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Why You Should Try An Eisbock Beer Right Now

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Eisbock

Most people have no idea what in the heck an eisbock beer is.  I was one of those until I started exploring uncommon German beer styles in an effort to widen my palate.  You are unlikely to find a bottle sitting at your favorite local bottle shop. They are costly to produce and need aging before being ready for consumption. Most breweries do not even bother with this style due to the commitment required and minimal fan base. Many brewers may not even know what the style is other than being a bock.  

An eisbock is actually an “ice bock”.  Yes, I said it is an ICE BEER.  The German ice bock is brewed by lagering at 32° F or colder during the secondary fermentation process for an extended amount of time.  The purpose is to freeze the water and create an ice coat that will later be removed.  After removing the ice, a concentrated bock beer is revealed.  Think of it as an extract of itself.  By doing this, the malty flavors are trapped and the ABV generally goes up 5-8 percent. 

The eisbock style was discovered by a mistake that could have cost an assistant brewer his job.  It is said that some casks of doppelbock were left outside by accident and ended up freezing a layer of ice around the beer.  After removing the ice, a potent bock was revealed with a flavor unlike anything before.  The style would become one of the most desired in all of Germany.  This original eisbock mishap can be credited to Kulmbacher Brauerei.  It is still brewed in the original eisbock beer fashion and you can occasionally find it if you are lucky.  They brew it once a year in August/September and  it is traditionally opened at the Eisbock beer festival in March.  If you have an opportunity to grab a Kulmbacher Eisbock, grab a few.  You will not regret it when rewarded with the intense malt and fruity esters that hit your palate.  I would compare it to the uniqueness of a Westvleteren 12.  It is a fantastic beer and a perfect example of why this style is underrated.  

There is nothing on the market like an eisbock.  I promise.


According to ratebeer, the top five eisbocks in the world are:

RANK NAME   ABV SCORE
1 Schneider Aventinus Weizen-Eisbock   12.0% 3.85  
2 Kulmbacher Eisbock   9.2% 3.8  
3 Southampton Double Ice Bock   18.0% 3.77  
4 Ramstein Eis Storm Eisbock   11.5% 3.73  
5 Merciless Blood Stains   20.0% 3.72  

Want to Brew It?

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BeerMumbo’s Eisbock
   
This is a simple 5 gallon all grain recipe that is a supposedly a close hybrid of the Kulmbacher eisbock.  This high gravity dopplebock will make a nice base for an eisbock.  Depending on your efficiency, you should hit between 1.088 and 1.090.

Ingredients:
14.0 lbs. – Munich
2.00 lbs.  – Crystal Malt 80L
1.25 lbs. – Crystal 20L
1.00 lb. – Carapils/Dextrin
.500 lbs.  – Chocolate Malt
.5 oz.  – Northern Brewer @ 90 minutes
.5 oz.  – Northern Brewer @ 60 minutes
.5 oz.  – Hallertauer @ 30 minutes
.5 oz.  – Hallertauer @ 0 minutes

• Wyeast 2206 (create a starter) or WLP920

Brewing Steps:
Mash at 150° F for 60 min. Sparge at 168°.
   
Ferment at 45° F for 5 days.  Bring tempurate up 5 degrees and ferment until you reach 1.028.
   
Cool the beer to 30° F until the beer forms an ice coating at the top and gravity is 1.010-1.014 (2-3 weeks). If fementation takes a halt, reactivate it with a small starter.  After fermentation is complete, let it cold crash for another 5 days.

Remove 5-8 percent of the ice.  If it is slightly slushy, you can use a sanitized strainer to get some of the ice out.  How much your remove is up to you.  You will want to remove the ice fairly quickly to avoid melting back into the concentrated eisbock. 

Bottling shouldn’t require any priming sugars.  However, adding a fresh packet of yeast before bottling would be a good idea.