The Icebock Experience: The UK’s First Eisbock

Let's dive into the fascinating world of Eisbock, a rare and intriguing style of beer, and discover how this rare gem has found its way into the UK beer scene.

What is Eisbock?

Eisbock, pronounced "ice-bock," is a traditional German beer known for its rich flavours and high alcohol content. This unique style of lager is celebrated for its deep, complex taste and its distinctive brewing process. Unlike regular lagers, Eisbock undergoes a freezing process that concentrates its flavours and alcohol, resulting in a beer that's both robust and smooth.


The Brewing Process of Eisbock

The journey of brewing Eisbock is both an art and a science. Here's how it unfolds:

  • Standard Lager Brewery: The process begins like any other lager. Brewers prepare a mash from malted barley, which is then fermented with lager yeast at low temperatures. This initial phase is all about creating a solid base beer with good lager characteristics.
  • Lowering Temperatures: After the initial fermentation, the beer is subjected to sub-zero temperatures. It's during this phase that Eisbock gets its unique character.
  • Ice Formation: As the beer freezes, ice crystals start to form. These crystals are mostly water, which means their removal will concentrate the beer's remaining components.

  • Removing Ice: This is where the magic happens. Brewers carefully remove the ice, which leaves behind a liquid that's richer in alcohol, sugar, and flavours. This concentrated liquid is the Eisbock.
  • Maturation: The concentrated beer is then allowed to mature. This ageing process helps develop its complex flavours and smooth texture.
  • Bottling: Finally, the Eisbock is bottled, often in smaller quantities given its strength and the intensive brewing process.



The Unique Appeal of Eisbock

Eisbock is not just another beer. Its rich, full-bodied flavour profile, combined with a higher alcohol content, makes it a unique experience for those who appreciate craft brewing. It's a beer that demands sipping and savouring, much like a fine wine. The concentration process intensifies everything from the malt's sweetness to the subtle notes of hops.

Pairing and Enjoyment

Due to its robust nature, Eisbock pairs beautifully with a variety of foods. It complements rich meats like venison or beef, and its sweetness can balance spicy dishes. Cheese lovers will find it pairs splendidly with strong, aged cheeses. When drinking Eisbock, it's best to serve it slightly chilled, which helps reveal its complex flavors and aromas.


Challenges in Brewing Eisbock

Brewing Eisbock is not without its challenges. The process of freezing and removing ice requires precision and care. If done incorrectly, the beer can lose too much water, resulting in an overly sweet and syrupy drink. Moreover, the high alcohol content of Eisbock means it must be brewed with a careful balance to avoid overwhelming alcohol flavors. Eisbock is relatively rare compared to other beer styles. Its labour-intensive brewing process and the need for specific equipment to control freezing make it a less common undertaking for breweries. However, this rarity adds to the allure of Eisbock, making it a sought-after experience for beer aficionados.

Pioneering Eisbock in the UK

While Eisbock is a traditional German style, it's relatively rare in the UK. We felt it was time for that to change, and introduced our first batch of Icebock in 2019: the first UK brewed Eisbock. Our Icebock is brewed at the beginning of the year and conditioned for nine whole months! It has proved very popular and last year's batch of Icebock won two gold awards in the 2023 World Beer Awards and 'Beer of the Year' in the London Beer Awards. 

Eisbock is a testament to the creativity and skill of brewers. It's a style that embodies the essence of craft brewing – taking traditional methods and pushing the boundaries to create something extraordinary. It's not just a beer; it's a celebration of the art of brewing. You can try both the ‘22 and ‘23 batches of our award-winning Icebock by ordering online today.