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Eisbock: A journey

29 Mar

Last year we decided to try a couple of big beers as a group because, why not? So we embarked on a barrel aged Barleywine project, a Belgian Quad project, and the grand-daddy of them all, an Eisbock. If you don’t know what an Eisbock is, you probably also don’t know that Gummi Bears should really be pronounced more like “goomi bars” and you should probably go back to drinking your PBR out of your paper bag. OK, just kidding, I’m forgetting the second rule of the CDBC (“Don’t be a d*ck”), and only Germans call them goomi bars. An Eisbock is a super-concentrated, freeze distilled version of a Doppelbock (sometimes people use a Weizenbock as a base) that is super malty and super alcoholic. You can read more about Eisbocks from the Germans themselves (and more about the origins of Gummi bears too, if you insist).

Last December we brewed 20 gallons of Doppelbock (See recipe post here), and then lagered it until March at 37 degrees. Although we brewed the two ~11 gallon batches on the same day, and both hit 1.080 OG, for some reason (two different brew systems?), we got very different attenuation on the systems, and one batch finished at 1.016 (8.6% ABV), while the other barely cracked 1.030 FG (6.9% ABV). So, we decided after lagering to blend the two beers into four new corny kegs for the ice distilling process, making a new Doppelbock with a blended ABV estimated at 7.9%.

After doing this on 3/23, we were ready to freeze distill.

I found an awesome guide for how to do this here, at Lug Wrench Brewing. It was exactly what I needed to help me figure out the process.

We lowered the temp controller target in the chest freezer to 0 (although with the high wood collar it could only manager around 13 F), and let the beer sit overnight. Sure enough, in the morning, we had a beer slushy in the kegs. Two pics are attached (we had four kegs, and one froze a little less than the others.

Following the instructions I got online, I pushed the beer from the slushy kegs using CO2 into a clean and sanitized keg, one at a time. This worked pretty well, although once I had to knock the keg to sake ice off of the dip tube. Other than that, it was pretty smooth sailing.

In all, I extracted a total of around 3.5 gallons of ice from the beer, about a half gallon from the least slushy keg and about a gallon from the others.

Now, there’s a bunch of assumptions here, but I think if it’s pure ice (it’s probably not), and if we started with around 4.5 gallons per keg (we probably didn’t), we probably have 1 keg that’s at around 8.89% ABV, and three other kegs that are at around 10.15% ABV.


Eisbock Recipe

29 Mar
CDBC Eisbock-Collaboration
Type: All Grain Date: 10/28/2012
Batch Size (fermenter): 11.00 gal Brewer: CDBC
Boil Size: 14.96 gal Asst Brewer:
Boil Time: 90 min Equipment: CDBC Equipment-15 gal pot with 25 gal cooler
End of Boil Volume 11.96 gal Brewhouse Efficiency: 70.00 %
Final Bottling Volume: 11.28 gal Est Mash Efficiency 73.2 %
Fermentation: Eisbock Taste Rating(out of 50): 30.0
Taste Notes:



Amt Name Type # %/IBU
10.00 g Calcium Chloride (Mash 60.0 mins) Water Agent 1
10.00 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash 60.0 mins) Water Agent 2
24 lbs Munich Malt (9.0 SRM) Grain 3 64.9 %
8 lbs Pilsner (2 Row) Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain 4 21.6 %
4 lbs Caramunich II (Weyermann) (63.0 SRM) Grain 5 10.8 %
1 lbs Melanoiden Malt (20.0 SRM) Grain 6 2.7 %
3.00 oz Hallertauer Hersbrucker [4.75 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 7 20.2 IBUs
1.00 oz Hallertauer Mittelfrueh [4.00 %] – Boil 30.0 min Hop 8 4.4 IBUs
2.00 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 mins) Fining 9
1.0 pkg Octoberfest/Marzen Lager (White Labs #WLP820) [35.49 ml] Yeast 10

Beer Profile

Est Original Gravity: 1.086 SG Measured Original Gravity: 1.080 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.024 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.016 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 8.3 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 8.5 %
Bitterness: 24.6 IBUs Calories: 274.0 kcal/12oz
Est Color: 19.9 SRM

Mash Profile

Mash Name: Double Infusion, Medium Body Total Grain Weight: 37 lbs
Sparge Water: 3.67 gal Grain Temperature: 55.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F Tun Temperature: 55.0 F
Adjust Temp for Equipment: TRUE Mash PH: 0.00

Mash Steps

Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
Protein Rest Add 35.30 qt of water at 137.7 F 122.0 F 30 min
Saccharification Add 29.61 qt of water at 197.1 F 152.0 F 30 min
Sparge Step: Fly sparge with 3.67 gal water at 168.0 F
Mash Notes: Double step infusion – for medium body beers requiring a protein rest. Used primarily in beers high in unmodified grains or adjuncts.

Carbonation and Storage

Carbonation Type: Bottle Volumes of CO2: 2.5
Pressure/Weight: 10.07 oz Carbonation Used: Bottle with 10.07 oz Corn Sugar
Keg/Bottling Temperature: 70.0 F Age for: 2.00 days
Fermentation: Eisbock Storage Temperature: 28.0 F


(Note: This is for the Doppelbock recipe that will be freeze concetrated into the Eisbock, and only for half the eventual volume).

Created with BeerSmith

Bottle Sort

17 Mar

This is what it looks like when you don’t sort or distribute bottles for a while. We distributed Barleywine (Bourbon Aged, Second-Runnings Something Dark), our Cascadia Dark Ale, a Baltic Porter that Kevin brewed, and a Belgian Quad.


This is while the other guys are brewing 15 gallons of Belgian Saison on Greg’s RIMS system.


CDBC Event Report: Tasting Beer: February 17, 2013

10 Mar

On a chilly Sunday afternoon (not to be confused with a chili Sunday afternoon, to be held one week later), the CDBC gathered to work on developing our beer palates. One way to do this is to do what we called a “referenced tasting,” where you taste a beer, then taste some of the flavors that are supposed to be “in” the beer (such as chocolate, coffee, malt, or caramel), and then taste the beer again to see whether or how your perception of the beer has changed. We intended to do this as a way to develop our beer tasting palates, to help us learn how to identify specific flavors in beer and to describe beer better, and to help us learn how to taste beer in a more refined way.

Kevin developed and led the tasting, beginning with a presentation on tasting beer. Kevin’s presentation covered the psychological and biological aspects of how we sense and perceive tastes and smells, and the procedures of tasting beer. He relied heavily on two excellent sources, Randy Mosher’s book Tasting Beer, and The Powerpoint can be downloaded in .PDF form in this post here: Tasting Beer.

Then we all moved to the tasting. We tasted four beers, three times each. Each time we tasted a beer, we wrote down our impressions of the beer using the BJCP scoring sheet (more to describe the beer rather than to calibrate a score), which can be found here.

We also shared this great resource: Words to Describe the Beer You Are Tasting

The first time we tasted each beer, we tasted them blind, and wrote down our impressions on the BJCP rating sheet. Then, we tasted several reference flavors, listed below, and adjusted our ratings and impressions, paying attention to what may have changed as we tasted the reference flavors.

For example, as we tasted lemons and Saaz hops, we noticed that Bitburger really has a lemony flavor with Saaz overtones that was highlighted once we tasted those flavors. Or, tasting black licorice really accentuated the hints of licorice in the Old Viscosity. However, caramel really helped us notice the flavor in Black Butte Porter but we noticed none of it in the Torpedo IPA.

Finally, we read several descriptive reviews of each beer (and this is when each beer was revealed to the tasters) that Kevin had found online, re-tasted the beers, and noticed whether our impressions were similar or different than those from the online raters. Sometimes they matched really well, and other times they did not match.

Overall, it was a great way to develop our beer tasting palates!

Tasting order (A link to one of the reviews we used is included in the title of each)

  1. Bitburger
    1. Pair with: Pilsner malt, Saaz hops, lemon peel and cracked peppers
  1. Black Butte Porter
    1. Pair with: Semi-sweet chocolate, ground coffee, caramels, oatmeal, and cascade hops
  1. Torpedo Extra IPA
    1. Pair with:    Two row malt, grapefruit, pine needles, toffee
  1. Old Viscosity Stout
    1. Pair with: ground coffee, dark chocolate, black licorice, dried plums

May 19th Brew Day

25 Apr

Saturday May 19th is our next brew day!

Come on by, same bat time, same bat channel. Drink some beer. Brew some beer. Offend someone. Drink some more beer. But do that all responsibly, remember, don’t drink and drive. Arrive Alive.

See you at the Brewery!


CDBC Newsletter: May

25 Apr

Hello all,

April has come and almost gone, and we’ve gotten plenty of brewing done.

Beer Updates:

The Zythos IPA, Tragically Hopped Amber and one of our Ciders have all been bottled.

The Oak Aged Yeti Clone (4.3) is aging, bourbon soaked oak cubes have been added to the keg.

The Orange Zest IPA (4.15) is finishing primary fermentation and should be ready to bottle soon. We brewed this with Citra Hops and orange zest at flameout

The Belgian Golden (4.21) is in the middle of a strong fermentation. This is a classic Belgian Golden recipe, half of which will be used in our wine-barrel aging project.

Brewery Updates:

The yard is done! We’ve already had an inaugural brew on the new patio, and we’re looking forward to having a great summer of beer and cornhole on the new lawn. Pics are attached.

Our next Brew Meeting/Beer Tasting will be held on Wednesday, 5/16, at 7:30pm.

If you have a suggestion for either a theme or a field trip to a brewpub or bottle shop, speak up!

Brew Calendar:

5/5/12: Big Brew Day! (Brewery Closed for Double Header Day; brew on your own!)

5/19/12: Brew Day (volunteers? we probably should do NHC beer!)

6/2/12: Brew Day (volunteer?)

CDBC Monthly Newsletter

5 Apr


April  5, 2012

Hi Kids,

Hope you all had a good March!

Good month for CDBC brewing wise – below is a “brief”synopsis from our brew master:

Recent brews have included:

1. Falconer’s Flight IPA. Now in bottles, 7.5% ABV, 56 IBUs, 6.0 SRM, oG 1.069. This IPA was hopped with a combination of Falconer’s Flight, a new proprietary blend of the major “C” hops, and Amarillo, and based on our Alesmith IPA clone recipe. This beer hit 7.5% ABV and

2. Comrade/Communist Baltic Rye Porter. Now in bottles, 5.7% ABV, 32 IBUs, 39 SRM, OG 1.061. This recipe was based on a recipe appearing in Zymurgy magazine was our first attempt at brewing a beer with Rye Malt, at 25% of the grist. The remaining was a combination of Pilsner, Caramel, Chocolate and Black malts, and it was hopped generously with Fuggles and Saaz. This beer is smooth and complex.

3. Zythos IPA. Bulk aging, ready to bottle. 5.8% ABV, 65 IBUs, 9.4 SRM, OG 1.054. Another in our series exploring single hopped beers, this beer was hopped entirely with Zythos throughout, and based on our now-standard IPA recipe.

4. Tragically Hopped Amber. Fermentation complete, aging begun. Expected ABV: 7.0%, 80 IBU, 16 SRM, OG 1.064. This is a repeat of a CDBC classic, the Tragically Hopped Amber Ale. Hopped Throughout with Amarillo, Columbus and Cascade Hops, this beer is a regular favorite at the Pork n’ PieTacular.

5. Oak Aged Yeti Stout Clone. In primary fermentation. Expected ABV: 8.5%. 83 IBU, 45 SRM, OG 1.082. This is a recipe based on Great Divide’s Yeti Imperial Stout. Currently actively fermenting (VERY actively fermenting…blowoff tubes changed once already!). This beer is going to be aged on oak cubes, soaked in bourbon, to give it a unique character not yet seen in a CDBC beer. Brewed with a mix  of several dark malts and hopped with centennial, cascade and Chinook throughout.

We’ve also made several improvements to our brewing process.

1. We realized we had more wort loss to the mashtun than we had realized, partly because it was angled backwards. So we’ve begun propping up the tun at mashout/sparge to get higher quantities of wort, which has been quite successful at raising our yield.

2. We’ve also begun to add water to the mashtun first to pre-heat it, and giving it a good 15 minutes to let the temperature of the tun rise before adding grain. This has results in much more consistent mash temperatures and better conversion.

3. We’ve begun recirculating the mash with the pump, rather than vorlauffing with a pitcher, which seems to set the grain bed well and results in less work for us.

4. The fermentation chamber is complete, and should be much more successful at maintaining consistent fermentation temperatures.

The attached pictures are from the last brew day on the old system, fondly known as “the mud pit”. The next brew day will occur on our new, brewing-specific patio.ImageImageImageImage

Raisins, Rum, and other tasty things

3 Dec

We had a great rookie night last night! Greto stepped up to the plate and came in with an Old Ale (read about it here: This was, by far, the biggest beer we’ve ever tried (sorry Jason!).

The basic recipe was 16 lbs of extract, 3/4 lb of Special B, 1/4 of Black Patent, and 1.75 of Horizon Hops at the start of the boil. At flameout we added 3 cinammon sticks, zest of one orange, and a lb of raisins. Oxygenated and added 2 smack packs of London Ale 1028. OG = 1.11 (!), if this thing ferments down to 1.020 it’ll be around 11% ABV.

Of course it was only after brewing that I actually decided to figure out how you should use raisins in beer. Lots of people say they don’t like them (usually early boil additions or late fermentation, both say they make it too raisiny), but the most consistent answer for those that did use them was to chop the raisins up and add them at flameout. We didn’t chop but we did do the flameout thing.

And then I ran across this: Chop the raisins, soak them in rum, add to secondary. Yeah, that’s what I’m trying next!

We’ve kegged the Amber Ale (OG = 1.046; FG = 1.011; ABV=4.7%), bottled the Pliny Clone (1.093, FG = 1.010, ABV = 11%), and today the Dubbel and Chocolate Stout will be bottled.

Next up, I’m brewing a collective beer for all of use; a CDBC 1st Anniversary Barleywine. That’ll be on 12/10, and the plan is to age it for a year before we try it.

Brewery Updates

5 Nov

Yes, it’s been a while since I rapped at ya. And we’ve been pretty active in the interim. We’ve brewed a porter (10 gallons), a pale ale (10 gallons), and got some cider going (15 gallons).  Today we’re brewing a Pliny the Younger Clone, courtesy of Jason. This monster uses over 2 lbs of hops and almost 40 lbs of grain for a 10 gallon batch. That meant upgrading to a new mashtun and saying goodbye to our trusty 48 quart cooler. And with the PTY, we still almost filled up the mashtun!

Next brew day is in a couple weeks; we’re brewing a chocolate espresso stout, and an all grain amber for the Pork n’ Pie winners Tiara and KP.

25 gallons from 12 gallons.

Porter Brew Day. We almost filled the tun!

Fermentation Chamber Update

25 Sep

We’re (I’m) building a fermentation chamber. There’s a lot of options out there, from buying old fridges or freezers, to building your own. I wanted the flexibility of building your own, with hopefully some of the cost savings. My goal in particular was to build a chamber that could be used for 2 purposes: one chamber to ferment ales in, and one chamber to lager beers and cold-condition kegs. Rather than hunt for 2 freezers or fridges, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to make it work by building a single chamber with dual temperature controls.

I also wanted it to be big enough to be able to fit up to 4 carboys and/or buckets, and I also wanted it to be tall enough so that it could fit a 14 gallon conical fermentor down the road. Lots of people cool their boxes with refrigerators, but that takes up a lot of space, and the compressor on a fridge might not be able to handle a bigger box. I’d read about people using window A/C units for their fermentation boxes, and since summer was ending I thought I’d be able to get a good deal on one.

So the final design is two separate boxes made out of 2×4 framing and plywood sheathing that will be insulated with 2″ foam sheathing, tape and spray foam. It’s around 45″ high and 35″ by 35″ , a little bigger than I was thinking but it’s going to be perfect to ferment and store lots of beer. The side with the A/C unit will be the cold side, and I’ll find a way to bypass the A/C’s thermostat to be able to bring it down to lagering temps. The second box will be hooked up to the first, and connected with air baffles and computer fans that’ll be activated to pull cold air in as needed.

This weekend I build the first (the cold side) box. I haven’t insulated it yet, but the box is in and the A/C unit is in place.

Pretty exciting!

-The Brewmaster

The frame with the A/C unit installed

This is the frame I built, out of 2x4s

And finally, the fermentation box waiting to be sealed and insulated. And to get a door, of course.
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