As the leaves change color, before falling to the ground to disintegrate into rotting corpses, we start pondering dark beers for the season. Fall is a mournful time, stuck between two festive seasons (Summer and Winter). To some this is a time filled with overcast skies, spats of rain, and of course preparing ones yard for the coming cold.
During this time thoughts begin to roam farther away from ales and lagers that celebrate the bright skies, and minimal amounts of clothing, and instead we wander towards darker beers. It's a time for Winter Ales, Winter Warmers, Oktoberfests, Harvest Ales, Scotches, Scottish Ales, Doppelbocks, and Eisbocks. Personal preferences aside, we could not help but reflect on a recent tasting from Woodinville's Redhook Brewery.
Named Eisbock 28, this limited edition series lager arrived on our doorstep, shrouded in a cardboard box, inviting us to try it. Having to admit that we usually don't seek out Eisbocks all that often we decided to review the history that surrounds this beer.
Eisbock, traditionally is a specialty beer from the German district of Kulmbach. Initially this beer starts out as a Doppelbock, before its partially frozen wherein the process of removing the ice is exercised. This process typically increases the alcohol content to anywhere from 9% to 43% (or between 18 and 86 proof). Once poured into a glass the beer appears clear with varying colors from deep copper to dark brown. Today, those that live in the Pacific Northwest (among other areas), can enjoy this beer from many breweries such as Schneider (Aventus Eisbock), Kulmbacher (Reichelbrau Eisbock), and Eggenberg (Urbock Dunkel Eisbock).
Taking all this information into account we cracked open this bottle of Redhook's Eisbock 28 to see how it compared to the classics.
As the beer settles, an aroma of caramel, minor roasted-ness, and hints of dark fruits (raisins, figs) waft out of the glass.
Sipping this 11% Alcohol by Volume lager, we pick up initial sweet hints of raisins, along with a strong alochol presence, before the beer finishes with elements of roasted grains. Overall this beer feels slightly heavy on the tongue but without too much cloying.
Eisbock 28 is an ice processed winter warmer. This rich lager is aged for months at temperatures well below freezing and is a deep gold color and has a smooth and malty flavor with bittersweet complexities. This highly unique beer is unlike any other and to our knowledge Redhook is the only American Brewer currently brewing it. This traditional winter beer is very drinkable, even with its high alcohol content and is perfect before or after dinner.
Style: Iced Winter Lager
Malts: 2 Row Pale, Caramel, Vienna and Munich
Hops: Alchemy and Sterling
Bitterness Units: 30 IBU
Original Gravity: 25.5 degrees plato
Brewed Since: November 2009
Shelf Life: 365 days
Consider It. If one compares this beer to some of the greats (Schneider Aventinus Weizen-Eisbock,Kulmbacher Reichelbrau Eisbock, etc.) then you are destined to lose yourself in this beer. Fact is based on definitions, this beer does fit the bill for what defines an Eisbock. There is some harshness to the alcohol but nothing to be alarmed over. Want something interesting, then enjoy this with some buttery cheese like gouda, Havarti, Swiss, sharp, or blue cheese. Thoughts tend to lean more towards something salty with some sautéed onions.
Thoughts by your Colleagues
About the photo’s author
Paul “Fruit Trees” Orchard, is an amateur craft beer enthusiast and amateur photographer. Throughout the many years in craft beer he is always carrying a camera (smartphone, digital, traditional) and is invites you to see that beer can also be exciting even if you can’t drink the photo.
In accordance with new FTC regulations regarding bloggers and endorsements, the aforementioned company has provided me a free sample that was used for research prior to writing this review.