Eisbock vs Apple Jack... Distillation? - Home Brew Forums

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Old 03-28-2008, 01:59 AM   #1
Dec 2007
Sandy Hook, MS
Posts: 1,303
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I know the rules we don't discuss distillation, just brewing here! The fact is that freezing an alcoholic beverage and removing frozen water to make the beverage stronger is by law considered distillation. Keeping this in mind brings me to thinking about Eisbock. Eisbock = Ice bier, because it is partially frozen and strengthened in the manner discribed here. Well if that's illegal, aren't there breweries in the U.S. that perform this procedure? Do they have a distiller's license (I doubt it, not cost effective to be able to brew a single type of bier). Just food for discussion, because I've seen this process discussed before in relationship to Apple Jack (made in the same fashion discribed above).

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Old 03-28-2008, 02:02 AM   #2
talleymonster's Avatar
Dec 2005
Posts: 2,142
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I think I read or heard somewhere that as long as you do not reduce the original volume by more than 5%, it is legal.

I may be wrong, but I remember it being something like that.

Fractional Freezing

Also, freeze distillation of alcoholic beverages is illegal in many countries, as it concentrates poisonous compounds, for example fusel alcohols, in the original fermented beverage to unhealthy levels.

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Old 03-28-2008, 03:02 AM   #3
landhoney's Avatar
Apr 2007
West Palm, FL
Posts: 1,349
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To add to this, I beleive it is also illegal for breweries to add distilled alcohol to beers. The way 'around' this is the aging of beer in spirit barrels.....how much whiskey/bourbon/etc. is still in the barrel when you add the beer is hard to prove.
I can't remember who told me this, Brewtopia maybe?
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Old 03-28-2008, 01:04 PM   #4
Funkenjaeger's Avatar
May 2007
Nashua, NH
Posts: 1,598
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Not that I've looked hard, but I don't recall seeing any american-brewed eisbocks - the only one I've ever seen is Schneider Aventinus Eisbock from across the pond. There are certainly some microbreweries here that have license to distill as well - Dogfish Head produces spirits as well as beer - so you'd think that some of them could do it already, though the legality may be more complicated.

Personally I'm not losing any sleep over the lack of eisbocks - regular aventinus is easily one of my top 5 favorite beers, and although the eisbock version of it is interesting and enjoyable, I still prefer it in its original form.

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Old 03-28-2008, 02:26 PM   #5
foppa78's Avatar
Apr 2007
Kansas City
Posts: 313
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Not to change the subject but if you haven't ever tried the Kulmbacher Eisbock you are missing out on a great beer. In my opintion it is much better than the Aventinus eisbock. I like the Aventinus dopplebock better than the Aventinus eisbock.

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Old 03-29-2008, 01:28 AM   #6
Sep 2007
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I made an Eisbock once, but I won't mention that I froze it to remove about 1.5 gallons! Anyways, these 'Ice Beers' that were popular a while back are made in a similar fashion. However, for these 'beers', they do indeed freeze a portion of it to concentrate it, but, as stated, by law it is illegal to do this. To get around this, they add the stuff they removed back and rely on advertising to do the rest.

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