A couple of the boys and I sat down at the Mill Street Brewpub here in Ottawa to have a few pints recently, and we decided to have a look at the Helles Bock together. I didn't get a chance to take a picture due to technical difficulties (those technical difficulties being a malfuctioning brain - A.K.A. I forgot to take a picture.) Unfortunately, not even their website has a nice pic of how it looks, so you'll just have to trust my skills as a wordsmith. (I know, I'm a regular comedian. Funny, right?)
This German-style lager weighs in at a 6.2% alc./vol. It pours a clear golden copper with a thin off-white head and little lacing. The aroma has a heavy grain and malt nose with a slightly sweet vanilla and honey undertone to it. A hint of caramel can also be detected. The first sip is bittersweet: a mix of bitter hops with the same sweet notes from the nose. Malts start to come through as you drink more, and the bitterness subsides slightly as the sweet notes take over, although this all happens quickly with a lackluster finish. The mouthfeel is smoth, with light coating and medium to high (almost too much) carbonation.
So what's the good, the bad, and the ugly?
The Good: The Bock was surprisingly smooth for a high alcohol content beer.
The Bad: The execution of bitter to sweet seemed a little off, like it didn't blend well. The carbonation was a little too high for my likes. The finish was just not there, the bitter and sweet hit hard as it rolled on the tongue, but it quickly dissipated into nothing.
The Ugly: Nothing. I would drink it again, I love high alcohol brews that don't taste like high alcohol brews. It just really isn't that great of a representation of a Euro lager.
"Always remember that I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me." - Winston Churchill