Back Forty Bock | New Glarus Brewing Company

144 Reviews
Back Forty BockBack Forty Bock

Brewed by:
New Glarus Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States

Style: Bock

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by Soneast on 10-16-2010

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Reviews: 144 | Ratings: 537
Photo of Knapp85
3.45/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This poured out as a nice looking dark brown color with a cream colored head on top. The smell of this beer was really quite nice, the aromas of dark malts and bready yeast with some dark fruits in there too. A unique nose on this beer for sure. The taste of the beer wasn't as impressive as I had hoped for. The flavors seemed a little on the muted side, nothing really popped, there were some lager yeast-like flavors in there and mostly a dull dark malt base. The mouthfeel was pretty good, it was medium bodied with decent amount of bubbles to it. Overall I felt that this beer just needed some additional malts or something to boost the sweetness of the beer just a bit. Other than that I thought it was pretty good.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.49/5  rDev -5.9%
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.

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Photo of brentk56
3.9/5  rDev +5.1%

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

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Photo of kojevergas
3.59/5  rDev -3.2%
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

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Photo of emerge077
3.76/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.11/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Big thanks to BeerFMAndy for getting a nice box of New Glarus out to me. Served in a New Glarus tasting glass.

Pours a medium caramel color with a short white head and some nice lacing on the way down. The nose brings some very faint hops and a bit of bready plus a touch of caramel. Flavor is pretty similar. Body is medium with good carbonation and a semi-dry finish; just a touch of sweetness comes through. Not bad for an American Bock.

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Photo of jlindros
3.62/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had at SMBDC growler/bottle tasting thanks to BlessedBeBeer.

A: Bubble light head, murky light brown peach color.

N: Toasty darker malts, nutty brown sugar and molasses, dark wheats, semi sweet.

T: Sweet malts, brown sugar, dark wheats, nutty, light earthy bitter hops, light rustic darker malts. Little sweet and syrupy, toasty and nutty, lingering bittering hops.

M: Med bodied, decent carb, little syrupy.

O: Decent, nice malts, nothing too special, little syrupy, decent hops, nutty, tasty, nice dark wheats.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.55/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at New Glarus. Review from notes.

A: Pours a brown color with a small tan head on top, decent retention and minimal lacing.

S: Rather nutty with some roasted and bready malt. Pretty simple and nice.

T: Similar to the aroma, very nutty, more roasted malts, a little bit of cream, and touch of dark fruits.

M: Light to medium bodied with medium carbonation.

O: A solid bock, could easily knock a few of these down.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.32/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

deep russet brown, very clear with lots of carbonation, really quite nice and a classic look for a bock. Thin off white head formed on the top, but quickly faded to just a thin film that stayed throughout the session, but offered no side glass contribution.

The aroma was your classic malty bock. Nice sweet caramel and nutty aromas mixed in with a good earthy tone. The flavor followed through very closely with a nice bitter malty flavor and a good amount of sweetness in it as well. Carbonation that is more then decent never let it go flat and kept you entertained throughout the session. Easily a sessionable beer, as I could have thrown down more then one.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.68/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From 11/02/12 notes. Had this on tap at some cool German restaurant in New Glarus, WI, about 0.5 of a mile down the road from the brewery. 8 oz. pour.

a - Pours a somewhat transparent dark brown-amber color with less than one inch of off white head and high carbonation evident.

s - Smells of nuts, roasted malts, toasted malts, and some bready malts. Nothing too crazy but a pretty nice nose.

t - Tastes of nuts, roasted malts, sweet fruit, cream, toasted malts, bunt malts, and light dark fruits. A step up from the nose for me; the sweet fruits are nice in the taste.

m - Light body and moderate carbonation. Body is a bit too thin and watery for me, though easy to drink.

o - Overall a decent bock, though not my favorite from NG. Some nice sweet dark fruit in the taste, though it was missing in the nose, and a bit too thin of a body for me. Would try it again.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.61/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Shared by Thorpe429. Thanks Mike.

The beer appears a clear, light caramel shade of brown with over an inch of dense, off white. Excellent head retention and ample lacing. The aroma offers brown bread, malt, a faint hint of alcohol. Light in body. Simple and easy to drink. Not complex, per se but enjoyable and sessionable. A good pairing with brats and sauerkraut. I would have this again.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.63/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I was given a bottle of the Back 40 from my boss in a trade of beers. The beer poured a brownish clear amber with thin slightly off white head that left a nice lace on my glass. The smell included rich sweet malt. The taste was a nice malt start with good sweet tones that turned slightly bitter towards then end from the hops. The mouthfeel is a nice medium body beer with good carbonation. Overall this is another great creation by New Glarus.

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Photo of jwc215
4.15/5  rDev +11.9%
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!

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Photo of Duff27
3.51/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours dark brown with a light brown one fingered head that never fully goes away. Hard to see but there is a steady stream of carbonation. Drink-by-drink step lacing.

S- Bready. Maybe sweet chocolate.

T- Hints of chocolate malts. Licorice, vanilla?

M- Similar to a watered down porter? Slight carb tingle on the backend.

D/O- Drinkability is high. A six pack of this would make for a nice fall/winter night. Low ABV keeps you wanting more. A solid, albeit not-standout offering from New Glarus.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.7/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

At the time of this review, this is #34 on the "Top Beers - Bock" list on Bottle shared by Thorpe at Easter, served in a snifter.

Beer is on the light side for a bock but that doesn't bother me, plenty of blonde bocks out there, mild haze, lazy white head of small bubbles, some lacing.

Aroma is sweet and a little prune-y.

Beer is fine, I like it, medium to light in body, sweet but not overly sweet, a decent finish on the whole thing, enjoyable but not overly sweet or dry on the finihs. I'd have it again.

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Photo of tempest
3.67/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

The label does call this a "Wisconsin Bock," but the beer tastes a lot more like a dunkel lager than a bock. There's a smooth bread dark bread crust and light caramel malt character with a mild bready aroma to match. It's a very easy drinking beer, but lacks the earthiness and occasional fruit of a bock. Yeah, it's a nice dunkel, just don't pick this up looking for a traditional bock.

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Photo of aasher
3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This bottle was courtesy of a coworker.

This beer pours a light bodied deep mahogany with a one finger off white head. The nose is typical of a bock, slightly sweet malt with a slight nuttiness. The flavors are initially slightly sweet but finish dry and malty. It's on par for the style. It drinks light and somewhat dry. It's ok.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.3/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This pours a shiny, kind of medium brown-reddish body. Head isn't really there. Soapy and loose. Not much lacing

Sweet caramel and stale toffee in the aroma. A bit of leather comes and goes. Semi sharp.

Flavors seem raw and young. the caramel doesn't seem chewy, but hard. A quick burst of flavor then dwindles. Toffee is in the back ground, surrounding some dark, red soft fruit. Still seems a bit young.

a bit flat in the feel. Low abv makes it drinkable but I think takes away some of the feel.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.68/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to blutt59 for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a light brown color with a white head. The aroma is toffee, grass and some molasses. It smells about like a bock should. The flavor is toffee, grass and chocolate. The beer is also very dry, not sweet like a lot of bocks are. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Decent, but I expect more from New Glarus.

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Photo of yourefragile
3.58/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle served in a glass (!)

A: Pours a relatively clear dark reddish amber with a large frothy tan head, webs of lacing.

S: Caramel, toffee, bread, light dark fruit.

T: Muddled flavor of dark fruit, plum and grape with caramel and toffee malt, light biscuit.

M: Slightly watery throughout and a dry, bready finish. Medium body with light carbonation.

O: A sufficient bock.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.09/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into an imperial pint. Thanks to BeerFMAndy for this one!

(A)- Pours a very nice dark burnt sienna color with minimal reddish highlights. Produced a great fluffy eggshell colored head with great retention and tons of foamy lacing left behind.

(S)- A nice rustic nutty aroma like walnuts or almonds. Lightly creamy, with a smooth roastedness. Very subtle hints of vanilla.

(T)- Very similar to the smell. A nice creamy profile combo of vanilla and nuts with a mild roasted aspect. Some raisin character in there as well that I like.

(M)- A great carbonation level and balance. Smooth as can be with a mild creamy profile. Mild roasted components. A rustic, but clean feel to it.

(D)- A fantastic Bock. Great flavor, balance, and feel without being too bold. A "clean" tasting and easy drinking bock. I still miss Uff-da, but this is quite good; easier drinking for the style.

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Photo of barczar
3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear amber brown with a frothy one inch cream head that slowly dissipates, leaving foamy lacing.

Nutty, toasted caramel malt and a hint of butter form the aroma. Lightly roasted breadcrust emerges.

Flavor favors a lightly roasted malt character, with walnuts, a hint of fruitiness, and a lightly bitter finish rounding things out. Hops are minimal, and floral in nature.

Body is on the full side, with moderate carbonation.

Very drinkable beer, but lacks the caramelization of most bocks.

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Photo of Stevedore
3.76/5  rDev +1.3%
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?

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Photo of Bighuge
2.94/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Slightly hazed mahogany body. Thin off white head leaves sporadic patches of lace. Weak maltiness on the nose with allusions to adjuncts. Body is about medium. Moderate amounts of carbonation. Very easy going beer without a lot of malt depth or richness. It's just kind of there. Maybe a good crossover bock for the macro crowd, but this pales in comparison to the Uff Da Bock, which is exceptional IMHO.

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Photo of maximum12
3.63/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Finally picked up a single of this relatively new NG beer. They do good work with drinkable, low-ABV beers. Brought down into the basement into the just-completed game room to watch my girls rock out "Dani California" before I send them off to bed & get my game on.

The pour de-virginizes my new Evolution pint glass (thanks Adam!). Looks like liquid copper piping, very nice. Sweet malts & serious caramel come off the surface of the glass.

Back Forty Bock takes the nose & transforms it into the taste buds: caramel, sweet malts, touch of Hawaiian Bun, grainy. No alcohol presence, perhaps a touch thin, but disappearing like somebody torched a hole in the bottom of the glass. Eminently drinkable.

Solid, good bock that one could easily be taking down by the twos & threes on the patio in the springtime. Nice addition to the New Glarus line, & one I'd consider for kicking back.

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Back Forty Bock from New Glarus Brewing Company
3.71 out of 5 based on 537 ratings.
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