Samuel Adams Triple Bock | Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

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Samuel Adams Triple BockSamuel Adams Triple Bock
957 Ratings
Samuel Adams Triple BockSamuel Adams Triple Bock

Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Massachusetts, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 17.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Though the little cobalt bottles still decorate the shelves today, this beer only had 3 vintage releases; 1994, 1995, and 1997. Brewed with two row malted barley, water, Noble hops and yeast, along with maple syrup, it was then aged several months in oak whiskey barrels before being bottled. At the time it was considered the world's strongest beer, and a precursor of today's Extreme Beers.

Added by Todd on 01-10-1998

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Ratings: 957 |  Reviews: 654
Photo of alamode
1/5  rDev -66.2%

Photo of UGADawgGuy
1/5  rDev -66.2%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

I love many of life's indulgences: music, film, food, beer,, and so on.

With most of my strongest interests, I have a well-documented love for the best of the best...and the worst of the worst. For example, my favorite movies of all time include the widely-acclaimed likes of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," "The Godfather" (parts I and II), and "Rocky." They also include the inimitable "Troll 2," "The Crawlers," and "Manos: The Hands of Fate" (try sitting through the non-MST3K version in its entirety).

As such, when I began to foster an abiding interest in beer, it stood to reason that I should seek out the most infamously bad beers available, in order to further my education and shorten my life. As of the time that occurred to me, Samuel Adams Triple Bock was the most notorious beer discussed on this site's forums. And so I sought it out.

I was sent a bottle of 1997 Triple Bock -- along with a "bonus" bottle of Blue Diamond Stout, straight from China -- by BA EinWeizenBitte. From California to Georgia. For free (i.e., he asked for nothing in return). Thus began my odyssey.

I held onto the already twelve-year-old bottle for a few months after receiving it, until I could share it with as many people as possible under exactly the right circumstances. Those circumstances turned out to be the night of my grandfather's funeral, at my homebrewing uncle's house. I can think of no more appropriate context in which to attempt drinking Triple Bock. My brother and I stepped outside to open and pour the beer.

Appearance: The bottle itself is small, blue, and unassuming. In fact, I'd go so far as to call that delicate vessel attractive. What lurks inside, however, is repugnant.

Upon removing the placebo seal around the cork, and then the cork itself, I was greeted with no evidence of carbonated life. I did my best to pour the beer evenly into two glasses, and it lived up to its reputation: it looked like fetid pond water, rife with suspended algae and the long-rotting carcasses of various aquatic fauna. Chunks of thick sediment clung to the insides of both the bottle and each glass. The end of the pour yielded an audible "plop," the result of a slimy wad of what appeared to be manatee feces entering the glass. My God.

Smell: Please, don't smell it.

Others have likened the stench of Triple Bock to soy sauce, but I suspect something far more sinister is afoot here. The souls of innocent toddlers, slaughtered by a demonic cult? The olfactory distillation of Genghis Khan's tyranny? I'm not sure. Whatever it is, it smells far worse than any soy sauce I've ever encountered.

Taste: In each person's lifetime, one encounters a handful of turning points. A first kiss. High-school graduation. A wedding day. The birth of a child. For me, the moment Triple Bock met my lips was one such turning point.

As soon as the thick, tarry stool sample caressed my tongue, I knew I had been fundamentally changed. The rumors were true. Triple Bock tastes at once sickly sweet (like vomit after you've eaten a stack of pancakes drizzled with maple syrup), bone-chillingly sour (like soy sauce brewed in 1910, or vinegar derived from an eagle's tears), and improbably alluring. A second sip unveiled notes of mulch pile, fresh giraffe manure, and 9-volt battery.

This beer is a revelation.

Mouthfeel: Imagine giving a pint of blood -- you know, as you would at the Red Cross. Then imagine letting that blood partially coagulate, at room temperature, for maybe eight hours. Next, imagine attempting to drink that blood. That's how this nightmare felt in my mouth...and in my soul. As an added bonus, I could do nothing to remove the sensation, flavor, and smell of Triple Bock from my tongue, teeth, palate, and throat for several hours after drinking it. Even hard liquor couldn't cut through it.

Drinkability: Whatever the OPPOSITE of drinkability is, Triple Bock has it. In fact, it's made of it. I'd rather drink my own regurgitated bile than attempt to choke down another sip of this cruel, twisted monstrosity.

True story: While outside, my brother and I poured a little bit of Triple Bock into the bowls of the three dogs who live at my uncle's house. All three dogs, very hungry due to not having eaten since breakfast, ran toward the bowls, then simultaneously retreated by slowly walking backward. They appeared to be concerned that whatever was in there might reward sudden movement by attacking them. Such concerns were probably well-founded.

Truth be told, I strongly recommend Triple Bock to everyone who calls himself a beer connoisseur, just as I recommend "Troll 2" to strangers I pass on the street. There truly is nothing else like it in this world. It deserves every bit of its insidious reputation, and it will take years off your life.

Highly recommended.

 4,828 characters

Photo of jheezee
1/5  rDev -66.2%

Photo of sunofneurot
1/5  rDev -66.2%

Photo of goochpunch
1/5  rDev -66.2%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Pours out dark brown, almost looking like soy sauce. When swirled around the glass, it leaves an iodine-like film. Smells like roasted malts, concentrated prune juice, and soy sauce. Tastes just about the same but has a taste of celery salt in the finish and aftertase. Mouthfeel is sickly and slick. Totally undrinkable.

 321 characters

Photo of n2185
1/5  rDev -66.2%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

1997 vintage

A: The cork rips in half when trying to remove. Using a corkscrew results in the rest of the cork falling into the beer itself. Poured through the strainer, it pours blacker than the inside of Satan's sphincter. The strainer catches the pieces of cork along with what looks like phlegm a smoker of 80 years would cough up. No carbonation.

S: The aroma of the beer can only be described as the worst experience of your life in olfactory form. Soy, molasses, and memories of a traumatic childhood fill the nose.

T: I have looked into the abyss, and the abyss looked back. Its name is Samuel Adams Triple Bock. Never has my tongue been so mistreated. Soy and molasses are the Ike to my tongue's Tina Turner. My taste buds attempt to flee, but to no avail--they are hunted down and ruthlessly beaten.

M: Thick, flat, and oily--if Death could cry, I imagine its tears would feel something like this beer.

O: I would say this beer is worth trying, just as a video of a horrific car crash is worth watching, or a smelly finger is worth sniffing. One can't help oneself--the temptation is overwhelming. Tread with caution, though--even with nearly a dozen people to share this beer with, only about an ounce was drank before the rest went down the drain. If you have any gods, say a prayer to them before embarking on this bold adventure.

 1,348 characters

Photo of claspada
1/5  rDev -66.2%

Photo of Stoffel
1/5  rDev -66.2%

Photo of Sandstone
1/5  rDev -66.2%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Purchased 12/08, 1997 Vintage.

After seeing so many threads about this beer in the BA Forums, imagine my surprise when I saw bottles of it showing up at my local Bevmo. There was no way I could pass up on an opportunity to try a beer with such legendary status... Unfortunately, as I would soon learn, there are some mistakes we can never take back.

This is my baseline for "Worst Beer Ever." An absolute undrinkable mess. As soon as I popped the cork and took the first sniff, I knew I was in trouble. Soy sauce, fish sauce, miso. This was fermentation gone nuts.

The pour was not any more inspiring. Black, thick, lifeless, it oozed from the bottle and stained the side of the glass a sickly dark shade of brown, before settling into a pitch black pool at the bottom.

The taste. Oh the taste. This is not beer. This is not barely wine. This is something you use a dash of in Japanese or Thai cooking. I could no sooner recommend drinking this beer than I could recommend drinking Thai Fish Sauce straight from the bottle.

Seriously, since you're not going to be drinking this "beer," cooking with it is your best option. It's not like this beer is going to get any worse being re-corked and thrown onto your spice rack. Use it to take your Asian cuisine to the next level of flavor.

Bottom line: There's no way this beer was supposed to be aged for 11 frickin' years, and normally, I would pass on reviewing it... But if a large California chain liquor store sees fit to sell it, people should be warned about what they are getting into.

Avoid at all costs.

Update 3/5: A friend of mine popped open another bottle of this. It was equally as bad. Again, this beer may have been good years ago, but its almost certainly death-in-a-bottle now. I would avoid unless you knew the bottle to have been stored in only the most absolute perfect of conditions.

 1,861 characters

Photo of roblowther
1/5  rDev -66.2%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1 longer brewed? I thought it was a thing of the past but then a case of it sat at Hall's Grocery, beckoning me.

Evil, lying, evil stuff with which I will not sully the good name of "beer".

It is absolutely black, looks like a glass of iodine. No carbonation but the bubbles that appear from pouring have a rainbow effect. This only serves to heighten the resemblance to old motor oil. The bottle retains a thick sludge. No, you don't understand. Like you can't see though the bottle and the bottom is like a tiny La Brea tar pit. I'm pretty sure Jim Koch never meant for this to sit in a warehouse somewhere for 12 years before drinking. The smell is molases and a bitter, eye-stinging wet wood smell. Ugh. I'm serious. It hurts my eyes. The taste is harsh, medicinal and again, like a tin of molases with a soy sauce chaser. The mouthfeel is cloyingly slick. I'm reasonably sure its been fermenting long enough to gain some sort of mental functioning and is desperately trying to avoid being swallowed. The stuff burns my throat on the way down. Good grief. I don't want to slight the guys at Sam Adams and I'm sure this is just over-aging and bad storage but this is one of the worst things I ever tasted. This just set the bar.

 1,243 characters

Photo of AgentZero
1/5  rDev -66.2%

Photo of brandoman63
1/5  rDev -66.2%

Photo of bbadger
1/5  rDev -66.2%

Photo of Jtc2811
1/5  rDev -66.2%

Photo of notchucknorris
1/5  rDev -66.2%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

A major want for years. Huge thanks to Frank for hooking me up with this one.

A: Gross looking, to say the least. Dense and thick with huge chunks staying behind in the bottle. I swirled the liquid in the glass just to see what I was dealing with. Bad idea. It left the glass stained with thick brown streaks.

S: Sickeningly sweet. Smells like if you were to blend soy sauce and a raisin puree together and then leave the concoction in a hot car for a day and a half. Molasses and booze in there as well.

T: Slightly sour plum with a blast of sweetness so strong, it was nauseating. Prickly booze, fermented raisin and raisin cake. As it's in your mouth it sends these weird little zingers out that taste like pure MSG. A sour, lingering liquid raisin finish. I'd say it lives up to the hype. Easily the worst beer I've ever come across.

 842 characters

Photo of mwbbq
1/5  rDev -66.2%

Photo of scottfrie
1/5  rDev -66.2%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

1995 vintage. 250ml bottle poured into AVBC snifter. Thanks goes to roosevelt25 for this one.

A: As I grabbed the cork to pull it out it immediately broke off in my hand (without much force I might add), and when I tried to screw a corkscrew into the remaining cork in the bottle the cork just fell down into the beer, so we're off to a good start. The beer itself is flat, which isn't a huge surprise. The color is similar to motor oil, black with murky brown edges, and it's just as greasy looking. It turns out having a piece of the cork in the bottle was a good thing because it prevented most of the sediment from entering my glass. In fact, I didn't know just how much crap was left in the bottle until I went to rinse it out. The liquid that was left came out like sewage, full of chunks and sludge. Also, it turns out the bottle is clear blue and not black! Who knew? There was a thick black crust covering the entire inside of the bottle that broke free into shards as I rinsed it free. Glad I didn't get any of that crap in my glass.

S: As I peeled back the black plastic sealing the cork I could already smell strong notes of soy sauce. Upon pouring the beer and taking a sniff I still got notes of salty soy, but they were hidden under layers of over oxidized dark fruits, grapes/raisins, molasses, and vomit (or at least gastric acid). The smell made my stomach turn, so at this point I went and got a cup to spit into if need be, and prepared for my first sip.

T: I needed the cup. I tried to hold the beer in my mouth to pick out the flavors but my gag reflex had other plans. After rushing to the sink to rinse my mouth out I reflected on the flavor. I could definitely taste fruit, rotten fruit, and a good dose of molasses. The beer was also very salty and vinegary though, and there is no way you wouldn't get sick drinking it. I can't really say more about the flavor as the thought of it makes me want to drink straight Everclear to burn the taste off my tongue.

M: Again, I don't even need to go into this. It's flat, it's thick, it's grimy, it's salty, it's acidic, and it's nasty. If you can hold it in your mouth long enough to discern more than that then you should go to a hospital.

O: I feel bad reviewing this beer since it's obvious that there is no way it should have been aged more than a couple years, let alone sixteen. Still, here it is. Also I was surprised how bad this was considering it wasn't "the bad vintage" of 1997 as I cannot imagine it being any worse. Every beer geek should try this beer once; hell, that's the only reason I traded for it. Just make sure to have about 10 other people try it for shock value (it's better if they are unsuspecting), but make sure you do it outside so you don't have to clean your carpets.

 2,777 characters

Photo of Zachtheporter
1/5  rDev -66.2%

Photo of TheStoutAholic
1/5  rDev -66.2%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Two Words... Soy Sauce.

This beer was absolutely terrible it smelled up the whole room, and actually ruined my palete for the rest of the night. The whole room smelled like a Chinese restaurant.

I have never tasted Utopias, I just hope it doesn't taste like this...

 267 characters

Photo of groetman
1/5  rDev -66.2%

Photo of jeffthecheff
1/5  rDev -66.2%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Micheal Jackson had this in his book of 500 great beers, but apparently there was something wrong with the corks so that it couldn't age well. Opened this thing and the cork broke off in the bottle. Split it with as many people I could find that actually wanted to try it.

Poured about 2 ozs into a tulip glass. Black, no carbonation. Looks like oil. Just created a nasty brown film around the glass. The bottle itself left a thick black film that looks like I didn't pour the bottle at all. After dumping most of this thing and wiping up some spills with a paper towel, it looks exactly what your toilet paper would look like the next day if you actually drank this.

Aroma of soy sauce. We actually did a side by side with soy sauce and this smelled exactly what the soy sauce would smell like if left out to rot for a few years. I could write of other aromas of maple syrup, vanilla, etc. but that might fool you into thinking this smelled nice. Sticking your nose in this just hurts. I can still remember it the next day.

It took a lot of courage to drink a small sip of this thing. I had to hold my nose like I was a high school girl trying liquor for the first time. I don't want to bring back memories and try to describe any flavors, it was just bad. Don't drink it.

Mouthfeel...I don't want it in my mouth. Drinkability...I could only have about 1/4th of an ounce before rinsing my mouth out with water.

 1,415 characters

Photo of ej285701
1/5  rDev -66.2%

Photo of NoahSYGG
1/5  rDev -66.2%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

This is the single worst beer I have ever had. I'd rather drink colt45 for the rest of my life. I was super gassed when I saw this at the local distributor. I opened it and all I smelt was soy sauce. It had huge chunks of black tar fell into my glass. I thought that I would get sick but my friend made me drink it. The aroma smelt like sweet soy sauce. The flavor was acidic and atrocious. WILL NEVER BE DRANK AGAIN. it was a 2007, which means it was bottled in 1997. Thats 9 years entirely too much age.

 505 characters

Photo of BrettHead
1/5  rDev -66.2%

Photo of Hopstout
1/5  rDev -66.2%

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Samuel Adams Triple Bock from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Beer rating: 2.96 out of 5 with 957 ratings
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