St. Nikolaus Bock Bier | Pennsylvania Brewing Company

very good
211 Reviews
St. Nikolaus Bock BierSt. Nikolaus Bock Bier

Brewed by:
Pennsylvania Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: Doppelbock

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

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.

Added by SheepNutz on 12-03-2002

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Reviews: 211 | Ratings: 408
Photo of brentk56
4.15/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a dark amber color; the head foams up and disappears fairly quickly, leaving scant droplets of lace

Smell: Smells vaguely like a German chocolate cake with a cherry on top; lager twang in the aroma, too

Taste: Starts out with a cherry and chocolate character; after the swallow, moderate bitter flavors kick in and while there is a lager twang on the finish, the other flavors cover it up pretty well; nice lingering chocolate after the swallow

Mouthfeel: Medium body with lively carbonation; slight warmth down the gullet

Drinkability: A rarely encountered style that Penn pulls off very well

Thanks, eclectic, for the opportunity

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.22/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks yet again to G311 for sending this to me just because he could. I owe you, sire. Currently the #1 Bock. After having it, I concur that it deserves the title. Served in a wine glass.

Pours a clear tawny-brown color with an average, creamy tan head with good spotty lacing as it moves down the glass. The nose carries through some heavy malt character. Brown sugar, caramel, chocolate, molasses, toast, and a hint of a nutty character come through. The flavor hits hard on the brown sugar and molasses plus some bread. Light hop presence in the background. Flavor is moderately sweet and has an average length through the finish. Lit bitterness. Smooth and creamy medium body with light carbonation. Really a fantastic version of the style. Thanks again, Vince!

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Photo of oberon
4.17/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

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Photo of jlindros
4.19/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 002 thanks to Noslenwerd, it's been sitting in my fridge for a while, and finally found a good time to break it out. This one was from the era before they were shut down and re-opened.

Hazy super dark molasses ruby brown color just hints of light, pretty much no head.

Nose has a nice aged bock, lots of aged malts soft and complex, lots of dark fruit, huge raisin, fig, date, touch of hazelnut and vanilla, brown sugar and molasses, some darker wheats, hint of cocoa, and touch of booze and esters.

Taste is similar to the nose, lots of fruit with brown sugar candi and brandy soaked raisin, plum, fig, a bit nutty. Then soft aged malts, complex and malty with hints of dark wheat. Slight cocoa and vanilla, semi sweet brown sugar and molasses. Nice aged flavor, touch of booze and esters. Finish gets slightly bitter with slight dryness but a bit sticky, touch of black tea with the bitterness, dark fruits and lingering nutty soft malts.

Mouth is med bodied, very soft and almost creamy, decent carb for being quite a few years old.

Overall pretty good, great aged soft malts, nice dark fruits, complex, aged well. Really hits the spot when looking for a good doppelbock style.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.27/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A rough pour delivers a slightly hazy mahogany body with a reddish-orange cast and a tall, foamy, light-tan head. It drops quite a bit at first, but maintains a pretty solid quarter inch of creamy foam that looks almost like a milkshake and leaves some nice spotty lace. The nose is lightly spicy from alcohol, and possibly hops, but it doesn't seem that any actual spice has been added. A dark, sugary caramel malt rounds out the aroma. Its medium body teams with a very fine and moderate carbonation to leave it creamy, smooth, and very drinkable. The flavor starts with a gently sweet, toasty and caramelized maltiness up-front; followed by a touch of light spiciness before finishing with some subdued bitterness and drying alcohol. It's quite a refined winter seasonal, and certainly not a hit-you-over-the-head beer. It's uncommon deeply-caramelized and almost-burnt-sugar maltiness combined with its subtle spiciness keeps it interesting - but never really satiates. In fact, it's far from overwhelming the palate and leaves you wanting more! A welcome winter specialty that can be enjoyed with a meal or on its own.

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Photo of chinchill
3.55/5  rDev -10.1%
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

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.8/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a medium brown gold color with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of fruit, roasted malts, spices, lager yeast and some hops.

T: The taste is malty up front with flavors of dark fruit, caramel and spices. There is some good breadiness coming from the lager yeast along with a touch of smokiness. There's a decent hops presence that brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly bready and slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Flavorful with a good complexity to it, goes down easily, not very filling, good kick, very good representation of style, this is a good beer to drink for while if you're in the mood for the style.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.42/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Gauzy dark tawny with festive cranberry highlights and waxed orange trim. Christmas in a glass! Atop the liquid sits a splendid looking crown of lightly toasted gold. I mean that literally; the foam looks like a crown with ragged, raised edges of lace surrounding a humped 'head' in the middle of the glass. That particular look fades pretty quickly, but it was fun while it lasted.

One would think that after all these beers and all these years an original nose wouldn't be possible; but here it is in all its bockiness. St. Nikolaus smells like spiced pumpernickel bread pudding slathered in sweet, buttery, vanilla hard sauce. Is the Christmas theme going to my head? I don't think so. I think that Penn has simply crafted a lovely holiday lager.

This is good beer with a cherry on top and is, far and away, the best bock that I've had yet. It's wonderfully dark malty with a modicum of roasted malt that brings porter comparisons into play. It also tastes like sour, dark fruit, so lets add chunks of barely ripe plum to that bowl of bread pudding. I don't know if any spices have been added. I'm perfectly willing to attribute those flavors to the hops or the yeast.

Sweet, sour and bitter are all present and accounted for, especially the first two. Rather than conflict with one another, however, they add a dynamic tension that contributes a great deal of flavor interest. Warming brings a deepening and a more complete melding of the already deep flavor profile. The finish allows the bitterness of the hops to make a minor splash; yet another facet of this gem-like beer.

The body/mouthfeel is medium in heft, with an appealing lagery smoothness. I often wish for more of a full chewiness, especially in beer that tastes like this one, but I wouldn't change a thing in this case. The well-mannered carbonation combines with the lightly sinewy mouthfeel to render the beer impressively drinkable.

I was beginning to wonder if I'd ever drink a bock that was more than minimally pleasant and ultimately forgettable. St. Nikolaus Bock replaces that wonder with a new one... the wonder of Christmas morning when the present that brings the greatest amount of joy comes from the least likely of places. A true holiday treasure.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear, very deep ruby/mahogany color, when held up to the light, the red comes through a lot more. About one finger of head formed and reduced down to a ring of foam. Little bits of lacing remain.

S: Some caramel malt and grains, there is a sweetness as well and a little bit of dark fruit. Opens up a bit as it warms.

T: Nice malt flavors. The dark fruit is more prominent than the aroma, the caramel flavor is quite strong as well. Has a doughy/bready flavor on the aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied, very smooth mouthfeel. Slightly sticky finish.

O: Very nice Bock, really easy to drink. Nice representation of the style.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.93/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked the bottle up at Thirsty's in York, decanted cool into a German lager mug.

A - A medium brown w/ a reddish tint when held up to the light. 2 full fingers of creamy foam from a vigorous pour. There is a fine bead in the head and the lace sticks moderately well.

S - A malty aroma w/ yeasty lager and German malt aromas. Slightly nutty and hints of chocolate malt in the nose.

M & T - A combination of sweet caramel malt and full creamy sweetness w/ a touch of dryness in the slighty salty feel.There are herbal tinges and lightly spiced hops under the bevy of maltiness that give contrast to the slightly lactic and gently biscuity notes in the ever so lightly roasted malt flavor.

D - A very smooth well crafted Bock that has such nice flavors w/ creamy textures and hides the abv well. A nice American Bock w/ a classic influence.

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Photo of billab914
3.94/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Alesmith pint glass. It poured a dark caramel color with a very thin and fizzy head barely covering the beer. The head completely faded away rather quickly unfortunately.

The aroma has a big malty presence with caramel being the most dominant. I get some bready qualities to it with a little bit of some fruity, cherry like notes as well.

The taste also showcases the maltiness throughout the flavor. It starts out with more of the bready and malty flavor along with just a hint of bitterness. As you get to the finish it shows more sweetness to it with caramel and cherry flavors coming through.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is pretty good, it had some very nice flavors to it and it doesn't hurt that it's one of my favorite styles. A pretty solid beer and was a great choice to drink while watching some football this afternoon.

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Photo of smcolw
3.7/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Rich, tight head that settles slowly and rocky. Leaves a blanket of chunky lace. Reasonably clear broth that is light ruby-brown.

Disappointing smell. There's an element of unwanted sourness (especially in a Bock). Also, I detect a decaying meat smell.

The flavor is a huge improvement to the smell. None of the negative attributes show up here. Instead, there is a caramel malt flavor without much sweetness. This stays true to its roots, but there is a subtle hop bitterness in the swallow that provides superb balance for the style. Thin with a high carbonation, but this also fits the profile.

Get by the smell and you have a near perfect example of an American styled Bock.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This was served to me at Bridgewaters Pub with a big, thick, foamy, deep-tan head. The Nose was verymalty with an almost chocolate-like sweetness. The color was a deep garnet or ruby red, so dark as to appear black until held up to the light. The mouthfeel initially struck me as too thin for a bock, and so I recommend letting it warm up some. Even then, it still came across as thin, but the flavors really came alive. The big tatse is caramel, but I also noted a fruity taste, like cherry, on the finish. Overall, it was okay, but I'd prefer something bigger and chewier for the holiday season.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.12/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear, dark, ruby hued brown with a decent creme head. Nose is malty and leafy. Flavor brings the same. Consistent sweet tone that's not overdone. It's mostly a mix of the malts and that deep sugary tone. Feel is low on carbonation and slick and sticky on liquid. Quite easy to drink.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.05/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: a bright plummy color, with a short, slight head above.
Aroma: Super-fat malt at the forefront, thick, rich, sweet, wow!, loaded with character, slightly spicy, quite a treat.
Taste: considerable heft on the palate, again, rich, malty, spicy, chock full of dark fruits, cherries, berries,raisins, etc., plus a yeasty bready quality. Quite a kicky ginger cookie we've got here, just the thing to make the jolly old man pleased as holiday punch. Medium to full body, with a long, lingering finish, sits happily on the palate, gets comfortable, provides a spicy, fruity blend of pleasure with every sip.
Very nice bock, and thanks to fellow felonious, Phil!

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Photo of Billolick
3.95/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I took this from Thorpe429 when he wasn't looking. Poured into a Bock glass, there is too such a thing look it up.

Beer is dark brown and mostly clear. Thin tan head, big bubbles are stuck to the bottom of the glass like they are waiting for a checkered flag to wave to tell them that's it's OK to go.

Aroma is mild, malty, good.

Beer is medium in body and really smooth. Mildly malty but not overly sweet. Easy drinking, great mouthfeel. A really wonderful bock, truly so.

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Photo of Wasatch
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Alkey

Pours a clear dark brown color, nice carbonation, nice little tan fizzy head, leaves some sticky lacing afterwards. The nose is slightly roasted malts, and caramel. The taste is malty, slightly bitter, with a dry finish. Medium body. Drinkable, not a bad bock at that.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.58/5  rDev -9.4%
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.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.08/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a cold Steelers Mug. A large off white head appears on the light brown body. A nice show of lace ensues.

S. Munich malts, bready yeast, a whiff of alcohol?

T. Smooth and malty, slight bittering hops. Fairly complex. Some wheat notes. A slight roasted taste comes out as it warms a bit. Caramel malt as well. Very earthy hops make an appearance too. Carmelized brown sugar.

M. A little thin, a bit chewey, but also quite smooth and drinkable.

D. Drinkability does very well despite the ABV. Worth checking out, I'm going to save one and revisit it later.

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Photo of plaid75
3.97/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a murky deep amber hue with a half finger foamy white head. There was decent retention and lacing.

The smell featured sweet cereal malts with an earthy hop and dark fruit.

The taste was spicy and malty with a nice earthy sweetness.

The mouthfeel was full and creamy.

Overall a tasty and unique Christmas beer.

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Photo of biegaman
4.03/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep, earthy russet glazed in a petrified wood stain that kindles when held into the light. The beer appears thick and turbid but is, in reality, quite dazzling and considerably clear overlooking the density of its dark reddish-brown colour. Its head is evenly dispersed and its buff leather tone makes an extremely fashionable contrast to the beer that props it up.

The aroma is driven purely by malt. There are no suggestively fruity undertones and no hop presence either - just the clean perfume of Munich malt and all the delectably sweet notes of chocolate and toffee that come with it. There is also a toasty, whole-bread graininess and a light hint of butter pecan that make this even more well-worth smelling.

The flavour, of which for a lager it is especially blessed with, also shows off all things malty. Once again we find that rich and complex flavour of the Munich malt specifically, although the brewery does use a variety of other roasted and chocolate malts as well. It all adds up to one seriously and proficiently malty beer, one certainly as tasty as anything I've tried from the bock's true homeland.

With absolutely no hop presence and relatively low carbonation every ounce of the malt's melanoidin flavour can be appreciated. I'm a little surprised, however, that there isn't just a little more caramel or sweetness considering the profundity of the malt bill. Indeed, this doesn't come across as that strong a beer and drinks more like a Dunkel than Dunkel Bock.

For Santa Claus to deliver presents to all the children of the world on Christmas Eve it is estimated that his sleigh must travel at a speed of 2,924,180 mph. That's pretty fast. But I'm not that impressed; I could probably finish off a glass of the St.Nikolaus Bock Bier at an equivalent speed. Speaking of which, this bottle did disappear awfully fast and a full case of this stuff would be a nice find under the tree... hint, hint.

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Photo of John_M
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Pittsburgh International airport the other day. A pleasant surprise to see a beer like this at an airport.

The beer pours a fairly dark brown color with fairly decent head retention and light lacing. Don't get a whole lot on the nose, just some light chocolate and a hint of burnt toast. The beer is a bit better on the palate, as I get light vanilla, chocolate, some underlying roasty malt and a hint of burnt toast. The beer is bit light and watery on the palate otherwise, and the finish is bit short as well. Acohol is completely unnoticeable in this beer, and so drinkability is pretty good.

Having just had the Ayinger Celebrator a few days ago, it's pretty hard not to be a bit critical of this beer. While it has decent flavors, the beer is otherwise light, simple and fairly one dimensional. Not sure this is one I need to try again any time soon.

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Photo of rudzud
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to jlindros for sharing this bottle with me. This is batch 002 from 2006 and was brewed back before the brewery closed and reopened. Poured into a tulip.

A - Pours a cloudy garnet with a light white head that leaves spotty clouding and a little side lacing.

S - Nice fruits and sweet malts as well as older hops. Brown sugar, molasses, and light chocolate.

T - Very nice and complex. Front has alot of smooth, sweet darker fruits that have really mellowed with aging. Past them is more sticky malt sweetness followed by older hops.

M - Nice carbonation for something thats 5 years old. Its somehow light and crisp!

O - Really enjoyed this older beer. Glad I got to try it from jlindros at his place. Aged very well considering the ABV.

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St. Nikolaus Bock Bier from Pennsylvania Brewing Company
3.95 out of 5 based on 408 ratings.
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