Carl Betz: Celler Bekenner Bock (Germany: Dunkel Bock: 6.9% ABV)

Visual: Clear caramel brown. Large yellow brown touched head. Lots of small bubbled carbonation.

Nose: Cinnamon. Mild malt chocolate. Mild raisins. Vanilla comes out as it warms.

Body: Caramel and liquorice. More dry black liquorice. Chewy toffee. Palma violets. Hop oils. Blackcurrant hard sweets. Slight fluffy hop character. Currants– Eccles cake style. Slightly vinous as it warms. Red grapes and marzipan.

Finish: Blackcurrant and liquorice. Hop oils sheen. Light bitterness and hop character. Mild toffee. Eccles cake. Dry vinous air.

Conclusion: I do like the bock beers, even if the higher abvs may not like me much these days if I have more than one at a time.

This has a lot of the trademark bock notes – a slighter thicker body with caramel and raisin notes, and a low, though not absent, hop bitterness. What is unusual, and very nice, is a little blackcurrant and liquorice bit of extra flavour coming in. It makes it fruitier, but also drier from the black liquorice notes.

Together these are a warming set of notes, which match well with a rising vinous character; They call come together for a very satisfying and rich set of notes. For the best quick description I can give – it feels like a slightly ESB touched bock if that makes sense. The two styles share a fruitiness at the very least, but here it is far more pronounces.

At its base this is genuinely solid- it does the style well, avoiding the thinner texture that hurts a badly made bock so badly. It progresses well as it warms and doesn’t become sickly to drink as it does so.

While not quite having enough to make it a stand out must have bock, it is high quality in the expected style, and as its own character from the added blackcurrant and liquorice emphasis. A genuinely good beer – not outstanding but definitely very good.

Background: An interesting grab here – I lived in Celle for a bit in my very young years, so was interesting to see it when I was back in Germany – and it turns out they have their own brewery. So I had to try and grab one. Turned out pretty easy, the local supermarkets had a wide variety to choose from – so as a fan of Bocks I picked this one out of the line-up. It turns out, unfortunately it was a month past its best before date, which I did not notice on buying. Since it is a winter seasonal I’m guessing it had a six month BBD and was just over that. Since the notes still came out positive and it is a quite high abv beer, and a bock – so tend to do pretty well with ageing anyway – I decided to still put them up. Just thought I would still give you a heads up anyway. The only glass I could get for doing the notes was a bit rubbish, but what can you do?