Eisbock …easy if you try it
We do love some extreme flavours, as do many beerenthousiastics. Innovative and experimental brewing or whatever you want to call it, is basicly a creative brewer in search of new, unexpected, sometimes extreme and mainly surprising flavours in beer. In some cases one could argue that what is produced has little or nothing to do with a classic beer anymore.
A good example is an eisbock, one of the world’s rarest brews. It’s not like a beer at all. It’s reminiscent of brandies from France, cognacs and armagnacs, but with a malty character that’s unmistakable, a quite estery aroma, and a forever lingering finish.
Not many breweries take the time and effort to create an eisbock, and if they do, you will be charged quite some money for it. But is it that hard to produce an eisbock?
It turns out it isn’t, at least if you don’t want to produce huge amounts of it. To create an eisbock, you need a process called fractional freezing. In this case, water and alcohol have a different meltingpoints, making beer a perfect beverage for this process.
The process I will describe is one ideal for “home-eisbocking” and is how we made our bottles of Mano Negra Eisbock. You need three bottles (33 cl) to create one bottle of Eisbock (33 cl). Poor them as cold as possible (CO2 binds best with liquid when cold) into a PET-bottle and freeze it. All you need to do in a couple of days is to defreeze the beer. When 1/3 of it is defrosted, stop this process. You now have created an eisbock.
Why do this with a perfectly drinkable beer? Well, this process will concentrate the flavour and will increase the ABV with 1,5 up to 2 times more. Remember, alcohol is a great carrier for flavour as well! If you’re into more intense flavours, try it. It might be to much for you, it might be just what you were waiting for.
What not to expect? A good headretention is almost impossible (unless with forced carbonation on a keg), as refermentation with this amount of alcohol will not work. If you started out with a slightly overcarbonated beer and litturaly kept it cool during the process, you might end up with a slightly carbonated eisbock.
Will any beer do? No, not at all. We’ve tryed with 6 different beers already, only two gave a result worth while the effort, Mano Negra being one of them.
How about the price? It’s basicly freezing and defreezing, only to poor the result manually in a small bottle. It doesn’t take much effort, it only takes some patience and extra energy. There is the “rare” factor ofcourse, as this can not be done for huge quantities. Anyone can do this at home, so why should we make it much more expensive then the cost of two bottles of Mano Negra (33 cl) and a nice 20 cl bottle for the result?
Available this saturday at De Proefloft (December 5th) and later at Bierhalle Deconinck.