“What the fock is a bock?” you might be asking. For starters, bocks fall under the Lager family of beers because of the bottom fermenting lager yeast used in fermentation. Bocks are indigenous to Einbeck, Germany where they were originally brewed, like many a delicious beer, by Christian monks. What really separates bocks from other lager styles is how quote unquote big of a beer it is, meaning full flavor and high alcohol content. Bocks were traditionally brewed in the winter months (lager yeasts work best in cold temperatures) and consumed during the forty six days of fasting during Lent. The same properties that make this a big beer also give it substantial nutritional values, which, at least on the official record, was the purpose for brewing bocks.
Paulaner “Salvator” is the O.G.(that mean “original gangsta” mom) dopplebock. Dopplebock simply means “double bock”, and is a little bit richer than regular bock. For all practical purposes, the differences between dopplebocks and bocks aren’t worth mentioning. I’ll be awaiting lawsuits from any true beer snobs who read this, but fuck it. Salvator was first brewed in the mid 17th century by the Minimis monks in Bavaria and referred to as liquid bread for its aforementioned nutritional properties. The name of the brewery, Paulaner, is in reference to St. Francis of Paula whom the Minimis followed. Many dopplebocks brewed nowadays have names ending in “-ator” as shout outs to Salvator.
Label Art/ABV: The label art is pretty classic. It’s two men, one a monk and the other some sort of politician or respectable citizen as one can only guess by his fancy clothes, who are both visibly intoxicated over a shared stein. Beneath them is the Paulaner seal. This beer comes in at 7.9% ABV which is pretty hefty considering the typically low alcohol content of lagers.
Nasal Observations: I’m merging the “During” and “After” notes until I come across a beer that has any noticeable differences in them. Anyway, I found the scent to be earthy-sweet, kind of like a sharp cheese. Definitely malty.
Visual Observations: Salvator is exactly the shade I think of when I consider the term amber. It’s comparable to a dark iced tea. I can easily see the rush of bubbly carbonation ascending to the surface during and after the pour.
Head: The head on my pour is pretty small and off white. Not quite eggshell white, but close.
First Taste: I immediately taste butterscotch, but not as sweet as the grandmotherly hard candy that I would usually associate butterscotch taste with. More like a better tasting and less syrupy Newcastle. I can sense the higher alcohol content by the tingly bite on my tongue.
Second Taste: The next few sips start moving away from the butterscotch and more towards the nutty, toffee side of the spectrum. I love this beer.
After Taste: The tingle of high alcohol really shines through the flavor of this beer. Not to say that it has anything in common with a malt liquor or bourbon, but the tingle kind of plays along with the yeast on your taste buds in a way that most beers just don’t.
Overall Opinion: If you thought that being able to see light through a beer meant it wasn’t strong, this one will surely square you away. I’ve shot gunned and pounded more than my share of beers, but between respect and flat out strength of this beer, I promise you I have no intentions of doing either with Salvator.
Food Pairing: I would love to pair this beer with gouda because of the slightly sweet caramel flavors they both share. I could also see this going well with a creamy sour cream based dip.