Friday, May 11, 2012

Rock Art Extreme Hell's Bock

Like it's Rock Art Extreme counterparts, Hell's Bock is a higher alcohol lager with a larger malt and hop profile. The marketing label Hell's Bock undoubtedly refers to the style of beer too, with a funky design and word play with the style it represents - Helles Bock. Helles Bock (or Maibock) is referred to as a pale lager that is typically found in the month of May (Mai).

Alcohol Content: 8%
IBU: 75
Malts: ?
Hops: ?

Price: $6.00/ 22oz bomber
Medium: Self-poured into a pint glass

Aroma: Moderate noble hop character is perhaps stronger than a typical Helles Bock. Hop character can be described as a distinct spiciness (spicy character should not come from malts or yeast). Moderately strong malt aroma supports the higher hop profile. Relatively warm nose from malts and the higher alcohol content - this time alcohol was perceived as sweet. Lightly toasted malts. DMS (creamed corn-like aroma) is present at a minimal amount - the bigger hop character detracts from this. Some carbonation in the nose.
Appearance: Bubbly carbonation like champagne. Very clear (as a lager should be) with a deep amber to copper color. This particular example expresses more color for the style. Persistent head at first but looks oily after the initial pour. No lacing and a very thin tan to brown head lingers around the rim.
Flavor: Pilsner malt dominated with a predominantly grainy and pale malt sweetness. Some caramelization, but not from the use of crystal or caramel malts; instead, most likely from a long kettle boil (note that the slightly darker color than expected could lead to misperception, such that a darker beer could mean more kettle caramelization, which could lead to this expectation in flavor). Hop character is mildly spicy and sort of peppery. No fruity esters - clean like a lager. Crisp finish with only a lingering alcohol warmth that cuts off the malts. Bitterness is more assertive than expected as well.
Mouthfeel: A bit chewy and grainy character, which I don't think is a good representation of the style. Moderately high carbonation aids in scrubbing the palate and finishing crisp. Medium body with an oily texture. No astringency or harshness other than a prickly alcohol warmth.
Overall Impression: Once again another bigger, bolder version of the base style Rock Art is depicting. Its as if the Extreme line of beers is just a fancy way of Imperializing all of the regular styles of beer. I think the craft beer industry is seeing an increase in this. The IBU of 75 is way out of range of 23 - 35. However, enough supporting malts helps bring balance so IBU is not a great indicator. Food pairings include bratwurst and saurkraut for a fuller experience. Would be a great addition for a beer batter.

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