The folks at August Schell Brewing Company have been busy little brewers. They’ve released a bevy of new bevis in the last little bit. I’m having a hard time keeping up. Seems I totally missed out on the fresh-hop brew this year. I did manage to snatch a couple bottles of the Stag Series #8 and Snowstorm. Now if I could just stay home a night or two so that I could taste all this beer.
Schell’s Stag Series #8: August’s Bock is a collaboration brew with the Brauerei Gold-Ochsen (Golden Ox Brewery) in Ulm, Germany. There some interesting commonalities between these two breweries. Both are family owned by fifth generation decedents of men named August. Then there is the obvious Ulm/New Ulm connection. Between them they have nearly 570 years of brewing experience. Gold-Ochsen was founded in 1597 and Schell’s in 1860.
The beer is brewed in the Heller Doppelbock style. The recipe was worked out collaboratively by the brewmasters at each brewery. Each one brewed the beer using their local base malts, but the same specialty malts from Weyermann Malting in Germany. The hop bills were the same – Tettnang, Saphire and Smaragd hops from the Tettnang region of Germany located near the Gold Ochsen Brewery – except for the dry-hop additions. Gold Ochsen dry hopped their version with Mandarina Bavaria hops and the Schell’s Brewery used a German variety, Polaris.
Here’s my notes:
Aroma: Thick pilsner malt sweetness with tones of honeyed bread and faint stone fruits. Medium hop aromas – spicy and floral. Cinnamon and fancy soap. A bit of marijuana. Alcohol is apparent.
Appearance: Deep gold with an orange tint. Brilliantly clear. Moderate head of creamy, off-white foam with moderate retention.
Flavor: Very balanced between malt and hops. Malt leads slightly – again with honeyed bread character. Light red apple notes. Hop bitterness is medium, with a sharpness that catches on the way out. Floral and spicy hops flavors offer contrast that cuts the sweetness of the malt – cinnamon and flowers. Maybe a tad catty. A hint of alcohol. Finish is off-dry with lingering floral and honey flavors.
Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium-high carbonation. Some alcohol warming.
Overall Impression: A lovely balance of rich, honey-like malt and flowers. So much floral hop flavor. Almost too much for me. Almost, but not quite. I want that malt to come through. Big and yet still light and refreshing. The enhanced hop bitterness and flavor cuts the sweet to keep it that way.