German-style Beer Part I: Bock

This week will be dedicated to different styles of German beer: specifically Bock, Kölsch, Weissbier, and Dunkel styles. This was inspired by a school “discovery” project for a German Culture and Society course. I chose to research German beer because I didn’t know much about the history or the different styles and thought this would be a fun topic to discover on my blog as well. A little less than three years ago I traveled to Germany where I visited Munich, Berlin, Hamburg, Lüneburg and Bremen but unfortunately I had not acquired my strong thirst for beer and I was on a tight budget :-/ Now this class has inspired me to explore the long history of German beer and then, well, I will have to go visit again soon :)

Munich is a fun and exciting city filled with the Bavarian style. Both of these pictures were taken while I was walking the streets of Munich…

Bock is the first German-style beer to discover and though it did not originate in Munich it was brought back to life in Munich and is now highly brewed there. “Bock” means goat in German. This name came about from its origination from the town of Einbeck in Lower-Saxon in northern Germany. Starting in at least the 14th century Einbeck was a large export of a strong dark ale. Bavaria was a big customer of Einbeck’s ale and their dialectic pronunciation of Einbeck was “ein bock” which translates to “billy goat.” Bock beers are now commonly accompanied with a picture of a goat.


My parent’s neighbors happen to have goats so luckily I could get a couple pictures of them! Goats are quite entertaining to watch as well but I won’t get into that :)

Bock beers are traditionally brewed for the winter season. Brewing begins mid October before Oktoberfest has ended. The Bock beer is brewed with the new harvest of malts and hops and is usually ready for enjoyment by the holiday season.

Overall, Bock beers are strong, malty, smooth and rich but there are variations with the range of color being from a gold or amber color to dark brown. The Doppelbock, Eisbock and Maibock are the three common variations. The Doppelbock is a double bock making it a stronger and darker version of the regular bock. It is sometimes referred to as the “Lenten beer” due to the history of monks drinking this beer during fasting. There will be more in depth on the history of the Doppelbock so check back.

The Eisbock means “ice bock” which refers to the brewing process. This beer is frozen near the end of the maturation period causing the Eisbock to have even higher alcohol content than the Doppelbock because it loses 7-10% water content during the process. The Eisbock is usually more malty and smoother than the Doppelbock. Barely seems possible! :)


The Maibock translates to “May bock” which is a strong golden lager. It has been traditionally favored during the transition between winter and spring. Commonly it will contain more hops and be less dark than the Bock. In the time of the seasonal beers this would probably be the last bock before the summer beers.

Alright, now to the good stuff…the Spaten Optimator is a Doppelbock. This is an option for a Doppelbock from Germany that is distributed to the U.S. It is transparent dark brown in color. It is malty with hints of chocolate and caramel making it a creamy dark beer.


Though these are the main bock variations, the word bock may be accompanied with other beer types to refer to the strength of the beer.

Check back to learn more about the Doppelbock and other German-style beers.
Also see: Maibock

Please Share:
Have you heard other stories about the bock beer?
Have you tried any bock beers you would recommend?

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15 responses to “German-style Beer Part I: Bock

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    • Do you mean out of all the German beers I have tried thus far? That is hard to say when they each are unique…and I really do appreciate many styles of beer. I am definitely not a huge weissbier drinker…I have liked all the doppelbocks and bocks I have tried…and the dunkels….and I love drinking a Kolsch he he :-)

      • I´m not so much into different styles…but i get used to them rapidly :-). I normally drink beck´s which is not that surprising….”Without Einbeck, there would be no Bock Beer.” And that´s close to where i live :-)

      • Oh that is awesome! I loved learning about the history of the different beers…and the goat aspect is pretty funny. When I was in Germany everyone mainly drank Becks too lol

  4. Pingback: German-style Beer Part III: Dunkel | Lilly Sue's Bites and Brews·

  5. Pingback: German-style Beer Part II: Weissbier | Lilly Sue's Bites and Brews·

  6. Pingback: German-style Beer Part I: Bock CONT’D | Lilly Sue's Bites and Brews·

  7. Great to see a woman that knows her beer. Great article have you tried an Alt Bier or a Berliner Weisse Bier. Spaten Optimator is one of my favorite Doppelbocks.

    • Thank you! I am still learning a lot but I love beer. One of my posts this week will be about the Kolsch style beer and in that I am going to include the Altbier imitation by Grimm Brothers (small brewery in CO). But no I am still discovering German beers. Please give me any suggestions on ones to try!

      Thanks for stopping by!

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