Nick Carr on August 29, 2016 0 Comments Quick Characteristics Brewery Boston Beer Company Location Boston, MA Style Traditional Bock ABV 5.6% IBU 18 Hops Hersbrucker & Tettnang Tettnanger Malts Samuel Adams Two-Row Pale blend, Munich, Caramel 60, Pilsner Other Ingredients Blackstrap Molasses Shelf Life 6 to 9 months Suggested Glass Mug, Nonic Pint Serving Temp 48-50°F Availability Limited Food Pairings Roasted Duck, Grilled Pork Chops, Aged Swiss Cheese, Dark Chocolate w/ Caramel Bits If you’re just joining us this is the third and final foray into Samuel Adams new Fall Pack. It contains some unsurprising, always present, selections: Boston Lager and Octoberfest; Hoppy Red on its sophomore outing; and three that are brand new, never before offered. These new ones have been the focus of my last reviews. A review of the three returned beers can be found here. After really enjoying both the Bonfire Blonde and Maple Ale, I have to say I’m pretty excited about this one. First, I love Bock beer. There is no other beer made of such pure malt warming deepness. Give me a Doppelbock any time of the year and I’m a happy man, but Fall and Winter is where this style truly shines. Shop for Samuel Adams Glassware on Amazon This is not Samuel Adams first bock either. The brewery has two bocks in their Small Batch collection; Double Bock and Cinder Bock, as well as two bocks in their Limited Release Collection; Chocolate Bock and Cherry Chocolate Bock. Of these, I’ve only ever had the chance to try the Chocolate Bock, a frequenter of the Winter Variety Pack. And now comes the newest addition to their bock family, the Toasted Caramel Bock. It doesn’t have the big winter warmer alcohol presence of those in the small batch collection or the darker malt presence of the Chocolate or Cherry Chocolate. So, it’s filling a place somewhere between the others making it, at least by its specifications, a good selection for the Fall Pack. One untraditional ingredient is used in this rendition, Blackstrap molasses. I had to send them a quick email to make sure this was correct. Nothing was listed under “special ingredients” for the beer, but then further down they talk about molasses being “key to this beer’s bittersweet toffee, brown sugar, and vanilla notes.” They got back to me very quickly and, indeed, there are Blackstrap molasses as part of the recipe. Guess you could call this one sort of a “too dark, low alcohol” bock with unconventional ingredients; sounds about right for any inventive, color-outside-the-lines, American brewery. THE TASTING Below are the tasting notes I took while drinking Samuel Adams Toasted Caramel Bock. If you’ve tasted this beer, please share your thoughts or tasting notes with everyone down in the comments below. Pour and Aroma: Color is deep reddish amber, like a coal after it’s lost the cherry-red brightness and settles into presenting that deeper inner glow. Clarity is good. Tannish head builds to an impressive two fingers before settling into a permanent thin cap. Carbonation is minimal, maybe a low-medium. Big, big overtones of caramel and toffee bury the nose in its sweetness. There’s a very light vanilla nuttiness too. A little toast and just a slight whiff of roast. Mouthfeel and Taste: Body is nicely voluptuous, slightly viscous, helped along by the lower carbonation. It creates a cloak of smooth creaminess across the palate. Again, like the aroma, the caramel is the boisterous main player. Pretty sweet. Treacley, molasses-like; toast springs up at the back, right on the swallow. Little sign of the balancing hops, but not surprising. Warming, but from the robust malt and not alcohol content. Aftertaste is, darkly sweet with treacle, caramel; slight burned sugar note hangs at the back of the throat. FINISHING THOUGHTS If I had to pick one to be my least favorite between the Bonfire Blonde, the Maple Ale, and this one… I’d have to go with this one. But, understand that this is a completely personal choice. There is nothing inherently wrong with the Toasted Caramel Bock. In fact, it is a nice beer and I’d absolutely drink it again. But, for me, it climbs just a little too close to the sweet side of things, without enough dark roast, alcohol, or hop balance to keep it from over-expressing. I might even have a different opinion of this sweetness as the weather continues to cool down. It definitely fits the profile of the rest of this Fall Variety Pack. Nicely smooth, and malty with a color that can only remind you of the warmth of a dying fire, this beer waits to warm the insides on a chilly day. Cheers!