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: 525
Photo of Beaver13
2.12/5  rDev -46.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

750ml bottle. Pours a slightly hazy orange amber with a big creamy white head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is pretty subdued - some toasted malt and some vegetables and nitro(?). Kind of smells like a bad cream ale.

The flavor is toasted malts with some a good amount of bitterness that is slightly metallic and some noticeable alcohol. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a watery texture.

Overall, I did not care for this. It tastes like an imperial cream ale to me. It's watery, harshly bitter and alcoholic with very little redeeming about it. Not nearly as good as the Fritz and Ken.

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2.62/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Draft pour served in a 13 oz parabolic shaped pokal for $5.

A: Served with one finger of very light brown foamy, loosely knit head with short retention. The body is a brassy, coppery color with remarkable clarity. Lacing is non-existent.

S: The nose is filled with toasted malts of caramel and bread mixed with wild flower scented hops. Paper, grainy with some spicy fruit phenols. Smallest touch of banana plus clove.

T: I respect the brewers decision to keep the ABV where it is and none higher. Any more would have brought unwelcomed alcoholic flavors to the palate. With that said, this is too assertive for a Helles, and it becomes even clearer as I keep sipping.

M: The mouthfeel is slick and has a tingling carbonation from the middle to the back of the tongue. The flavor lasts long, it is very sweet and is missing some much needed bitterness. The mouthfeel started out well, but when the beer warms and the alcohol has nothing else to hide behind, it borders on offensive.

D: I enjoy a nice Helles, but this one is not my cup of tea.

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Photo of Traquairlover
2.86/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

750ml bottle. Given that this is called an imperial helles bock, I was unsure exactly what glass to use or how to rate it to style. In the end, I decided to use a tall thin tulip and to simply rate it based on enjoyment, since I do not know how I could fairly rate an imperial to a helles bock standard.

A = A coppery, honey colored brew with a large foamy of white head that recedes very slowly and becomes more billowey as it does so. Leaves only a small amount of lacing and has large numbers of very tiny carbonation bubbles.

S = Very interesting mix of smells here. Though there is a spicy, earthy, bready base to it, I am picking up quite a bit of grapefruit rind which I frankly did not expect and am not sure I think really blends well with what else is going on.

T = Taste is slightly better than the smell, mostly because the hops flavors I was worried about didn't materialize, but the tastes do seem strangely muted compared to the smell, too. Where I really got some white pepper, rye bread, and other complexities, on the taste I mostly get a little rye bread with honey, but more bitterness than that description would suggest. It's not bad, but it's not really good either.

M = Fairly light bodied, a bit of bite from overly aggressive carbonation bubbles and a bit of alcohol.

D = Can't say I really feel like finishing this bottle or having any others. It is a bit strange in the nose, underwhelming in the taste and almost unpleasant in the feel.

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Photo of bluejacket74
2.93/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

750 ml caged and corked bottle. Served in a pilsener glass, the beer pours a hazy orange/amber color with about an inch and a half off-white head. Head retention is good, with a decent amount of lacing. Aroma is nice but a bit light, the brew smells like grassy hops, caramel and bready malt, and some apples. It tastes like grassy and floral hops, bready malt, and some caramel and spice. This is a very bitter brew, but unfortunately it's not a good bitter flavor. The bitterness starts off harsh but does ease up some as the beer warms, but there's something about the flavor overall that I just don't like. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit slick and is well carbonated. Drinkability isn't good for me, but that's mainly because I don't care for the taste of this beer. Now that I think of it, I didn't care for Sierra Nevada's Glissade Bock either so apparently I just don't like SN's bock-style brews. I still think this is worth a try, hopefully you'll like it more than I did. I did finish the bottle, so I guess it wasn't too bad.

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Photo of scoots511
2.94/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Note: My experience with Helles Bock is limited so I will not give a standard review at this time.

The cork popped off sounding more like a champaign bottle. The appearance is really beautiful amber-orange color.

I found it to have the hoppy-sweet character of the style but it did not combine well from my impression. This is a Sierra Nevada beer and the hops and yeast doesn't let you forget it. From start to finish my impression of this beer did not change.

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Photo of PDXHops
2.99/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

750 ml bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. See-thru golden amber body with the kind of sizeable and dense head typical of SN. Plenty of sticky lacing.

Nose is a little on the tame side- apple sweetness, pale malts, mild noble hop spiciness. Tastes a little more lively, with a 1-2 combo of spicy and bitter. Gets quite prickly midswallow with freshly cracked black pepper and a fairly signficant bitterness. Kind of a vague sweetness. A bit crisp in the beginning, but it gets progressively heavier and boozier as it warms up. Somewhat of a chore to finish the last bit of the bottle on account of the booziness.

Overall impression: A bit on the awkward side. Never could really get into this. Pales in comparison to Glissade.

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Photo of dedrinker
3.03/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark honey color, with a dull white head.

Smells of sweet bread.

Flavors of dense sweet malts/ honey/ and alcohol which is also kinda sweet. It had a slight hoppy/ spicy character that danced about quickly and disappeared in favor of the cloying sweet alcohol.

Medium-full body with a slick sweet malt and alcohol finish.

It was a bummer. Helles bocks ought to be outlawed.

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Photo of Mitchster
3.06/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Graciously donated by a friend. Corked and caged 750ml bottle. Brewed by/for Fred Eckhardt, Charlie Papazian, and Ken Grossman. 8.30% ABV. No ingredients on the mfgr website.

Pours out to a slightly chill hazed dark golden/light amber, forming a tall white head with very good retention and sparse lacing. Carbonation is moderate, but releases a healthy whoosh with the cork. The aroma is of cascade hops (not my favorite..doesn't smell like Tett or Saaz), a healthy dose of pilsner, crystal, and munich malts, a clean lager ferment, apple juice, and honey. The mouthfeel is clean with a medium-dense body and a sweet finish. The taste is mostly about the malts, as a good bock should be....mild herbal bitterness with a clean sweetness, big malts, suggestion of sweet tea biscuits/sugar cookies, and a little spice from the hops.

Meh. This is a decent beer at best. It's not bad, but for a 30th anniversary, I expect more than average. I don't know how much it costs, but you can pick up an Ayinger bock for $4 and it's better.

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Photo of champ103
3.08/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a brunt copper/orange/amber color. At first A large white head rises to over two fingers. Initially the foam has good retention, but after a minute recedes to a ring. Light sticky lace is left in patches.
S: Spicy hops up front. Lightly fruity and floral. A soapy character develops towards the end. Not much else.
T: Spicy, fruity and floral again. A bit sweeter than I was expecting from the nose. The soapy character takes over a little to much for me. Kind of like dish detergent. Some rubbing alcohol develops as this warms up and becomes a little harsh.
M/D: A medium body and carbonation. Slick and oily. I wish it was a little dryer and crisper. At first I thought the alcohol was well hidden, but as this warms up some harsh rubbing alcohol comes out.

This just did not do it for me. I am not sure how I feel about an Imperial Helles, and I don't know if this is what I would think the style should be? The harsh rubbing alcohol that develops, soapy hops, and spice are at odds with each other. Anyway, just not for me.

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Photo of BeerAndBourbon
3.08/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed from notes.

A. Pours orange with yellow with a white creamy head.

S. Quite sweet, with belgian yeast spiciness, citrus hops, and an odd alcohol smell.

T. Bitter citrus hops with a sweetness that comes out more and more as it warms.

M. Medium body with high carbonation that quickly leaves the beer as it warms.

D. Started pretty well, but went downhill fast as it warmed. I definitely wasn't a fan of it warm - too sweet and no carbonation.

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Photo of breweryaprntc13
3.12/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark gold/ light amber in color with very thick foamy coffee and cream head

Strong Bock smell, grains and earthy hops, yeast, citrus and some sweetness with hints of slighty dark malts.

Maltier than expected, citrus hops profile throughout, slight ester, earth hops underneath, hints of lemon, slight biscuity flavor.

Smooth, slight;y bitter, medium but fitting carbonation.

Overall and decent Bock, does an adequate job of providing a balance of flavor and refreshments but does not call for real acclaim.

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Photo of telecomz
3.18/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Clear caramel color. Minimal head and lacing.
S- Not much there there.
T- Nice herbal hopiness.
M- Light to medium body No heat for the ABV and lightness of the brew.
D- This is very drinkable. Makes the ABV that much sneakier.

Not my preferred Style, but this is a nice example of the Style.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
3.18/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Charlie, Fred and Ken's Bock has a clear yellow body and a small, creamy head. Retention is pretty good, a few spots of lacing stay behind.

The aroma has some pale sweet malt, caramel malt and spicy hops.

Earthy and spicy flavors come through from the hops, and a lightly toasted malt presence includes general pale sweetness and some caramel. The malt sweetness is the most powerful flavor in the beer, and tastes a little doughy. The finish has a bit of alcohol.

The body could use a little bit more fullness to me, especially because this beer gets a little boozy toward the finish.

I sipped this one for a long time, and about halfway through I wished I had ordered something else. This beer wasn't quite as good as I expected, and although it wasn't terrible either it also wasn't cheap.

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Photo of allengarvin
3.18/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Cork really flew off of this one. I poured it into an English pint glass. The color is a somewhat dull color, with a large initial head that mostly dissipates within about 30 seconds. The nose is disappointingly faint, and rather plane: a light malt aroma with distant floral hops. The taste is little better, with fairly ordinary pils malt backed with moderately bitter hops. There's not a lot of hop flavor, either, and by the finish, harsh notes of alcohol are apparent. The body is rather unpleasantly heavy as well. At 8.3%, it's certainly on the high side for a maibock.

One of the most disappointing beers I've had from SN, ever.

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Photo of gordavidson
3.23/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- An absolutely clear orange/copper liquid with a creamy bone white head that has some good retention.

S- Some citrus rind, caramel, alcohol, honey, and spice. Fairly faint. Smells like a boozy lager.

T- Caramel malt, citrus rind, spice, and alcohol. A bit hot.

M- There is a lingering bitterness and alcohol presence, but the carbonation level is spot on.

D- A unique take on the style that has some rather apparent alcohol. Not as entertaining as the Fritz and Ken's ale, but that set a pretty high standard.

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Photo of optiontwo
3.28/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Loved the stout, hope I love this. Nice big bottle poured into tulip

A: Clear orange yellow in the glass with lots of streaming bubbles. White head started large at three inches but quickly broke down to a half inch where it sits now. No lacing.

S: At first the aroma seemed a little muted so I poured so more in hopes of conjuring up some scents but it still seems kind of bland. What I can pick up is some light sweetness and a bit of earthiness.

T: It's not the best smelling beer but it tastes nice. The sweetness of the malt starts it off but not extremely. Then it smoothly transitions to a earthy hop flavor and alcohol taste accompanied by a welcomed bitter bite.

M: Fairly light bodied but with an alcohol/bitter kick at the end.

D: The alcohol taste is definitely a compliment to the beer and not a drawback but it does reduce the drinkability slightly. That being said, moderately drinkable.

O: Not exactly what I wanted it to be but still good. I probably won't pick up another like I did with the stout but if I see it on tap might give it another try.

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Photo of TheWhiskerReview
3.3/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy golden orange with a solid 1.5 finger white head which recedes quickly and leaves no lace.

The nose is rather delicate, with honey soaked biscuits and background notes of orange zest and hoppy flowers.

The palate's malt is creamy and mildly buttery but light in presence as it is quickly overtaken by the hoppy bitterness (a bit faded in character) and some big, peppery alcohol- flavors of orange blossom and more honeyed biscuit.

Much hoppier than a normal bock, as expected from SN, but the faded character makes me think I got a bottle that's a touch old. I'm not sure when this beer was released, but if it was a few years ago then I'm guessing this bottle most likely was in the store I bought it from since then. Not that it's bad, but I don't think this is a style of beer that's meant for aging.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.31/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ,

A: Pours amber with a nice white head, good lace.

S: Very malty, heavy husky grain aroma.

T: Sweet pilsner type malt, definitely a bit boozy - the beer can't really hide it. Light noble type hops.

M: Smooth and creamy, medium/full-bodied, very nice structure.

D: A good bock in not my favourite style. Still too boozy, needs 6 months to mellow out. A beer to check out where it's at around the holidays.

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Photo of pitasoup
3.32/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours clear golden yellow with a few fingers of fluffy head, a bit of lacing afterwards

S: floral hops, a hint of junipers, a touch of citrus, this smells fantastic about half way through when it starts to warm.

T: if only this tasted like it smelled. A lot of bread and some earthy hops. pretty bland.

M: A clean finish, the high abv is nicely balanced but there wasn't much to this beer

D: at such a high abv, I'd prefer another glass of something else. This is very drinkable but not very good. Bland malts don't backup the delicate smells.

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Photo of beertunes
3.32/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured into tulip. Poured very lively, a tall, fluffy, white head that had great retention and OK lacing. The beer was an attractive medium gold color.

The aroma was malty, a bit spicy, a bit yeasty and a touch sweet. That also describes the flavors fairly well, but there was a noticeable alcohol bite on the finish.

The body was good, full and smooth. The drinkability was very good, but lost a bit for the alcohol sharpness. Overall, a very good beer, worth seeking out while it's around.

Edit 11/14/13. Original scores 4.0/3.5/3.5/4.0/4.0. Thanks to Justin (OKComputer) for cracking this, shared with Victor. Doesn't seem like this is aging well. The sweetness in aroma and taste has become more pronounced, and there's a fruit aspect I didn't pick up on before. The alcohol burn on the finish hasn't really mellowed out at all. It seemed like it was a bit more difficult to drink this time. Overall, if you got it, drink it now, more time probably won't help.

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Photo of Soonami
3.33/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this during beer week at Jose Pistolas and just found the notes in my notebook.

This beer was definitely a disappointment for me. I did not expect to see this on tap, but was very excited to see it. It was described on the beer list as a The beer looked nice with a deep golden hue and a tuft of downy foam. The smell was very malty of toasted sweet bread, like a baking loaf of brioche, but it did not have the richness that I was expecting. The taste was similarly lacking depth and complexity, I could taste the kilned German malts, but it did not have the full flavor I was hoping for. The toasty malts dominated the beer with a bit of spicy hops and some alcohol in the end. The beer though was well made, even if I do not consider it a favorite.

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Photo of robbrandes
3.35/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

serving: the standard 750ml bottle.

pours a slighty-hazy tangerine-rust color. nice head, recedes fairly quickly to a thin film that remained til the bitter (pun intended) end.

while the smell was a nicely representative mix of fruitiness, floral hints and a little bisquit, the impact was somewhat underwhelming.

nice initial twang of citrus, the hop presence caught me a bit unawares, as it's got a surprisingly aggressive hoppiness for the style. moves across the palate with a good blend of caramel-breadiness and a bit of yeastiness. the back end is a bit bitter, further accentuated by the slightly harsh carbonation. not distractingly so, but by the end of the bottle i was a bit worn out.

i wouldn't seek it out again, but you could do far worse.

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Photo of mothman
3.38/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Baker for this extra!

Poured into a snifter.

Pours 1 finger of off-white head. Color is a clear golden orange.

Aroma: Sweet biscuit notes with floral hops. Caramel sweetness. I really can't tell its imperial.

Taste: Bigger taste than the nose would suggest. Caramel and bready malts wit some floral/earthy hops. In all reality, this is a fairly simple bock.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, bitter, and creamy. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends with some grassy hops.

Overall, why did they put a beer like this in a 750 with a cork and cage??? This is all marketing. Somewhat drinkable, but this needs to be in a 12 oz bottle 6 pack format. One thing I did like about this beer is how well it hides the abv.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.38/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle int my Duvel tulip.

a - Pours a nice amber color with 2 fingers of off white head that lasts for several minutes. Light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of citrus fruits and hops, bready malts, toasted malts, and hint of floral to it.

t - Tastes of spice, citrus hops, booze, and some smooth caramel malts. An odd combination.

m - Medium body and light carbonation. Smooth.

d - Wasn't a big fan of this one. A decent smell but I thought the taste was an off combination that I wasn't a big fan of. Wouldn't look to buy again.

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Photo of kbutler1
3.38/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle. Clear copper color with a slight white head. Decent look to it. Sweet corn notes in the aroma along with maybe some floral. Slightly smokey taste that took me sort of by surprise. Matly and sweet taste with a slight bitter hop bite. Clean and crisp flavors. Medium mouthfeel.

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30th Anniversary- Charlie, Fred And Ken's Bock from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
3.94 out of 5 based on 525 ratings.
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