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

St. Nikolaus Bock Bier - Brewer's ReserveSt. Nikolaus Bock Bier - Brewer's Reserve
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Bock - Doppelbock
Ranked #8
Ranked #2,739
4.19 | pDev: 9.07%
Pennsylvania Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States
St. Nikolaus Bock Bier - Brewer's ReserveSt. Nikolaus Bock Bier - Brewer's Reserve
Reviews: 109 | Ratings: 188 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Fordcoyote15
Fordcoyote15 from Kentucky

4.58/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Wow. I've lived 45 minutes outside of pitt ky whole life and rated over a 1,000 beer and never tries this. Im absolutely blown away. So nutty, malty, clean, and damn near perfect.

Dec 22, 2020
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adrock314 from Pennsylvania

3.45/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

2020 Edition. 22oz bottle into tulip.

L: Dark mahogany with ruby highlight. A few fingers of head from a vigorous pour that shrinks to a small ring and sticks around a while. Attractive pour.

S: Not much going on at fridge temp. As it warms there is some malt & grain - very muted. A little alcohol on the nose as well. Maybe just a hint of black tea?

T: Sweet, but not cloying, malt flavors. Overall it's not terribly flavorful. There's some cocoa, a little dark fruit, and a touch of tobacco. I would expect bolder flavors from a 9ish % Doppelbock.

F: Creamy mouthfeel. Carbonation is soft and appropriate for the style.

O: Solid overall, but nothing spectacular. I wanted to like this more than I actually did.

Dec 19, 2020
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Bluerabbitbell from Pennsylvania

3.9/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Dollar bin from dry tavern. Drinking this a year after release..... Nicely malted, and good color. Slightly over carbonated, but a good one for the evening.

Dec 24, 2018
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ajm5108 from Pennsylvania

4.37/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep caramel brown, moderate tan head, good carbonation. Aroma is classic - rich copper malt, dark fruit, fig, rum raisin, phenol. Taste has lots of malt - obviously - pretty dark, a little sweet, more rum raisin, mild treacle, a little phenol booze at the end. Traditional, and well done

Dec 25, 2017
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drtth from Pennsylvania

4.02/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer, the 2016 brewing, comes in a bomber size bottle inside a red velvet bag with a draw string tie and the brewery logon printed on it. Hopefully the beer inside the bottle will justify the “Reserve” and the special presentation.

The first pour into a Duvel glass is a dark mahogany color with some reddish highlights and 1” light tan head that slowly recedes to a thin layer on the surface of the liquid and leaves some patches and rings of leggy lacing on the sides of the glass. Sipping leaves some arches and smaller patches of leggy lacing. Even midway through the pour there is lacing on the sides and an irregular island of foam on the surface.

The aromas are nutty, bready and have some dark fruit in the background. There's also a bit of caramel with a hint of alcohol and some earthy spiciness from the hops

The flavors are much as expected from the nose with some nutty, dark bread character and some dark fruit. There's also some maple syrup/dark chocolate sweetness and some caramel, all balanced by an earthy, dark roast and slightly spicy bitterness.

The mouthfeel is on the full side of medium bodied and smooth with the moderate gentle carbonation. The medium length finish begins as the well balanced mix of flavors and sweetness begin fade and allow some dry earthy, dark roast and spicy bitterness that closes out the show as it too slowly disappears on the back of the palate.

Very drinkable beer with a nice combination of flavors and aromas. It's nice to have a beer brewed for the holidays without the addition of spices. I'll certainly be willing to have another. For me the only fault I find with the beer is that the earthiness is a bit too prominent in the ending. Currently I have a second bottle tucked away in the basement to wait for next winter. If my luck holds I'll find a bottle of the 2017 brewing and be able to do a side by side.

Mar 06, 2017
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57md from Pennsylvania

4.15/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark brown with copper edges and well over a finger of head. The nose has that classic deep bready essence. The flavor is malty and the body is hearty. There is a really nice touch of sweetness on the finish that makes this offering complete.

This is a real holiday gem. Even though it was not boozy at all, I am guessing that it would still age rather well.

Jan 16, 2017
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RacerX5k from Pennsylvania

3.73/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Look. Love the packaging and the original which I always grab when I see it for $2 a pop. But this one? bottom line probably don't need to have it again ...

Start with the look, it's pretty but average. Let's talk aroma, which at first I think has way too much alcohol. Then all of a sudden it morphs into almost the perfect aroma. Malts, chocolate, nuts, yea freshly roasted nuts, chestnuts roasting by the open fire. We know it, let's all sing it.

However, taste follows aroma, lots of hops too which I enjoy but in the end kinda of a mess, too much of this,too little of that. Makes me want an Sam Adams Double Bock, do they even make that beer anymore?

Overall, I tried it, keep the sleeve, pass. Merry Christmas everyone. Tonight is Black Wednesday, can't wait to taste this years BCBCS.

Nov 23, 2016
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lastmango from Pennsylvania

4.12/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured a birch beer brown with a 3 finger creamy float head. Lots of lacing. Nose of fresh bread and dark dried fruit. Taste - Wow . . . this is a complex malt bomb! Like eating a really good fruit cake (not that store bought crap) where each bite (sip) yields a different flavor. Roasted malt, raisins, dried fruit, licorice, toffee . . . yum. Carbonation is a bit lighter than expected but this feels right - full bodied and chewy. This is Christmas in a bottle. And I'm drinking a 2014 vintage. Can't wait to get 2015.

Last reviewed in 2015 and gave a 4.36 rating. Updated for 12-25-2019. Same pour of birch beer brown but with a two finger creamy head. No Lacing. Nose is weaker, especially the bread. Taste is way off from 2015. Not much complexity. Some malt, black licorice, peppermint. Hard to detect the dark fruit that was prevalent before. The body is much thinner and there is no chewiness. Not feeling the Christmas spirit here in 2019. Disappointed.

Reviewed the 2020 vintage on 12-25-20. Upgrade in look, taste and feel. Tastes were bolder this year over the 2019 version. The more sips I take, the better it gets . . . :) However, I am surprised that so few other BAs have reviewed this DP for 2020.

Dec 20, 2015
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Brian_L-2056 from West Virginia

4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep amber reddish brown color with very little head. Smells like coffee, toffee and roasted malts. Looks to have plenty of carbonation. Initial taste is quite plesant, just like it smells and very mild finish. Really enjoyed this brew and look forward to more

Dec 06, 2015
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RobPete from Pennsylvania

4.99/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Celebrator used to be my favorite Dopplebock. Too bad this brew isn't available year round. I was fortunate enough to snag two bombers last month. I cracked one of them a week or two back and it was so good that I now don't want to open up the other. The best way for me to describe how good this is would be to say that Penn took a cue from Ayinger and created an even more complex Dopple....a perfect one. If you should be fortunate enough to see one of these, don't hesitate to snatch it up!

Feb 28, 2015
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woemad from Washington

4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle received from @ozzylizard as part of the NBS BIF #1. There’s no precise freshness date but the label says 2014. The label for this bottle says it’s abv is 7.5%, btw.

Poured into an oversized Boston Lager glass, this was a very dark amber colored beer that took on a rubyish hue when held up to light. There was a big, creamy looking tan head that slowly receded, leaving lots of lace on the sides of my glass.

Big, roasty and malty nose to this. I get toffee, dark fruit, whiskey, and a little bit of coffee. A nice mix of sweet and bitter aroma, with a little emphasis on sweet.

The taste is like the aroma (which is generally like all things you eat or drink when you get right down to it). Up front there’s dark fruit and toffee in about equal measure, with a coffeeish bitterness and some whiskey flavor more in the background.

Somewhere between medium and full bodied, with a creamy, coating mouthfeel.

A richly flavorful and well balanced example of an American doppelbock. This is a style of beer that I’d like to see more of in this country. Penn pretty much nailed it. Thanks again, Ozzylizard!

Feb 22, 2015
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Uniobrew31 from Pennsylvania

4.59/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The best Dopple Bock I have had yet!

Look- Pours pitch black with a two finger head that retains nicely before reducing down.
Smell- Coffee notes, dark roasted malts
taste- sweet caramelized malts, cocoa notes, low hop bitterness
feel- Substantial heavy lager, full carbonation throughout. Way better carbonation that the original
overall- I rated this high because it is better imo than any other Christmas beer I had this year. It slightly beats out Ayinger and is heads and tails above Spaten the other usual suspects

Jan 10, 2015
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Ohiovania from Ohio

4.54/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Re-review on a 1yr aged bottle. (2014 release)

Really has developed beautifully. Fresh was underdeveloped. Really nice dark ripe fruits and bready/ biscuity notes are coming through nicely and a little chocolate is starting to develop. Wish I had a second bottle to see what 2yrs would do.

Dec 31, 2014
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

4.18/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

whoa baby! my first beer from these guys (if i remember right), is enormously delicious. a christmas beer without spice, i love it. this is a classic dopplebock type lager, cold fermented, patient, and clean as they get in the finish for a beer that begins this sweet. dark brown, with a grayish black tint in color, heady and alive, foamy and frothy, almost soapy looking head, it doesnt fade either. the nose is german dark malts, lager yeast, and a strong booze element, almost like an ice beer, in a good way though, not a cheap way. the flavor shows the grain just unfolding in cool layers, dried fruit, raisin, molasses, dried apricot, bakers chocolate, tobacco, figs, pudding skin, and dusty german ritualistic stale grain. its fun and different, and its the only beer that screams at me christmas, without actually containing pine needles, honey, sugar plums (whatever they are), or anything else. one of the best bocks going as far as i am concerned. thanks to my buddy chris for sharing this one from his impressive cellar. lucky i am to be your friend mate!

Dec 04, 2014
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Ozzylizard from Pennsylvania

4.16/5  rDev -0.7%

2013 vintage at 40 degrees into imperial pint
Aroma of roasted malt
Head small (2 cm), light brown, creamy, slowly diminishing to 2 mm ring and broken layer
Lacing good – large parts of the glass are covered with a mixed bubble size reticulum.
Body very dark reddish brown, clear
Flavor slightly sweet, malty, perhaps a hint of chocolate. No hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl.
Palate full, creamy, soft carbonation

Appearance 3.75, aroma 3.75, taste 4.5, palate 4, overall 4. The final score: 4.16

This is a surprisingly good bock which I found in my cellar yesterday and chilled overnight. I find most of Penn Brewery’s stuff to be mediocre at best, but this old bock is unexpectedly good – good aroma, tempting appearance, smooth palate, and pleasing flavor.

Aug 18, 2014
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Dope from Massachusetts

4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2013 batch.

A: Pours a rich dark brown with a moderate sized and fizzy light brown head. Head fizzes out somewhat quickly with decent thin but wide chunks of lacing.

S: Hmph, very nice. Cocoa, toasted bread and lots of dark fruits. Some stone fruit and some raisins mainly.

T: Again, more of the same. Raisins and dates up front with a nice cocoa backing. I think I get cherries here and there but very subdued. A dry, dry toasted bread in the finish, leading into a surprisingly bitter aftertaste. It's composed of some bitter cocoa, dried fruits and maybe even some earthy hoppy bitterness? Very dry, moisture-sucking lingering aftertaste for sure.

M: Medium bodied, dry and also higher carbonation lends to a deceptively light and airy mouthfeel.

O: Interesting. I find most doppelbocks to be quite sweet but this one is surprisingly dry. Almost too dry. It gives it a crisp, easy drinkability for the ABV but it's a little too much at times. Otherwise has nice malty and yeasty flavors. I enjoyed it, a little different than your typical doppelbock.

Mar 15, 2014
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Tucquan from Pennsylvania

3.94/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on 20134-01-09 in Columbia, PA. Vintage = 2013

A - Very dark brown with a very short 1/8-finger tan head and moderate lacing.

S - Sweet cherry, fig, raisin, light cinnamon, clove and roasted malt. Pleasant but not as aromatic as the Andech's or Troegs Doppelbocks that I've had recently.

T - Molasses and raisins on toasted nut bread with some sour cherry jam, sprinkled with cinnamon and cloves; but there's a very nice roasted and citrus flesh and zest bitterness that slides in towards the end to keep things refreshing and not too sweet. Dries nicely and leaves me wanting another sip.

M - Ahh. Thick body and light carbonation. Substantial, thick, chewy. Really nice.

O - I particularly enjoyed the flavor and taste of this brew. It's up against of recent heavy hitters as noted above but it stands up well and is worth revisiting. Glad to have received this as a holiday gift.

Jan 09, 2014
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BeerIsland from Pennsylvania

3.76/5  rDev -10.3%
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.

Jan 02, 2014
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Paymygasbill77 from Pennsylvania

4.89/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Poured from a 220z bomber labeled "St. Nikolaus Brewer's Reserve". This beer pours a nice dark brown with a slight ruby color around the edges. The head is a thick, off-white cream that fills the top of my yards glass.

S - Amazing. Dark malt, coffee, a little toasty with a hint of cacao.

T - The same as the smell. Amazing! The front hits with the warm, sweet, malty, toasty flavor, moves into a small bit of alcoholic hotness and ends with this amazing roasty, chocolate-coffee flavor.

M - A little thicker than the average beer. It coats your mouth in it's glory, tapers off and leaves you wanting more.

O - A world-class beer. I can't believe this was only $5.50 a bomber. If you can get this beer, get it. I am going to buy a case of it so I can cellar it for a year or more... FANTASTIC!

Nov 24, 2013
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AltBock from Ohio

4.06/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bomber bottle with a realistic picture of jolly old St. Nick. Flanking both sides of the good saint are the words "Brewer's Reserve" in big bold letters. On the outskirts of the label is where you'll find the mandatory US info and a paragraph that talks about St. Nick. If you wish to read it, break out the magnifying glass. You'll find the vintage date right below Santa. My bottle is from 2012.

My Salvator glass seemed fitting for jolly old St. Nick here. The Brewer's Reserve version poured a beautiful deep dark caramel brown that had a cool looking dark cranberry red center. On top of this nice looking beer was a fizzy and short lived light beige head of foam. It fizzled away in about a minute. At least it stuck around for a few seconds before leaving the glass forever. This disappearing act only managed to leave behind a few tiny rings along the edge. At least the color of the beer was nice.

The aroma of this Doppelbock was on the sweet side of things. It wasn't sugary sweet. It had more of a roasted sweetness. Kicking off the aroma was the semi sweet scent of caramel. Right behind the caramel was the lightly roasted malts and nuts. When those aromas had their fun, the beer then finishes up with a subtle whiff of milk chocolate and dark fruits. Not bad. I'm just glad that it didn't smell like a fat man that's been sliding down chimneys all day.

While the aroma was mostly sweet, the taste was mostly roasted. The taste started off with the lightly roasted malt. These roasted malts had a slight sweet undertone to them. Quickly following the malts was the lightly roasted nuts, a small pinch of sweet caramel, and a speck of dark fruits. The dark fruits were too subtle to figure out what kind they were. This roasted beer finished up with a nice slightly sweet milk chocolate bite. In the end, this was a Doppelbock taste that I enjoyed.

This was a medium bodied Doppelbock that had its fair share of carbonation and an aftertaste that was both slightly sweet and roasted. The aftertaste was filled with roasted malts, a few nuts and dark fruits, a little caramel, and milk chocolate. This aftertaste didn't linger. Like the head of foam, it only lasted for about a minute.

I was pleased with this Pittsburgh born Doppelbock. It wasn't overly roasted or sweet. It took the middle ground between the two. Would I drink it again? I probably would. I don't think I would sit on this beer for very long.

Aug 12, 2013
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hoptualBrew from Florida

4.22/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

Jul 29, 2013
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thecheapies from Pennsylvania

3.96/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

Jan 21, 2013
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ppoitras from Massachusetts

3.88/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle received via Growling at the Moon. Thanks for the brew, Dan!

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a teensy 1/4"beieg head over the clear reddish chestnut brew. Head is quickly down a skim, with film around the rimand leggy slow-falling lace. Aroma is dark fruits and malt.

Taste is heartily malty sweet to start, dark fruits in the middle, maybe a touch of fusel closing with a light bitterness and alcohol warmth. Mouthfeel is slickery smooth, and drinkability is good. Nice rep of the style, and an enjoyable brew. Was worried about excessive spicing in a holiday brew, but this one's safe.

Jan 05, 2013
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Cylinsier from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Pours a deep brown, reddish brown glow when held up to light. Minimal lacing for a head.

Smells of mild spice, brown sugar and figs.

Figs, molasses, brown sugar and a hint of licorice in the taste.

Medium to full body with a mild tingle of carbonation on the roof of the mouth.

A pretty tasty beer, a bit cloying but good and manageable. Would have it again around the holidays, but a bit rich to drink a lot of.

Dec 22, 2012
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wvsabbath from West Virginia

4.3/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving Type - 22oz bottle

Appearance - Dark brown/tan, not much of a head , some decent lacing.

Smell - Dark fruits like plum, rasin, smoked roasty malts, mollasses, brown sugar. Cherry, caramel, cinnamon, chocolate. Some added spices.

Taste - Dark fruits and roasted malts at first. Nice mix of bold chocolate, molassess and brown sugars but not overly sweet. The caramel malts works well with the added spices, which gives a mint like flavor. The finish is malty and really smooth.

Mouthfeel - Malts and sugars really grab the tounge. Palate gets more malts, sugars and spices. Aftertaste is malty, some alcohol , a little thin and watery.

Overall - Excellent, balanced well and super easy to drink. Nothing over the top, straight up soild, and add to the face you can score this for between 4-6$ a 22oz'er, makes it a value also. Worth a drink every holiday season.

Dec 14, 2012
St. Nikolaus Bock Bier - Brewer's Reserve from Pennsylvania Brewing Company
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 188 ratings