Back Forty Bock
New Glarus Brewing Company

Back Forty BockBack Forty Bock
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Bock - Traditional
3.8 | pDev: 12.63%
New Glarus Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Back Forty BockBack Forty Bock
Notes: The “Back Forty” is property commonly found on the outskirts of the Wisconsin family farm. Here uncultivated acres wait prime for adventure- forts, tree houses, rope swings and first kisses! A place to run away, to camp, to climb, to build, to play. Not actually home but not too far away. That’s the Back Forty. The beer you hold is similar both dark and adventurous still smooth and familiar. Here’s a beer you can enjoy without pretense or explanation. Every mind requires some acres of possibility, space for dreams, the great escape, everyone needs a Back Forty.
Reviews: 144 | Ratings: 537 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of joeseppy
joeseppy from Illinois

4.24/5  rDev +11.6%

Looks like I'm pouring cola. Basically brown with clarity. Modest head that will recede to the rim.

Aroma of lightly toasted bread and mild yeast. Malt and mixed nuts. Hints of coffee.

Malty lager. Extremely mild hop if any. Toasted nuts.

Lighter bodied with sustained carbonation throughout. Drinks smooth and fast if you don't catch yourself. Just enough sweetness to make this delicious.

It seems overall Bocks receive no due. By general standards of a Bock, this brew is finely crafted. I don't partake in many Bocks but on this 56*F day in Chicago this fits well. But might I add that this is quenchable enough to session on a summer night.

Sep 12, 2014
Photo of bwood06
bwood06 from Wisconsin

3.85/5  rDev +1.3%

A - Creamy, 2 finger head, khaki in color. Beer is very deep amber in color and clear. Seems to be light carbonation. Very slim layer of creamy head remains after head dissipation. 4/5

S - The main notes that I am getting are caramel, raisins, dates, and a bit of yeast and toasted bread. There seems to be a hint of hops that are grassy and earthy, but very malt forward here. 4/5

T - Toasted bread and caramel are the two flavors I get right off the bat. This transitions into a bit of yeast. There is some bitterness but it's a balanced bitterness. Grassy note as well as an herbal note from the hops at the end. There is a graininess throughout the flavor profile. 3.75/5

M - Light carbonation. Medium bodied. Somewhat chewy. Finishes a hair dry. 3.75/5

O - Not as sweet as the nose suggested to me, but overall a very good beer from New Glarus. Taste is very straightforward. This would be a beer that I could drink on a mid-range temperature day with ease. 3.75/5

Aug 28, 2014
Photo of Zach136
Zach136 from Georgia

4.1/5  rDev +7.9%

Appearance: Deep brown with great clarity. Thin, off white head with great lacing. (4.15)

Aroma: Malt forward, toffee and toast mostly. No hop, yeast discernible. (4.25)

Flavor: Moderate malt character, toasty and nutty. Well attenuated and not much caramelization (4.00)

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, moderate-high carbonation. No alcohol, dissipating finish. (4.00)

Aug 24, 2014
Photo of brentk56
brentk56 from North Carolina

3.9/5  rDev +2.6%

Appearance: Three full fingers of ecru foam cap the clear mahogany colored liquid; exquisite lacing patterns all over the glass

Smell: Fresh-baked bread, glazed doughnuts and grain

Taste: Brown sugar and toasted bread with just a hint of stone fruit, in the middle; the back end features a grainy character though the sweetness from the malts dominate

Overall: A bit too one dimensional in the sweetness department and nowhere near as good as its big brother Uff-da, sad to say; still, decent enough and well-brewed, like all of the New Glarus beers

Thanks, WI-Beer-Man, for the opportunity

Aug 23, 2014
Photo of mncoinman
mncoinman from Florida

2.05/5  rDev -46.1%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Initial opening not much "bock" aroma. Pours a nice medium brown with a perfect foamy head.
Slightly astringent on first taste. Seems low on Munich malts...missing that "bock" taste. Feel is
a mild carbonation but really lacking in a rich bock taste. Failed to meet my expectations.

Aug 19, 2014
Photo of jwc215
jwc215 from Arizona

4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours reddish brown with a foamy lasting head.

The smell is of caramel/toffee, light toast (dark bread). A hint of cocoa comes through as it progresses. An earthy hop touch in the crisp finish balances the sweetness.

It is very smooth and crisp. Excellent carbonation level.

A very well-made bock. A smooth, well-balanced, tasty lager!

Aug 10, 2014
Photo of ONovoMexicano
ONovoMexicano from New Mexico

3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a Seidel.

A- Brown body with light blonde hues and abundant carbonation. Huge foamy head with a thick, marshmallow-like appearance. Lace streaks all about the glass. There is some transparency to the beer, despite the dark body.

S- Lightly hopped and earthy in aroma, lots of bread, faint caramel, faint smoke.

T- Nice flavor here. Sweet caramel, vanilla, doughy flavor. I get a hint of earthy hop flavor at the finish. There's a pleasant baker's chocolate flavor that lingers after each sip.

M- On the lighter side, with little carbonation apparent, and a slightly watery feel. There's some creaminess to counter this.

O- Not quite in the outstanding territory, but it's a good beer with some enjoyable qualities. It'd be easy to kill a sixer of these.

Aug 03, 2014
Photo of BeerFMAndy
BeerFMAndy from Wisconsin

3.64/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a New Glarus pilsner glass.
No date or info.

A - Back 40 pours a murky pond-water brown color that still allows the visibility of carbonation trickling up to a solid two-finger, bone-colored head. The turbulent pour looked great but the head left with lower retention as awesome sheets of Swiss-cheese lace coat the glass, though.

S - Starting off with a great malty aroma, slight hints of rye bread lift up the biscuity toasted amber and Vienna malts. Subtle earthy hops keep the brew from being too sweet while adding crispness and complexity to the smell.

T - Back 40's maltiness resembles toasted wheat English muffin drizzled with stringy melted caramel and honey but lighter in flavor and body than, say, their Uff-da, which is a bit richer overall.

M - Crisp and fairly clean, Back 40's medium-light body has a smooth entry that seems to finish with light carbonation giving it a thinner feel that lingers with a light touch of sweetness.

O - While New Glarus' Back 40 is a drinkable bock to be sure, it just seems to be lacking something; its somewhat transparent flavor and thin feel don't stand up to their Uff-da bock, a crown jewel for the style which begs the question, "why" for Back 40.

Jul 15, 2014
Photo of Stevedore
Stevedore from Oregon

3.76/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A- Clear medium brown-amber body with a medium thickness off white head. Good retention. Thin, milky lacing.

S- malty toffee, grainy with a solid noble hop presence. Not complicated but nice enough to smell.

F- caramel, bread, a bit of tapioca and grainy sweetness that is complemented by a mild earthy bitterness.

M- medium body, just the right amount of flavour for the body. Good carbonation, a bit fizzy. Noble hops finish it out.

O- Solid, well executed example of a bock. No surprise here, are you surprised?

Jul 09, 2014
Photo of KFBR392
KFBR392 from Illinois

4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours with a dark brown color. Half a finger of head on the pour which settled a touch but was present while drinking. Low active carbonation but fitting for the style.

Smell: Toffee and amber malt jumps out right away. Medium bodied fruits are quite bright on the body with a definite sweetness running throughout. There is a touch of hay and prairie grass on the back end.

Taste: Molasses and toffee make a grand entrance. Semi-sweet grains with medium to dark fruits open up on the body. The back end is a revival of the molasses and toffee on the front with slowly waning grains and fruit. Slight nuttiness sticks to the palate.

Mouthfeel: Awesomely drinkable. Carbonation is on the lighter side which is a big player in the easy drinkability.

Overall: Just more awesomely executed beer from New Glarus. I feel like a broken record saying this but they do all their styles so well. This one is a touch single dimensional on the sweetness side but that's getting nitpicky. No doubt worth a try.

Jul 09, 2014
Photo of cervezango
cervezango from Wisconsin

3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

pours a clear red/brown color with a really light fluffy head.
despite its German heritage, this bock's malt odors remind me a lot british bitter fresh out of the tap .alcohol maple bacon flavor, but its not a heavy or thick beer. not overly filling and very refreshing overall. as it warms up the sweetness gets a little too much for my preference.
another choice beer from new glarus.

Jun 29, 2014
Photo of JakeBarnett
JakeBarnett from Minnesota

4.4/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a sampler pack a friend brought across the border! Gorgeous dark caramel color, smooth drinker that goes down without a fight and leaves several distinct levels of lacing behind. Don't be deceived by the color on this one, it is certainly session-able! An absolute must for any lager-lover who is lucky enough to have access to it.

Jun 25, 2014
Photo of joe1510
joe1510 from Illinois

3.81/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz Bottle
$7.99 6-Pack
Roy's Market - New Glarus

Back Forty glows chestnut brown with every facet of the mug adding a new different intensities of light. The head is dirty white, nearing beige, and white a bubbly look like soapy water. Carbonation bubbles attach themselves the the bottom of the glass and the foam leaves soft lace clinging behind. She looks mouthwatering.

The nose is toasty off the bat with a pretty robust caramel sweetness. Dark bready notes waft through the caramel here and there. The more I sniff the more the caramel seems to become the dominant aspect. A leafy hoppiness lingers on the periphery. Smells a little on the sweeter side.

Caramel is better integrated into the flavor profile than I expected. Bready notes are still dark and actually bring a touch of spiciness that counteracts the sweetness I came across in the nose. Big, but smooth, toasty notes run throughout. A little leafy green hoppiness cleans it all up. The flavor really steps it up. It's much spicier and less sweet than I initially expected.

The carbonation is surprisingly snappy, moving the moderately weighted body through at a fairly quick clip. The finish dries up quickly and crisply leaving behind a very soft bitterness which drives the drinkability sky high.

Back Forty is an all around well made bock. It's easy drinking, shows a touch of spice with bread galore and a dry finish. I could see myself picking this up again in the future and I suggest you give it a try as well if you're into the style.

Jun 21, 2014
Photo of HopsingKangabrew
HopsingKangabrew from Illinois

3.04/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

A very dark brown pour, with a very small to non existent soda like head. Not too much on the nose, nothing distinguishable (may be my slight cold, though). It's smooth, medium bodied. It's sweet, with a lot of toasted breadiness and a caramel/slight toffee like finish. It's drinkable, but the trade off here is a bock that isn't indicative of the type of beer it is. Slightly watered down is somewhat accurate. Mouthfeel reminds me of slightly soda.

All around, not a bad beer. I picked it up in a variety pack. I'm not sure I would go out of my way to find this one, though.

Jun 19, 2014
Photo of ArchaeoFiero_TheDelorean
ArchaeoFiero_TheDelorean from Wisconsin

2.8/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

A watered down, citrusy "bock" (so they say) with the classic New Glarus ultra-sweet blandness. The hops are almost nonexistent and the flavor leans towards that of a flat soda.

It pours beautifully, with a full head, but that's where it ends for me. A bock should be full and strong, and this is weak and mild, and very sweet. A lot of what New Glarus does, to me, is just Spotted Cow with a twist. And I am not a fan of Spotted Cow.

Jun 19, 2014
Photo of cpetrone84
cpetrone84 from Pennsylvania

3.14/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

The beer pours a dark brown color with copper edges and is mostly clear with a tight off white head. Nose is toasted grain, sweet malt, and brown sugar. Taste has less grain and a hint musky, a bit sweet, brown sugar, stronger carb, flavors get a hint muted.

Jun 01, 2014
Photo of BEERchitect
BEERchitect from Kentucky

3.49/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A brewery that would beat by no other's drum- the classic Bock that reaches from its fermenters leans to German northern German heritage as those dark and malty tastes beckon.

Looking the part, the dark lager is mostly brown but is also reddish, amber and golden when held at the perfect light. Despite the malty prism below, what plays out on top is a frothy stained ivory color that floats the beer with a sheet of foam and spotty retention. Nice looking, the beer is a shade off of those authentic versions.

Its grainy-sweet aromas catch a glimpse of cola nut, mild molasses, light brown sugar and a slightly more prominent toasted bread character. Fermented spices of cinnamon link with light vinous sherry-like fruit for a grapey and plummy aroma. While floral apple blossom and honeysuckle rise, its hop influence is floral and lightly rosy.

To taste, the grainy-sweet flavor tilts malty with a bready, toasty and crusted taste. Its woven sweetness links up with those floral tones to produce a fruity middle with orange, apple, grape and plum. Shy of raisin, the ale sinks into a toasted bitterness with spicy hops and savory echoes of smoky chocolate, peppery fennel and tobacco.

Medium in body, the beer's reluctant transition to dryness allows a fuller impression to be held. But as the beer trails, it does so with a trail of sticky sweetness, growing pepper bite, light warmth, and a nutty memory.

Even as I like the malty-rich character of Back 40, I find its one-dimensional sweetness unable to balance with any melanoidin character within the beer. Unable to finish drier, and unable to deliver more complex malt taste both limit the beer's more favorable finishes.

Apr 25, 2014
Photo of JerUrbans
JerUrbans from Wisconsin

3.44/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear burnt amber, bubbly off - white head.

Smell of toasted malt is nice.

Taste is malty and some caramel sweetness. Very good flavor.

Mouth - feel is crisp and very clean, slightly sweet after taste.

Overall, if you like Bock beer you'll love this. It's a great, easy drinking beer, would be great with some barbecued ribs.

Apr 25, 2014
Photo of martyl1000
martyl1000 from Wisconsin

3.79/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oh, man, I can't tell . . . is this good? It's a completely beautiful copper pour into a tulip glass, with a permanent marshmallowy head that just won't quit. It doesn't seem to smell like anything, at all. I mean it. I'm not exaggerating.

It tastes sort of interesting. I'm admittedly having a difficult time tasting much in this beer. Am I just too steeped in 12% double IPA's and barrel-aged barley wines, etc.?

Or am I just too drunk?

Apr 04, 2014
Photo of Cavanaghty
Cavanaghty from Maine

3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Thank you shan8454 for this one in trade.

Apperance: Darker brown color with a thin off white that lingered. Heavy lacing on the glass.

Smell: Smells of mostly malts.

Mouthfeel/Taste: Smooth medium bodied. Taste is mostly malty with some bitter hops as well, almost breadlike too.

Overall: One of the better Bocks I have had. I would have this one again.

Aug 25, 2013
Photo of emerge077
emerge077 from Illinois

3.76/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark brown color with good clarity and visible carbonation. Dense sticky foam on the surface, with lasting coverage and delicate lace patterns.

Husky grain aroma, brown sugar, sweet nuttiness.

Smooth caramelized malts, nutty and dry flavors, earthy witha clean aftertaste. A little watery, but thankfully not sticky sweet like some bocks. This one is lighter with traditional flavors, less sweet than Uff-Da used to be. Overall it's not bad, but not my personal favorite.

May 27, 2013
Photo of MaximalC
MaximalC from Illinois

3.19/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Pours a muddy bronze color with a modest, coarse, off-white head. Aroma is fairly one-dimensional, smelling of caramel. Taste is comparable to the aroma, with a malty sweetness matched by just enough hops to lend balance. The amalgam precipitates a slight, cherry-like tartness near the back end that's the closest thing to complexity this brew has to offer. The mouthfeel is light, perky, and drinkable--probably the best thing this beer has going for it. This ultimately comes off as a safe and nondescript bock, which is less than desirable for a style I already find to be pretty underwhelming.

Mar 15, 2013
Photo of Jugs_McGhee
Jugs_McGhee from Louisiana

3.59/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with branded pressure cap served into a conical Samuel Smith's pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Acquired via trade from the very gracious very generous Duff27; thanks again, buddy! "Back 40 Bock". "Wisconsin Bock" per the ring-label on the bottle neck. No ABV is visible. Label art is generic but stylish and appealing. Expectations are high given the brewery, but bocks rarely impress me. Reviewed live.

Allowed to warm for about 6 minutes following its removal from the fridge; I don't like to serve bocks too cold. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Paired with lentils.

A: Pours a two finger smooth beige colour head of nice cream and thickness, and good (~5 minute) retention for the average ABV. Fluffy and appealing, but I wouldn't call it frothy. Light lacing as the head slowly recedes. Body colour is a dark translucent semitransparent caramel-amber. Vibrant, if understated. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. It's typical of the style; there's nothing unique or special about it but the head is notable and it's generally appealing. There are certainly no flaws. I'm excited to try it. After all, bocks rarely look great.

Sm: Heavy caramel and malts, but also some dark stonefruit. Cream. Toffee. Refined dark cherry. Sugarplum. It's a dry aroma; this could set off a sneeze if you're prime for one. Candi sugars/unrefined sugars. One of the better bock aromas I've encountered. Average in strength yet subtle. I'm starting to get real excited to try this one. Bready, with pie crust notes. Any hopping is minimal in strength and merely generic floral in character.

T: Ah, yeah. The marriage of the subtly executed dark fruits with the caramel, bready, and pie crust notes is delightful. Nicely creamy. Malt backbone is strong and full-bodied without being overbearing. I definitely get sugarplum. Maybe cherry. It really does evoke pie. Maybe a bit of bright raisin. Biscuity yeast. Biscuit malt. Well balanced and quite pleasant to drink. Minimal hopping, if any. Very well executed, though I could use a bit more complexity. Good depth of flavour. No alcohol comes through.

Mf: Smooth, creamy, and wet. Thickness is good. Full-bodied, as the style must be. Complements the flavour profile well. Carbonation is perfect. Filling. A bit chewy. Not at all acidic. Presence on the palate is perfect for the style, allowing the flavours to hit fully and expressively.

Dr: The best bock I can remember having, but I still find it a bit wanting in the complexity arena. I'm very impressed with this offering and would recommend it to friends. I'd get this again, definitely. This is one you could buy a sixer of and be satisfied with. Another solid brew from New Glarus. Hides its average ABV well. Extremely drinkable.

Low B

Mar 07, 2013
Photo of jimmah120
jimmah120 from Minnesota

3.89/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle with no date

Look is a clear, dark brown, with great retention. Smell is a lot of sweet malts, wheat, some pumpkin spice off in the background. Taste is wheaty and malty; caramel rolls and pumpernickel bread come to mind. Feel is light and smooth.

Another solid beer from New Glarus.

Feb 11, 2013
Photo of weonfire
weonfire from Illinois

3.6/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Rich carmel color. Clear. Real light brown head. 2 full inches of head. lasting head. 5+ minutes to dissipates.

S - German barley. Slight carmel. maybe slight chocolate.

T - Frothy malt. That german barley. Crisp. Got that Lowenbrau feel. But less than the Bock 40 cousin 'Cabin Fever'. Carmel with a touch of chocolate.

M- Malt is think. Viscosity is high. velvet on the way down. enjoyable.

O - was hopping for better scent. not a lot there. but the velvety carmel taste is real flavorful. Nice Maibock.

Feb 08, 2013
Back Forty Bock from New Glarus Brewing Company
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 537 ratings