Perhaps you’ve heard of iced wines, or even iced ciders. Well, this here brew is an Eisbock, specifically the Schneider Aventinus Weizen-Eisbock. Like many delicious beer styles, it comes from Bavaria. According to the German Beer Institute, the story goes that in the “some casks of finished Bockbier” got left out in the brewery yard overnight, a night that turned out to be excessively cold. So the beer froze, the casks burst, and the whole batch seemed ruined. But there was a little bit of concentrated beer left in “the very center of each cask.” That stuff proved to be an incredibly malty, heavy, and delicious libation. It’s hard to say how much the legend is entirely true, but it all sounds plausible. At any rate, Eisbock is now intentionally brewed that way, by leaving “a few casks of Bockbier or Doppelbock,” out on a crazy cold night, then collecting the concentrated “nectar.” Not all Eisbock is made from an 8.2% ABV Weizendoppelbock, but this one is.
To the tasting notes!
Pour/Appearance: (Ben) Pours a super thick dark brown, with very little head. Surprisingly, the low head lasts a while around the edge of the glass.
Nose: (Meagan) Thick and malty. Yes, it smells thick. Primarily malt, with a bit of wheat flavor. Caramel-ness, raisins and/or plums, with maybe some hints of cloves. And, as the beer warms slightly, the aromas opens up to reveal a touch of tannins. I know tannins are usually something you taste, not smell, but I swear this beer smells dark, but without being very roasty.
Taste: (Ben) Flavor is a mix of fruits; banana, strawberry, currant, plum, raisin and apricot – more towards the dark fruit spectrum – and malt. I taste wheat, assuredly. Malted wheat and barley, and feel a hint of hops. Warm alcohol presence closely followed by more banana and some bubblegum.
It should be noted that while those esters are present, the flavor is darker than the light complexity indicates. This is, assuredly, a Weizen; at the same time it has Eisbock complexity. Pair it with the right foods, or you might not get all of the notes.
(Meagan) After the malt, the most noticeable thing is the alcohol. That’s not too surprising, since it’s such a high grav beer. I get a lot more from the flavor than from the nose, though. Highly complex taste; caramel, raisins, and something almost roasty, yet sweet.
Body/mouthfeel: (Ben) Thick, creamy, wheat and effervescence.
(Meagan) Full-bodied, with a mouth-filling viscosity that leaves behind a lot of alcohol warmth.
Overall: (Ben) A delicious 12% ABV beer in a tiny bottle marked the 16th of July, 2014. With all the complexity of a Weizenbock and the strength of an Eisbock. Can’t wait to get to the Samichlaus in the lineup later!
(Meagan) This is a delicious, malty, super-doppel of a Weizenbock. It’s basically the king of winter warmers, though it’s actually available year-round.
Buy it? Definitely. I love drinking this Eisbock, but it’s kind of expensive. Like some of the others we’ve reviewed, this is a strong brew for sipping from appreciatively from a snifter, not glugging from a stein.
Brew it? Well, I’d like to, but I don’t think I can. It takes more than lagering in the snow to make this guy, and I just don’t have that kind of temperature control.
“Aventinus Eisbock.” Schneider-Weisse. Schneider-Weisse.
“Eisbock.” German Beer Institute: The German Beer Portal for North America. German Beer Institute.
“Weizeneisbock.” German Beer Institute: The German Beer Portal for North America. German Beer Institute: The German Beer Portal for North America.