The local Homebrew club, Mid-Columbia Zymurgy Association, had the Fall Megabrew on Saturday November 11. This event is where the club gets to brew on a large scale commercial brewery, many thanks to Ice Harbor Brewery, and make hundreds of gallons or wort so that each club member, and non-member, is able to get a carboy filled with wort for a nominal fee to cover the costs of grain and other supplies.
This particular Megabrew was a Weizenbock, which I was not all that excited about, so, since the holidays were coming up, I decided to make a winter warmer out of it. I had a Pilsner that had just finished fermenting so I figured I would use the lager yeast from the Pilsner and just dump my 5 gallons of Weizenbock on top of it. There was still probably a gallon of Pilsner still in my conical fermenter. The Weizenbock fermented down to 1.015 from 1.072.
I really wanted to experiment with this one, so I made a tincture of 8oz Vodka with cinnamon, ginger, clove, and allspice. I let that sit for a week while the beer was fermenting. After fermentation I dumped the tincture into a keg along with the WeizenBock.
|partially frozen keg with keg-to-keg transfer hose|
About this time, I was listening to the brewing network and they had a little segment on making eis beer. Basically it amounts to partially freezing your beer to remove a portion of the water, which will intensify the alcohol and flavors, since alcohol's freezing temperature is -114 degrees Fahrenheit this process is a form of distillation. Doc, from the Brewing Network's, Sunday Session, suggested putting a corny keg in the freezer for 4 days to let the ice crystals form, when one shakes the keg you can hear the ice sloshing around, like a big beer slurpy, just do not let it completely freeze solid.
I thought making a Weizen-Eisbock sounded like a fantastic idea, so I contacted my friends who own a Pizzeria, Rocco's Pizza, in Pasco Washington. They hooked me up with their neighbor, Bryan's butcher block, a butcher with a big meat locker. I put my keg in the meat locker Tuesday evening, and that Thursday was Thanksgiving, which meant Friday was the earliest I could retrieve my keg. When I did finally show up at 9:00am Friday morning my keg was frozen solid. No sloshing sounds, like Doc had suggested to listen for. Perhaps home freezers do not get as cold as a commercial freezers. 4 days my ass Doc. I put the keg in my kegerator (45 degrees F) for about two days, and today, Sunday, I felt that it sloshed enough to transfer the intensified beer out of the ice and into another keg via my handy dandy liquid post to liquid post transfer hose, which uses CO2 to push the liquid from one keg to the other.
In the end, I have a deliciously complex slightly spiced boozy port-like Weizen-Eisbock that is strong as @#$%. Thanks to Doc for inspiring me to branch out and try the 'eis-keg' technique, but he is a liar and potentially could have been the inspiration for damaging thousands of dollars worth of meat due to a ruptured keg. The resilience of Corny kegs never ceases to amaze me.
My attempt at figuring out the alcohol content:
Abv - 7% ish
Freezing = removed 5quarts of ice
7% = 1.4 quarts alcohol in 20 quarts
20 quarts - 5 quarts (ice) = 15 quarts
1.4 quarts \ 15 quarts = 9.33% abv
So a big 9.33 %