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08/24/06 04:18 PM  
Eisbock methods
Random semi-OT question for this savvy group! - any sense what the maximum increase in %ABV achievable by freezing beer eisbock-style is?

I have a 6.6% ABV, ummm . . .let's just call it a fermented beverage . . .which was a flavored all-sugar brewing experiment that I thought would benefit from this treatment. I figured it would maybe half freeze, but after a day or two in my residential refrigerator compartment in 1 and 3 gallon containers it appears to be frozen solid (!)

I'd welcome any experiences or recommendations folks might have - right now, I think my plan will be to let it sit out for an hour or so, then pour off any liquid, chop the remaining solids into about 1" chunks and sit them in a strainer to see what I can get out of them.

08/24/06 05:02 PM  
Re: Eisbock methods
I reduced a Belgian Strong Dark (abv 15% approx. orignally) by 50% by freezing - so, assuming I lost some alcohol in scooping out the ice.

From a theoretical possibility standpoint, I would imagine you could get close to pure alcohol (greatly reduced volume). Assuming you could remove the ice completely, without removing alcohol - and I have no idea if the increasingly alcoholic blend would continue to freeze at the same temp (or if you'd need to have a super cold environment?)

In real world homebrewer conditions, probably not going to happen.

Let's see - 4 gallons = 512 oz. @ 6.6% abv = 33.8 oz. of pure alcohol potentially...

08/24/06 05:07 PM  
Re: Eisbock methods
Erik, try this. Fill a litre seltzer bottle with your brew and freeze it. Thaw it and when it is about half thawed pour out the liquid leaving the bullet-shaped hunk of ice behind. Did this once by accident, results were really cool. A good starting point to understanding the effects of freezing on beer.
08/24/06 05:24 PM  
Re: Eisbock methods
Well, Steve, at least per legend, accidents seem to play a prominent role in the history of this method - I'm thinking of the 'We later found out that some kegs of Aventinus near the ice-lined edges of the caves had partially frozen' origin myth from Schneider. I think I will target about what you are suggesting, to yield 50% volume. BTW, hope your ankle is recovering well.

Chet, holy heck! What was the resulting 30%(?) product like? Other resources I have found suggest that there is a risk of fusel alcohol concentration by this method. Any insight (like a katzenjammer-style hangover?). Further cycling to concentrate higher does seem to require lower temps, according to:



08/27/06 12:27 AM  
Re: Eisbock methods
Hi, when I make Eisbock, I ferment a Doppelbock 1090 in a glass carboy. I transfer into a 5 gal. keg. Freeze in a walk-in freezer for 36 hours. I transfer the beer to another keg by pushing with co2 and there is always 1 gallon of ice(liquid) left over. I suppose if I left it freezing longer I would get more ice, but this system seems to work perfectly. mike
08/27/06 03:26 PM  
Re: Eisbock methods
Mikehahn -

That is a great idea!! I have a dopplebock that is currently fermenting that I'm going to eventually make an Eisbock out of... Was leaning towards freezing in a bucket and then poking a hole and siphoning. But pushing with CO2 is such an excellent idea. Thanks!

08/31/06 07:27 PM  
Re: Eisbock methods
ErikH - it's probably the best beer I've ever made. FWIW, I aged it on bourbon barrel char for a while, then filled the bottles off a keg. Also important, the base beer was very good - I tried eising a fairly average beer, and it did nothing for it.

In the 05 Indiana State Fair (over 400 entries total) it scored a 44.5, 1st place out of 14 entries (Belgian Specialty). Judges were Ranked Master (Jeff Sparrow, author of Wild Brews), and National.

I put this in not to brag, but to confirm my impressions of it by outside, neutral judges. (Ok, so there's a little self puffery going on - be glad I resisted the impulse to type out the comments on the score sheets!)

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