The True Difference Between Bock And Stout (+Examples)


Bock and stout are age-old beer styles that have stood the test of time. Not surprisingly, these are some of the best beer styles in the world. But which is better, and which should you choose? Below is a short answer to these questions:

Bock beer is a dark lager with a high concentration of malt, which gives it a heavily malted taste, while stout is an ale that often gives a decently rich and dry roasty taste.

In this article, we’ll discuss several factors that will help differentiate between these two beers. These factors include flavor, mouthfeel, appearance, and even ABV percentages. We will also discuss several need-to-know facts, such as their origin and brewing processes.

Origin Of Each Beer Style

Bock and stout both have rich histories that have lasted for centuries. If you’ve ever been to special holiday events like Christmas or Easter parties, you may probably have come across a Bock.

The Hanseatic town Of Einbeck in Lower Saxony was the first location where this beer was brewed, way back in the 14th century. Sometime in the 16th century, this beer style was produced massively by Munich brewers in Bavaria.

This dark lager was popularly called Einbeck, but the Bavarian accents changed its pronunciation to “eis Bock,” which loosely translates to Billy goat in German. Over time, “eis” was ditched, and this beer was now called “Bock.” Since then, the name stuck, and multiple breweries in Germany began to insert billy goat horns in their logos.

Now, there are multiple types of bocks, some of which include traditional bock, Malbock, doppelbock, eisbock, and Weizenbock. As you may expect, each of these beers has a loyal audience that just can’t seem to get enough.

On the other hand, Stout is a top-fermenting beer with a history dating back to the 1700s. Although stout beer was first mentioned in a document in the 1600s, it was called “porter” as soon as it reached the public eye. Because of its popularity, many people liked this alcoholic beverage in various ways. 

The strongest variants of these porters were called “stout porter.” Originating in London, England, it was a fan-favorite for many beer drinkers due to its affordability and distinct character. It could also be preserved for a long duration and was highly resistant to the effects of heat.

After gradually being consumed by more and more people from different parts of the world, it became a monopolized market, with Sir James’s Gate Brewery(owned by Arthur Guinness) at the Helm. To date, Guinness remains the biggest producer of stout. In fact, Guinness beer is synonymously called stout and produces about 850 million liters every year.

There are several stout types, including milk stout, dry stout, oatmeal stout, oyster stout, chocolate stout, and so on — each with its unique taste and targetted audience.

Flavor

In more ways than one, flavor determines how good a particular beer is. Not many people will want to keep spending money on substandard beer with terrible flavors, which is why this is an extremely important criterion.

Bock is popularly known to have a highly-concentrated malt taste due to the amount of malt added while it’s being made. Also, many people have said that this beer has a “boozy” that helps give it more character.

Bock’s ingredients include hops, malted barley, cereals, and the most important ingredient, cereal malt. The maltiness, coupled with the ester profile in these beers makes them one of the most highly-bought beers in the world. Since bocks are lagers, they also undergo the bottom-fermenting yeast process.

In other words, brewers often store bocks longer than ales and other types of beers. Also, the fermentation process is often done at higher temperatures. It’s best to consume this bock beer cold. 

On the other hand, stout’s ingredients include malted barley, water, hops, and yeast. All these ingredients combine to give the stout a balance between hop bitterness and roast malt sweetness. 

Also, the simplicity of ingredients makes it a favorite amongst breweries worldwide. Some beer drinkers have said that many stout products have “roast-y” tastes because it uses black patent malt. 

Mouthfeel

The IBU of stout can be low or very high depending on the type of stout, and the brewer Sweet stout has an IBU level of 20-40, while the Russian Imperial stout has an IBU of 52-86. On the other hand, the majority of bocks range between 25-35. 

IBU level, also called International Bittering Units, is the level of bitterness of a particular beer. This metric helps many people decide on what beer to buy, as so many people have preferences when it comes to bitterness. Not only does bitterness affect the flavor, but it also affects the aftertaste of beer. 

Brewing Process & Ingredients

The brewing process of both beers is quite different since they are different types of beers. Bock is a dark lager, which means that it goes through a bottom-fermenting yeast process. 

This process is done at lower temperatures(32-36°F) compared to ales and other types of beers. Many bock products include barley malt, cereals, some hops, and a heavy concentration of cereal malt.

Conversely, stout goes through a top-fermenting process, which means this process is done at higher temperatures than lagers. This temperature is typically between 64-67°F. 

Many breweries that make stout like to include ingredients like malted barley, water, hops, and yeast. The end-product of this brewing process is a top-fermented, rich-tasting beer that is currently loved by millions.

Barley malt is now fondly called “the brewer’s ingredient” because of its high usefulness. Not only does it hasten the fermentation process, but it also ultimately reduces the amount of fat and sugar in beer. Since both beers include barley malt, they are fantastic choices for people trying to watch their weight.

Alcohol Volume

ABV volume is another essential criterion many beer enthusiasts use to determine which beer to drink. The typical ABV volume for many beers can be as low as 1.2% or as high as 40%.

Depending on the manufacturer, many stouts have ABV levels of 5% to 8%. These alcoholic beverages are specially brewed to contain high ABV levels, which can get people drunk faster. Interestingly, 3-5 cans of stout beer are enough to get you decently drunk.

On the other hand, Bock products have ABV volumes that range from 6% to 7%. In other words, you would need about 4-6 cans to get you drunk. 

So, if you want a beer that can get you drunk faster, go for Stout. But if you want a beer more suited to social gatherings, get a Bock.

Appearance

Bocks, compared to other lagers, are darker in color due to the amount of malt used to make them. Many range from light copper to straight brown in color and have a white bubblehead when poured into a cup. 

This bubblehead is caused by its low to medium level of carbonation. Interestingly, this is a feature that endears many people to bock. On the package of many bock products, you would realize the inclusion of billy goat horns—a humble tribute to where it all started. People buy this beer for its fantastic taste and its classy feel. 

On the other hand, Stouts are way darker in color due to their type of fermentation process. In fact, some people say that they appear “roasted” and filled with a fantastic malty sweetness.

Some big, pioneer stout brands have high and sometimes harsh carbonation levels. Consequently, this quality makes stouts appeal to certain audiences. Many stout bottles are dark in color, mirroring the color of their content.

Popular Examples Of Each Beer Style

Bock and Stouts are different types of beers and, thus, are produced by dozens of breweries worldwide. When people hear stout, many people link this word to Guinness. This company has become a household name, earned by centuries of innovation, fantastic quality branding, and brand positioning.

It’s easy to think Guinness is synonymous with stout, but that would be a slight injustice to other prominent breweries. Other stouts include Left Hand Brewing Company’s Milk Stout, Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout, and Firestone Walker Nitro Merlin Milk Stout.

On the other hand, there are different types of bocks, each of which is manufactured by dozens of companies. Asides from Eisbock, some bock styles and their examples include

  • Traditional Bocks: Some of the biggest commercial variations of traditional bocks include Christmas Bock, Aass Bock, and Point Bock. But although these bocks are each special in their own right, Eisbock remains the biggest variant.
  • Maibock: Also called Heller or Lente bock, popular examples of this bock style include Smuttynose Maibock, Einbecker Mai-Ur-Bock, and Hofbrau Maibock.
  • Doppelbock: Some common commercial examples of this beer are Salvator, Consecrator, and Spaten Optimator.
  • Weizenbock: Originally brewed in Bavaria, common examples of Weizenbock include AlpineGlow, Eisenbahn Weizenbock, and Weizenbock hell.

As you can see, these beers are quite different and equally appeal to different audiences. Thus, choosing which is better comes down to a subjective view. 

If you want a heavily malted beer with little to no hop presence, go for Bock beer. On the other hand, if you want a classy, roast-tasting beer with a fantastic mouthfeel, you should go for stout.

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