Beer Preview: Weihenstephaner Vitus Weizenbock

Easter is usually the time you’d open up a doppelbock. That is, the hearty beer made by German monks to break the fast of Lent. But I didn’t score a chance at a fresh one this year, so I’m going with a beer sent me a little while ago.

I got a six pack of Weihenstaphner Vitus Weizenbock after answering a survey from the brewer about how to improve its market share. It’s one of two beers sent to me that arrive frozen, but I was able to thaw them out okay. I opened the first one for my “One-Take Beer Review” series on YouTube, and just for the heck of it, going through another bottle now.

Weizenbock is a variation of the malty German Bock style of beer. They’re generally made with fewer hops than the better known German lagers and Pilseners, and meant to have a pronounced malt flavor, and maybe a little more alcohol. The Weizen version has wheat in the malt; there are also Dunker (dark) and Helles (light) versions along with the stronger Doppels (doubles).

Weihenstephan Vitus Weizenbock

The impression after pouring in the glass is of the same clove and banana esters that I get from the usual German weizen beer style. The body of the beer is hazy, looking almost like a pear juice, under a creamy head. As a variant of the German bock beer style, I’d expect this to have been a little darker. But then there are a lot of bocks that are pretty light in color.

Those yeast esters are very much there in the taste as well, enough that I’d say this beer could turn if you don’t finish it fresh. Also a nice thick  malt profile that brings out its 7.7% abv. That’s on the high side for most German styles, even a bit more than most traditional doppelbocks. And being as the Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan (its full name) traces its history back to the year 1040, I’d say anything it makes is in the “traditional” style.

A fair warning: the esters and elevated alcohol might lead to a headache, so go easy on it during your holiday fast-breaking.

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    Mark McDermott

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