Eisbock

Brewing processes and methods. How to brew using extract, partial or all-grain. Tips and tricks.

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Eisbock Techniques...

Postby Mesa Maltworks » Thu Mar 14, 2002 6:30 am

"I know its sort of not the right season to be making an Eisbock"...

Comment: Eisbock is appreciated ANYTIME someone goes to the trouble to make it !!! The adherence to seasonal brewing by style came about during the pre-mechanical refrigeration days which meant the styles COULDN'T be brewed any other time because fermentation temperature couldn't be kept cold enough. Since we have moved well beyond this point in history, adherance to style calendars makes no sense.

"...pour my primary (after fermenting at 32F)"

Comment: Uhh... 32 deg. F as a fermentation temperature ???! That won't work very well at all as there is no beer yeast strain that will ferment properly at this temperature and especially in a high gravity wort. Simply ferment it at lager temperature until you are within a 2 degree reach of your target gravity. Then allow the brew to slowly rise to about 65 degrees and hold for 24 hours, then crash cool to BELOW 27 deg. F. The rise to 65 deg. causes the yeast to re-absorb any diacetyl precursors that were produced during fermentation (REAL critical with Eisbocks since you will be CONCENTRATING ALL FLAVORS present in the brew) and the crash BELOW 27 degrees, 19 deg is best in my experience, is to ensure that you can minimize the freeze/draw/freeze draw cycles. THIS is where you can most significantly avoid oxidation by avoiding excessive O2 pickup while the beer is tertiary. Using this temperature also eliminates the problem you described of "slushing" the beer since the temperature is well below the freezing point of water. The water will easily stratify above the brew and become semi-solid. Gently poke a hole through the ice plug and draw off the beer supernate below. Then repeat this until the FG you are targeting is reached. Don't be in a hurry at this stage or you will end up doing many more transfers than are necessary. Remember after each concentration, the resulting brew will take longer and longer to freeze due to the increased alcohol. If you ended up using 27 degrees as the freezing temperature, you would not be able to concentrate it very much because it eventually would stop freezing !

The trick then becomes carbonating it.... well, unfortunately unless you use a champagne yeast or high gravity wine yeast, natural carbonation will be VERY difficult. Even when using one of the above yeasts, natural carbonation will be very slow at best. The only real way to be sure to carbonate Eisbocks (or any other ultra-hi gravity brews for that matter) is force carbonation in a Corneilius cylinder, which is what I do when brewing at home. Coincidently... every Eisbock I have judged in BJCP/AHA sanctioned competitions has been carbonated in this way. Natural carbonation is possible, but the results are much more reliable, not to mention significantly faster, if done by force.

Another thought is that if you really end up with a high concentration ratio, you could leave it still (non-carbonated)like some of the specialties... ie.. Samuel Adams's Millenium & Tri-Bock as well as some of the more agressive barley wines.
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ooops typo

Postby jdbooth » Thu Mar 14, 2002 7:45 am

I meant to type ferment at 52F
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Eisbock

Postby jdbooth » Fri Mar 15, 2002 10:17 am

I know its sort of not the right season to be making an Eisbock, but it fascinates me.
I have researched online and in a few other sources about Eisbock and all of them are vague to say the least. I created a new Dopplebock/Eisbock recipe (listed as Gourdhead Eisbock)and I am worried about the freezing of the water. The best way I could come up with doing it was to pour my primary (after fermenting at 52F) into stainless kettles that are also at 32F. Add a handfull of ice cubes that are frozen from boiled water and then drop the temperature to 27-29F and cover. I use the Ice cubes to allow the water in the batch to have a starting place to start collecting ice and draw in more water as it freezes creating a solid mass of Ice at the top. Otherwise the water would randomly freeze into a slush, which would trap in alcohol(or so I have been told). After 5-10% of the batch is frozen I increase the temperature back to 32F and remove the ice cake as soon as it is free of the kettle walls. I then rack to a secondary fermenter and reintroduce yeast to it which I believe the process is called kraeusening.

My concern is will this cause oxidation problems?
Is there a better way to do this?
Has anyone here ever tried making an Eisbock?

I look forward to hearing any and all comments. Oh and please forgive the speeling errors and I hope I have not confused anyone.

John
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