Amsterdam Spring Bock - Amsterdam Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Amsterdam Spring BockAmsterdam Spring Bock

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

112 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 112
Reviews: 57
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 10.11%
Wants: 2
Gots: 6 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Amsterdam Brewing Company visit their website
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
Doppelbock |  7.80% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Derek on 03-11-2009

No notes at this time.
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Ratings: 112 | Reviews: 57
Photo of Sammy
3.33/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Twist-off bottle, courtesy of Derek Hyde, who innovated the recipe. Love to have had this unfiltered, on cask. Poured dark brown with crowning head and lace. Unfortunately overcarbonated, but drinkable and balanced with chocolate malt. A little bitterness, above average for this brewery.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3/5  rDev -18%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a clear medium brown color ale with a relatively large foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma consists of dry caramel malt with a light very subtle toffee finish. Taste is dryer then expected with some caramel malt and not much else in terms of characteristics. Body is about average with good carbonation. A bit too bland and dry for my taste but no brewing flaws.

Photo of biegaman
3.38/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Amsterdam Spring Bock looks nice, but it obviously doesn't have a clue about fashion. For a *spring* beer it's wearing all the wrong colours! Far from pastel, this dark, earthy reddish-brown coloured beer shows a deep scarlet hue and even a few strands of dark violet. And forget about rejuvenation: this is still barren and lifeless.

To oversimplify a little, a classic doppelbock requires one thing and one thing only: strong, rich maltiness. This bouquet suggests the beer has some maltiness, but that the pistol is only half cocked. This chocolaty smell and the dark fruits (plum, grape), light caramel and light toast notes it contains is on target for the style but...doesn't quite do it.

The taste too is agreeable, and probably even surprisingly so for those who didn't think they liked dark beer, but is far, far from profound. The taste of chocolate is a little too prominent, and borders on being roasty. It reminds me of some of the weaker stouts I've had the (dis)pleasure of trying. The finish is dry and perceptibly ashy.

Doppelbocks are notoriously rich and they get that way via a painstaking decoction program and an extensive, melanoidin-enhancing boil. Don't ask me to explain it, it's very complicated. I'm sure Amsterdam would tell you the same thing - it's clear that it gave their brewer troubles. This has nowhere near the sweet malty richness the style dictates.

It'd be easy to blame the obstruction of toasty melanoidins, the suffocation of dark fruits, the suppression of sweet maltiness on over-hopping. But that ain't the case. There's scarcely a trace of earthy, noble hop and, by extension, a very negligible bitterness. Likewise, the water could have used harder minerals. At least the alcohol was left out too.

The best doppelbocks reach heights of intense, powerful flavour that are seldom evinced in non-traditional German brands. Amsterdam Spring Bock - while a fine, cleanly brewed lager by any standards - is not the exception I was hoping it'd be. So far each batch has considerably varied year to year. Here's hoping next year's batch is a bit better.

Photo of liamt07
3.83/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from the LCBO, 500ml into a balloon tulip. No best before date (but quite fresh I'll assume), consumed March 5.

Poured a dark mahogany, really translucent with a few fingers of khaki head. Solid lacing and a creamy, fairly dense head. Nose holds a bit of caramel, nuts, light smoke, dark fruit notes and light chocolate. Taste has some 'soft' (?) chocolate and some nuts as well, dark fruits maybe as well, but as a whole everything is quite muted and malty. Some alcohol rounds out the mouthfeel, and I don't mind it. Good creamy feel, and almost silky at points. Good drinkability, and I'll purchase this one a again. Good stuff Amsterdam.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.93/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured in to brandy snifter.

A - Dark brown with a small amount of foamy cream-coloured head.

S - Toffee, brown sugar, caramel and some noticeable alcohol.

T - Toffee, dark caramel, brown sugar. A slight bitterness.

M - Light to medium body; lightly carbonated.

D - A very good example of the style and very drinkable for 7% ABV.

Photo of Derek
4.42/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I enjoyed a half pint of this at the C'est What Spring Festival.

A: Deep mahogany, tan head, good retention & great lacing.

S: After a couple of months in a keg, the fruitiness has really come forward. Nice floral & peppery spicing with a light whiff of alcohol.

T: The roastyness and dark caramel flavours have really mellowed, allowing plenty of fruit flavours to come forward. Blackberries, cranberries, currants & caramelized raisins, with a floral & peppery spicing; nuts; hints of cocoa, caramel & bread. Good bitterness and the alcohol is really subtle.

M: Well-attenuated, moderate body has an off-dry finish.

D: Very drinkable.

Definitely brewed to my taste. :D

Photo of Viggo
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, thanks to Derek for hooking Amsterdam up with the recipe! Why aren't more breweries doing this?

Pours a crystal clear dark ruby red, light brown/chestnut highlighting, thin light tan head forms, quickly settles down to a thin ring around the glass, drops some lace spots, looks good. Smell is nice, sweet at first, caramel and brown sugar, raisins, cherries and dark fruit, nice biscuity malt, earthy and rich, light booze, but very clean in the aroma. Taste is similar, quite sweet, lots of caramel, sugary, biscuits, dark fruit, alcohol, strawberries, melons, lightly bitter and toasty in the finish but very clean. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with medium carbonation. Very drinkable doppelbock, not too sweet which I like. Nicely done, thanks Derek!

Photo of spinrsx
3.73/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml Bottle

Appearance - Slightly hazy reddish brown colour with a large size frothy light brown coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some very good lacing. The head lasted for around 5 minutes before it started to dissipate.

Smell - Malts, dark fruits, chocolate (I didn't pick up on the hops they mention on the bottle)

Taste & Mouth - The beer has an average amount of carbonation and it still feels fairly creamy on the tongue. The beer has a very pleasant well balanced taste made up of malts, dark fruits (raisins?), and some chocolate. It finishes with a malty sweet aftertaste.

Overall - I was pretty impressed with this brew. It was much better than I was expecting. The alcohol was well hidden and it was very drinkable. I guess it's designed for the spring weather but it seems like more of a winter beer.

Photo of tbeckett
3.6/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from LCBO. From notes.

A - Poured bright with a dark red colour. Two finger beige head. Lot's of carbonation and a creamy head with a half finger of retention. OK rings of lacing.

S - Burnt sugar, strong stewed fruits, yeast, sweet spice, and dark malts.

T - A little alcohol, burnt sugar, fruit, yeasty, sweet spice, caramel and toffee.

M - Medium carbonation and medium body. Kinda boring.

O/D - Not bad and definately worth a try. Not an amazing bock but a welcome treat for the winter.

Photo of Rutager
4.05/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Yeah! Derek's beer, finally! Thanks to Liamt07 for getting me this big want through the CANBIF.

Appearance. Pours a light cola brown with almost no head.

Smell. Roasted malts and caramel, booze and a little grassy hops.

Taste. Caramel, some roasted grains and some slightly bitter hops.

Mouthfeel. Medium+ body with medium carbonation.

Overall. Nice beer, easy drinking and not too sweet.

Photo of tpd975
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark nutty brown with an above average tan head. Pretty good retention with some spotty lace.

S: Sweet aromas. Lots of toasted brown sugar, caramel, and hints of dark fruit.

T: Actually not too bad. Nice roasted malt. Subtle smoke with lots of candy sweetness. Brown sugar and molasses mostly with hints of caramel. Dark fruits are noted as well.

M: Medium in body, ample carbonation.

D: Not bad, Solid beer

Photo of kwjd
3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an dark brown colour with hints of amber. Thin white head and some lacing. Smells of lots of dark fruit with toasted grains and sweet caramel. Flavour has some alcohol there, but not too apparent. Very sweet flavour, with a fruity aftertaste. Thick mouthfeel. I think I preferred this when I had this a year or 2 ago on tap, but still pretty nice in the bottle.

Photo of bobsy
4.3/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Congratulations to fellow BA, and all round nice guy, Derek on inspiring a local brewer to make one of his homebrew recipes. That's so cool its off the charts. Anyone interested in trying the beer can obtain it from the brewery, but should try and do so soon, as only 60 cases were made. There will also be a few available in kegs at a few bars, so it may show up at places like Volo and C'est What.

So I picked up a sixer, and after drinking it I'm planning on getting some more on Saturday. I had to admit I was a little nervous in trying this beer... I know Derek and I was hoping that the beer didn't suck because I'm the world's worst liar. Luckily, this is the best beer I've had out of Amsterdam by a long way, and its also one of the best doppelbocks I've had. In fact, once the scoring is done it may actually rank as my favourite... its just so damn drinkable, and the only thing that prevented me from popping the cap on another one is that the high ABV usually precludes doppelbocks from sessioning.

I've never truly looked at an Amsterdam bottle before, but now I do its got a very clean design. Nice label, even if its for another beer (this one is a small one off batch, so it doesn't have its own unique label). Behind the glass I see a very dark brown body with ruby highlights at the edges. In fact, this is a beautiful beer when held up to the light, and it looks great in the clear glass bottle. The only problem is that once poured the retention of its tan head isn't as good as it could be, though it did leave some lace before departing. The aroma is subdued, but nice. Bready, with spice and caramel. While I would like to see it stronger, it does have good depth.

Brown whole grain bread, bittersweet chocolate, dark fruits and light coffee grounds shine through in the flavour. Its less sweet and more bitter and dryer than most doppelbocks I've had, but that's more to my liking, so I'm really digging this. The alcohol is extremely well hidden, but after a while a warming feeling makes you realise that the beer you're knocking back is stronger than taste suggests. The great concealment of the alcohol is a huge plus for me in this style... the Eggenberg Urbock 23 I had the previous night really didn't do it well, but this beer almost fools you into sessioning.

Nice mouthfeel seems a lot fuller than it is, and makes for a satisfying experience. The carbonation really bulks it up in the mouth, and lets you know that this is liquid bread.

Good recipe, Derek! How about you get that Belgian stout out there? Also huge props to the guys at Amsterdam for brewing this so well... there's defnitely a lot of talent there, and I'll be interested to try future offerings.

Photo of peensteen
3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ruby red, near brown colour, 1.5 fingers of white head, some lace left behind. Smell is malty, dark breads, brown sugary sweetness, chocolate scents, as well as darker fruits in there. Taste follows the nose and is full of malt, chocolate and roasted flavours come out, dark bread flavours and dark fruits, fairly sweet throughout. Medium-figh carbonation, full body, good full feel. Pretty good stuff, a little sweeter than I care for but a nice seasonal that I will pick up a few times yearly.

Photo of grub
4.1/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Viggo gave me this one a while back. thanks eric!

12oz bottle. sampled feb 5/2010.

pours crystal clear very dark red. appears brown until held to the light where the ruby and garnet hues start to show through. a small cap of dense yellowish tan head forms, quickly dropping and leaving spotty lace.

aroma is good. rich caramel and toffee. bit of butterscotch. big chewy biscuit and multi-grain bread. hints of dark chocolate and smoke. bit of alcohol. herbal hop presence. touch of earthy character. dark fruit. bit of unrefined sugar.

taste is good. big chewy malts again. lightly toasted whole wheat bread. biscuit and a bit of cracker. loads of caramel and toffee. bit of butterscotch. date, fig, bit of plum. hints of dark chocolate and smoke. that herbal aspect is here too, a little more strongly than i expected but it provides a nice counterpoint to the malt. touch of alcohol, more felt than tasted but still never really warming.

mouthfeel is good. medium-large body. just under medium carbonation level.

drinkability is great. hides its alcohol well. good complexity and depth. a tasty doppelbock!

Photo of patre_tim
3.77/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Rusty brown, clear filtered, very little carbonation, 3 fingers of very light tan head.

S: Skunk, offal, toasted burnt caramel, light citrus hops, apple candy.

T: Apple candy, lightly burnt caramel, toasted malt, light citrus lemon peel hops.

M: Medium thick body with little carbonation.

O: It’s a good brew. I Like the slight citrus note that’s not overdone, and the overall flavour. Not overly sweet as some in this style tend to be in my opinion.

Photo of SebD
3.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: It has a nice mahogany brown/amber color to it. It has a nice thick beige head that dies down moderately and leaves some lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitly give out hints of sweet and roasted malts, caramel, nuttiness and floral hops.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a nice floral/tropical taste from the hops with the malts adding a roasty, caramelly, nutty, dark fruit flavor.

Mouthfeel: It has a low carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with good flavors and aromas.

Photo of pootz
3.92/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle:

Poured a great looking mahogany brown with ruby highlights. 3 finger deep sandy cap left dandy lacing on the glass.

Nose is light - cocoa, fig, roasted grain, woody-herbal tones, light sweetness.

The flavor profile is distinctly dry but malty with some fair complexity (dates-cocoa-tobacco-molasses) and a wonderful drying finish punctuated by superior noble hop varieties. Dry but not puckering.... hints of sweetness but this is overshadowed by the roast husk and woody leafy tones.

Medium-full bodied and fairly rich to the palate.

This is a different Dunkler doppelbock than I'm used to and I quite enjoyed it. Well put together, well lagered and very drinkable.

Photo of mick303
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle from the lcbo. Poured quite a dark brown with a nice amount of film and lacing.

S - malty caramel notes, some herbal spice, lemony, earthy, leather, with some sprucy resin notes, nice and foresty. Restrained but quite malty and resin spice, which is nice.

T - malty, a bit sweet with robust bready notes, complemented with some piney resin, apple fruit notes, caramel (quite a bit), some light spiciness, but overall its pleasingly malty and caramel, with a drying finish.

M - moderate feel, creamy and malty, moderate carbonation with a nice balance to the sweetness. Overall it drinks very easily and the alcohol is very restrained.

Quite a nice malty bock, some pleasant earthy hop notes come to balance it out, creamy and tasty feel to it. Altogether it was a tasty beer, a bit too sweet, but it was nice.

Photo of TerryW
2.83/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours clear dark brown under a big head that settles to a heavy film and gives up some early lace. Subdued aroma is of dark fruit, malt and sugar. Taste is sugar and malt, treacly molassess. Has bitter finish. Just too one-dimensional and a tad harsh on the palate. Not for me.

Photo of allergictomacros
3.88/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Clear, dark brown with a thick tan foam.

S - Caramel, dark fruit and a hint of grassy hop, hint of coffee. Molasses and dark sugars.

T - A little sweet and a little boozy. A bit of dryness in the middle is nice, crisp bitterness. Again, molasses and dark sugars come through. Cleans up quickly.

M - Medium body isn't too heavy and carbonation is present but light-ish.

D - Good drinkability - not too sweet or "big". Well balanced.

Photo of thehyperduck
3.94/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

500 mL bottle from the LCBO; served only slightly chilled and poured into a mug. One of the few 'big name' Amsterdam brews I've neglected to try so far, I couldn't in good conscience pass this one up with doppelbocks being so rarely available locally.

Pours a deep brown, bordering on opaque colour, but with ruby red tinges under the light. Generates nearly two fingers of frothy, light-tan coloured head that slowly seeps away over the next few minutes, leaving behind a modest ring of lacing. The aroma is definitely sweet and malty, with hints of caramel, molasses, milk chocolate, figs and raisins. Don't know if I'd use 'rich' to describe it, but it's certainly far from subdued.

Fairly straightforward flavour; nothing too exotic, and heavy on the malts as one might hope. Brown sugar and molasses sweetness are the first things I pick out, followed up by roasted nuts, baker's chocolate and more raisin/fig flavours. The finish is a mixture of herbal hops, alongside some slight booziness and coffee-ground earthiness that lingers into the aftertaste. Medium-bodied, with appropriate balance between the big, sweet, malty flavours and the more subtle bitter/dry ones. Moderate carbonation that gives it a lively mouthfeel, although it leaves a rather sticky feel behind on the palate. Really drinkable for something listed at a sturdy 7.8%, with just enough kick from the ethanol to remind you it's a doppel rather than a standard bock.

Final Grade: 3.94, a respectable B+. Spring Bock may be my new favourite brew in Amsterdam's portfolio, narrowly beating out their Boneshaker IPA. It offers a pleasant balance between dark malty goodness and subtle hop bitterness, with enough ethanol heat to make it a great warmer for late winter/early spring. Not quite within the realm of Celebrator or other classic German doppels, but a worthy substitute that I wouldn't hesitate to pick up again next year. Worth a try this season while it's still around.

[Updated April 9 2014]

2014 edition. It's just as great as it was last year, and at $4.25 a bottle it's surprisingly affordable, as well. I've been in a bocky mood for the past few days, and this one is fairly high quality for the price so I'm sure I'll be back for more before the season is over.

Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.35/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Rutger for this one.

A: Slight tan head over mahogany liquid.

S: Caramel, figs and cherries.

T: Caramel, chocolate, figs and cherries with some citrus hops.

M: Medium viscosity and a medium level of fine carbonation. Very smooth.

O: Frankly, this should be rated higher. Extremely drinkable and tasty. Reminiscent of celebrator.

Photo of JohnnyBarman
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from the LCBO spring release.

Poured into a conical pint glass. A deep, chestnut amber brew, with the pour leaving a thick off-white inch of head. Decent retention, survived as a thin ring. Some lacing.

Nose is about what I look for in a bock - rich malt, raisins, pumpernickel bread, dark fruit, caramel and toffee. Off to a good start!

Tastes as good as it smells, a stand-up bock all around. Boozy, rich, big pumpernickel flavor, caramel and all the usual suspects. Finishes dry and slightly bitter.

Thicker mouthfeel, slightly creamy, mild carbonation.

A real surprise - this was a great tasting bock, perfect for the beginning of the warm spring weather. Drinks well, although one is certainly enough. Easily my favorite Amsterdam brew I've had thus far. Would that they could brew their other fare this well.

Photo of ritzkiss
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Edit: 2010 vintage, 500ml - They've tweaked the hopping for sure, much more bitterness and drying in the finish. Not to style but a drinkable version, though the bitterness is a bit much for the style. Better carbonation. I would actually consider cellaring this to see if the hops die down a bit and it could be even more drinkable and balanced.

12oz clear bottle, 2009, pours a dark chestnut brown with a thin line of khaki bubbles that build on the pour and instantly die to zip, nada, zilch.

Smell is clean, a little nutty, hint of bready malt, touch of dry cocoa coming through, a hint of roast.

Taste continues along these lines, showcasing a touch of roast and strong herbal dryness that is certainly unusual for the style. Nuts, fruit bread, berries, cocoa powder, nice roastiness, hint of caramel, very restrained sweetness. Wickedly dry finish for the style which I actually quite enjoy, pretty thin in the body but it stands beside the ABV which is incredibly well hidden to provide quite a drinkable dopplebock. Low carbonation.

Certainly Amsterdam's best beer. I like the dryness and the roast, would perhaps go for a little more depth behind this, but this is an incredibly drinkable beer whose ABV creeps up on you. Would love to have this available year round, one of the better Ontario beers available in bottles.

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Amsterdam Spring Bock from Amsterdam Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 112 ratings.