Monday, March 31, 2008

An Example of Creative Use of the Dopplebock

A few weeks ago we talked about the post-brewing treatment called "ice distillation." Of course, we mentioned at the time that this process is "illegal" in the United States. None of you breweries out there are actually removing a significant portion of water? Right? Yeah. Thought so. In the US, the ABV of beer cannot be increased by more than .5% as a result of the freezing process.

German breweries are not subject to the same requirements.

In 1872 Georg Schneider I purchased the Weisses Brauhaus in Munich, Germany; even at the time, the Weisses Brauhaus was the oldest wheat beer brewery in Munich. To this day, the entire lineup of G. Schneider & Sohn's output are wheat beers. Which, makes their wheat dopplebock particularly interesting. The amateurs among you will say "Wait! I have excellent memory recall! And you said last week that the original bocks were brewed with wheat and now bocks brewed in that original style are designated as 'Ur-'bocks to denote the 'original' style. Therefore, this should an 'UrDopplebock'!" Well, no. Not exactly. Recall the DOPPLE-bock is not related to this original bock. And, considering that, it is odd indeed to use wheat as in the grain bill.

The G. Schneider & Sohn brewery is more commonly called Schneider-Weisse, and their wheat dopplebock is called Aventinus. (BA. RB.) It has received universal acclaim and is the crown-jewel of the Schneider-Weisse brewery. At around 8.5% ABV it certainly packs a wallop. Well, this crown-jewel has been ice distilled to 12% ABV.

Let's see what it tastes like shall we?

G. Scheider & Sohn Aventinus Eisbock. Dated 2007, bottle number 02622. This beer was procured at Steve's Liquor on the West Side for just under $4. While a tall wheat glass might be appropriate, I'm going to test the 12% ABV in a small snifter at around 50 degrees.

Appearance: a quick foamy 1-finger head forms, then dissipates quickly, sort of the head on a soda; the carbonation is higher than expected; the coloring is crystal clear and the shade of well-caramelized sugar
Aroma: malty with bright grape and plum aromas, a slight not-yet-ripe banana smell comes through and a soft earthiness rounds out the bottom
Flavor: banana and fruit-ish; the malts hold up the background with amazing complexity, a slight caramel flavor on the finish where the 12% ABV pokes its head out, but if you didn't know it, you would never guess that this was such a heavy hitter
Body: medium to full-body that loses carbonation and coats the mouth more with a pleasant, children's medicine flavor (just to be clear: please do not give this children as medicine)
Drinkability: for a 12% ABV version of a style known for sometimes being over thick and syrupy it comes off quite nicely, particularly at lower temperatures
Summary: A great beer; if you consider a fan of the style you will love this beer; if you don't typically like the style, you may still like this one as it holds up well when cold and has a fruitier taste and aroma than typical

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