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

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St. Nikolaus Bock Bier - Brewer's ReserveSt. Nikolaus Bock Bier - Brewer's Reserve
179 Ratings
St. Nikolaus Bock Bier - Brewer's ReserveSt. Nikolaus Bock Bier - Brewer's Reserve

Brewed by:
Pennsylvania Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: Doppelbock

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by jcdiflorio on 11-22-2007

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 179 |  Reviews: 105
Photo of Sammy
3.98/5  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.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.18/5  rDev 0%
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!

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Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of Knapp85
3.73/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a bottle of this back marked Batch 001 in 2008. The selling it had been trying to get rid of these for a little while. At that time I really wasn't into buying bombers... I just wanted 12oz. bottles and one day I caved and bought this one. I saved it for a little while and then opened it with some friends. The beer poured out as a dark brown color. The head was a light tan color, the retention and lacing were minimal. The smell of the beer was malty, it had just a little bit of spice to it. The taste of the beer was pretty good, lots of malts in there to sweeten up the brew, some grains and a touch of booze heat in there as well. The mouthfeel of this beer was pretty good, I can't really say that there was anything wrong with it. Overall the beer was drinkable, I've never had the urge to find this brew again since I had it.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It is becomming increasingly difficult to find quality Bockbiers. Lighter than a Dopplebock, but not a watery, bastardized American version either. A solid brown- cola looking color with mild carbonation, creamy head formation that whithered slowly, leaving light traces of lacing behind. Aromas of caramelized sugars and malt give a meloidin rich molassas scent with a rich, meaty, malty, broathy note. Esters of dates, nuts, plumbs, figs, and grapes. Flavors are less sweet, less estery, more malty and with more of a toasty-dry flavor that provides a lot of bittering. A well attenuated, clean, caramel malt flavor remains simple, pure, and unmuddled. Textures are firmly malty with no residual sweetness, cloying, or astringent. A refreshing herbal, grassy hop taste and bittering complements the toasted grains and gives complexity to the flavors and textures. Finishes with crisp bitterness, toastiness, and the first signs of nutmeg, allspice, and clove. The beer would be much better without these- but hey, it wouldn't be marketable as a Christmas beer without them now would it?

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Photo of brentk56
4.37/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours an ice tea brown color with ruby highlights and a modest head that quickly declines to a ringlet; a few shards and dots of lace around the chalice

Smell: Butter pecan ice cream with a touch of rum raisin and topped with caramel sauce

Taste: Malty flavors build, with butter pecan, golden raisins, maple syrup, cinnamon and a bit of herbal bitterness to balance; after the swallow, it all settles down into a rather malty, but not cloying concoction

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate to low carbonation; creamy

Drinkability: Although I would like to see a bit more carbonation, the aromas and taste of this beer are extraordinary; I wish more bocks moved in this direction

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Photo of Thorpe429
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Pours light brown to amber in color with a bit of a white head and some decent lacing. Pretty good retention. Nose brings some light malt and some caramel, bread, nuts, and light hops. The taste is caramel and some lightly-toasted bread. Good feel and nice drinkability. Definitely one of the better beers I've had from them.

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Photo of russpowell
4.77/5  rDev +14.1%
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!

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 001. Black cherry chestnut with bonfire orange edges. Atop the beer sits three fingers of creaminess the color of eggnog infused with nutmeg and cinnamon... that is sticky enough to deposit gorgeous sheets of frosted lace. Maybe it's the iconic drawing of St. Nikolaus on the label, but this is one festive looking lager.

For some reason, the nose doesn't hit me the same wonderful way the standard bock's nose did. It seems less powerful and less interesting, but is still good. I get cocoa and coffee beans(especially the latter) along with a subtle spiciness. Tobacco notes appear as the beer warms.

It would be great if I had both versions for comparison's sake because my flavor memory of the other beer is too foggy to specify how Brewer's Reserve differs (beyond being higher in alcohol). It doesn't matter, though, because this is still one of the best lagers to have ever entered my glass.

Even though I just thought it up, 'the darker the bock, the better the bock' sounds like a fine bock motto to live by. This one has enough of the darker malts to deliver notes of chocolate and coffee that are reminiscent of a Belgian dubbel without the estery yeast. Medium-dark fruit is present as well, along the lines of ripe plums and possibly even figs. Other flavors include lightly toasted pumpernickel bread, tobacco and English Breakfast tea leaves.

Hop flavor isn't obvious, but hop bitterness most certainly is. Sweetness (early) and bitterness (late) cooperate in splendid fashion, lending a balance that improves drinkability considerably. As for the slightly higher ABV... buried without a trace. It's a good thing this elixir comes in such big bottles because I'm having a smashing good time.

The mouthfeel could stand to be bigger. It's wonderfully smooth and appropriately bubbled, but with a little eggnog-like creaminess, this already superb beer would be even better. Warming brings out just enough improvement to result in the above score.

Hopefully, Pennsylvania Brewing Company will see the wisdom of releasing St. Nikolaus Bock Bier Brewers Reserve each year. If not, we can at least console ourselves with the standard version, which is every bit as good. I love the bright red velvet bag that the bottle was sold in. It makes a special holiday beer seem even more special.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.75/5  rDev +13.6%
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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Photo of Slatetank
4.17/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 001, picked up at my local bottle shop last holiday season.Poured chilled in a Siedel

A - A medium brown shade w/ light haze and small band of tan. The lace is good and bead is ultra-fine w/ visible carbonation when observed closely rising toward the surface

S - The aroma is fruity w/ a raisiny chocolate combo of aromas. There is slight brown scents like toasted almonds and tobacco

M - The thing about the feel that is so great is it is not one dimensional, yet it is layered very well w/ the right amount of carbonation. A malty but not overly sweet texture and the finish is semi-dry.

T - A malt and alcohol flavor w/ dry and sweet malt flavorsw/ a subtle pistachio note from mild bittering hops and a sweet toasted caramel flavor w/ light smokiness and dry breadiness w/ crusty full flavor. The taste has subtle notes of vanilla's dry spice effects

D - an excellent beer I could drink it year round but I love it more knowing I can wait to have it as a celebratory bock for christmas. The lager is very drinkable for an 8% beer.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 002
Received from Secret Santa this year and last, thanks for the opportunity KarrHeel03 and DavoleBomb.
Pours a deep brown with great garnet highlights and a smallish creamy off white head that recedes much to quickly. Smells of malt, yeah I know right a bock that's malty go figure. Sweet toffee and caramelized sugars mixed with some sweet plums, and hints of cocoa. Taste is sweet with dark fruits, melanoidin, cocoa, and toffee. The taste is wonderful in its malty sweetness without being cloying. No hop presence detected. Creamy smooth mouthfeel, light to medium level of carbonation, sweet almost syrupy mouthfeel. I enjoyed the hell out of this while watching the Steelers get it handed to them in the Superbowl. Very nice bock.

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Photo of tdm168
3.84/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.38/5  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!!!

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Photo of ejimhof
4.75/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.26/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown with a tan head that leaves a lot of lacing on the way down. Clean malty nose with a not a lot going on with it. Still nice though. Flavor is nice and smooth with a good leafy edge and a sweet tone that hits on the back half. Nice robust qualities to it. Smooth feel with a slightly higher level of carbonation. A very easy drinking bock with good robust tones. Goes down very smooth. And you've got to love the nice little bag the bottle comes in.

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Photo of MasterSki
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this in a trade a while back from Hojaminbag I think. This was Batch 002. Served in a Lost Abbey Rastal Teku.

A - Pours with a finger-plus of light tan foam that settles to a ring of foam and some light film of bubbles on top, with some spotty lace being left behind. Transparent dark red-brown body.

S - Smells like bock! Bready, nuts, and fruits, molasses.

T - Tastes like bock! Lots of sweet bread, lightly toasted malt, a hint of treacle, and some nuttiness. Finishes with light hop bitterness.

M - Medium body with light grain character. Dry and slightly chewy finish. Didn't at all realize this was 8.5% - that was a bit of shocker.

D - I think our tasting group was somewhat underwhelmed by the straightforward nature of this beer. The main comment tossed around was that it was very "bocky". I don't drink bocks very often, but if I did this would be a very solid choice.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 002, part of my #1 beer per styles goal on here, the best bock beer.

Beer is brown and haze with a decent head of small bubbles, tan, that leaves some lacing on the glass.

Aroma is quintessential bock. Its mildly yeasty, very caramelly, mildly sweet, nice volume, smells good.

Beer is medium bodied, leads off with a nice sweetness and a strong malt character. The finish is really nice. Bocks are sexy beers, they aren't huge in flavors and alcohols but they are transparent. This beer has a slight roast at the back, a full palate experience and a great finish. I really like it, if you are looking for a good bock, this is probably it, I'd have it again and I'd be interested in the NON-brewer's reserve version of this. Hopefully I can get some when it's released this month.

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Photo of BillRoth
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of Stinkypuss
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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

Pours a dark brown, pretty much opaque. Aromas of dark fruits, brown sugar and molasses. In the taste, sugary malts, caramel, fig, raisin and dates make for a tasty beverage. Roasted malts are in the background. The presence of alcohol is on the small side, with just a little warmth. There is a hint of spice. Malty, semi sweet, and having little to no bitterness. Mouthfeel is full bodied, with medium carbonation. Overall, glad I finally got to try this one. A nice malty bock that hides its strength and is easy to drink. I believe it is bottle conditioned and would like to try it in that format next.

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Photo of biegaman
4.56/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Batch 001. 750 ml gold foiled, green glass bottle. Served in a red velvet stocking.

A delicious looking beer that bears strong resemblance in colour to a creme caramel dessert. All subconscious associations to the custard aside, this looks as though it will be one scrumptious bock! It adorns a modest crown of white and, with a strong source of light behind it, becomes illuminated and will take on a most lush tone of mahogany.

The aroma pulsates with a rich, succulent, nourishing, full-bodied maltiness. It smells sweet and sticky but also crisp and toasty. It's also far more complex than most lagers are known to be and boast notes of creamy caramel, molasses syrup and butter pecan. My nose is also definitely picking up on hints of dates, plums, and chocolate covered raisins.

These savory flavours continue to seep through in the taste. The flavours seem to borrow on those of rich desserts: creme caramel, butter pecan pie and fig pudding in particular. Bowls of dried fruits (prunes, raisins, figs) have marked their spot. Even a touch of spice - a tea sort of spice - has also soaked in. Add in rum raisin and spiced eggnog, blend them all together, douse them with molasses and then caramelize with brown sugar - voila!

This beer is nothing short of delicious and seems to have lost none of its edge during the year it spent on my cellar shelf. There's even a vinous, grassy hop presence that seems to conclude each sip, although the bitterness is definitely washed over by all the sweetness. That said, the beer is balanced and maintains an astonishing level of quaffability considering its strength. This certainly one of the best bocks I've tried outside of Germany.

Saint Nikolaus (whom our beloved Santa Claus is modeled after) was said to be known also as 'Nicholas the Wonderworker'. If you ask me it's a wonder how this brewmaster could fit so much flavour and hide so much alcohol to create a bock this quaffable. It is far from overly sweet, far from overly strong and, only perhaps, far too drinkable.

Bocks were traditionally brewed for special occasions, including religious festivals like Christmas. I personally would consider the Winter Holidays to be a perfect time of year to enjoy this style and Penn Brewing has treated me with this late Christmas gift. There is no doubt St. Nikolaus (note the German spelling) would be especially proud of this rendition of the traditionally German style - I bet he'd like to have one too after a long night's work!

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.2/5  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.


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Photo of yourefragile
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of cjgator3
4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
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!

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.21/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

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St. Nikolaus Bock Bier - Brewer's Reserve from Pennsylvania Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.18 out of 5 with 179 ratings
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