Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Amsterdam - Spring Bock

Spring Bock

ABV 7.0% (Bottled - 500ml)

The Brewery

"The Amsterdam Brewing Company is your community brewery located in the heart of Toronto. Although we've moved a couple of times over the years and our name doesn't sound like we're from this great city, we're Torontonians through and through. We brew good beer, right here. Check out our Amster'Dam good story to understand where we came from, where we've been, and where we are today."

From the Bottle
Originally brewed only in monasteries for consumption during Lent, bock beers are the richest, creamiest, and most full-bodied beers in the world. Because of their high food energy and nutritional content, bock beer provided sustenance to monks who were required to fast for over 40 days and nights. If there was one beer you could literally live off of, this would be it. Our Spring Bock is crafted using three types of imported malts to give it a unique richness and deep mahogany colour. Fermented with our house strain of Danish yeast and aged three times longer than other beers, Amsterdam Spring Bock is a seasonal brew you do not want to miss out on.

2011 Ontario Brewing Awards – Silver Medal & People’s Choice Award
2010 Ontario Brewing Awards – Gold Medal
2010 Canadian Brewing Awards – Silver Medal

The Pour
1 finger off-white head that quickly dissipates leaving little to no lacing telling me this will not be a typical full bodied dark heavy beer.  There is some mild carbonation but overall it pours very smooth and exhibits the inviting shades of a rich dark wood.  There is refreshment hiding in those depths!

The nose is malty sweet with hints of toffee and caramel that are nicely balanced with a helping of flowery hops.

I was wrong!  This brew is definitely full bodied with a rich smooth creamy mouthfeel.  It has a fairly strong aftertaste that coats and stays in the mouth, an attribute I'm not usually a fan of.  I got some mild anise/chocolate/coffee and dessert flavours and the lack of carbonation helped to balance the big malt vs. hop profiles.  That being said, I'm sad to say my initial reaction was "yuck" as I found the beer a bit mucky and sticky.  I'm really not a fan of the hugely resinous mouthfeel and it wasn't balanced enough here for my particular tastes.  However, I believe it is a good iteration of the overall style they were going for with it's strong Belgian/German flavours.  If you like malt AND hops turned up to 11, you will like this beer.

Overall Impressions
I realize from the above awards that this beer is highly regarded and so maybe I don't know enough about the style to be completely objective.  I was expecting bright and refreshing and got dark, rich and resinous with no real bitterness to speak of.  It's an interesting concept for the warming but still overall cool months of spring leading into summer's wheat beers, pilseners and lagers.  I will give it a B-.  Some very bold and interesting flavour contrasts here, but not to my own tastes.  In malting this bock to be very dark I believe it runs into some similar problems to the black IPA's various brewers have been experimenting with lately.


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