Last night Northbound Smokehouse & Brewpub introduced a very limited supply beer: Polar Vortex Eisbock. The beer comes from freezing their Doppelbock, which concentrates the alcohol and changes the beer's complexion. This batch packs a 10.4% ABV (as compared to the Doppelbock's 8.3%).
"This is actually the first time I've tried this process," says head brewer Jamie Robinson. "So during a brew day, I set 15 gallons of Doppelbock outside in -11 degrees for 10 hours, freezing off 3 gallons."
While it's his first time attempting the recipe -- hence its limited quantity -- the results are exciting. "Turns out, it's fantastic," Robinson says. "A whole different beer. The malt sweetness and hop bitterness are concentrated as well."
The beer itself profiles with dark fruit and specialty malts at its base, with bitterness to balance the sweet. "[It's] the perfect winter beer," he says.
With only 12 gallons on hand, only a few lucky patrons can boast that they've sampled this rarely brewed beer, but we're hoping Robinson will be inspired to try another batch in the future.
The concept of the Eisbock dates back to Germany in 1890 where, as legend has it, the Reichelbrau Brewery accidently left casks outside on a cold night only to sample the results the next morning. If the Polar Vortex persists, perhaps Robinson will have more opportunities to make the beer -- something to look forward to this long Minnesota winter.