Author Topic: So I am brewing an Eisbock...  (Read 10953 times)

Offline Humble Brewer

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So I am brewing an Eisbock...
« on: October 15, 2013, 03:36:55 PM »
As the title suggests I made the offer to a couple of friends interested in brewing to brew any beer they want on my system to check it out and they chose an Eisbock.  The more I look into this beer the more I question how on earth they had to pick THIS beer as their first beer.

Any advice or tips?  Particularly around the freezing/concentrating procedure?

I have no where I can freeze the full 5 gallon batch.  So in my mind I am picturing using 5 individual 1 gallon milk jogs.  If I cut the tops open to a reasonable diameter and then fill to within an inch of the cut I can store and freeze them all separately so I can shave the ice off when they turn to slush.  Then mix the concentrated portions back together, prime, and bottle.

Have any of you tried this before?  How did you manage the air exposure?  Was it an issue if you went quickly into the freezer?  More importantly how did it taste?  I have never had to burn 22lbs of grain on a single 5 gallon batch before.  The gravity on this thing was insane.
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Offline Scott Ickes

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Re: So I am brewing an Eisbock...
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2013, 09:49:00 PM »
With my lack of knowledge on Eisbocks, I'd probably say, "Sorry, try again".  So, I guess I'm no help.
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Offline Beer_Tigger

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Re: So I am brewing an Eisbock...
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2013, 06:30:30 AM »
I've done it once, but for the life of me can't remember the details.  I guess it turned out.  I think I made a dopple bock and put 1 gal into a plastic 1 gal jug.  Froze it then dripped it into another container , then bottled it.  I remember the taste was intense, and so was the alcohol.

More research would help you.
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Offline durrettd

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Re: So I am brewing an Eisbock...
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2013, 10:30:06 AM »
Maybe you can replicate the accident discussed in the following link on a small scale with your gallon jugs:  http://www.beersmith.com/forum/index.php/topic,6679.msg27041.html#msg27041

Offline MaltLicker

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Re: So I am brewing an Eisbock...
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2013, 12:46:39 PM »
Brew the dopplebock "on your system" and ferment it out.  Then hand them a gallon since they want an Eisbock.   That's a fair split of the work, right?

Offline Humble Brewer

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Re: So I am brewing an Eisbock...
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2013, 04:48:46 PM »
I like your style MaltLicker!

By and large I think things will be fine.  I managed to find one guys blog where he more or less did the same thing.  I am just curious if others have made one and had any tips.  This beer had best be amazing because it is a heck of a lot of effort.  :)

All things being equal I would just stick with my hefe.
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Offline Humble Brewer

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Re: So I am brewing an Eisbock...
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2013, 02:47:43 PM »
Just to close the loop for everyone the freezing/concentrating portion of the brew process did not go as intended... at all.

As planned we split the doppelbock down into a series of 1 gallon milk jugs.  We cut the top off the jugs to widen them out so we would have room to shave the ice layer and left about an inch of open space anticipating the beer would expand as it froze.  I was wrong on two accounts. 

First, the ice layer formed at the bottom, not the top.  The concentrated beer sat as a viscous puddle, kind of like beer molasses, on the top of the containers.  The ice formed underneath.  That one threw me for a loop.  I was certain the ice would be on top. 

Secondly, 1 inch of space was nowhere near enough room for how much the beer expanded.  Every one of the containers overflowed and I lost probably 20 to 30% of the concentrated eisbock to the bottom of the freezer.  As the ice expanded and pushed the concentrated liquid higher it spilled out of the containers.

I was able to spoon most of the concentrated beer into my boil kettle to be warmed and bottled but I wound up actually shaving the ice blocks like beer snow cones to collect the majority of the beer back.  It was a ton of effort.  I anticipate the beer taking a couple of months to condition to drinkability but even in its raw state it was some powerful stuff.
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Offline Beer_Tigger

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Re: So I am brewing an Eisbock...
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2013, 06:59:51 AM »
Sorry to hear about your trouble.  Mine went totally fine.  I guess after comparing notes, I see some important points:
1. Leave the gallon jug design alone, no cutting it.
2. Since water expands as it freezes, leave plenty of head space in the jugs, perhaps only 2/3 full.  Maybe 5 gal batch into 6 jugs.
3. When ready to "harvest", remove cap, leave hanging upside down draining into your bucket.  Allow to drain the juice and perhaps let some of the ice start to melt.

Then you've got it all.
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Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: So I am brewing an Eisbock...
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2013, 04:39:05 PM »
I'm pretty sure that freeze distillation is a crime in the Land of the Free, so you might want to be mindful about who knows what you're doing. Overzealous law enforcement could turn your life into Hell.
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Offline Scott Ickes

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Re: So I am brewing an Eisbock...
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2013, 06:15:19 PM »
I agree with Maine.  It is my understanding that concentrating alcohol, whether by distilling or by freezing is not legal for the homebrewer.  I think that the law may change some day, where we can distill our own liquor, just as we can now brew our own beer.  However, I don't hold out hope that it will happen in my lifetime.

If it were legal, I would try distilling.
Kegs:
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 ESB
 Saison Solera
 Dubel (Aged in Malbec Wine Barrel
Aging:
 80 Shilling (In bourbon barrel)
Bottled
 Peppermint Patty Stout
 Wee Heavy

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https://creativebrewing.wordpress.com

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: So I am brewing an Eisbock...
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2013, 07:21:28 PM »
Not only is it not legal, but it's potentially not healthy.  Fermentation produces all kinds of nasty things, like methanol and fusel oils, along with the ethanol that we want.  Those things are technically alcohols, but some are bad for you.  Methanol can cause blindness, while fusel oils make for legendary hangovers. 

(This paragraph is from research, not personal experience) Heat distillation gives the opportunity to discard the methanol and fusel oils.  The head, or first runnings, contain mostly methanol. The tail, or last runnings, contain mostly fusel oils.  A good distiller will discard the head, and depending on what kind of liquor is being made might keep some of the tail. Rum for example keeps some of the tail because that's where the flavor is.  As far as illegal moonshine goes, unless you know the guy discarded the bad stuff, it's unwise to drink it.

With freeze distillation there's no way to separate the bad from the good. You are concentrating it all.

All I know from experience is that the apple wine I freeze distilled gave me a hangover I will never forget. Never tried heat distillation. The risk just ain't worth the reward.
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Offline Humble Brewer

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Re: So I am brewing an Eisbock...
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2013, 07:21:21 PM »
My research said that freezing was considered concentrating and not distilling, therefore not illegal.  But thanks for all the comments.  If any of you try an eisbock of your own I would be happy to hear how it goes.
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Offline Mtnmangh

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Re: So I am brewing an Eisbock...
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2013, 07:30:18 PM »
I have a few friends in law enforcement, and from what they've told me, it's not at all illegal to distill your own moonshine, whiskey, etc, as long as you are only doing small amounts for your own enjoyment.  I believe 1 gallon is the limit to possess.  The real problem is when you try to sell it.  You will never be on anyone's radar if you are just making something for your own enjoyment.

As to Methanol, if it is in there, then you are drinking it in your beer one way or another.  If you don't freeze it, it's going to be in there.  In my understanding of the whole eisbock process, you are simply taking water out, not adding anything to the product, thus concentrating it.  You can't be creating methanol by the freezing process.
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Offline brewfun

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Re: So I am brewing an Eisbock...
« Reply #13 on: November 24, 2013, 06:02:17 AM »
Not only is it not legal, but it's potentially not healthy.  Fermentation produces all kinds of nasty things, like methanol and fusel oils, along with the ethanol that we want.  Those things are technically alcohols, but some are bad for you.  Methanol can cause blindness, while fusel oils make for legendary hangovers. 

No disrespect to Maine because he's repeating what a lot of people think about distilling. But it's mostly lore, not fact.

Heat distillation concentrates alcohol up to 85% purity (170 proof) in the first running. Ice fractioning concentrates it by the same factor of water that you remove. To figure this out, you have to use alcohol by weight.

Starting with a perfect 5 gallons, an 8.5% abv (volume) Doppelbock will be 6.6% abw (weight). Which translates to 2.75 lbs. If 1 gallon of water is removed (8.33 lbs), the resulting concentration goes to 8.25% abw or 10.5% abv (volume). The result is still an 89.5% dilution of alcohol. 

Besides, natural fermentation can result in 13% abv pretty easily, and with some effort, up to 22%. As we all know, increased temperatures cause fusel alcohol, so, we avoid that. An all malt or all sugar wort results in 2 or 3 ppm methanol, if any at all. Methanol production increases when pectins (as in fruit) are abundant. Ironically, the use of pectic enzyme increases methanol production, along with high temperatures.

So, Doppelbock is an all malt lager. Cold fermented, Methanol levels are negligible at best. And you can't concentrate what isn't there.

Week before last, another brewer and I took a keg of Doppelbock to a microdistiller (licensed) and turned it into about a gallon of white-dog whiskey. Moonshine, if you prefer. The heads (where fusels and methanol come out) were a lot less than the distiller was expecting.   
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Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: So I am brewing an Eisbock...
« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2013, 07:53:14 AM »
Quote
I have a few friends in law enforcement, and from what they've told me, it's not at all illegal to distill your own moonshine, whiskey, etc, as long as you are only doing small amounts for your own enjoyment.  I believe 1 gallon is the limit to possess.

It's against federal law to distill any amount of liquor.  I may be wrong about the freezing, but I'm positive that owning and using a still without a license is a felony.  That goes all the way back to the founding of the country. Liquor was taxed to pay for Revolutionary War debts. It even spurred the Whiskey Rebellion. Look it up. Whether or not they enforce the law when you don't make enough to sell is another matter, but it's still a felony and not something to brag about.

Quote
The real problem is when you try to sell it.  You will never be on anyone's radar if you are just making something for your own enjoyment.

All they want is their cut. So if you're not selling it, chances are they won't spend resources on enforcing the law when you don't have profits for them to steal, er, I mean confiscate. But it's still a felony nonetheless, and a zealous enforcer could still ruin your day.
"To alcohol! The cause of - and solution to - all of life's problems!" -Homer Simpson