HOME > Chowhound > Beer >


Sam Adams triple bock

Have saved for 10 years a case of Sam Adams 1995 Triple Bock. Uncorked the first bottle and I was confused. What is it supposed to taste like, turpentine, dregs from an oil change??? The cork was a mess, broke during the uncorking and had to use s corkcrew to get it all out. Was the unexpected taste due to the bad cork? I will try another bottle but what flavor, taste should I expect, hopefully that was the only bad bottle.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Triple Bock is considered a "barley wine" due to it's high alcohol content. I haven't had it in awhile, but I remember it being malty, toasty, with a hint of cocoa, and an overall much more pleasant drink than what you ended up with. It's very possible that the cork seal failed over the years on you.

    1. Was it stored upright or on its side? I'm not an expert on corked beer, but I would have stored it like a wine bottle to keep the cork wet.

      1. I'm really surprised that someone bought a case of Triple Bock and never tasted *any* of them- that's self-control.

        SA Triple Bock was a very controversial brew from the beginning. High in alcohol, it was nothing like traditional barleywines- indeed, the name itself is an invention.

        Most people compared it to alcoholic soy sauce (check Rate Beer and Beer Advocate for some reviews over the years).

        And, while the bottles were certainly nice, the corks over the years have had a high failure rate but *most* beer experts still recommend storing corked beer upright rather than laying them down as one does with wine. (This despite the fact one term for a beer that will improve with age is a "laying down beer"- go figure).

        I, too, once had a case of SATB (only a few bottles left- some which look pretty bad on the outside). I bought it with a "20% off any case of beer" coupon and, man, did they NOT want to that in 1993 or 4 (the coupon was obviously for a $12 case of Bud, etc.)

        The beer did "mellow" over the years, but never really got "good" and was always a beer that took "getting used to". Their Utopias is supposed to be much more successful, but at $150 (and up) a bottle, it makes the old $4-5 blue bottles of SATB look like a deal.

        2 Replies
        1. re: JessKidden

          Hey JessKidden, why is it recommended to store the bottle upright? Why is it any different that wine or champagne? I'm not arguing, I really just don't know ;-)

          1. re: HaagenDazs

            Well, it is debated quite frequently and one can find proponents of either method, but, generally, the current wisdom for keeping the beer upright is:

            Less surface area of the beer exposed to the air inside the bottle.

            Corks drying out is less likely than the beer picking up a corked off-flavor. Since beer is carbonated and bottled under pressure, the humidity in the bottle itself is enough to keep the cork in good shape, esp. since most corked beers are only going to be aged for shorter periods than wines (5-10 years).

            Bottle conditioned beer (i.e., with yeast) don't settle out as well and it's harder to pour the beer clearly without picking up some of the sediment.

            I think Beer Advocate site has a good article on storing corked beers.

        2. I have 2 bottles left from some time ago. I dread opening them. I haven't been impressed w/any of the 3b that I've tasted over the years.

          These days, I'm dead set againgst beers aged in wood, and aged beers in general.

          2 Replies
          1. re: MOREKASHA

            Don't let your experience with Sam Adams' Triple Bock mar your opinion of aged beers in general. This beer is a work or... something... unlike many others. In general it's a love-it-or-hate-it beer, especially now that almost any bottle you find is at least 10 years old. If you don't enjoy how it tastes as a beer, consider using it in a marinade or reduction when cooking.

            1. re: MOREKASHA

              I like beer aged in oak, but triple bock was just odd.

            2. I didn't enjoy it all when it was reasonably fresh, but as time goes on it gets more interesting. I had a 95 last year and it was turning a bit winey with just a hint of vinegar. The soy sauce thing seemed to dissapate, but was still noticeable. Sine it was turning vinegary, I don't know how much longer this is going to last.

              1 Reply
              1. re: LStaff

                Since someone necro'd the thread figured I would give an update.

                Had one on Christmas eve 2009, and wasn't at all vinegary (must have been a cork issue with the previous one). It was intense and very complex with sherry and port like flavors, but was developing chocolate and maple notes -had a little soy sauce flavor, but it didn't dominate the profile.

                This might actually turn good in another 10-20 years. ;-)

              2. I had one of these back in 1995. At the time I was only 19 and i think it was way more than my young pallette was ready for. I remember it well as it was unlike anything i ever had. My barley wine exposure at the time was Old Foghorn and these products were like night and day. Oily viscosity, sweet alcohol and a rum like burning are what i remember. I didnt care for it then but wonder what i would think of it now.

                the one good thing it did for me was challenge my concept of what a beer was at an early age.

                1. i just had a '94 a couple weeks ago. cork was fine. it had a winey/syrupy taste that was too much for me. managed to drink about a third of the bottle and dumped the rest.

                  1. I had a 94 a few months ago. All the sweetness had worked out and it was very dry like a thirty year old very dry Amontillado Sherry. If you like very dry old sherries it was great, but if you were expecting a barley wine it was a shock. I still have a few more 94's and 95's in my cellar.

                    I also made two bottles of the 94 into vinegar... a very, very good vinegar.

                    1. I still have one stashed away as well. When I tried it before, I didn't really like it (all I got was overpowering soy sauce). Now I'm thinking I could pull off an amazing braise with it - anyone have any SA triple bock recipes out there?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: nfo

                        I realize this is an OLD post but...My thought process is the same as yours concerning how to use SA Triple Bock correctly after my experience tasting it...It needs to be use in a marinade/braising sauce. My thoughts were along the line of a teriyaki (low sodium soy) and Bock and Brown Sugar, with assorted spices. The Bock would take the place of sherry, etc used in many teriyaki recipes...