... lite roasty.. nice dark maltiness... a bit nutty... very clean malts pretty much sums it up.

Flavor mirrors the nose with some background fruity esters that make me think dried cherries... body is on the plus side of medium, but the carbonation is probably a bit high given the few years in the bottle.

Good bock (verging on dopplebock zone) across the board.. glad I got a chance to try this one... Well-made German style lagers are my weakness and something I think are vastly overlooked in the Beer Geek world.

4/4/4.5/4/4

Photo of mikesgroove
4.72/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big thanks for getting this one to me. I have been dying to try this for what seemed like forever. This 750ml bottle that was wrapped in gold foil and capped on the top arrived to me in the red velvet drawstring bag, which I have to admit is a very nice touch. Served at cellar temp and poured into a pilsner glass, this one was consumed on 10/21/2008.

The pour was very nice with a rich and very hazy dark brown color emerging from the abyss. Nice head of tan that reached a height of around two inches before settling back down top earth and leaving behind some very nice side glass lacing. Very thick, and full looking bock.

The aroma was super rich and sweet, really just a joy from the moment I opened the bottle. Nice and rich and airy, caramel, toffee, hints of earthy hops just dancing in and throughout the flavor. Some light spices, cinnamon, nutmeg perhaps, also intruding in upon the flavor, and giving it that little bit of a holiday like hint. The real story though here was just the smoothness and ease of drinkability here. Simply outstanding. Rich and luscious with a decadent, almost dessert like feel to it that was just a breath of fresh are. Rich caramel and toffee like notes just rippling in throughout the finish leaving the tongue coated in rich flavors and really just a fine example of a delicious bock.

In the end, wow, this was damn good. Who would have thought I would have been drinking a Andescher and this is in the same three day period is just absurd. There are far too few of these good bock biers out there anymore and it is a shame. This was one solid beer I would love to see in regular rotation.

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St. Nikolaus Bock Bier - Brewer's Reserve from Pennsylvania Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 146 ratings.