Eisbocks (ice bocks) are the strongest of the bockbier varieties, starting with a strong doppelbock as the base. They are made using an ice process by which a beer is lagered at 0° Celsius (32° Farenheit).
To make the beer more durable, brewers added to the drink numerous herbs, but also small quantities of poisonous herbs as belladonna or henbane. Although there have been previous laws and regulations in some cities to use only three ingredients ( barley, hops and water were allowed for the production of beer ), even the “pure” beer could only be brewed long in the cold season, because the fermentation process requires high temperatures.
In 1890 in the Reichelbräu – Kulmbach, there was a brewer apprentice who, after a hard working day and already tired had no real desire to roll the Bock beer kegs from the farm to the basement. The following clear winter night was bitter cold and the next morning the beer was frozen, cracking the barrels. But in the middle of each the concentration of beer had collected and due to its high alcohol content it wasn′t frozen. Next day the master ordered his companion to move the blocks as punishment and to drink the liquid inside. To their surprise it was quite enjoyable: they had invented by accident the Eisbock, a beer that was stronger than anything else you could brew.
So, Eisbock is a type of beer that is made by freezing beer, usually Doppelbock, which gives a higher alcohol content. The water freezes quicker than alcohol, and by separating the ice, crystals will decrease the total volume obtained which results in a dark brown beer with a higher alcohol content and a great taste.
Did you know?
- The strongest ice-beer is being produced by a Franconian company as well – it is called Schorschbräu and is 57% (current world record).
- The monks who originally brewed doppelbock named their beer “Salvator” (“Savior”), which today is trademarked by Paulaner.
- The name eisbock was given to the beer much in relation to the German eiswein, which is made by pressing frozen grapes so that only the most concentrated portion of sugars and flavor are released.
- Block Festival is the largest beer festival in the Netherlands and take place in Amsterdam every October. Started in 1978 in a small Amsterdam cafe its now grown into an event for around 11000 visitors and serves the almost complete range of Dutch Bock beers.