Bock is a type of strong lager, first brewed in the 14th century in the Hanseatic town ofEinbeck, Germany, from which it gets its name (originally "Einbeck" / "Einbock"). The original Bocks were dark beers, brewed from high-colored malts. Modern Bocks can be dark, amber, red or pale in color. Bock was traditionally brewed for special occasions, often religious festivals such as Christmas, Easter or Lent.

Bocks have a long history of being brewed and consumed by Catholic monks in Germany. During the spring religious season of Lent, monks were required to fast. Bock beers are higher in food energy and nutrients than lighter lagers, thus providing sustenance during this period, similar to high-gravity Lenten Trappist beers.

Traditional bock

Bock beer originated in the Northern German city of Einbeck in the 14th century, and was recreated in Munich in the 17th century. Its alcohol content ranges from 6.3% to 7.2% by volume. The beer has a complex malty flavor dominated by the richness of Munich and Vienna malts, which contribute toasty flavors. It has a low hop bitterness, usually enough to not overwhelm the malt flavors, allowing a slight sweetness to linger into the finish. Bock is light copper to brown in color with reddish highlights, with good clarity despite the dark color. It has a large, creamy, persistent off-white head, and moderate to moderately low carbonation. Breweries in Bamberg,Franconia who traditionally smoke their malt over beechwood chips also produce a Rauchbock.

Maibock or Hellerbock

The Maibock style is a pale version of a traditional bock. It is a fairly recent development compared to other styles of bock beers, frequently associated with springtime and the month of May. Alcohol content ranges from 6.3% to 7.4% by volume. The flavor is typically less malty than a traditional bock, and may be drier, hoppier, and more bitter, but still with a relatively low hop flavor, with a mild spicy or peppery quality from the hops or alcohol content. It is a clear lager, deep gold to light amber in color, with a large, creamy, persistent white head, and moderate to moderately high carbonation. There is some dispute as to whether the Heller ("pale") bock and the Mai ("May") bocks are the same style, but they are generally agreed to be the same. Examples include AugustinerHellerbock and Hofbräu Maibock.


Doppelbock or double bock is a Bavarian speciality beer that was first brewed by the Minims, an order of monks founded by St. Francis of Paula. Alcohol content ranges from 6% to over 10% by volume. Historic versions had lower alcohol content and higher sweetness, and were considered "liquid bread" by the monks. Most versions are dark colored, but pale versions do exist. The color ranges from deep gold to dark brown, with a large, creamy, persistent head ranging from white for pale versions to off-white for darker versions, although doppelbocks with higher alcohol content may not display good head retention. It has a very strong malty aroma, with some toasty aromas. Some alcohol aroma may be present, and darker versions may have a chocolate-like or fruity aroma. The flavor is very rich and malty, with toasty flavors and noticeable alcoholic strength. Most versions are fairly sweet, due to little or no hop flavor. Paler versions may have a drier finish. Examples includeSpaten Optimator, Augustiner Maximator, Weihenstephan Korbinian and Weltenburger Kloster Asam-Bock. The Minim monks who originally brewed Doppelbock named their beer "Salvator", which today is trademarked byPaulaner. It is traditional for breweries to give their Doppelbocks names that end in "-ator".


Eisbock beer originally discovered by removing ice from partially frozen barrels of beer. It has a higher ethanol concentration (12%) than regular beer. Eisbock is a traditional Kulmbach specialty beer that is made by freeze distilling a doppelbock and removing the ice to concentrate the flavor and alcohol content. Alcohol content ranges from 9% to 43% by volume. It is deep copper to dark brown in color, often with ruby highlights. Head retention is frequently impaired by the higher alcohol content. It has a rich, sweet malty flavor, balanced by a significant alcohol presence. It has a clean, lager character with no hop flavor. Examples include Schneider Aventinus Eisbock, Kulmbacher Reichelbrau Eisbock and Eggenberg Urbock Dunkel Eisbock.