St. Nikolaus Bock Bier | Pennsylvania Brewing Company

very good
410 Ratings
St. Nikolaus Bock BierSt. Nikolaus Bock Bier

Brewed by:
Pennsylvania Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: Bock

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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Ratings: 410 |  Reviews: 211
Photo of OneDropSoup
2.77/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured into a stemmed tulip: Just translucent, dark brown with nice ruby highlights & a thin, bubbly collar, just barely a wisp of head.

Nice smell -- lightly roasty chocolate, some dark licorice, & just a little coffee. Yum! Very clear malt smell, good stuff.

Huh. Taste is a bit of a letdown: a little watery, even mineral or aluminum, with some vaguely roasted notes hanging around. Even at a pretty reasonable ABV, the alcohol comes through too strongly. Man, that sucks! I was hoping for a nice, full malt taste, it's like the bottom just dropped out of this one. Aftertaste is like weak coffee, but that you got stuck with the grounds at the same time, slightly charred.
A little caramel sneaks in, but that's it, that's the high point.

Mouthfeel is thin & watery, & leaves behind a kind of astringent feeling.

Wow, what a curveball. I've had this in the past & loved it, & the aroma was right where I remembered it, but the taste was really lacking - in just plain wrong, too! Don't know if I got a bad bottle, but this in no way lives up to my memory of it.

EDIT: As I was rinsing out the bottle, I noticed a crescent of white residue on the bottom. I don't know if this had something to do with it not being up to snuff, but if it did, I'd hold the brewer accountable for that.

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

Cola brown with a light beige head. Decent retention and lacing on the sides. Very clear but still opaque. Smell has notes of toffee and sweet roasted malts. Some banana tinged fruity yeast esters. A bit of plum wine. Mild earth. Taste had toffee and brown bread fused into a roasted grain coffee. Sweet fruity desserts with light spice. Coffee gets bigger toward the finish with a faint sweet alcohol flourish. A bit of sourness. Bitterness flows into tea leafiness and leaves a dry caramel graham with toasted biscuits. Feel is light and crisp with spot on carbonation. Super drinkable. This is a great winter beer but it is so good that anytime is a fine time for this brew. A real winner and something to seek out.

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Photo of beerphan
3.58/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle -> american pint

Pours a dark brown with some chestnut highlights A small head recedes quickly to a starred puddle of dish suds. Only some small dots of lace.

Nose: Some charred malts, caramel, candy

Full bodied. Huge malt blast up front with charred grains and caramel mixing. Light molasses and candy sugar add to the sweetness. A balancing spicy bitterness fights a loosing battle against the plentiful sweetness. Finished very boozy and warm.

This beer seems to be right on the style, which I am still acquiring a taste.

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Photo of dmamiano
3.4/5  rDev -13.9%
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

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Photo of dtivp
4.17/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a hazy cola brown with a very small light tan head no lacing on the glass.

Aroma of caramel and some malt and dark fruit.

Taste is very smooth not sweet caramel with lightly roasted malt and a hint of clove.

Mouthfeel was medium / light with light carbonation, very smooth and not bitter.

This is a nice seasonal bock, a very good Christmas beer.

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Photo of confer
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Chestnut -brown with a fluffy tan head.Traces of th ehead remain after a few minutes.
S-Smells like a piece of caramel.
T- A copy of tastes are apparent. There is a hint of smokiness and alsoi a small chocalate'
MD- A bit on the thin side for a bock. But everything else makes a very good bock. It goes down way to easy. It is a great thing that these guys are up and running agian.

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Photo of david18
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have had a number of sixteen ounce glasses of this at the Amsterdam Ale House in Manhattan. I think Penn brewing almost borders a macrobrewery and has been around forever in Pennsylvania, where my wife is from. However, with Pennsylvania's german tradition (the state and the brewery) I was not surprised that they made a bock that's as good as any american made bock that I've had.

Color is very dark, even for a bock with a dark but not very carbonated head. Aroma is alcoholly but that's kind of what you'd expect from a bock. The flavor as well had some kick to it but also very well balanced with other flavors such as bread, raisons and yeast. The bar serves weaker beers in 16 oz glasses an stronger beers in 12 oz. Somehow, the st. nik made it into the former category. You can get drunk quickly on sixteen ounce glasses of this beer, which is very easy to drink.

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Pours a hazy dark brown/amber with very little head.

S - Slight caramel and roasted malts with a bit of bitter hops. Smells strong.

T - Wow creamy without being too bitter! The roast and caramel come great in taste next to hops and finishes creamy with little bite. Tasty bock

M - Medium to heavy. Kind of a sipper.

D - I liked this one over the private reserve since it has less body and more taste. Great overall beer!

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Photo of StretchZep
5/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I love this beer. It is unbelievably smooth and rich with just the right amount of tartness to keep it from being a chocolate smoothie! I love this beer so much that I find myself only having 1 or 2 at the most when I feel I am actually worthy of the reward. It is that good trust me. "-) Makes winter here in Ohio a little more bearable!

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Photo of muskiecf
4.49/5  rDev +13.7%
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.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

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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 kiltedtxn
3.48/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Joeybeerbelly for this beer.

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a pint glass & served at 47°.

A: Chestnut brown with a creamy tan head that holds up well & lacing appears as I drink.

S: A light maltiness with no hop presence.

T: A little clove spiciness and a medium malt body. Dark fruits come through as it warms up even more.

M: A light mouthfeel with good carbonation.

D: A good spice Christmas Beer.

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Photo of dsa7783
3.9/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz single copped from New Beer...
this was a rather light-flavored bock beer, which typically is a contradiction in terms... Smooth, roasted malts... Easily drinkable with hints of caramel and milk chocolate...
Good stuff...
Not too often I sample beers from this Pittsburgh brewing company...
Worth a try...

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Photo of JISurfer
3.57/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

My first beer from Penn Brewing. I actually bought this last christmas time, so it's been in my dark, cool closet. I'm not sure if it changed the taste any, but it was quite tasty. Had nice subtle hints of chocolate malt and slight hops. I was a little disappointed with the appearance. Not much to the head, died out pretty quickly. Can't really tell there's 7.5% in it, which could make it dangerous.

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Photo of goblue3509
3.83/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a nice dark brown color with a off white color head that gives way to decent lacing. The smell is of caramel malt, chocolate malt, and some dark fruits. The taste is of caramel and chocolate malt with a hint of some spice, it is a good taste, but it isn't as full and bodied as some other bocks. The mouthfeel was smooth and creamy. Overall it is a very drinkable beer, the alcohol content is well hidden and the smell and appearance are very inviting.

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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 drcarver
2.4/5  rDev -39.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A good example of "It may look good, but if it don't taste good..." but based on the other reviews I may have gotten a bad batch.

A - Clear dark brown body with a large quickly fading light brown head. The head had no lacing.

S - Burnt toast, mold. The aroma was similar to that of stagnant water.

T - Slightly sweet with a short aftertaste. One of the few beers that I have not been able to finish because of the taste (and in college I used to drink Meister Brau)

M - Light bodied. Slight fishy flavor but atleast there was a nuttiness from the malts.

D - No, not at all.

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Photo of ThaBobfather
4.17/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep reddish brown color with thick then dissipating off-white head.
Our smell is full bodied with a solid grain, caramel, malt, and minor chocolate aroma coming together nicely.
We start with some light caramel and spice followed by some roast and a little chocolate.
This flavor sticks with me for a while and isn't overpowering or biting. Very drinkable.

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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 GoodKnight1220
4.88/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle to a big thick mug.

A - deep copper red with a thick frothy head

S - Rich heavy malt and a hint of sweet caramel

T - Easily the best Bock brewed, this is my favorite beerand look forward to it every year. Taste is a monderfull sweet malt.

M - Smooth and velvety, good carbonation and goes down easy.

D - Could throw a few of these back, but not too many b/c of the ABV. You can't even begin to taste the high ABV, this brew is perfect.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
4.18/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Best bock around as far as I'm concerned. Good appearance: dark enough to not see through, good head and retention, not a whole lot of lacing. Smell is weak, but good.

Taste is great. Awesome dark caramel flavors.

Good mouthfeel, everything in order. Could drink these all night as well.

4.0 A
3.5 S
4.5 T
4.0 M
4.5 D

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

12oz bottle, sent by blackingstone, during bracketology

appearance: poured into an imperial pint, lovely amber-mahogany body, garnet hues, creamy beige cap and very nice retention

smell: clear munich malts balanced by euro hops, toasted grain, earthy and green

taste: lots of toasted grain, big time munich malts, hallertau hop balance...very grainy and earthy - nice bock

mouthfeel: smooth as silk, light hop bitterness

drinkability: good

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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 goatgoat
3.48/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Dark woody brown that shows excellent clarity were it allows light. Tan frothy head about 1 finger thick persists for the whole duration of the beer, leaving a few, sheet like sections of lace.

Aroma is thick and malty with a light spicy character. A bit tart.

Taste is big malts but well balanced. Spicy tartness in the finish which gives way to a longer lingering light sweetness.

Medium full body, soft and thick with carbonation. Very nice.

Decent brew and easy drinking, but not one I'll look for again.

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St. Nikolaus Bock Bier from Pennsylvania Brewing Company
3.95 out of 5 based on 410 ratings.
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