I am a man on a mission. I've moved too many times and been faced with too many colorful aisles of micro brews to choose from. I've decided to put an end to the madness...and try them all. My plan is to chronicle my journey for all of you, whether I encounter success or failure. So sit back and enjoy and if there's one or two brews that you would like to suggest...please feel free to let me know and I will hunt them down as if...I were a Man On A Mission. - Doug (on the road since 2011)
Friday, October 5, 2012
Samuel Adams Double Bock – The Boston Beer Company – Boston, MA
Those of you, who know me, know that I’m originally from
Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Montreal is home to Comedy Festivals, Jazz Festivals
and the best hockey team on the Planet…The Montreal Canadiens. The Canadiens
are winners of 24 Stanley Cups and a member of one of the most heated rivalries
in the NHL…the one between my beloved Habs and the Boston Bruins. The first
game that I ever saw was against the Bruins, and since then, I’ve learned to hate
the Bruins with a passion rivaled only by my intense distaste for the Toronto
Maple Laughs. Boston is our nemesis…bottom line. When it comes to beer though,
I can be a little bit more objective, and breweries like Samuel Adams are proof
that perhaps there is something good that comes from Boston. Today, I’m
checking out their Double Bock with its heavy ABV and a promise of flavor that
will knock you back a notch or two. Here’s what the web had to say:
Intense and warming, a meal in a bottle.
One cannot help but appreciate Samuel Adams® Double Bock's
huge malt character. We use an
enormous amount of malt, half a pound per bottle, to brew this intensely rich
lager. Its deep brown-ruby color
is all made in the kettle, no black malt is used, resulting in a rich sweetness
that is free of the rough taste of burnt malt. All that remains is the velvet smooth flavor and mouth feel
of the two-row malt. Samuel Adams Double Bock's intense malt character is
balanced with a subtle piney, citrus hop note from the Noble hops.
The Greatest Hockey Rivalry Anywhere
The mythology surrounding bocks and double bocks is almost
as rich and intriguing as the brews themselves. Brewed since the 13th century,
these malty lagers are still some of the biggest and most sophisticated beers
The bock style originated in the northern city of Einbeck
and is known for its rich sweet malt taste, low hop bitterness and higher
alcohol. Doppelbocks (or double
bock) originated in Bavaria as an extra strong bock brewed by the monks of St.
Francis of Paula. Traditionally
monks brewed strong, high gravity bock beers full of nutrients, to provide
sustenance during fasting. These
beers thus became closely associated with the holidays from Christmas, to Lent
Bock is the German word for "billy goat" and
pictures of goats grace the labels of almost all bocks and double bocks. The connection between the term and the
beer is much debated with stories ranging from a link to the Zodiac calendar to
the beer being like a kick of a goat.
Samuel Adams Double Bock as with all of the beer in the
Samuel Adams Imperial Series, is brewed using only the first wort (wort that
has not been sparged in the lauter tun) to obtain a liquid that is very high in
gravity. This high gravity allows
for a fuller body and higher alcohol content in the final beer. We age this beer for over 4 weeks to
allow all of those intense flavors to develop and mature.
Two-row Harrington, Metcalfe, and Copeland pale malts, and
Caramel 60 are used to obtain that gorgeous mahogany color and intense
flavor. The malt character is
balanced with a subtle piney, citrus hop note from the Tettnang Tettnanger and
Hallertau Mittelfrueh Noble hops.
Flavor: Strong malt and caramel character; very smooth, full
bodied, low to medium bitterness
Color: Deep mahogany, 40 SRM
Original Gravity: 23.0° Plato
Alcohol by Vol / Wt: 9.5%ABV - 7.3%ABW
Calories/12 oz.: 323
Malt Varieties: Samuel Adams two-row pale malt blend and
Hop Varieties: Tettnang Tettnanger and Hallertau Mittelfrueh
Yeast Strain: Samuel Adams lager yeast
Availability: Year round
First Brewed: 1988
The Boston Beer Company
For the first 35 years of his life, Jim Koch's family
history and his future career lay in the attic of his parent's house. Jim's
father Charles Koch, a fifth generation brewer, had left the business but kept
the old family beer archives upstairs in an old trunk. The recipes hadn't been
used since the Louis Koch brewery closed during Prohibition and when American
tastes went away from full flavored beers.
Jim left for college believing that for the first time in
150 years the eldest Koch son would turn his back on beer. After college and
graduate school Jim began a promising career in management consulting. Even
though he followed that path for several years, he always kept an eye on the
beer business. In 1984 his instincts told him it was time to make his move;
people were starting to crave something different in their beer.
In 1984, the American landscape was vastly different from
what it is today. The only options for domestic beer were pale lagers from the
mass market brewers. To find a flavorful, "better beer", there were
only a handful of imports like Heineken and Beck's that were thought of as the
only option for quality beer. American craft beers were virtually non-existent,
or still in the basements and kitchens of a few spirited brewers. There were
virtually no widely distributed micro brewed beers.
While Charles thought his son's plan was crazy, he picked
out his favorite family recipe, one that Jim's great-great grandfather, Louis
Koch, had made at his brewery in St. Louis, Missouri in the 1870s. The
following spring, Jim Koch filled his old consulting briefcase with bottles
from his sample brew and started going door to door asking Boston bars and
restaurants to serve the beer that he had named Samuel Adams Boston Lager®.
He chose that name because Samuel Adams was a Boston
firebrand, a revolutionary thinker who fought for independence. Most
importantly, Samuel Adams, was also a brewer who had inherited a brewing
tradition from his father.
In April 1985, when Samuel Adams Boston Lager made its debut
in about 25 bars and restaurants in Boston, the company had no office, no
computers, and no distributors.
Jim Koch and his partner, Rhonda Kallman, were the only
employees. They spent most of their time going bar to bar just trying to sample
people on this different kind of beer. The beer caught on faster than anyone
expected. By the end of the year sales of Samuel Adams beer had reached 500
barrels, and distribution had expanded from Massachusetts to Connecticut, and a
place where great beer is revered, Germany.
It was beginning to look as if Jim's instincts were right.
If you offered people a better beer, they'd be thirsty for it.
While it didn't have the trappings of a company that was
about to change the industry, Samuel Adams had two key things in its favor: a
full flavored, quality beer, and an incredible passion for that beer.
Drinkers quickly learned about Samuel Adams and shared that
passion. Sales were brisk, by 1988, we were able to build a small brewery in
Boston, sold 36,000 barrels, and were able to make the beer available on both
The expansion wasn't just geographic, however. We also began
introducing new beer styles – like Boston Ale, Cream Stout, and Double Bock, as
well as a line of seasonal beers.
The success and rapid growth of Samuel Adams soon became a
catalyst to other small brewers, and the microbrew revolution began to take
hold. By 1995, there were hundreds of small, local, and regional breweries
sprouting up all over the country. It was a great time to be a beer lover in
Never satisfied just to make our own version of existing
beer styles, in the early '90s we began our exploring the limits of the known
beer universe. We began with Samuel Adams Triple Bock® to experiment with
barrel aging beer and extended that new found knowledge to create Millenium. We
pushed our ideas further and work with aging, materials, and vintage blends to
create Samuel Adams Utopias®, the strongest beer in the world. We continue to
experiment and push the expectations of beer to create new complex and
Today we're a team of about 750 people with our breweries
are in Boston, Cincinnati, and Pennsylvania. Our family of beers includes over
30 different beer styles that's ever changing. Samuel Adams beers are now
available in all 50 states and more than 20 foreign countries. We're proud that
our beers are recognized for awards all over the world, including in the style's
country of origin. Over the years our beers have won more awards around the
globe, more than any brand in history.
But what we're most proud of, and passionate about, is still
the beer itself. From the first days in Jim's kitchen through today, the mission
at Samuel Adams hasn't wavered or compromised, we're still focused on making
the best beer possible and we can't wait for what's to come.
For us, our protectionism and obsession over the quality of
our beer begins long before it reaches you. It starts with the ingredients and
follows all the way through to how the beer arrives in your glass. We work with
the growers to track the progress of the hops and determine the exact right
time to harvest, we hand select the best of the year's crops, and then ship
them when the temperatures on the Atlantic are at their coldest to keep the
Once we begin the lengthy process of brewing the quality
checks continue. We do hundreds of measures throughout the over five week
process to make sure the beer is exactly the way it should be.
It's a Tough Job
There are some perks to being a brewer. Each morning the
brewers gather for a taste panel to evaluate the beers at each stage of the
process to make sure they are on track. As each batch progresses, they also
need to pass one more hurdle before leaving the brewery, Jim Koch. Jim tastes a
sample of every batch we brew to make sure it meets his standards.
Unlike wine, beer has a shelf life. Beer with natural
products and no preservatives, like Samuel Adams beer, begins to change over
time. As it oxidizes, the flavors begin to mellow and the hops become more
subdued. There are some beers that are meant to age but for the most part the
time limit on our beers is about four to five months from when it was brewed.
To make sure your beer is as close to what the brewers intended as possible, we
helped pioneer easy to read freshness dating.
Some breweries use a "born on date" which shows
when the beer was bottled. Knowing when the beer was bottled is like knowing
when a cow was milked—it doesn't really help tell you when it's at its best.
Instead, our dating marks the month to enjoy the beer until.
Once the beer leaves our brewery we still keep a watchful
eye on it. We go into bars and perform thousands of draft quality checks every
year to make sure the beer passes our standards. We check the draft lines for
cleanliness, the temperature, glassware, and the conditions where the kegs are
stored. Each of these elements can adversely affect the taste of the beer. We
want to make sure that each pint of Samuel Adams beer is as good as the last.
Wow…this beer has bite. Sometimes you get one of these high
ABV brews, and the flavor is just too much to sit around and enjoy, but in the
Double Bock, you get a truly drinkable brew. Last night, I got home from
playing hockey around 11:30 PM, and chose to crack open one of these beauties.
The taste was fantastic, and truly easy to take down. The pour was clean, with
just the right amount of aroma escaping. It was a robust aroma that held the
promise of a taste bud tingling brew. Right off the bat, you can taste the high
ABV. The presence of the malt dominates the brew, and you can definitely taste
that a lot of time was put into this beer. Some of these can be too much, but
Sam Adams gets it right.