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

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

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Reviews: 105 | Ratings: 176
Photo of righthereisay
4.56/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Purchased a case of 750 ml bottles (12 of 'em) Batch# 002.

Had them for Thanksgiving, Christmas, contributed to some Christmas parties, and finally the final Steelers game of the seaon...

Nice dark color. Some tan head. The smell isn't as good as its taste.

Love the complex taste. Lots of raisin, carmel, fruit flavors. Lots of spices. A little bit of bitterness. Sure wish it was a tad creamier, it may have been perfection.

You could throw down a lot of these. I don't think anybody would hate this beer. Grandma's, cousins, friends all enjoyed it. Only concern is the alcohol content.

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Photo of nickd717
4.13/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle sent as an awesome extra in a trade with Davolebomb. Thanks, Dave! Shared with family at Christmas dinner. The incorrigible neophytes that they are, they were saying things like, "Is that a beer? It looks like a wine bottle! I've never seen something like that!" Pfft! Ignoramuses.

Pours a dark, clear reddish-brown color with a nice lasting tan head.

Aroma is malty and sweet with toffee, roast, and dark fruits.

Flavor is very good, malty and roasty, fairly complex, with toffee, caramel, spices, and black cherry.

Smooth on the mouthfeel with medium body.

Drinkability is very good for the style. Overall this is a really nice beer.

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Photo of wchesak
3.95/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bought at Total Wines in Chantilly, VA. Bath #2 poured into a La Fin Du Monde (Unibroue) tulip.

A - less than an inch of tan head, very dark brown opaque color with a hint of ruby, no lacing and head subsides quickly

S - surprising earthy hop smell with dark malts, bittersweet chocolate, pumpernickel bread on the back ground

T - malt is more present in this with more pronounced roasted dark and chocolate malts, bitter/dry aftertaste attributed to the hops and the bittersweet chocolate flavors, alcohol only slightly noticeable after a filling my glass up a second time

M - medium bodied, above average carbonation - maybe more than I wanted

D - good all around bock, however it didn't blow me away either...with snow coming down again, the warmth of the beer helped out

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Photo of joepais
4.06/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Bboyshatter Merry Christmas,

The packaging alone is worth a 5 for appearance
Batch 001 split among friends in snifters. The beer had a two finger tan head that went to nothing. The body of the brew was black as night.

Carmel and roasted malts are in the nose. There is a good balance here. A great larger bread smell shows up too a little oxidized but to be expected.
The flavor is light and roasted not something I would normally say I suspect it may be the age. There is a dry roasted bitter finish that was quite unique.
These people make a great lager. I could have finished this myself but it was much more fun to share this brew with friends

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

750ml bottle, thanks bort

appearance: the dreaded green-glass bottle...poured into an unmarked chalice, very rich cola-mahogany body with ruby highlights, creamy light tan head

smell: woody, nutty, cherry and apple,

taste: a very refined bock - creamy, full of spice, sweet apple, roasted malt, bready, cherry. a festive arrangement with great depth

mouthfeel: really nice - creamy and complex

drinkability: good

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Photo of Proteus93
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle came courtesy of CrellMoset. Thanks, Chris!

A: Deep amber, or more like a golden-hued bronze. Nice little head that lingers around with some 'softer' stickiness.

S + T: It's certainly got a festive smell... and flavour, for that matter! Rich and malty, with what appears to be seasonal spices - allspice, clove. Some toffee hints, with a touch of alcohol spiciness.

M + D: Medium body, a little spicy warmth on the finish. An easy going drinker, but certainly not a difficult one to imbibe in.

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Photo of CrellMoset
3.97/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 001, picked up at a Total Wine in Tampa, FL. Poured in to a tulip.

Appearance: Pours a dark ruby brown, transparent when held to the light, capped by a good finger of lightly tanned head. The retention is solid if not outstanding, but the lacing is surprisingly nice, glittery and runny but with a sufficient amount of stick,

Aroma: Huge molasses, toasted coconut, faint brown sugar, bread crusts, raisins, sweet cherries, and a slew of spices - very fruit cake-esque, with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves. A very inviting and sweet smell, probably this beer's best aspect.

Taste: Hmm, not bad, but just a little meek, probably having faded somewhat over the past two years. Sweet brown sugar, strong roasted malts, slightly sweet, faintly toasted, soft and subtle. Lots of fruits as well, with the same cherry/fig/raisin combo that was pleasant in the nose still present but father away, muted.

Mouthfeel: Incredibly smooth and soft, just rolling around in your mouth. Perfectly bock like, with all those faint, soft, fine, powder sugar-esque sugar notes, marshmallow fluffy-like. Swell.

Drinkability: A great brew that I imagine would have been much greater about a year ago. It's funny, 'cause I've been trying to crack this one at tastings for about that amount of time now, but for some reason, it just never worked out. Alas, as it's a great beer. Hopefully, Penn makes this one again this year and I'm able to pick it up. A traditional bock that - at 8% - is really actually quite drinkable, and definitely qualifies for the modifier "Reserve." Kudos.

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

A- three-finger, fluffy, tan head on top of a glass that looks close to the color of finished cherry wood

S- Sweet and bready...lots of malt backbone here...I seem to get a bit of toasted almonds as well

T- Roasted nuts and caramel...only missing a hint of chocolate to be a liquid snickers...some coffee bitterness hits near the end

M- medium bodied...a bit chewy

D- Nice...better than the original St. Nikolaus Bock

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Photo of dstc
4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very deep, clear, ruby color with a big, foamy, light tan head that falls slow. Nice lace.

Sweet malt aroma. Also picking up a somewhat metallic smell.

Sweet malt taste with mild hops present. Slight coffee, bitter finish.

Medium bodied to thick in the mouth.

Nice bock. Enjoyable.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I got this brew in a trade with adamharbaugh, Thanks Adam!

Batch 001, 750ml bottle served in a glass beer mug.

Dark brown color with a foamy beige head that stayed as a ringed island.
Sweet aroma of roasted malts and dark fruits.
The taste is malty sweet and delicious.
Medium bodied with a mild, smooth feel.
It was very easy to drink this tasty treat.

Batch 002 enjoyed on 12/26/09 and nothing from the original review has changed.

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Photo of Jayli
3.88/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a deep brown with ruby highlights that are even more pronounced when held to the light. Head is about 1- 1 1/2 finger of thick foamy off white head. Spotty lacing is left on the side. Nose is caramel and toffee malts, touch of chocolate mixed in here. There is also a hint of fruit in the nose - raisins is what I mostly pick up. Taste is of bitter chocolate, mixed nicely with caramel and toffee malts. Some earthiness follows the malts mixed with the fruity raisin presence detected in the nose. Mouthfeel is medium to full body, creamy feel that goes down nice and smooth. This is a nice beer to sit with on a cool evening.

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Photo of PatronWizard
3.83/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to lilly livered liberal adamharbaugh. I held onto this for a few weeks but just had to drink it.

Pours a very deep brown. Can see some faint ruby hues in the light. Serious head of fluff with good pattern of lacing.

Smells of some bready malts. Not too sweet. Fairly good scented brew.

Taste is similar - bready biscuity, not too strong though. Just a solid flavor.

Exceptionally smooth. Seriously smooth. Every drink becomes a half-the-glass session. Carbonation is very low, goes quite well with the beer. Good thing it comes in a 750ml because I think I'll be making short work of this.

Overall: great

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Photo of Lepley
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 1 pint 9 ounce green bottle with gold foil from labeled batch 2.

A: Pours deep redding-brown. Two fingers of brown foamy head with a little lacing.
S: Malty, sweet, grassy, chocolate.
T: Malty, sweet, roastiness, coffee, carmel, light bitterness and hints of hops. Very well rounded. I think they toned the alcohol some down for this batch, it was masked very well.
M: Smooth, kind of silky.
D: Wow, this is one of the best I've had in a while. Kind of pricey at $12 a bottle, but as a once and a while thing definitely worth it.

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Photo of SkinnyElvis
4.47/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 002. Pours with a thin head. Nice lacing. Dark amber in color. Smells very bready and malty. Taste is malt with some sweetness. Mouthfeel is very smooth and this is also very drinkable. I was not planning on reviewing this until I took a sip & thought that this was a very good bock. Recommended.


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Photo of BeerSox
4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750ml capped green bottle into Scandinavian mug. 7.5% ABV. Batch 002.

Deep mahogany hue. When held up to the light I can see that the beer is clear, with ruby highlights. A thick and dense two finger even head slowly settles to a thick cap. The settling head leaves behind about a finger of solid lacing. Rings of solid lacing.

Very light, but also very complex. Those usually don't occur together but this one somehow pulled it off. Heavily toasted grains give off a little bit of brown sugar and caramel.

My first impression from the flavor is it's extremely smooth and creamy tones. Some roastiness builds in the middle and shifts to a slight bitterness. A bit of caramel comes in here and there.

Smooth, yet complex. Oh so drinkable. A good amount of roasted malts and caramel. A very enjoyable bock. Recommended.

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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 Jimbo87
4.48/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

$5.99 bottle (1 pint 9.4 oz) from Total Wine. Batch 001.

Poored almost opaque, hazy brown into pilsner glass with a 1 finger very pale brown head. Left little lacing.

Smells like caramel and toffee.

Taste had caramel, toffee, maybe coffee. Roasted malt. Very porter-like. It's definitely balanced, because it's not overly sweet, but you don't really notice the hop taste per se. Alcohol not evident, though it is higher than average for a bock. Delicious beer.

Mouthfeel was good. Medium mouthfeel. Not as thick as a stout, but thicker than a bock like Sam Adams Winter Lager. Medium-low carbonation.

Very drinkable because the taste was delicious and it goes down smooth. I split the bottle with my parents, but I could've finished it myself no problem.

This was my second bock. I did not like Sam Adams Winter Lager. I didn't want to finish it. So I was afraid I wouldn't like this one. But to my surprise, I loved it. Highly recommended. I will definitely buy again if I see it for $5.99.

Most of this beer in the store was priced at $11.99, but on one shelf it was priced $5.99 and I got the last one. I don't know why it was cheaper. Maybe it was old. But it makes sense that it would age well for a bock because the alcohol is higher than average for the style.

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Photo of wheelinshirt
4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750 mL green bottle, gold foil top, no velvet bag on mine which is probably why it only cost me $5.50 at Abe's in Bethlehem. Batch 001. I guess this one is a little over a year old.

Pours a clear, deep red into a dimple mug. Nice cream colored head, modest, appropriate size, pretty good retention but not much in the way of lacing. Looks good nonetheless.

Smell is good but a bit on the weak side. Some dark malts with the accompanying sweetness that one would expect, some breadiness mixed in as well.

Taste is very good. Dark, sweet without being cloying, enough bitterness to back it up. Also tastes of dark fruit and chocolate. No booze is immediately evident.

Mouthfeel is smooth, medium-bodied, nicely carbonated. No complaints.

Drinkability is excellent. Until I saw the listing on this database I assumed it was around 5 or 6% alcohol because that is what it drinks like. Very good and has held up very well. I would like to try this one again, fresh would be nice. If i see this one around for a reasonable price I will pick up a bottle to pop open for next christmas.

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Photo of ccrida
3.35/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750ml bottle, Batch 001, received in last spring from Hojaminbag (thx!) and cellared since, served at 55F. Poured into my Delirium snifter, St. Nikolaus Bock Bier - Brewer's Reserve is dark garnet with a small, tight bubbled light tan head that leaves pretty heavy lace.

Smell is pretty sweet, grape soda, not to intense, it opens some as it warms.

Taste is pretty rich, sweet at first but then a bit of a bitter roast segues to a very abrupt finish. Raisin, slightly tinny, some grassy hop bitterness. I wonder if this is getting a bit long in the tooth or was always this subtle, I've had the regular St. Nikolaus Bock and don't remember really being that impressed, but I expected more umphh here. This more like bock seltzer.

Mouthfeel is dry and sharp, spicy, medium body, moderate carbonation.

Drinkabilty is ok, not that exciting of a brew, but the ABV is well hidden, although the spiciness certainly isn't smooth. I know people like to score things high around here, but to me this is just an average dopplebock...

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Photo of stewart124
4.52/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 001
Picked this up at the brewery last holiday season.

Pours a very dark amber with a decent tan head that is just a bit sticky.

The smell is not as strong as I would have imagined. Some dark malts are present in the nose with a touch of sweetness. Slight bready note.

The taste is so clean and very very tasty. Bready character with a touch of roasted malts. Lots of caramel.
Mouthfeel is creamy and has a nice sweetness. Finishes dry on the palate. This gets creamier as it warms a bit. Just a solid lager. I could put down a few of these before the alcohol caught up to me. It's well hidden and the only trace is a nice warm feeling in my stomach.

Hops are only slightly present and I can taste just the faintest bitterness.

Aother solid beer from Penn and I'd like to get my hands on another one.

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

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into an Ommegang chalice. 12/29/08. Bottle came in a red velvet pouch, capped (not corked). Batch 001.

Pours a deep mahogany brown with ruby highlights when held up to the light. About a finger of tan head receded to a thin layer. Aroma is very malty and slightly sweet, with a biscuit-like quality. Caramel, toffee, and fig are also in the aroma.

Taste is very malty and somewhat sweet. Plenty of caramel and toffee with lots of dark dried fruits (raisin, date, and fig) and hints of spices. The finish is a very subtle presence of bitter herbal and earthy hops. Very crisp with a pleasantly herbal aftertaste. This is one darn tasty beer.

Feel is almost perfect. Plenty of carbonation keeps this full-bodied beer feeling fairly light but not thin. This helps keep the beer very drinkable. The high ABV (8.5%) is nowhere to be found.

A very good beer from Penn. Tastes great and super easy to drink. Definitely try it if you get a chance.

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

A perfect holiday treat! Comes in a red velvet bag with gold foil around the cap - very festive looking. Batch 001

On to the important stuff. Poured into flute glasses, a dense mahogany color with orange / reddish highlights when held to the light. Medium size fairly light cream colored head that fades fairly quickly.

Smell is prominent and pleasant, sweet malts and dark fruit. Tastes very good. Rich and malty...malt is more bread-like than caramel but still somewhat sweet. There is an element of dark fruit and spiciness here but not as pronounced as a Belgian. A little bitterness at the end rounds each sip off very nicely

Mouthfeel is somewhat rich but also a little on the light side. Very drinkable and smooth. This is a very good, slow-sipping holiday beer.

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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 hustlesworth
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

batch #002

A- festive clear rosewood mahogany, definitely leaning toward the red side. buff colored head is substantial yet light, forming craters and pits all over the surface, as it settles it slopes up the the edge of the glass and really sticks.

S- mineral water, soft smooth milk chocolate and roasted malt, burnt caramel, chalk, brown sugar, dark almost savory fruits, raisin, date fig. though it's not spiced, there are notes of vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg, and a fruit acidity. even as it warms the aroma isn't very strong, but it IS nice.

T- all manners of chocolate, milk & dark, with some mocha coffee and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. burnt cereal grains, some alcohol esters, vanilla, pipe tobacco, old stone, damp wood, and a zesty herbal hop bitterness combined with the earthy roasty bitterness at the end. more fuitiness as well, this time with currant, blackberry, and cranberry, plus dried dates & figs.

MF- gentle carbonation but still rather generous. this brew feels heavier than it looks. juicy almost full feeling becomes creamy on the swallow with a coating of roasted grain particles.

D- a delicious bock and a very worthy holiday offering, i gotta thank relatives from pittsburgh for sending me this st nick. fresh and satisfying, its starting me off all warm and sweet on a christmas eve.

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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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St. Nikolaus Bock Bier - Brewer's Reserve from Pennsylvania Brewing Company
4.18 out of 5 based on 176 ratings.
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