If you’ve never had the pleasure of sitting down on crisp Fall evening with a Weizenbock in your glass, you are missing out on one of the true pleasures of Fall. Of all the fantastic styles of beer born in Germany, I find this to simply be the most interesting and complex style you’ll find (… easy there, you Berliner Weissbier fans, we’ll give you some props next Summer).
The Weizenbock (or Weizen-Bock) is a relative newcomer to the German beer scene, having originated by the Schneider brewery in the early 1900’s. You can think of it as a beefed-up Hefeweizen with richer flavors and thicker mouthfeel. It’s a wheat ale (weizen) that is brewed to be as strong as a bock (hence the name).
Below is the Gateway Beers profile of the typical characteristics found in a Weizenbock (on a 1-5 bar scale):
Below is a good description from the Beer Judge Certification Program’s most recent style guide:
Aroma: Rich, bock-like melanoidins and bready malt combined with a powerful aroma of dark fruit (plums, prunes, raisins or grapes). Moderate to strong phenols (most commonly vanilla and/or clove) add complexity, and some banana esters may also be present. A moderate aroma of alcohol is common, although never solventy. No hop aroma, diacetyl or DMS.
Appearance: Dark amber to dark, ruby brown in color. A very thick, moussy, long-lasting light tan head is characteristic. The high protein content of wheat impairs clarity in this traditionally unfiltered style, although the level of haze is somewhat variable. The suspended yeast sediment (which should be roused before drinking) also contributes to the cloudiness.
Flavor: A complex marriage of rich, bock-like melanoidins, dark fruit, spicy clove-like phenols, light banana and/or vanilla, and a moderate wheat flavor. The malty, bready flavor of wheat is further enhanced by the copious use of Munich and/or Vienna malts. May have a slightly sweet palate, and a light chocolate character is sometimes found (although a roasted character is inappropriate). A faintly tart character may optionally be present. Hop flavor is absent, and hop bitterness is low. The wheat, malt, and yeast character dominate the palate, and the alchohol helps balance the finish. Well-aged examples may show some sherry-like oxidation as a point of complexity. No diacetyl or DMS.
Mouthfeel: Medium-full to full body. A creamy sensation is typical, as is the warming sensation of substantial alcohol content. The presence of Munich and/or Vienna malts also provide an additional sense of richness and fullness. Moderate to high carbonation. Never hot or solventy.
Overall Impression: A strong, malty, fruity, wheat-based ale combining the best flavors of a dunkelweizen and the rich strength and body of a bock.
This is one of the world’s most versatile beer styles when it comes to pairing with food. It is flavorful enough to stand up to hearty meats like venison and lamb, but works just as well with veal. The chocolate and caramel undertones work well with almost any roasted or grilled meat or vegetables, even mushrooms. Still, it will not overwhelm seafood, as the wheat’s acidity and the beer’s effervescence keep it light on the palate (sort of a chameleon of beer styles). Those same qualities allow the beer to cut through fatty or creamy dishes. Even better, enjoy your Weizenbock with a dessert such as apple pie or strudel, plum tarts or banana pudding. Chocolate and caramel notes pair impressively with chocolate cake and caramel flan.
SERVING & GLASSWARE
The Weizenbock is best served at 45-50 degrees, and should be served in either a Weizen-style glass, or snifter.
WHAT TO BUY
There are about 14 varieties of Weizenbocks that you can find here in Eastern PA, with the following 3 varieties being both well-rated, and pretty readily available at your better bottle shops and distributors in the area:
– Schneider Weiss Aventinus, 8.2% ABV (Kelheim, Germany)
– Weihenstephaner Vitus, 7.7% ABV (Freising, Germany)
– Victory Moonglow Weizenbock, 8.7% ABV (Downingtown, PA)
For additional options, check out our Weizenbock page on our Style Selector, or just connect with us on FACEBOOK for daily recommendations this week … and Leave a Reply below to let us know what you think about the style!