Originating in Germany, Bock is the German word for stubborn or strong, referring to a strong beer brewed from barley malt. Bocks are dark sweet, heavy beers with high alcohol content, the result of a long maturation period, during the second fermentation (well lagered). Bocks have a pronounced malt flavor with just a small amount of hop bitterness. Traditionally dark or black in color, today's bocks are usually golden-bronze or dark brown.
Bock beers were originally heavy beers brewed by monks to minimize hunger during fasting periods and became popular to drink in the cold winter months. Bocks originated in Einbeck in Lower Saxony, but are now associated with Bavaria and other countries surrounding Germany. In addition to its "strong" definition, bock also means billy goat in German, which is why a goat is often found on the labels of bock brands.
Bocks pair well with big flavors: game, roasted meats, strong and smoked cheeses, Bockwurst sausage, and other veal or veal-and-pork sausages. Other varieties of bocks include pale bocks, Maibock, and Hellesbock, all of which are paler and less full bodied; Eisbock ("ice bock") - a stronger version made by freezing doppelbock and removing the ice crystals to produce a higher alcohol concentration; Weizenbocks - a stronger version of a wheat beer. The most popular variation, however, is the dopplebock.
Dopplebock is German for extra-strong-around 7.5% alcohol or stronger and "maltier" than regular bockbiers. Seasonally brewed in March and April dopplebocks are a rich, spring specialty in southern Germany. The names of the leading Bavarian dopplebock brands often end in "ator" (Salvator from Paulaner or Celebrator from Ayinger)