German Eisbock in a Pilsner Glass


The Eisbock (pronounced ICE-bock) originates from Kulmbach, Germany, and is essentially a Doppelbock that’s been frozen and then deiced to concentrate its alcohol and flavor. Its color ranges from copper to dark brown and its lagering should provide good clarity. Its feel is smooth, full-bodied with low carbonation and its high alcohol should be somewhat drying, warming, but not hot. Its aroma is balanced between rich malt and booze with dark fruit esters. The palate is malty and can be toasty or even burnt. Some sweetness of caramel or chocolate may be present along with enough hop bitterness to offset the sticky malt. Its finish should be malty and boozy but should neither be harsh or cloying. Comparatively, the Eisbock style is stronger than the Doppelbock but not as thick or sweet as a Wheatwine.

Style Expectations

The German Eisbock is a strong, full-bodied, rich, and malty dark lager often with a viscous quality and strong flavors. Even though flavors are concentrated, the alcohol should be smooth and warming, not burning.


Deep copper to dark brown in color, often with attractive ruby highlights. Lagering should provide good clarity. Head retention may be moderate to poor. Off-white to deep ivory colored head. Pronounced legs are often evident.


Dominated by a balance of rich, intense malt and a definite alcohol presence. No hop aroma. May have significant malt-derived dark fruit esters. Alcohol aromas should not be harsh or solventy.


Rich, sweet malt balanced by a significant alcohol presence. The malt can have Maillard products, toasty qualities, some caramel, and occasionally a slight chocolate flavor. No hop flavor. Hop bitterness just offsets the malt sweetness enough to avoid a cloying character. May have significant malt-derived dark fruit esters. The alcohol should be smooth, not harsh or hot, and should help the hop bitterness balance the strong malt presence. The finish should be of malt and alcohol, and can have a certain dryness from the alcohol. It should not by sticky, syrupy or cloyingly sweet. Clean lager character.


The German Eisbock is full to very full-bodied with low carbonation. Its significant alcohol lends warmth but without any sharp hotness. It’s very smooth without harsh edges from alcohol, bitterness, fusels, or other concentrated flavors.


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