J.S. Helles Bock
Valkyrie Brewing

J.S. Helles BockJ.S. Helles Bock
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Bock - Maibock
not listed
3.51 | pDev: 11.11%
Valkyrie Brewing
Wisconsin, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
J.S. Helles BockJ.S. Helles Bock
Reviews by TheLongBeachBum:
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TheLongBeachBum from California

3.75/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: My third Viking offering to date. Solid presentation, like the other Viking beers I have, it has a thick golden foil which encases the plain colored crown cap, and almost covers the entire neck of the 22ounce brown glass bottle. The top of the foil has a red round sticker with the words ‘Something Special from Wisconsin’. The main (and only) label has a silver background with dark blue text. A Viking Longboat rides the froth atop a large Mug. Listed as ‘J.S.Bock’ and described as ‘Premium Helles Bock’. No strength or freshness date listed.

Appearance: Wow, I was immediately amazed as to how dark this Pale Bock actually was. A very clear but burnished red-copper body which has a lovely cream colored head that readily forms a decent ½” thick covering that has good longevity. Nice crisp lacing that is bold at the top of the glass and less so as it works its way down the glass. I decided to serve this one in an English Half-Pint handled Mug, it seemed a good choice as the frequent ‘top-ups’ aided the great appearance.

Nose: Caramel and sweet chewy Devon toffee, lots of it too. The toffee aspect is particularly prevalent; it reminded me of the sweet sugar candy smells that used to waft across Bridlington Seafront in England which I experienced as a child from the John Bull Shop-Factories that made English Rock, Toffee, Fudge and Chocolate. Nice.

Taste: Slightly sweet Viennese Malts whirl on the tongue amid some light toffee aftertastes. Caramel soaked in alcohol is barely perceptible, but it is there with a dry feel, yet as it is mixed in a smooth feeling creamy body it is not distracting, nor even immediately noticeable. Light milk chocolate finish.

Mouthfeel: This has a slick feel, silky almost; it slides and glides its way around. I had some hesitation in swallowing this; it feels good in the mouth. Full-Bodied.

Drinkability: Having spent a Memorial Day weekend in NYC with some fellow BA’s I haven’t exactly been short of great beers this weekend. But this is a nice supper, on another sticky warm night in LB.

Overall: A real treat late at night. Thanks to Sir BigHuge for the chance to try this darker than average but very tasty Helles Bock.

Jun 02, 2004
More User Reviews:
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ZAP from Minnesota

3.42/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3


Hazy..nice sweet nose...vanilla and banans on the taste...not bad...very low carbonation....slick and sweet...not loaed with flavor but not bad and it is not "off" like the one I had previously...adjusting ratings accordingly..I'd drink these...

Copper colored ..hazy..not clean looking enough..creamy head that fades quick...smell of maltiness hits the nose immediately...the taste was not what I expected from the smell...a musty odd taste that is common with the beers I have tasted from this brewery..maybe the yeast strain, but I don't care for it..light to medium body...pretty balanced with a mild hoppinesss on the finish, but nowhere near the maltiness I anticipated from the nose...Mild malt and mild hoppiness...average overall..

Mar 18, 2002
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Bighuge from Minnesota

3.51/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Beautiful clear bronze color. A bit on the dark side of the spectrum for a helles bock. Medium white head that disappears quickly. Sweet carmel aroma.Carmel and vienna malts seem to dominate. Silky texture. Nice mouthfeel. There's a slight bitterness perceived from the hopping.

Mar 19, 2002
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ADR from Pennsylvania

3.62/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear just-less-than-copper color with a soupy head that doesn't last past half a minute. Sparse loops for lace. Aroma of multi grain bread, some diacetyl, little hop to notice. Low carbonation, body is not quite medium but has a solid presence due to the lack of bubbles. The flavor profile rests a little too much on buttery malts for me, buterscotch and popcorn, some dustiness. Flattens as the flavor becomes most evident, about mid mouth. Winds up with lots of aftertaste and with a little gum arabic (binder used for watercolor paint). For me, I like this style a little lighter and spicier, with a bit more hops going on, but this is an OK drinker from the Viking folks.

Feb 03, 2005
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cokes from Wisconsin

4.09/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dusted and hazed orange bodied, with a brief apparition of a bone colored head.
Fresh apple and pear scents, mixed with a musty background.
Persuasive caramel maltiness up front, which turns quickly to a toffee impression. A good deal of Vienna malt goodness. The apples and pears pop up at this point, all mushed and bruised, along with a fleeting glimpse of vanilla. Touches of Viking's esoteric, mud-like yeast. It could have easily overpowered this, but thankfully, does not. Resumes a lightly toasted caramel fuzzy peach impression at the finish. Hops are mostly hidden, but slightly grassy.
Medium-full bodied and velvety.
Far and away the best of Viking's lagers.

Mar 17, 2003
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TastyTaste from Minnesota

2.96/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Copper color that supports a gigantic off white 2" head after an aggresive pour. Some dark brown sediment in the bottom of the glass. Smell is very yeasty and doughy, much like those mall pretzel stands. Taste is also yeasty, in an odd way. Alcohol and some carmel malts and an average hop bitterness round out this beer. Mouthfeel is the same flatness as I have come to expect from all of the Viking beers. OK, not spectacular.

Apr 04, 2005
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brakspear from Wisconsin

3.97/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bit dark for a Helles Bock and the head was non-existant, but the malty aroma and taste made this a very satisfying beer to drink.

It pours a medium brown with very little head forming...adequate carbonation is evident.

The aroma is filled with smooth caramel malt goodness...very nice.

The taste is also very smooth with caramel malt flavors dominating, followed by a slight fruity sweetness, perhaps from the yeast strain used. This bock is not cloying like some that I have had. The mouthfeel is nice and full-bodied as well.

A very good bock from a small brewery that really pays attention to the details.

Apr 24, 2003
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feloniousmonk from Minnesota

3.58/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Clear and caramel colored...not at all the look I'd expect from a Helles or Maibock, which are normally of the blonde persuasion...slim ring of creamy, aroma is soft, light, and appealing, starts mild, nutty and malty, opening up, getting bolder, pungent fruits, dark grapes, dates, prunes & apple. Rasiny. Unusual, to say the slightest.
After that goofy nose, the flavor is underwhelming, thin, yet supple. Continuing many of those flavors, still a malty, just-so sweet kind of a bock. Still has a dry side, especially in the finish, not as syrupy sweet as I'd imagined I'd . Not a bad beer, really, just played havoc with my expectations at every turn. Still, the mouthfeel's too wan and ill-equipped to match the promise of the nose...wish it had a bigger, maltier kick in it. Oh, well, other than that, it's okay

Mar 25, 2005
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alexgash from Connecticut

3.97/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Slight haze in a golden body. Small, off-white head. Nose is peppery, sweetish (candy), veggie-laden (like a good bock might have). Taste starts with vegetal malts rounded off with toffeeish sweetness. Vegetal bitterness finishes off. Soft, moderate body that makes for a surprisingly drinkable (and relatively good) Viking brew.

Mar 26, 2006
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Skidz from Wisconsin

2.75/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours out bright golden amber and sits a nice orange-amber in the glass with a good sized off-white head fading slowly to bare surface.

Smells rich and malty with an instant twang of the often found Viking yeast-infused sourness. Caramel blends awkwardly with hints of rum cake and banana peel. Some limey aromas. Nicely toasted, but completely overshadowed.

Tastes mildly sweet up front with rich malty flavors, toasty with some biscuit flavor. Dry, yeasty flavor interferes, leaving the mouth feeling chalky and puts out some minor sour notes. Caramel firmly in place. Finish is lightly bitter, some mild grassy notes.

Medium-full in the mouth with soft and fine carbonation. Smooth and creamy to the core.

A meager beer by all accounts. Some funky off-flavors take this down a few points. Needs a bit more in terms of hop flavor, particularily some spicy flavors, and needs to lose the funkiness.

Apr 09, 2005
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BuckeyeNation from Iowa

3.06/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Radiant coppery orange with a flurry of suspended yeasties. Filtered beer is all well and good, but give me a characterful, junked-up look any day of the week. The pale orangish toasted wheat-colored head is solidly creamy and is a lacer par excellence. Barely broken sheets of thick--soon to be crusty--foam decorate the glass from the nonick bulge upwards. A classic looking maibock.

The nose is barely present. Try as I might, I can't get much of any aroma out of this beer. Faint impressions of lightly toasted malt and earthy, minimally musky hops. Maybe. Definitely disappointing after the appealing appearance.

At least there's some flavor. Not great flavor mind you, but something to occupy my taste buds and my brain at least. My first thought is that J.S. Bock doesn't taste like any helles bock that I've ever had. It doesn't have the usual powerful blonde malty base, the upfront hops or the spicy alcohol. In short, it isn't a very good version of the style at all.

It tastes like an overly sweet, underhopped amber ale. There's a hint of golden fruitiness and, frankly, not a whole lot else. Something (or, more accurately, some things) are missing and make the beer feel only partially realized. There's no focus, no spark, no flavor hook, nothing to compel the drinker to keep on drinking. More alcohol would probably help. I was unable to determine the ABV, but it tastes and feels like it's in the vicinity of 5%.

The body isn't quite as insipid as the flavor. At least the acceptable quantity of malt sugars gives it some heft. The slightly sticky finish and the laid back amount of carbonation do nothing to make the experience as a whole any more exciting. Update: as I drink the final few ounces, I realize just how insubstantial this beer really is. The mouthfeel hasn't held up well at all.

J.S. Bock is obviously a play on Johann Sebastian Bach and the brewery has provided a short staff of music in case anyone fails to get the reference. The funny thing is though, it's actually the first few bars of 'I Like Big Butts' by Sir Mix-A-Lot. The Viking website informs the interested reader that J.S. Bock is a seasonal beer brewed for Lent. At least I now know what to give up next year.

Jun 22, 2006
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rhoadsrage from Illinois

4.1/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a golden light brown body with a faint white head that turns to a thin film after a bit. There is a slow carbonation rising up through lots of tiny particles in the beer.

S- The faint note of caramel malt is fresh malt and not pot caramel with a green hop finish and a faint pine note.

T- This beer has a nice caramel note that is not too sweet and not too dry. There is a nice green hop finish with a bit of carbonic acid to enhance the flavor.

M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with a fizz finish.

D- This beer has a smooth light flavor with nice fresh crisp taste but they are balanced so well it makes it very easy to drink. This is a good session beer.

May 23, 2006
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CharlesDarwin from Rhode Island

3.3/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Originally reviewed April 9, 2005. Bottle at the Gitchee Gumee Brewfest 2005. This is more me for a bock, with a good brown color. The aroma is of bread and earth. Flavors speak well of more bread and honey butter. A good malt finish, but heavy diacetyls kind of rot the integrity of the beer.

Aug 07, 2006
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emerge077 from Illinois

3.65/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Viking pint glass acquired from the New Glarus gift shop. Left side of the label has a picture of a treble clef, as a small tribute or pun of the composer J.S. Bach.

First aroma after opening the bottle was a grassy Saaz hop similar to a Czech Pils. It poured a murky brown-amber with a grainy haze of suspended sediment. Two fingers of foam settled to a tan covering across the surface.

Tea-like with a light malt sweetness. More full bodied than most lagers, with a slight herbal bitterness in the background. Buttery croissant. Slight earth and vegetal notes. Finishes a little watery, but it's only a minor ding to the score.

Interesting enough to revisit, maybe in the summer, if freshness was guaranteed.

Jan 06, 2008
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dirtylou from New York

3.42/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz single, Woodman's

appearance: pours a copper-amber from a short stubby viking bottle, with a wierd foil covering, light beige head, decent lacing

smell: its the closest any beer has ever come to resembling a buttery biscuit aroma, big and bready, huge toasted malt aromas, toffee, light caramel, yeasty, doughy

taste: even more interesting than i would have thought...a sour yeasty taste comes through first, which was odd because i didnt detect this at all in the aroma. its not an offensive sourness, but it doesnt really fit...doughy/bready flavours are prominent, caramel, toffee, buttery. Not too good but pretty interesting. My first Viking brew.

mouthfeel: sour on the tongue, medium body

drinkability: average-ish

May 13, 2006
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objectivemonkey from Minnesota

3.06/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Into a pint glass, pours a nice copper color, decent creamy head, some lacing too. Aroma is funky, weak, earthy malt if anything. Taste is only slightly better, thanked jebus that this one isn't sour like the last five Vikings I've had, something I'd like to call earthy malts, but tahts not it. Just wierd, doesn't taste like anything but an odd ducky. Mouth is decent in body, light on carb, and pretty ho hum. All in all, I think this should be a better beer, just a string of bad batches by the brewer.

Nov 27, 2006
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happygnome from Minnesota

3.06/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

a: pours a light brown color witha about a quarter inch of head that dissapears wuickly leaving a sticky filmy lace when if dissapears
s: caramel malt aroma followed by a piny citrusy hop aroma
t: the dominate flavor is the caramel malts followed by piny hop notes overall a well balanved beer
m: medium bodied beer with a good amount of carbonation

overall, a very enjoyable beer

Mar 12, 2008
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SykDoc from Wisconsin

3.7/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. It pours a light brown that is quite hazy when held to the light. A 1/4 inch light tan head is formed and reduces to a thin lacing around the edges. Visible carbonation persists.

The aroma is primarily of caramel malts. Mild but present, there are also some mild notes of earthy hops.

The taste was fairly good to me, including healthy doses of caramel sweet malts with a bitter hoppy finish. A nice breadiness overall.

The mouthfeel is medium/light bodied with a carbonation that at times seems fizzy and too much for the flavor intensity. A mild tingle is left over with a sticky note on the upper palate.

Overall, this is a reasonable beer to drink. No so potent that you can have only one, but not so weak that it does not satisfy. Reasonably balanced.

Nov 25, 2009
J.S. Helles Bock from Valkyrie Brewing
Beer rating: 82 out of 100 with 18 ratings