Vancouver Island Brewing

Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Bock - Eisbock
Ranked #7
Ranked #11,604
3.98 | pDev: 13.57%
Vancouver Island Brewing
British Columbia, Canada
Very Good
Notes: Brewed in limited batches each year, Hermannator Ice Bock was first introduced by Hermann, one of our original Brewmasters, during the holiday as a unique gift to his closest friends and customers. Crafted at 9.5% abv, using a signature blend of chocolate and caramel malts, this German Eisbock is slowly cold aged in our cellar for over 3 months.
Reviews: 45 | Ratings: 83 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of leaddog
leaddog from Canada

4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Original Seasonal Hermannator Ice Bock

Poured from a 473ml can.

Appearance - Pours a deep copper brown with two fingers of bubbly tan head.

Smell - sweet malts, plum, prune, raisin, and grape, chocolate, hint of coffee, and earthy yeast.

Taste - sweet malts then quickly goes into the plum, prune, raisin, and grape. The brew is finished off by the chocolate, hint of coffee, and earthy yeast.

Mouthfeel - Full bodied with low carbonation. Finishes sweet and sticky with the malts, dark fruits, chocolate, and hint of coffee lingering.

Overall - An interesting and approachable brew that displays the rich notes from the malts along with the fruits and other notes of chocolate and coffee. Worth a try if your curious.

Feb 17, 2020
Photo of altstadt
altstadt from Canada

2.94/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Very dark red-brown. Almost opaque. Poured no head. No lacing. Minimal bubbles rising.

Very slightly sweet smell with over-roasted malt. Heading towards a very light soy sauce smell. Swirling the glass kicked up a sweet perfume smell with a bit of mint, and a light barnyard. Strange complex mix that would be more attractive if it weren't for the barnyard dragging it down.

Sweet with a dark roasted malt flavor. Light bitters that taste like they are a side effect of the dark roast. Mild chocolate. Thankfully neither the soy sauce or the barnyard show up in the flavor. The roast is on the edge of being burned, which makes it less appealing. The aftertaste is mostly sweet and the dark roast flavor with a very slight hint of mint.

This is very close to flat. It hardly foams up at all. Medium body is all coming from the relatively thick liquid. Not creamy or oily.

I'm not sure what the fuss is about. This balances out as a fairly average beer. Nothing stands out as being particularly interesting or offensive. Reading through some of the reviews it would seem like there are some serious issues with consistency. For example, the can I opened up was nearly flat, but others reviews note high levels of carbonation. I may give this another try next season.

Nov 27, 2019
Photo of WanderingRonin
WanderingRonin from Canada

3.65/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance is a very dark brown color with some faint red highlights to it that pours with a half finger of thinnish tan/ light brown colored head that has a poor retention to it but leaves a slight skim on the surface of the glass and some light watery lacing.

Very sweet smelling, almost syrupy even with a brown sugar and molasses aroma with some hints of dates and plums thrown in.

Sweet and sticky dark malt forward with toffee, cola and molasses flavors forward that make way to dark sticky dried fruit flavors like tamarind and prunes. Sticky bittersweet lingering finish with some sickly over ripe fruit hints a light warming hint of an alcohol.

Pretty heavy bodied with an average, maybe slightly above average amount of carbonation to it.

Oct 25, 2019
Photo of gandres
gandres from Philippines

3.94/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tuesday, February 05, 2019 7:08 PM
341 mL bottle poured to wine glass
Sight: black, minimal foam, dark red if held against the light
Smell: very good, aroma of malt
Taste: very good, bold complex flavor, slightly bitter, sweet,
Mouth feel: very good carbonation, some tartness, very good follow through, very good finish, bitter aftertaste
Overall: very good beer, ok to repeat, not look for

Feb 06, 2019
Photo of hreb
hreb from Washington

3.73/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

30th anniversary of Vancouver Island Brewing's Hermannator Ice Bock. Beer pours very dark brown to black, with nearly no head formation. Aroma is malty sweet and slightly phenolic. Flavor is similarly malty, with toffee sweetness, with a bold bock flavor, cut with sharp carbonation, which lightens up what could have otherwise been a very heavy brew. There's a complex malt profile going on here I'm struggling to explain. Licorice comes through most clearly.

An interesting and dangerously drinkable beer.

Feb 20, 2018
Photo of biboergosum
biboergosum from Canada

3.91/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

341ml bottle - nice to finally see this famous (in Canada, anyways) offering make its way to Alberta, and the 30th anniversary brewing at that.

This beer pours a clear, dark orange-brick brown colour, with one rather skinny finger of weakly foamy, bubbly, and fizzy tan head, which leaves absolutely nothing in the way of lace anywhere near the glass as it quickly blows off.

It smells of bready and doughy caramel malt, a lesser generic toffee sweetness, a hint of wafting smoke, some muddled dark orchard fruitiness, and very subtle earthy, musty, and floral noble hop bitters. The taste is grainy and bready caramel malt, stewed apples and pears, besotted raisins, a touch of wet char, medium-dark chocolate wafers, iced coffee, and more plain earthy, leafy, and herbal green hoppiness.

The carbonation is fairly low-key in its innocuous frothiness, the body a solid medium weight, and generally smooth, with nothing really causing any sort of trouble at this point in the game. It finishes off-dry, the malt and robust attendant fruity esters running the lingering show.

Overall - this is a pleasantly rendered version of the style, much darker than the norm, full of malt and fruit goodness, and with an expertly integrated 19-proof wowee sauce quotient. Pretty good stuff!

Jan 11, 2018
Photo of HipCzech
HipCzech from Texas

4.04/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Serving: 341 ml bottle (“packaged on 25 Oct 17”) poured into a 20 mL stemmed tulip glass. 2017 vintage (“30th Anniversary”).

Appearance: Deep, dark chestnut brown with a fizzy head of tan bubbles.

Smell: Fully malty aroma; toasted grains, some dark, dried fruit, and a hint of alcohol.

Taste: Deep, malty body with toasted grains, cocoa and burnt caramel. Dark fruit emerge as it warms along with a bit of boozy heat - brandy soaked raisins. Faint smoke enters in the close along with bitter tea and earthy hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium, creamy smooth body with moderate carbonation.

Overall: While many other brewers now offer bigger, bolder malt bombs, Hermannator remains a classic. An eye opener 20+ years ago, it showed what a winter seasonal could be, and still evokes happy memories. Food friendly: paired well with both rum balls and Stilton.

Nov 25, 2017
Photo of DaveBar
DaveBar from Canada

3.98/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got on trade! 341ml bottle served at 5deg C in a tulip

A- Opens well and pours a 1" high light brown head that lasts for around 3-4mins before film out. Very dark brown colour and unfiltered

S- Nice malt and sweetness. Quite a bit of heat though.

T- Alcohol. Quite a bit of it. Has sweetness to it.

M- Creamy going down but dries right out afterward

O- Nice brew. Would not buy it if I saw it but it was nice to try that's for sure.

Food Pairing

This pretty good thick brew went well with...... Duro Wat. It's chicken stew from Ethiopia that has a nice spice blend. Hard boiled eggs go in as well.


May 13, 2016
Photo of MaltyPythonsHopCircus
MaltyPythonsHopCircus from Canada

4.41/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Over the top chocolate and coffee with plum and raisin following behind. Finishes with a hint of tobacco. Great mouth feel and quite warming. Love it.

May 02, 2016
Photo of N_E_Beer
N_E_Beer from Canada

3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours weird, lots of carbonation and hard to discern a colour. Aroma, whatever. Taste is quite good for a high volume beer, not too boozy. Not overly encumbered with flavour, but tasty nevertheless. Deserving of a very good rating.

Dec 31, 2015
Photo of Svingjo
Svingjo from Canada

3.84/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a rich black colour that has a reddish hue when held up to the light and covered by a moussey tan head. The nose brings forward roasted malts and coffee, caramel, dark dried fruit and toast. The flavour profile reveals a lot of the same notes along with a spicy alcohol burn. There is a very active carbonation that gives the mouthfeel a sharpness that distracts a bit. This would be a better beer if the carbonation was a bit more subdued.

Dec 29, 2015
Photo of hotmailmsn
hotmailmsn from Canada

3.81/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

9.5% abv, N/A ibu, 341ml bottle (2015).
A - dark brown (similar to porter but not yet stout) with a finger head, but faded out fast.
S - lager sweet,dried fruit, raisin, currant, toffee, cocoa, toast. massive attack as it warmed up a bit, spice, sweetness, floral and many other...clove, nutty.
T - welly carbonated. flavored r fantastic and intense! coffee, caramel, cherry, lingering bourbon (brandy?) barrel like taste. creamy smooth thick body.
O - first time try this style of beer, it's great! I like the palate more, especially the lasting, aromas r good as well. thick heavy smooth body, coffee bitterness,liquorice, molasses stick on the tongue, reminds me of barrel aged RIS. delicious brew, and also great value. r going to cellar two of them.

Nov 15, 2015
Photo of kholdstare93
kholdstare93 from Canada

5/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Excellent. This may be my favorite beer. It looks great(darkness with a slight red tinge), it smells great(scent of liquorice, cocoa, and slight caramel) and it has a wonderful, complex taste.(mostly the same as the scent, only with some cherry and plum added). This is the best beer that the underrated VIB has to offer. Too bad it is only available in Winter.

Aug 22, 2015
Photo of CookstLiquor
CookstLiquor from Canada

4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 330ml bottle. Pours a dark chestnut brown colour. Notes of roasty malt, dark fruits, brown sugar on the nose. Taste is sweet, boozy and unapologetically malty, with notes of marzipan, molasses, nuts and grapes/raisins. Rich, deep and warming.

Jan 06, 2014
Photo of ZachT
ZachT from Canada

4.01/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

650 ml collector's edition bomber

A: Dark chestnut, almost black - slight amount of white head
S: Rich and malty, very strong acohol, very slight burnt sugar
T: Malty, slight bitter chocolate and hints of caramel, strong warming alcohol finish
M: Very smooth, medium to heavy body, rich malt palate that lingers
O: Exceptionally smooth and delicious beer, perfect for a cold winter night. This is actually my first Eisbock style beer and I really enjoyed it, I will most definitely be trying others.

Dec 29, 2013
Photo of andrenaline
andrenaline from Canada

4.07/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Props to my bro for bringing this with him on his visit to Ontario.

A - Pours a really dark ruby red, finger of head with no retention or lacing.

S - Rich caramel, toffee, dark fruits, toasted grains, and leafy greens on the finish.

T - Much like the nose, dark fruits, toffee, hints of espresso and cherry and some boozy sweetness and heat on the finish.

M - Lighter bodied ale, fills the mouth with bubbles and finishes surprisingly wet.

O - A solid brew, loads of flavour as deceivingly smooth. ABV is very well hidden and the flavour profile is quite complementary. Definitely worth picking up and super glad I was able to take it for a spin.

Jun 24, 2013
Photo of FondueVoodoo
FondueVoodoo from Canada

4.18/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

** 25th Anniversary Collectors Edition - 650ml Bottle Conditioned with wax seal **

A: Pours a dark black-brown with about 2 fingers of sand coloured head which quickly dissipates into a thin rim with minimal lacing.

S: Initial scent of fresh coffee and cocoa powder together with sweet malts. Mild background of hops.

T: Upfront taste of strong coffee, cocoa and molasses with background notes of prunes and toasted bread. Finishes with a mild alcohol burn.

M: Very syrupy body that coats the mouth with low carbonation.

O: Everything is very concentrated and is unapologetically malt forward. I have never had the regular (341 ml) bottles but this special edition bomber is a great sipper that will be an excellent brew to cellar. Worth picking up a few if you can still find them.

Jan 19, 2013
Photo of LampertLand
LampertLand from Canada

4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Vancouver Is. Brewery 'Hermannator' Ice Bock @ 9.5% , served from 6pack bottles (25th year in 2012) , growler & can's (30th anniversary 2017) … ah to be local
A-pour is a dark ruby brown to a near black in the glass with small tight tan head , which quickly dissapates leaving no lace along the stange
S-plum , raisins & figs , sweet malts , hint of dark chocolate
T-sweet malty start , toasted chocolate finish , booze is well hidden , careful damn easy to consume ,
MF-full bodied , medium carbonation , has slight warm feeling going down ,
Ov-worthy of it's multiple BC/Canadian Gold Medal's as an Eisbock , good/great beer , seek it while's it's available & cellar perhaps ,
prost LampertLand

Nov 08, 2012
Photo of papat444
papat444 from Canada

3.32/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to chickenm for this one.

Poured from a 341ml. bottle.

Appearance: Pours a light brown that is fairly dark in the glass with red tinges. Good sized head but fizzles rather quickly and no lacing. Kind of looks flat.

Smell: Strong nutty aroma, all malt mixed with powdery chocolate, toasted notes with coffee.

Taste: Nuts, faint figs, chunks of chocolate, some caramel and a tinge sweet but balanced. Flavors, while not full, are good. Ideally a 3.25 but nudging it a bit higher.

Mouthfeel: Starts out with a medium body at best and does fill the mouth but i'm left wanting.

Overall: An average offering. Some good components but doesn't quite add up.

Jul 18, 2012
Photo of wordemupg
wordemupg from Canada

4.07/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

341ml bottle poured into tulip 21/3/12

A dark brown with cola highlights, short lives tan head leaves little in the way of lace as expected for the style

S nutty dark toffee is quite strong and rich, a little molasses and booze with a dose of rum raisin

T mimics the smell pretty well but with a little more, a little more dried fruit and plenty of malty goodness, brown sugar is both crystal and burnt, this stuff tastes great and with a little hazelnut on the finish I like it even more

M silky with just enough carbonation and just some faint heat from the booze but pretty well in check

O a nice malty brew that keeps its booze concealed, if 4.25 were an option I would have dropped it once or twice so a slightly inflated score here

a solid example of an obscure style from a brewery I didn't know existed until recently. I'm pretty stoked that I'm still unaware of gems like this from my own backyard, cheers chickenm for increasing my awareness

Mar 22, 2012
Photo of ericj551
ericj551 from Canada

4.23/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hermannator Ice Bock pours deep, inky red black, with a thin, brown head. The aroma is alcohol, chocolate and dark fruit, with hints of chocolate and caramel. Sweetness comes through first in the flavor, with a big rich maltiness backing it up. Tons more raisiny dark fruit, with some nice roastiness and a sweet, toffee finish. Dark fruit sticks around after the beer is gone. The alcohol is well hidden, this is a beer that could really sneak up on you.

Dec 14, 2011
Photo of cosmicevan
cosmicevan from New York

4.17/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

thanks to DaftCaskBC for this one.

a - popped the bottle and filled my E snifter. brew poured an amber brown that settled much darker in the glass. thin off white bubbly head. hung out a little bit. slippery lacing.

s - earthy malts with a touch of grape and nutmeg.

t - much like the smell, but more grapejuice. quite good. earthy malts are there, but the subtle grape juice leads the way.

m - medium to full bodied. alc is invisible.

o - overall, solid eisbock. nicely made and very drinkable. the fruitiness makes the malts very tolerable.

Nov 26, 2011
Photo of DaftCaskBC
DaftCaskBC from Canada

4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: 1/4" light brown head over cola coloured thick liquid.

S: Dark chocolate malt and yeast.

T: Raisin, caramel, coffee and dark chocolate malt.

M: Medium viscosity and carbonation.

O: Very tasty and easy drinking eisbock. The best I have had of this style so far.

Oct 31, 2011
Photo of spree92
spree92 from Canada

3.82/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Last one in the fridge. It has been waiting for almost two months to be enjoyed. Poured into my Dead Frog pint glass. Pours a dark brown with a reddish ting. Not much of a head and disappeared pretty fast. Once I started drinking it, the beer disappeared fat too. I tasted caramel from the malts and picked up a hint of citrus. Small amount of carbonation was enough to stand apart from stouts/porters.
Overall, I thought this was a pretty good, balanced beer. At 9.5%, very easy drinking. I would buy again but I think this was a seasonal.

Jan 06, 2011
Photo of brewymcgee
brewymcgee from Canada

3.63/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark brown with a ruby hue when held to a light. The tan foam after pouring quickly reduces to a tight ring around the edge of the glass.

Aroma: Malty with some dark fruits and liquorice.

Taste: Rich fruity malt up front with a little tartness and a chocolaty aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Despite the full flavours and high alcohol this beer feels light but still has a little creamy softness. Bubbles come through to liven it up as well.

Drinkability: Given its high alcohol, this is actually light enough to enjoy a second bottle in an evening.

Dec 03, 2010
Hermannator from Vancouver Island Brewing
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 83 ratings