30th Anniversary- Charlie, Fred And Ken's Bock | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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30th Anniversary- Charlie, Fred And Ken's Bock30th Anniversary- Charlie, Fred And Ken's Bock

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: Maibock / Helles Bock

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.30%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by IrieJackalope on 05-29-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 341 | Ratings: 524
Photo of FuzzyGuy84
5/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Rich amber color, bright and nearly translucent. Lovely caramel head with tiny bubbles and strong lacing.

S - For an 8.3% ABV, there's none of the bitter bounceback I traditionally associate with high octane beers. Earthy floralness, not the bright, citrusy floral smell I'm used to on a regular SNPA. Rich and a little dark - very well balanced.

T - BALANCE. This beer grows and shrinks and morphs in the mouth, but never screams in your face - no flavor overpowers another, and your taste buds remain fully intact.; Warm malt dances with light hop notes for a daring beer. Unique, complex, perfectly executed flavor - an outstanding beer.

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Photo of Doppelmax
4.97/5  rDev +26.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Just another great big beer from SN. My wonderful daughter brought this one up to me from NYC. You have to raise them correctly!

Actually I'm a bit partial as bock is my favorite style but this one hits it out of the park. Imagine this as a Doppelbock a Sierravator.


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Photo of wikk3d
4.77/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance - Pours a nice full amber color with a very thick head that takes a while to settle into about a half finger foam. Served in a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass.

Aroma - Sweet hoppy smell with a hint of lemon and citrus. Floral, maybe a bit of honey as well. Doesn't have a hint of alcohol for an 8% beer.

Taste - Full taste, a bit of hoppiness, not really bitter though, very noticeable sweet citrus and honey flavors.

Mouth - A lot of carbonation, leaves a hint of hops in the back of the tongue. Lasting taste is a little bitter but overall it's very flavorful.

Drinkability - This beer took me off guard, the smell gives you the impression it's going to be similar to most Sierra's and have a bitter taste that's extremely hoppy. It's not. It's full of flavor. The hops are just enough to give it a very unique taste. Great brew. First of the 30th's that I have tried so far.

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Photo of ggroller
4.76/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a very nice bottle. The labels are really cool and the Sierra Nevada stamped cork is a nice touch.

Lots of carbonation and a really soft, sticky head.

I put my nose right down into the head and only get a bit of floral tones.

This beer is super drinkable and it's 8.3%. Fruit, caramel, vanilla, and just a slight bit warming alchohol heat at the end.

If it wasn't so expensive, I'd buy a case and go through it rather quickly.

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Photo of Flava5
4.72/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I poured this into a pint glass out of caged and corked bottle.

The first thing I noticed about this brew is the honey smell right off the get go it smelt like heaven this was my first style of brew like this so I had no idea what to expect but loved it. The nose had bready malts and honey with some small hops smell. The flavor was amazing honey once again on the front but big malt and hop flavor just nice and creamy would drink again. I loved the cloudy amber color and the nice fluffy white head that lasted no time at all but the lacing is awesome. The drinkability is not to high the flavor rocks but it has a nice ABV so a couple does the job for sure. But all around a great beer can't wait to try again.


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Photo of Cannoneer
4.68/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Much anticipation before opening this bottle. Much!

Poured a nice, amber color with solid top. Not much of an aroma, something woodsy and toffee-like. Waited about a minute for the head to settle to take the first sip.

The taste more than makes up for the relative lack of smell. This is an exceptional beer, very well balanced and so easy to drink!

The opening taste is that of pine bark, moderated by bitter chocolate. The bitterness is not overbearing, but among the most pleasant in a beer I ever tasted. The middle notes keep the woodsy, somewhat floral taste going while adding a bit of alcoholic warmth. Still no sweetness detected...until the aftertaste arrives, and it's bready, with cola notes and sweetness, yet still very well balanced with the hoppy finish that leaves one craving for the next sip.

Drinks outstandingly well. A perfect beer overall.

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Photo of philbertk
4.63/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company--SIERRA XXX 30th Anniversary--Charlie, Fred & Ken's Bock--Imperial Helles Bock--A Collaboration of Pioneering Brewers #2--2010 25.4 oz. Bottle. 8.30% ABV. 41 IBU's. (4.5 / 5.0) Helles--Imperial. Rich thick lacy white head. Clear brilliant amber color. Aromatic sweet malt mild floral Noble hop front. Rich smooth creamy mild sweet crusty toasted caramel malty mild fruit delicious Helles body. Smooth tangy hint of hop spice crisp clean end. Flavor gets even better as Brew warms. Penultimate Bock! Sampled 6/12/2010. 2 @ $10.79 Each.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.6/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appears a deep honey glow golden huewith a bright lightoff white head forms thick and billows above the edge of my glass. Aroma has a beautiful hop nose, some floral citrus grassy notes combine in the fresh smelling hop additions. Toasted bread maltiness along with hints of honey and apple, and tropical fruitiness. Flavor has a dry leafy earthy herbal bitterness through the middle with big rounded malt edges, a ballsy version of the nice Glissade Bock SN produced this past spring. Nice to see a lager this big drink so well, mouthfeel isn't cloying to me at all, a wonderful mix of sweet malts and bitter drying hops even in a malt heavy style like this helles bock. Carbonation was sturdy carried the flavors and heavy malts with ease, fuller bodied brew especially considering this is a lager. Drinkability was killer especially for the style and alcohol, really well constructed and a true fine representative of the past and future of Sierra Nevada Brewing.

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Photo of Arithmeticus
4.6/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured at basement temp in straight ale glass

A: 3-finger head; rich clear orange; good carbonation; decent lacing
S: beautiful sweet hoppy smell
T: very unusual; hops predominate; hints of plum; bitter, much like an IPA; fellow drinker suggested it was like a barleywine
M: heavy, but smooth

overall, quite an amazing beer; very difficult to describe, in part because of how hopped the genre is

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Photo of Bluetick
4.56/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Nice golden brown with great effervescence and about half-inch of head

S: Smells malty, a bit of hops...but nothing overpowers or stands out

T: Extremely surprised by the taste. I've had lots of different Sierra Nevada's beers and they've always seemed to have one basic characteristic - an overpowering taste of cascade hops. Some people die for this, other like me like the hops a bit more balanced. This has a a good taste of pine - but honey, malt, a honey are will balanced with the hops.

M: This is where this beer really shines. It literally feels, silky smooth, buttery, and bubbly at the same time - wonderful.

D: It goes down too easy. The alcohol doesn't overpower anything or make it to "heavy".

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Photo of carlborch
4.55/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful Champagne-style hiss upon removal of cage and cork. Pours deep golden-copper with a 3-inch creamy off-white head that settles in at two inches. The nose provides evident, but light and bright floral hops and toasted malt. Medium body and long lingering. Moderate to high carbonation. Excellent mouth-feel. The relatively high ABV is noticeable in the sense of warmth and sweetness. It is moreish! I would seek it out again. Excellent with food but very tasty on its own. If I were a monk, i'd put some aside for lent.

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Photo of Mosstrooper
4.52/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 25.4oz bottle into 250mL Jenlain flute glass.

Appearance: Pours a lively, deep golden color with a large white head that dissipates pretty quickly and leaves behind large spots of lace.

Smell: Very earthy, toasty, and a bit nutty with floral notes.

Taste: Begins buttery and sweet, finishing with a green-apple sweetness/tartness and herbal hops. Also has a bit of a sweet tea flavor. Very, very clean.

Mouthfeel: Pretty dry from start to finish, with balanced carbonation and a medium body.

Drinkability: A damn good beer, and a very interesting, hoppy American interpretation of the maibock style. Definitely worth it, and this is something I may have to get again before it's gone. If you haven't had it yet, get it ASAP- it probably won't be around too long.

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From notes. This pours a clear golden amber with a rich frothy head. The aromas combine malt with hops and maybe a faint touch of fruit. The flavors combine nice malt esters ride into your mouth on top of rich caramelly malt sweetness. It has a little more hops than a German Helles bock but the hops nicely balance the malt sweetness and help make the whole thing work. It is easy to drink. They need to make more of this.

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Photo of JamnesCameron
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - pours with a thick white head, half stays, half leaves lace down the glass. Deep golden color.

S - aromas of sweet malt, and apples.

T - malty, just a hint of bitterness for ...well, not balance, but to keep it from being cloying. Drinks desceptively like a normal helles bock. I think the alcohol will sneek up on me later. No alcohol bite. Does not drink like 8.4 percent.

M - full but not filling if that makes sense. Not a session beer, unless you want that session to be over 2 hours for one bottle.

D - very drinkable, dangerously drinkable. The alcohol will sneek up on you. Very nice beer.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.47/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a chalice)
A- This beer has a crystal clear caramel hue to the body with a fizzy creamy beige head that boils a bit. There are a few strands of tiny bubbles that glide to the surface. The head fades after a bit.
S- The green earthy hops blend with a lightly kilned dry malt aroma. There is a dry biscuit aroma to the fresh malt finish. As the beer opens up there is a finish of fresh wort and a floral musty perfume to the hops.
T- The slight tartness to the herbal hops gives way to a soft sweetness in the finish. The Noble hop bitterness in the finish is just a bit stronger than the malt sweetness. There is a very faint sulfur hint to the hops in the finish.
M- There is a medium-full mouthfeel with a slightly chewy texture and no alcohol heat.
D- The great fresh grain flavor has a nice subtle depth with some good hop and yeast support. This drinks like a good session beer but it hits you like an Imp. Helles Bock when you try to stand up.

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Photo of ccrida
4.47/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a goblet, Charlie, Fred And Ken's Bock is dark, dull orangish gold with a small, off-white head that leaves scattered, foamy lace.

Smell is nice and hoppy, big minty nobles, a pleasant surprise that makes me glad I popped this right away.

Taste is also big on the herbal nobles, with very smooth, clean malt. Not particularly complex, but very tasty and clean. I love the bright hops, nice and fresh, the key component of this beer, which is why it SHOULD NOT BE AGED.

Mouthfeel is fairly creamy, medium bodied.

Drinkability is very good. This is a very well executed mai bock, crisp, digestible, clean, not cloying. I'm giving Fred all the credit!!!

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Photo of wahhmaster
4.46/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 700 mL bottle into a Pilsner Urquell pilsner glass.

Appearance: Pours a light brown color with lots of carbonation bubbles. Has a large, effervescent head that lingers for a very long time and leaves absolutely perfect lacing. Looks damn near perfect...

Smell: Smells very toasty with hints of floral hops.

Taste: The taste is surprisingly light for something with this high of an ABV or for something labeled "imperial." It really doesn't hit you over the head but rather introduces itself subtly. It is mildly bitter up front and develops toasty, grassy, and slightly sweet notes towards the back. The alcohol is hidden exceptionally well.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and surprisingly light. This is pure lager bliss.

Drinkability: Wow! This has to be one of the best beers I've had this year, if not ever. Surprisingly easy to drink for the 8.3% ABV, yet still full of depth of flavor. Highly recommended and a real treat!

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Photo of StephenRich
4.45/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Charlie, Fred and Ken - 3 names which may seem very unassuming to the general public, but are heavy hitters in the beer world. Charlie Papazian, a world famous author on beer and brewing techniques, and Fred Eckhart, also a published brewer and beer advocate have together helped launch maybe a thousand breweries. These two men are among the most highly regarded technical and influential experts in the craft beer industry. Ken then, Ken Grossman is the founder and owner of Sierra Nevada, one of the worlds most enamored and famous craft breweries, and rightly so.

These 3 revolutionary men have come together again to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Sierra Nevada with the 2nd installment of thier 30th Anniversary Beers; this is Charlie, Fred & Ken's Bock, an Imperial Helles Bock. This lager was created as a testament to the ever evolving, always entertaining, and still perfecting art of brewing. A bock is a historic beer style that has little attention paid to it by the macro, or craft brewers. Charlie, Fred & Ken's Bock is 8.3% abv, and may be the best Imperial Helles Bock I have ever had.

This beer should be perceived as having low bitterness. It is a medium bodied, malt-focused beer with malt character often balanced by low levels of yeast earthiness or complexity. As Imperial versions reach greater strength levels a more perceivable level of hop flavor and bitterness is essential to add balance to retain the beer's identity. Malt character is often bread-like and very reminiscent of fresh roasted barley. No real caramel flavors should be present. The color is light straw to golden, and fruity esters should be minimal to non-existent. I know that this is a bit of a technical definition of the style, however the Helles Bock is a little known beer, so I hope this puts it into perspective.

I opened the Helles Bock up right between cool and cellar temperature at about 12F (54F) and poured it into several stemmed tulip glasses to enjoy with my friends. The pour was slick and oily building a richly golden orange beer with burnt caramel colors and a piercing bronze shinning though its gently transparent body. The head was a creamy nutshell version of white standing a few inches on top of the beer. Carbonation was tight but somewhat scattered in it, but a clean separation between beer and foam was defined. Very, very pretty.

The nose was so delicious in a soft and lagered way that I just don't get to enjoy enough. The scent of a lager is deceptively unique compared to an ale - a slower, and cold fermentation, as well as longer ageing period helps create a beer with pure malt flavors that are unassisted but the fruity esters created via ale fermentation. Unfortunately the majority of lagers you would smell are commodity-grade pseudo beers with little to no aroma at all. Fortunately though, the Helles Bock is brimming with fresh baked bread, clean barley, sweet and oily honey and golden pale and pilsner malts. Every beer lover should smell this beer just to understand what is possible. Gentle spices and earth caress the sides of your nose, a smooth and floral hop aroma glides right in, and a centered malt character brings it all home.

The first thing I noticed when drinking this beer was a lush and silky, almost oil like mouthfeel. It really glides through your palate with a viscous texture bringing appropriately creamy but crisp flavors to every inch of your mouth. The malt is the big player here showing me roasted grain flavors with soft hints of dough, fresh baked bread, raw honey and a malted sweetness that I couldn't call caramel, but shows a soft brown sugar character.

Spicy hops are lenient with wide herbal, floral and fresh aromas. They add a subtle bitterness that cleans the malt and opens your palate up to a balancing act of earthy bitterness and cleanly malty sweetness. If this were an ale, all this would be lost in a myriad of fruity favors and rich esters - which is often very delicious. However as a Helles Bock, and Imperial one at that, this is how the beer should be.

The finish is soft and leaving gentle malt flavors but a fresh, wind swept hop cleanliness. It is very refreshing, but doesn't come close to crisply carbonated or aggressive. It is perfectly smooth, and in my humble opinion, and near perfect example of the style by 3 of the best in the business. Well done!

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Photo of Zodijackyl
4.45/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Can't really see through it, a tinge of brown at the bottom of the glass and a very rich, mocha head. Aroma has a variety of sweet hops, barley and a yeast to match the barley.

Flavor is primarily malt, quite a bit of tang, but still somewhat sweet, with the yeast filling out the sweetness of the flavor. The hops are primarily aromatic and fill the flavor a bit, but are far from dominant. While it has the malt/yeast taste of a barleywine, it does not have the astringency or the dry feeling normally found in them, those qualities are more like a smoother bock. Mouthfeel is great due to this, and it is highly drinkable.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.43/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance - uncaps with a vehement pop. Not a gusher but it sounded like it could have been. Pours a very effervescent tangerine color. Not sure of its clarity, the bead of bubbles is so intense it makes it hard to tell. Solid finger of flat white head, very batter-like. Excellent stick all around.

Aroma - sweet orangey citrus. Can't remember the last time I had a bock of any kind with this much hop character; nice.

Taste - big malty sweetness, though it leaves quickly in favor of the hops. Moderate bite with lots of fruity character. Orange mostly, some pithy grapefuit on the aftertaste. Slightly warming on the finish. Great stuff but could use a little more malt footprint.

Mouthfeel - good smoothness for the style. Awfully ramped up with carbonation. I suppose that will settle as it sits but it's disappearing fast.

Drinkability - more sessionable than any 8% brew oughtta be. We shared a box of oranges from our local wholesaler with folks we hung out with today (Easter Sunday), and this orange-forward beer was an ideal pick to celebrate the Resurrection and toast an end to Lent. Bring on the desserts once again.

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Photo of JEdmund
4.43/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Orange body (much brighter than anticipated) and a decent white head. Smell is light and clean, with mostly dry crackery/cookie malts and slight fruit and stone. Awesome texture: like velvet going down. It has weight but doesn't exactly feel heavy or filling. Great flavor and exceptionally balanced and smooth, especially for a big beer. Hard to describe flavors, but there's a hint of fruit (peach?) lurking, noble hops providing a bit of snap, and the rest is all malts. Very clean and thankfully not sweet. The finish somehow manages to beguile, coming off much lighter than first perceived and later felt.

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Photo of IrieJackalope
4.43/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Managed to track this down just a few days after it shipped out from Chico.

The packaging is equally as beautiful as what was seen with the Fritz and Ken's Ale, a very special marketing plan for a special line of beers. Cork comes off with a huge pop and immediately I'm greeted with a wafting, crisp hop aroma. Poured into a small snifter somewhat vigorously to get a sizeable head that dissipates somewhat quickly. Minimal lacing left behind.
In all fairness, I should admit that helles lager typically isn't a style I enjoy, but this beer is different. The taste is amazingly crisp and clean, but at the same time fantastically flavorful. Toasty malts really shine through, and are perfectly balanced by the slight hop bite I caught in the nose earlier. The finish and overall feel of the beer are probably some of its strongest facets. Smooth, clean, and extremely drinkable. There's a slight hop tingle as the beer goes down. Highly recommend this one, although after the last release I doubt anyone will need to be persuaded to track it down.

Jack & Ken, bring on round 3!

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Photo of JoePat
4.43/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer pours a crystal clear dark golden/pale tan color with a thick white head that passes with a few minutes.

The aroma is bready, malty, and has some cooked corn like aroma all mixed into one smell.

The flavor starts off with a sweet caramel maltiness then a slight hop spicyness followed by a less pressent but noticable cook corn flavor but then the malt rounds it out and finishes clean and malty.

The mouthfeel has that clean, smooth mouthfeel that all SN beers have but this beer moves toward the maly syrup side of that balance which is probably what helps to round out the flavor.

Very drinkable beer (not that a helles shouldn't be) but this goes down like a normal Helles not an imperial.

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Photo of budgood1
4.43/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

pours out of the 750ml bottle a chill hazed neon orange and gold combination with a thick, dense, egg shell white head. great retention and staying power, with thick chunky lace. very bright and floral nose, almost perfume like! smells fantastic. the taste is more of the same...malty rich with bright floral notes with a soapy undertone that i find in so many maibocks and blonde doppelbocks. some fruitiness weaves in and out with a small amount of bitterness for show only. a bit of belly warming alcohol spice shows itself then finishes on the sweet side. damn nice tasting if not a bit on the sweet side. full bodied for sure with a extremely smooth and supple mouthfeel...about damn near perfect. great dinkability! for a higher ABV blonde/helles bock this one drinks dangerously great!

great beer! worth the premium price, and that's saying a lot!

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Photo of MatthewPatthew
4.43/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: This is a beautiful pour: orangish-red, clear but not crystal with large, active, bubbles. Long lasting head.

S: Very fruity from esters not hops.

T: Surprising hit of bitterness at the beginning.

M: Has the crispness of a lager but less water-y than many.

D: Extraordinarily drinkable. Should have bought more than one.

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30th Anniversary- Charlie, Fred And Ken's Bock from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
3.94 out of 5 based on 524 ratings.
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