EKU Brauerei - EKU 28

EKU Brauerei - EKU 28

Beer Club featured in International Beer Club U.S. & International Variety Beer Club

Country:

Germany

Alcohol by Volume:

11.00%

EKU Brauerei - EKU 28

  • Alcohol by Volume: 11.00%
  • Bottle Size: No
  • Serving Temperature: 50-55° F
  • Suggested Glassware: Snifter
EKU 28 walks the line between a true eisbock and a fortified doppelbock. Its recipe remains a secret, but it is known that while lagering for an astounding nine months, its temperature is dropped until it begins to freeze. However, the brewery claims that the amount of ice left behind is not regarded as being a significant factor in its potency. And while the recipe is under wraps, we do know that the "28" subtitle is a reference to this brew's 'degrees Plato', the German system of 'original gravity' (a measurement of the density of fermentable sugars in a mixture of malt and water with which a brewer begins each batch of beer). In order to achieve its high alcohol levels, a lot of malt has to be used in order to supply the sugars that yeast will use as fuel in order to create alcohol. By comparison, your average beers have original gravities that range from about 8 to 10 degrees Plato.

EKU 28 presents a huge, caramel-heavy nose. The flavor is remarkable as it slides across the tongue with notes of chewy caramel, fresh bread, very light hints of fruit, and inevitably, some alcohol (which gives a nice, belly warming effect that really hits the spot this time of year). The finish is expertly crafted using a healthy dosing of hops which nicely balances this beer's overall sweet flavor. This is a beer for special occasions. Then again, anytime you open one, you're in for a special occasion! It is so rich that we don't recommend it with food—but after dinner as a digestif, like a port wine, is just fine. Also great with a variety of fuller-bodied cigars.
A-hem, brew-students, please take your seats. Grab yourself a snifter or similar drinking vessel and pour your 2nd featured international beer. Class is now in session. Let's begin with a brief history of the glorious German beer we've sent you this month. The Northern Bavarian town of Kulmbach is known for a variety of beer styles, but the most notable is the unique beer style indigenous to Kulmbach: "eisbock". This unique style of beer is based on a variant of the traditional "bock bier" initially made famous in the town of Einbeck, Germany, located about 175 miles northwest of Kulmbach. Einbeck's unique beer was not originally known as "bock" beer. Through years of Bavarians requesting "Einbeck Bier" the name was colloquially corrupted to "Ein Bock Bier" (which in German sounds like "one bock beer"), and ultimately just "Bock Bier". Many years after bocks hit the scene, a variation called "doppelbock", first brewed by monks in Bavaria, rose to popularity after the creation of the original doppelbock, named Salvator (and you can still find this beer on specialty beer store shelves!) Yet another variation on the theme developed some time later; according to local lore, a wooden barrel of doppelbock bier (in the 6.5-7.5% ABV range) was accidentally abandoned in the yard of a Kulmbach brewery in the dead of winter. Snowfall covered the barrel and it was forgotten until uncovered by thawing in early spring. When it was discovered, the contents were partially frozen, and the barrel had split open enough to expel some of the original contents, though a fair amount of the original brew remained in the barrel. The encasing ice was chipped away, and the residual beer left inside was tasted (crazy brewery staff—they'll drink anything), whereupon it was discovered to be much richer and more concentrated than the original. The reason behind this phenomenal discovery is a matter of simple chemistry; water freezes before alcohol, thus, some of the beer's water content was forced out of the brew and froze, eventually being removed as it was chipped away. So basically, the remaining beer underwent a relative increase in the proportion of alcohol to the remaining beer volume. This "technique" was refined, and today gives us one of the beers the region is famous for: Eisbock ("eis" means ice in German). The Kulmbach beer we featured back in October is THE original Bavarian Eisbock, known simply as Kulmbacher Eisbock, brewed by the Kulmbacher Brauerei. A similar beer is EKU 28, brewed by the Kulmbacher Brewery's long time nemesis, the EKU Brauerei (also located in Kulmbach). EKU stands for Erste Kulmbacher Union, which translates to "First United Brewery" (read the review of EKU 28 below if you want to know where the "28" comes from). It was founded in 1872 and for nearly 125 years competed fiercely with the Kulmbacher Brauerei, as well other Kulmbach breweries such as Reichelbrau, Sandlerbrau and Monchshof. Remarkably, the 'miracle' of corporate ownership has helped these breweries reconcile their differences—in 1996, these independent breweries became part of the same company, adopting the title of the simplest among them, the Kulmbacher Brauerei AG (or Kulmbacher Brewery Ltd.). While today united under the same name, each brewery continues to operate independently. That is, the original Kulmbacher Brauerei still makes the beers they built their reputation on, and the EKU Brauerei still makes the EKU 28 and EKU Pils that they've been brewing for a combined 170 years!
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