9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 2000
Darryl Richman's Bock is one of my favorite books in the Classic Styles Series. It is well-researched and written in an often entertaining style that conveys much information and enthusiasm without being stuffy or condescending.
The recipes are nicely formatted, and cover a wide gamut of Bock-style beers. There's even a recipe for a historic Bock, for those who want to experiment.
Richman's advice regarding ingredients, brewing, and fermentation is grounded in theory (which he briefly explains) and very practical.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on August 18, 2007
Richman's book on Bock is one of the gems of the "Classic Beer Style Series", in which (as of this writing) there are 17 books.
Unlike George Fix's book on Oktoberfest, Richman nails this style dead on, and I applaud him for it.
Fix (rather amateurishly, I might add) built his recipes around Belgian pale and pilsner malts (wrong country, wrong lovibond, wrong flavor), and achieved the requisite color in his recipes with the addition of varying amounts of crystal malt. In other words, he cheated by using color malts in order to take advantage of simple infusion mashing.
Richman, on the other hand, makes Bock (oktoberfest's stronger, darker and richer sibling) the authentic way ... with real German vienna & munich malts (correct country, lovibond and flavor), and the correct technique (labor, energy, and time intensive triple decoction mashing, and subsequent long wort boils that generate the distinctive melanoid and caramelization flavors). He also recommends the use of more authentic yeast strains than Fix does.
Bottom line is that this book is the real deal - it gives you the low down on real bock done right, rather than kluged together with shortcuts and cheaper inferior ingredients.
Want to compare the taste difference between these completely opposing and mutually exclusive approaches ? Here's a quick example off the top off my head ... try comparing a can of "Red Dog" (a vienna style mass-market swill lager, using the usual bevy of adjuncts, bland malts adjusted with small doses of color malt, simple RIMS-driven infusion mashing, and a flavorless fast-acting yeast quickly centrifuged away for minimum contact time and maximum turnover) to a fresh bottle of Hacker-Pschorr Amber Marzen (which uses the sort of authentic ingredients and techniques that Richman extolls ... all vienna/munich malts, no adjuncts, little or no crystal/color malts, triple decoction mashing, correct yeast strain, long sur lie lager time).
No comparison - the former is a bland, watery, characterless nothing beer with a vague hint of caramel in the finish, whereas the latter is rich and elegant, with body, malt flavor, and delicate notes of raisins, pitted fruits, and faint hints of toffee. In short, the latter beer totally bitchslaps the former.
The difference is not all that different from comparing a quick beef broth to classic beef consumme ... the latter made from beef stock that you slow simmered from slow-roasted marrow bones, and then clarified and reduced. There is no comparison.
Bottom line is that this is a good book for homebrewers - especially if you're into all grain brewing. It has it's shortcomings ... none of which stood out enough for me to remember years after reading it hot off the press. The most important thing about this book is Richman's unswerving commitment to authenticity ... that's all you need to know in order to decide whether or not to buy it. If you buy only one book in this series, buy this one.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 14, 2012
another awesome book about brewing. bocks are my personal favorite beer style, and I love learning anything I can about them. alot of history behind the nomenclature, and how the style developed, and perhaps where it is going. also, the genesis of the name is discussed, and I particularly like the story about how the noble falls down during a drinking contest, blaming it on a wandering billy goat, and the king and court laugh and tell him the only goat that kicked him was the one that was brewed! lots of discussion about melenoidins and oxidation, as well as water chemistry, which is key. zymurgy did an article on dark lagers, and included a different mash schedule that potentially recreates the advantages of decoction mashing without doing the decoction. information like that would be much appreciated. but, this was one of the first texts to go in depth and give the nuts and bolts of decoction mashing: amount, water to grist ratios, times, rests, et cetera. i would say 4/5 on this as alot of this is from 18 years ago, and brewing has progressed some. an update is definitely in order.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2011
If you have read any book that tells you how to make a Bock Style I can almost guarantee you that they are actually quoting this book. Darryl Richman is a beautiful and clear writer who explains the triple decoction method better than just about any other writer, or they are drawing from this book. This is a classic.
This book is fairly advanced and I would not recommend this series for the beginner or low experience brewer as Richman does give some very technical descriptions about mash chemistry which are important to understand for this style but would be very overwhelming if you are starting out. If you are an advanced brewer, this is a beautiful series and should be read by everyone as this series shows up in the reference section of almost all of the books I have read.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2013
This is a fantastic all-around beer book, not just for people obsessed with Bocks. To be sure, there is a ton of history, analysis, and explanation of the Bock style, but there is also a lot of information to be gleaned about brewing in general. I found many tips that I want to apply to my brewing, no matter what style. This book effectively taught me what makes a Bock unique and how to make one authentically. Highly recommended.
on October 10, 2003
This book has it all when it comes to "goat" bear. I learned that in the book, that Bock means goat. From the evolution of bock beers to their present place in the world, it is covered here. This book has helped me formulate some very tasty recipes. Combined with classic decoction mashing techniques outlined in Noonan's NEW BREWING LAGER BEER, you can't go wrong here. I assure you that this is an excellent addition to your brewing library.