I just couldn’t stay impartial with the Umenishiki Bock – I just love the label design. The choice of fonts, colors and shapes nails it.
People are saying it’s not much of a bock, and while I’m not adept enough to decide that myself, it does seem suspicious. First of all, it’s black instead of the deep, dark amber I expected. It also had basically no head, just a small, tan-colored brim. I was a bit surprised by how that small rim manages to leave behind relatively strong lacing.
The nose is malty, and I magically managed to pick up a hint of orange fruitiness too. It’s mostly about the roasted tone of coffee.
It’s got a medium body, with a fizzy carbonation on the stronger side. Then comes a roasted coffee-cocoa taste in the foreground, followed by a roasted-kind of bitterness. There is a caramel sweetness, but the bitter is much more characteristic with its almost grapefruitish strong notes. On the other hand, that “grapefruit” simile is the only thing left from the fruitiness I though I noticed.
As for the aftertaste, the cocoa and mostly the bitter lingers. It’s generally light, though the dark coffee notes give it a serious tone. With the sad lack of fruitiness, I’m really not sure if I can consider it a bock, but it’d probably pass for a porter.