Samuel Adams Cherry Chocolate Bock

I have a soft spot in my heart (and palate) for bocks. My first double bock was a Sam Adams, and it really opened my eyes to good beer. I had a flirtatious affair with a triple bock at one point, but it was too rich for use as an everyday beverage. I've had a cherry Sam Adams beer before, and it was WAY too much cherry and not enough beer. Hopefully, this will not have the same failing.

The beer is black as midnight. The head has a red tint to it. Presumably, that has to do with the cherry in there, and the head doesn't stay around very much. It dissipates to a thin veneer across the top with the usual ring around the edges. It's not sticky, so it doesn't leave any traces along the sides as it goes down - that makes me just a little sad. The aroma is of cherries and chocolate - no big surprise - but there is less chocolate than cherry. I'm reminded of fantastic chocolate stouts that I've had that had no chocolate added, and I also remember bad chocolate stouts that actually had chocolate added.

First sip is a sweet malt followed by a syrupy chocolate - like the heavy Hershey's syrup in the can - not the squeeze bottle. Then, the cherry flavor comes on pretty strong - and it is just like that other cherry Sam's beer that I had just a little while ago. It is unfortunately dominated by the cherries at that point. The end is actually a bit of coffee; that is unexpected, and it is actually a pretty good balance to the rest of the taste. I'm not sure what a big gulp will bring, but I would say that it will likely suffer from being too complex if anything.

Time to find out. <GULP>

Tip-in is completely different; it has the cherry up front. It's not as strong as I would have expected, though. It is fringed by the chocolate, but the chocolate takes a serious back seat this time around. The middle has a fairly nice, smooth chocolate taste, but the finish hits with a bitterness of unsweet chocolate and bitter coffee. This finish really makes the whole beer take a nosedive. Honestly, I wasn't sold on the cherry taste in the first place, and the finish really drags down the overall enjoyment of the beer.

I let it warm up a little bit, and the overall effect mellows it out quite a bit. If you're going to drink one of these, I recommend you let it start to warm up, and it'll definitely improve the beer. It tempers the bitterness of the finish enough that the rest of the beer can be enjoyed appropriately. Even the cherry tip-in is muted enough to make the whole affair pretty good. Because the cold beer would get a 1.0 and the warm beer would get a 3.0, I'm going to give it a 2.25. Yes, I'm favoring the positive.



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