Niagara Eisbock
Niagara Brewing Company

Niagara EisbockNiagara Eisbock
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Bock - Eisbock
4.09 | pDev: 9.78%
Niagara Brewing Company
Ontario, Canada
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Niagara EisbockNiagara Eisbock
View: Beers
Photo of OWSLEY069
OWSLEY069 from Pennsylvania

3.8/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

15th anniversary/ 2003

Pours a deep copper with orange hues. an off white to light tan head. In the aroma, sweet dark fruit, plums primarily and a hint of alcohol. In the taste, malty alcohol, a touch of fruity plums and a small watery taste. A smooth big body mouthfeel and a semi dry alcoholic to a clean aftertaste. A nice body and aroma, taste a bit lacking.

Jan 12, 2008
Photo of wjimson
wjimson from Antarctica

3.87/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I got this one at C'est What in Toronto Ontario, a usual stop during holidays. I never had this beer before I got here, so when I asked for it, I was almost expecting something that looked like a stout in colour and thickness. Of course, the beer had a thin looking tawny colour, which is a pass.

The beer is a bit too cold to my liking, so it took away from the taste and smell. At this time, this beer only smell like an average malted beer. Still bearing my suspicions, I took a sip. A very mellow beer with noticeable hints of malt with a tad of sweetness. The biggest question I had at this time was "where was the alcohol taste?". I even asked the waiter to verify if they had the right beer, cause this beer didnt' taste like it had 8% of alcohol in it.

Ofcourse, I was fooled the first time. This beer is indeed very drinkable. but a tad thin and lacking in bitterness. Otherwise, everything else was a great unique experience. I need to try this one again.

Mar 11, 2007
Photo of Mandrake
Mandrake from Canada

4.17/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2006 vintage.

Pours a deep burnished copper, with a good two-finger head, quite a light tan, which leasts quite well, especially for the style, and leaves some lacing. Not a great deal of visible carbonation rising, but it sustains the layer of carbonation at the surface more than adequately. Smell is great, oak and deep fruitiness. Plum and figs, dates and raisins, and boozy rum overlying it all. Hops showing well, and some caramel as well. Very nice indeed. Taste bears up too, the woodiness coming through alongside lots of caramel and some alcohol present as well, though in an entirely pleasant way. Hops make an appearance, but the malts are definitely in charge here. Finish is rather dry, and holds just the barest metallic note. Mouthfeel is thick and sticky, though still plenty of carbonation, and drinkability is good. Nice beer, a very solid example of the style and good cold-weather choice. I've got a few bottles laid down, and will update next year as well, just to see where this goes, as it's obviously a touch raw.

Feb 07, 2007
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca from Canada

3.82/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a medium burgundy color beer with a nice medium foamy light brown head with better then average retention. Aroma of sweet dry fruits such as plums and figs. Taste is also dominated by dry fruits such as figs and plums with a nice a generous malt presence and some subtle warming alcohol. Body is slightly thin for the style with some good carbonation. While this is a good example of a style that I see too rarely it is slightly less complex then the top beer of the style.

Jan 16, 2007
Photo of Noxious26
Noxious26 from Canada

4.67/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2003 version - 750ml bottle with cork and gold leaf cover. Shared with friends at a beer/wine tasting event held at my friend's (Jen & Mike) home. Special thanks to Viggo for this treat!

Medium brown and clear with a cream coloured dense head.

Aroma of toasted and dark malts. Lightly sweet with subtle hops. Has me drooling from the start.

Flavour bursts on your tongue. Full, rich and complex malt character blending together different malts that shine through at different times with each sip. Bold yet mellow and smooth. Long lasting toasted malt aftertaste. Nothing more to say but delicious!

Exceptionally smooth, especially considering it's 8%. You really can't tell the level of alcohol at all. Full, rich mouthfeel with moderate carbonation.

Wonderful sipping beer that is both relaxing and engaging. Now I can see why so many people in Ontario eagerly anticipate it's release each year. I wish this was available to me every winter! This is one of those not-to-be-missed specialties.

Dec 18, 2006
Photo of Mindsquall
Mindsquall from Canada

4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2004 Vintage, Poured from a green Champagne-style bottle.

This poured a nice dark amber with a slight head with some delicate lacing. Smell at first was pretty skunky, but the skunk odors subsided and were replaced with aromas of roasted barley malt.

This stuff tastes very nice, prominent barley malt flavors make their way to a clean astringent finish. Easy on the way down. High ABV on this is well hidden which makes this stuff dangerous.

This is great beer.

Mar 30, 2006
Photo of DrJay
DrJay from Texas

4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2003 Vintage (sampled after two years):

Deep orange colour with a short, dense head of light tan foam. Fair retention with sheets of lace left behind on the glass. There were also very fine particles floating around in there. Aromas of apple skins, white wine/cider, and very mild alcohol. The flavour was incredibly soft and balanced, but with plenty of character. Graham crackers to start, caramel and fruit with a hint of cider in the middle. Finishes with a bit of grape flavour, fairly short. Low carbonation, medium body and an off-dry finish. Really mellow and balanced, I highly recommend finding some aged samples of this beauty. Thanks Viggo!

Feb 11, 2006
Photo of crwills
crwills from Canada

3.83/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2004 vintage, 750 mL bottle.

I have to provide a caveat for this review ahead of time -- I have yet to find an eisbock that I really enjoy (although I keep trying them), and this one is no exception. Nice to try, and I've got another bottle that I'll age a bit, but nothing I'd go out of my way for.

Colour and smell are both very nice, though. Poured into an oversized wine glass, a deep reddish copper that I really liked. Small head, though, which is fine for this style. Smell is as expected -- very winey, grapes, fruity malts, and caramel. Fresh and crisp.

Taste is OK, I guess, although again, not really my thing. Some hop bitterness, grapes, grass and hay. The farmy/musty flavours stand out, which are kind of nice and make this beer somewhat unique.

Definitely something you should look into, but I'll continue trying this style a bit longer to see if I can find some that I like.

Jan 21, 2006
Photo of Viggo
Viggo from Canada

4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Capped and foiled 750 ml, vintage 2003. Pours a clear mahogany brown/red, small white head that settles into a ring around the glass, spotty lace. Smell is grapes, very vinous, whiskey, iron, fruit, alcohol, and caramel. Taste is grapes, apples, iron, floral hops, spice, caramel and plums. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, low carbonation, super super mellow and smooth, this one aged perfectly. I remember not liking it too much when it was fresh but now its spectacular.

Dec 08, 2005
Photo of GCBrewingCo
GCBrewingCo from North Carolina

4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured into the glass clear deep amber but did have a few stray chunkies in it. The head was small bubbled moussy and rose tall to coat the glass as it fell back.

The aroma was malty with a carmel nuttiness and a subtle frutiness. Some very slight hop aroma was still present behind the malt presence. The subtle fruit was that of raisins.

The flavor was malty with a nutty caramel flavor and a slight dark fruit flavor, raisins most prominent. The hop bittering was well done and balanced the maltiness and sweetness in the beer.

The finish was just dry with a lasting nutty caramel flavor and slight noble hop bitterness lasting pleasantly into the aftertaste. The body was just above medium. Kinda on the small side for an Eisbock, but this used to be the only one you could get your hands on and even then you had to cross the border.

750 ml capped and foil sealed bottle. 2001 vintage. Had this beer twice in 2001 and did not care for it much. Decided to open the last bottle I had today. Had been kept at 45ºF or colder since it was brought back from CAN. This beer actually improved quite a bit over time. Admittedly there are much more bodacious Eisbocks around, but the third times the charm, and this little one is pretty darn tasty!

Apr 10, 2005
Photo of CAMRAhardliner
CAMRAhardliner from Canada

4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the 2003 vintage, Ive had it in my cellar for 6 months.

A classy green champagne bottle with gold foil over the cap gives this beer a high brow feel. The alternating Niagara paintings on the labels are very cool. It pours a brilliant rusty red color with a billowy ivory head and masses of weblike lace. The aroma is of incredibly intricate malts. Theres raisin bread, plums, ginger, apple skins and horse blanket in a remarkably harmonious blend. The taste is of bready malts with a spicey edge and a noble hop bitterness. A grassy fresh mown hay is also present. Theres a rummy alcohol and some diacytl in the finish. The moutheel is quite full with chunky carbonation. This beer is a very impressive lager and by far the best Niagara offering.

Sep 26, 2004
Photo of feloniousmonk
feloniousmonk from Minnesota

4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2003 edition, 15 years of tradition, so boasts the label...
Bright crimson color, decent off-whitish head, perfunctory appearance.
Aroma, nice, very malty, big in the fruit department, and seeping out the alcohol, too. This one's not "too" strong, at a mere 8%, but gives it away way too easily. Huge in fruit, when sniffed further, but, again, alkyhol dominates.
Taste: rich, fully fruity, very tasty, but nothing to write home about. Tasty, yes, and many lagers are, but for a bock or even for an eisbock, this doesn't go any farther beyond the boundaries. Tasty, sweet, big with malty flavor...yep, it's got that in spades!
Wow, this really is a huge deployment of full, fruity, malty flavors...yet still fails to impress...that aside, i give it cohones for being what it is!

Thanks go to NorthYorkSammy!

Jun 22, 2004
Photo of pootz
pootz from Canada

4.17/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Update: sampled a bottle of 2003 was essentially the same in body color and aromas as the newer vintage but the fruity tones were more mellowed and the mouth feel was a bit richer...I will put 2 of these in the rack to cellar.

Aromas of spice and dried fig with some sweet port qualities.

Mellow body with chewy sweet malts, date, molasses and some smoke....long finish with a lovely warming

Jun 19, 2004
Photo of Rastacouere
Rastacouere from Canada

2.63/5  rDev -35.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Body is ruby orangey, astonishingly clear topped by a white film. Aroma is moderately malty, coffeish with caramel and restrained toffee notes. Light alcohol vapors emane, but there are also slightly off-flavours like a slice of grainy tartness that just separates from the rest. In mouth, it’s vinous and watery at the same time, grapey with little soy sauce hints. Unfortunately bears a grainy feeling. To sum it up, I’d say it is green-bottleish with some off-flavours at times approaching vegetables, it is very sweet and obviously oxidized. Body is still, quite watery. Quite boring overall, especially for an eisbock.

May 13, 2004
Photo of IronDjinn
IronDjinn from Canada

4.43/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The 2003-04 edition, came in a 750 ml capped green magnum with gold foil around cap and neck. Limited edition variation of labels for this 15th anniversary run, I got a print of an ice formation on the Horseshoe Falls on mine.

Large foamy off-white head on initial pour, decent head retention that falls to a thin cap and leaves a fair amount of lacing. Stunning hue for the body, I deliberated for quite a while trying to come up with the correct term for it. I'm speechless, crytsal clear coppery/marmalade is the best I can come up with. Pumpkin perhaps a short second. Very nice to gaze at when held up to sunlight.

Sweet buttery malt on the nose, preserved fruit, floral and cascade hops, plus some alcohol is present.

Sweet malt and some diacytl up front, alcohol becomes more apparent in the middle as the butter/toffee character continues, finishing on a sweet note, but also balanced out by some mild hops, with the alcohol still present in the background on the aftertaste. This reminds me a lot of Big Rock's McNally's Extra Ale, except a higher end dark lager version of it.

The mouthfeel is an absolute pleasure, full, creamy and velvety, just a tad astringent on the finish due to hops and alcohol content, but it rounds the sweetness of malt out nicely. Like drinking an epic 15th century French tapestry.

If this were only available to me in my general vicinity I would have stocked up the moment it hit the shelves, I wish I could drink this every day. Alas, it is a central Canadian product, and due to questionable circumstances, will never be seen for retail sale under the eastern shadow of the Rockies on the prairies. So I must therefore give a grand salute to northyorksammy, a prince among men, for garnering me a bottle of this to try and fall in love with. I look forward to next year's edition.

Apr 08, 2004
Photo of WVbeergeek
WVbeergeek from West Virginia

4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Golden amber hue nice sized cream head forms and leaves behind visible bands of lacing. Aroma: Sweet mixture of toasted grains, very rich and sweet smelling with a dose of hops served up as well great balance and alcohol is detectable but not overbearing like most Eisbocks I've had. Taste: Caramel malt backbone bringing a sugary tone with some specialty malts introduced brings a roasted nuts characteristic, light on hops but nice beer weighing in heavy alcohol at 8%. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied great beer not quite as strong as an EKU but good stuff. Drinkability: Overall ties it together, very well this is a very balanced beer by all regards flavorful drinkable not cloying at all, nice.

Feb 18, 2004
Photo of Beervis
Beervis from Canada

3.96/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark cherry-red with a fruity nose and a nice white head. Fruity complex mouthfeel gives way to a warming flavour on the way down. This being an "Ice Beer", there is very little aftertaste. At the high alcohol content and a great drinkability, this beer could do some damage!

This a great Winter warmer!

Jan 11, 2004
Photo of ManekiNeko
ManekiNeko from Virginia

3.6/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle served chilled in a Molson's mug.

Appearance: Clear dark amber topped by an offwhite head that recedes to a solid layer of foam. Wee bits of lacing are left on the glass.

Smell: Mildly raisiny and malty aromas. Some plums and other dark fleshy fruits on the nose.

Taste: Smoky, peaty, dark caramel malts at first. Mildly raisiny. Surprisingly not all that complex.

Mouthfeel: Solid medium body with great alcohol masking, though maybe too well.

Drinkability: Very smooth eisbock. I could've used a bit more booziness overall. Seems to me an eisbock should be a bit more fiery. Not an inferno, just warming.

Jan 04, 2004
Photo of Popsinc
Popsinc from Canada

3.6/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2003 edition. A clear amber pour with some crabonation. The head is small and off-white.The nose might just be the best thing about this brew. A nice combination of hoppiness and malty sweetness. Suagry caramel & brown sugar as well as sweet fruit such as apricot and light mango are present in both the nose and taste. The mouthfeel is very light and smooth. Too light for my liking actually. It seems the older versions of this beer were more complex and flavourful than the newer offerings. The past 2 or 3 years in particular are mere shadows of what this beer used to be. Did they dumb it down for the masses?

Dec 09, 2003
Photo of Sammy
Sammy from Canada

4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

World class. Never tasted something with ice as nice as this. Pours beautiful head. Very drinkable. Strong, shared it over a long Saturday lunch, but could have easily finished it myself. A tad sweet, a bit dry at finish. Satisfying. They should make this available all year!

Dec 07, 2003
Photo of kbub6f
kbub6f from New York

4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nice, big, cream-colored head is dense and noisy. The color is a beautiful, dark brown/mahogany. Sticky clumpy lacing. Lots of sweet toffee in the nose, along with some cream and chocolate. And a little dust. Some plums show up in the chocolate/toffee front. The middle is thick and malty and thick and creamy. Chocolate again in the dry finish. Plenty of alcohol warmth.

I think this beer is just fantastic. It's chocolatey, but not too sweet. Major cream and bread. Delicious soul comforting beer food.

Aug 30, 2003
Photo of the42ndtourist
the42ndtourist from Canada

4.28/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2002 edition:
In a green champagne-style bottle, 750mL.

Pours out a deep dark red-gold colour. Quite dark, and bordering on brown. The head shows up thick and compact with about a finger's width at the top of the glass. It thins, but lasts until the end with plenty of thick lacing.

Nose and flavour are abundant. Plenty of fruit is evident. The star of the show was the papaya-like tang (don't take me too literally, though). Some raisins in the body along with abundant malt sweetness. The hops show their faces in due turn, with a very respectable performance in the supporting cast.

Thick and smooth in the mouth, doppelbock-like in texture. The carbonation is restrained and soft.

Overall, a very nice beer. At 8%, it seems to be a little restrained as eisbocks go. With the lower alcohol levels, this had to have originated as a smaller bock. It's a lot harder to formulate an exceptional small beer than a big one, and the eisbock that results from this one is outstanding. A real treat, a beer for special events or celebrations.

2003 edition:
Pours out a dull red-gold, already looking a little like maple syrup - the limited head emphasizes this.

Nose of baked apples, caramel. The taste is quite sweet, a little tangy in the finish, as it attempts to coat your throat on its way down. Some pleasant fruitiness, overall a very mellow flavour to the beer, however.

This year's offering strikes me as thinner than last year. It's pleasing, no doubt, but a little more malt in the body would have been pleasing.

(the ratings here average the two years...)

Feb 09, 2003
Photo of Ahhdball
Ahhdball from Ohio

4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(2002 Special Edition)Deep auburn with a very prominent head on it. It had a slight aroma of which I can't quite pin down yet. Although I had it on tap at the brewery it made no difference in the bottle. I couldn't taste the higher alchohol presence, but I felt it after 2.
Mouthfeel and taste were very pleasing. I felt a sort of chewyness in it and it along with the sweet hoppy flavor hung around nice and never left.
I was fortunate enough to grab the 2001 edition (Greg recommended it to me) and I can't wait to open that up and give it a whirl! Greg said its the only beer he's ever had where it actually changed with age.

Jan 25, 2003
Niagara Eisbock from Niagara Brewing Company
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 23 ratings