Sunday, September 18, 2011

Schneider Aventinus Weizen Eisbock (2011 original review)

German brewery Schneider makes my favorite authentic hefeweizen and they did a fantastic collaboration brew with Brooklyn, but I've never had any of their other beers - until now. This beer was requested by - and it's the first TRUE "eisbock" (ice bock) that I've ever had or reviewed (nah, those macro adjunct lagers with the word "ice" in the name don't count). I absolutely love the purple label on the bottle - but would I be as impressed by the beer?

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (643) - Albany, USA - SEP 18, 2011
"Eisbock" is a term that can refer to either a specific style of very strong lager or a brewing technique. According to the eisbock style is defined as "A stronger version of Doppelbock. Deep copper to black. Very alcoholic. Typically brewed by freezing a doppelbock and removing resulting ice to increase alcohol content."

 So when a brewery uses the term "Eisbock" in the name of the beer it’s easy to assume it’s a lager. But in the case of Schneider Aventinus Weizen Eisbock it refers to the brewing technique of freezing the beer - as this beer is simply Schneider Aventinus Weizenbock (a strong wheat beer) that was frozen to increase the alcohol percentage even further. The result is a very complex and tasty beer - I can’t wait to try the non-frozen version!

I poured an 11.2oz bottle into a snifter (dated 2009)

Appearance: Very barleywine-like with a deep purple or maroon color; totally opaque; forms a small, yellow sudsy head which dissipates quickly and completely.

Smell: Like spiked fruit punch - a mélange of various fruits with noticeable alcohol presence. Very sweet-smelling - nothing acidic or tart to the nose.

Taste: I wasn’t sure what to expect with Schneider Aventinus Weizen Eisbock as I’ve never had the regular Weizenbock that this brew is derived from. The palate here was definitely in two distinct stages: up front is a remarkably sweet taste of fruit punch and jam, plus red grape, raspberry, and Macintosh apple. It has the sweetness of a complex barleywine or a Belgian quadruple, but a much thinner, lighter body - nothing sticky or syrupy here.

The second half changes on a dime and reveals the booziness of the beer. Rubbing alcohol dryness, taste, and heat emerge as does significant carbonation and fizziness. As it warms, the two halves merge together. It’s still sweet and fruity but with a bitter, slightly tart and acidic overtone. What’s interesting is that for a wheat-based beer there’s nothing wheaty here at all (although I have friends who tried a fresh bottle who say there’s lots of banana and clove in the palate).

Mouthfeel: For such a big beer it’s amazing it’s noticeably thin and highly carbonated - even after warming up and calming down. Surprisingly clean aftertaste - no residual sweetness or dryness.

Drinkability: Weighing in at 12% ABV, Schneider Aventinus Weizen Eisbock is no session beer, obviously. The best way to describe it would be "fizzy barleywine." It has the complex, rich, sweet flavors found in those bigger ales, but with the lighter, thinner and fizzy mouthfeel and drinkability of a lager (even though it’s an ale). It can be drank quickly or slowly without much affect on the palate or loss of drinkability. A great beer to pair with any kind of berry cheesecake.

Overall, this is a very unique and fun beer to drink, although I don’t think I’d want to drink it all the time. It’s definitely a beer for special occasions.

Grade: 8/10

NOTE: See my 2017 re-review to BJCP specs here: