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Brewing A Winning Eisbock

It all started out innocently enough. Brew a tasty fall treat -- a wonderful not-quite winter warmer -- a Doppelbock. This high gravity lager should be around 8% alcohol, said I. Then I got an idea. So, come a warm March weekend, I embarked upon a six-month adventure to ultimately create an Eisbock beer.

Eisbock is German for “ice bock”. Kulmbacher claims to be the originator of the style, dating back to a cask of bock accidentally left out in the winter cold. As ethanol has a lower freezing point than water, freezing and then removing the water concentrated the beer to a rich, potent brew.

My Doppelbock finished primary fermentation after four weeks at 50 degrees. I racked to secondary, dropped the temperature over five days to 34 degrees and lagered for four months. I then racked to a corny keg and dropped the temperature to 28 degrees. After about 24 hours the beer started to get slushy. At this point, I racked the liquid that was not frozen into a new corny keg.

The ice that was left behind was about one gallon of liquid. Distilling, er... I mean condensing the beer, from five gallons to four gallons, left a very malty and slightly sweet brew with an abv of approximately 12%.

The color of this beer should a deep copper color with ruby highlights. Due to extensive lagering the clarity should be excellent. Some caramel notes are evident with minimal hop presence -- just enough to keep it from crossing over to cloying. The finish should be mostly malt and alcohol.

Craig's award winning Eisbock recipe is located in the Recipe Section.

It is a very popular beer around here and is not going to last very long. With a replenishment lead-time of five months it is definitely time to start a new batch!

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