Thursday beer review time again, meaning Father and Son get together and have a beer. Nothing better in the world! Today we revisit the Kulmbacher Brauerei AG to give the Kulmbacher Eisbock a try. We recently tried the Kulmbacher Edelherb and weren’t too impressed with the results. The good news is they completely redeem themselves with their Eisbock. The bottle reads “Bayrisch Gforns” which Father Beer Love translated to “frozen beer.” If you want to know more about eisbocks, check out our review of the EKU 28, where we detail exactly what makes an eisbock an eisbock. Interestingly enough, Kulmbacher is the same company that makes the EKU 28.
We poured our 11.2 oz bottle into a snifter and got an initial beer temperature of 55 F. ABV comes in at 9.2%, which you’d expect for an ice bock (and may be a little on the low end for an ice bock). We got a small 3/4″ creamy light brown head on the pour that dissipated quickly and left virtually no head lacing in the process. We found a soft carbonation in the opaque, ruby brown body.
For our aromas we get lots of dark fruits and sweet malts – chocolate, roasted malts, alcohol, black currant, maple syrup, dark cherry, raisin, spices, vanilla and a nice dark rum. A great medley of nose candy. Our tastes were as scattered as the aromas – a touch of chocolate, moderate coffee, molasses, alcohol, dark cherry, raisin, oak, sherry, a hint of vanilla, dark rum and a slight resin and soy sauce to the finish. We almost wore out our sniffers and our taste buds trying to pull the complexity out of this one.
Our initial flavor notes were a heavy sweet and light bitter. The finish notes move to a more moderate sweet, moderate bitter and light saltiness. The finish length is about average, the mouthfeel is creamy, and the tongue hit is right in the middle of your tongue. There’s a fair amount of body lacing as you drink it. On our patented malt to hop scale it comes in 2 clicks to the left of balanced on the malty side, which is mid range for malts.
Our bottom line notes – yes to drinkable, yes to balance, yes to memorable and yes to buy again. No on repeatable (only if you want to take a nap where you’re standing), no on harmony and no on wow factor.
There’s really a lot to like here. Raisin definitely dominates this beer and it’s not bad at all. There’s an oak hit in between the initial taste and the finish that brings a nice woodiness to it. It’s not a Vay-ner-chuk style Oak Monster, but it’s definitely oak nonetheless (though to be honest I did make the oak monster face). Think more of a wine barrel than an bourbon barrel for that oak – it’s not the charred kind you get in bourbon.
This beer really hits its groove as it warms – that’s when you get some nice notes – the fruits really come out a bit more and you get some slight notes of sherry. I think you’ll want to treat it like a good port – sip it and enjoy it. It’s different than the EKU 28, but just as good in many different ways. The ABV comes in a little less, but there’s more complexity to it. This would be a great winter beer. Overall we highly recommend it.
Kulmbacher Eisbock Rating: 7 out of 10 (?)
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