Bock and lager are both amazing beers with a large customer base worldwide, and they each possess some unique set of characteristics that set them apart from each other. But which is better, and which should be higher on your beer preferences?
Bock is a dark lager with a high concentration of malt, while lager is a beer style with well-balanced flavors produced by dozens of breweries worldwide.
The rest of the article will help to explain different factors that you can use to determine which type of beer is better. These include flavor, mouthfeel, alcohol volume, and when the origin of both beers.
Origin Of Both Beers
Although Bock is a type of lager, it’s different from the popularized layers. You can commonly find Bocks at holiday events like Christmas and Easter parties.
This dark lager was first brewed in the Hanseatic Town of Einbeck in Lower Saxony. Many Munich breweries in Bavaria started producing this beer in the 16th century.
Because this dark lager was produced in Einbeck, this became its name for a long time. However, Bavarian people and manufacturers changed the way its name was pronounced to “eis bock.” In Bavaria, this phrase loosely translates to Billy goat.
Interestingly, the name has stuck since then and is now used among many breweries worldwide. In fact, many of them now include bullet goat horns on their Bock beers. There are several types of bucks, including Malbock, Doppelbock, Eisbock, and Weizenbock.
On the other hand, lagers also have a pretty long-standing history. In fact, it’s arguably the most popular beer style in the world. These beers were first produced in areas that are now called Germany and Austria.
Lager is a word that comes from the word “storage” in the German language. In 1420, German brewers discovered the bottom yeast fermentation process, and these brewers commonly used ice for preservation.
Although these were its earliest roots, lagers were the main form of beer in the Kingdom of Bohemia between 1860 and 1870.
During this period, brewers would mass produce this beer and put them in cellars filled with ice. They did this in an attempt to cool the beer.
Coincidentally, this period is when the concept of refrigeration came up. As soon as lagers were produced, many people chose to store lager beers in refrigerators. By doing this, they could create as much as they wanted all-year round.
So, looking at this information, you’ll realize that these beers were made around the same time. However, because Bocks are types of lagers, the first to be produced was lager.
The flavor is another essential criterion used to determine what beer is better. No matter how good a particular beer looks, no one would buy it if it had a terrible taste.
Bock is a beer with a high malt concentration because it contains many malt ingredients. Additionally, some groups of people on various beer review websites say that this beer is “boozy.”
The ingredients of this beer are hops, malted barley, cereal, and cereal malt. As you may already know, Bocks have strong ester profiles. Due to its maltiness and strong ester profile, Bocks are currently one of the world’s most popular beers.
Bocks are dark lagers, meaning they’re still a type of lager. As such, they undergo the bottom-fermenting yeast process, which is a great influencer behind their taste.
Because they’re lagers, brewers can store these beers longer than ales, pilsners, and so on. Remember to consume lagers cold.
Conversely, lager is a beer style with various tastes, depending on its manufacturer. However, some flavors are common to most lagers worldwide; some taste like chocolate, nuts, bread, or even coffee.
Lagers are designed to be noticeably crisper and cleaner than other beer styles. This beer style also tastes a lot milder than others. Typical ingredients of lagers include grains, hops, yeast, and water.
So, if you want a refreshing beer that tastes a little milder than other beer styles, go for lagers. On the other hand, if you like beer with strong, commanding malt tastes, it’s best to choose Bocks.
Bocks have a low to moderate amount of carbonation, and an IBU level of 20-30, depending on their manufacturer. On the other hand, lagers, which are made by hundreds of breweries, have a pretty low level of bitterness(5-10IBU) and carbonation.
IBU level, also called International Bittering Units, is the level of bitterness of a particular beer. This metric assists lots of people in picking what beer to buy. Not surprisingly, many people have preferences when it comes to bitterness. Not only does bitterness affect the flavor, but it also affects the aftertaste of beer.
Bocks have a roasty smell that sometimes also contains a hint of malt, depending on how much malt was added in the brewing process. Also, there’s no detectable hop smell.
Conversely, many beer drinkers have said that some lagers have a “rotten egg” or sulphuric smell. However, this is no cause for alarm. They smell like this because of the hydrogen sulfide gas released during fermentation.
Brewing Process and Ingredients
Lagers typically undergo the bottom-fermenting process. For those who don’t know, this style involves using yeast strains that settle at the bottom of the solution after the fermentation process.
This type of fermentation uses lower temperatures when compared to ales— 41-50F. Because of these lower temperatures, yeast doesn’t work as vigorously and, thus, releases CO2 a lot slower.
Although Bocks are generally considered dark lagers, they still undergo the bottom-fermenting process. This process is also done at lower temperatures(32-36°F) compared to ales and other types of beers. Bock product ingredients include barley malt, cereals, some hops, and a heavy concentration of cereal malt.
Interestingly, Bocks and Lagers use one beneficial ingredient; barley malt. Many brewers know that barley malt helps to hasten the fermentation process and generally reduces the amount of fat and sugar in beers. For this reason, it has been dubbed “the brewer’s ingredient.”
Knowing a beer’s alcohol volume means knowing how many cans of bottles it takes to get drunk.
Usually, beers fall between an ABV volume of 3% to 13%. Most lagers have ABV volumes of 4-6%, depending on ingredients, brewing process, and even brewery. In other words, this means that you would get drunk on 6-8 cans of any lager beer.
On the other hand, due to its brewing process(including many malts and colorings), Bocks have ABV volumes ranging from 6% to 7%. This value is slightly higher than regular lagers, which means that about 4-6 cans of this should get you drunk.
So, Bocks are suited towards wilder gatherings where it’s important to get drunk, while traditional lagers are better for everyday social gatherings.
Appearance is another considerable factor to consider while choosing beer. Bocks are way darker in color compared to traditional beers because of the amount of malt used to prepare these delightful beers.
Bock colors range from light copper to straight brown. Also, when you put them in a container, they have white bubble heads. These bubbleheads are caused by their medium carbonation level.
Many bock products have the bully goat logo on their packaging, which is a tribute to its humble beginnings. All in all, lots of people buy this beer because of its great appearance. And many others are endeared to this beer because of its classy feel and look.
On the other hand, lagers come in all sorts of colors and look due to the number of brewers producing them. Although most traditional lagers have an amber color, some layers have dark brown and black colors.
If you walk into a store now, there’s an extremely good chance that you’d find lagers at the top beers they’re selling.
Popular Examples Of Each Beer Style
There are different types of lagers, including American pale lagers, dark lagers, Dortmunder, and dunkels.
- American pale lager: Examples of these include Budweiser, Natural Light, Miller Lite, and Heineken Light.
- Dark lagers: Some examples of dark lagers include Halfway Crooks Beer Shell, Ar he’s Brewing Winter’s Night, and Uinta Brewing Baba Dark lager
- Dortmunder: Examples include Victoria Lager and Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold.
- Dunkels: Augustiner Dunkel, Erdinger Dunkel, and Andechser Dunkel are all examples of dunkels.
On the other hand, the main types of bocks include Doppelbock, Maibock, and Eisbock.
- Eisbock: Some examples of these include Hermannator, Fire and Eisbock, and Schnee boot.
- Maibock: Deadguy Ale, Cultivator, and Cabin fever are all examples of Maibock.
- Eisbock: Examples of Eisbock include Smoke and Ice, Ex-Girlfriend, and Eisbock Gold.
That said, choosing which beer is better is challenging based on these factors. In the end, it all comes down to subjective opinion. For example, if you want crisper and cleaner tasting beer, it’s better to go for traditional lagers. On the other hand, if you like beer that tastes “roasty” and a lot maltier, you should go for Bocks.
Before making this decision, make sure you’ve tried out both beers. Doing so would make a more informed decision when purchasing these beers.