In 2004, Kuhnhenn released what it calls an “Experimental High-Gravity Fruit Beer” for the first time. Dubbed Raspberry Eisbock, the lager-style beer comes in at an astounding 15.5 percent ABV, and is brewed with both fresh raspberries as well as raspberry juice sourced from the brewery’s home state of Michigan. Interestingly, the brewery produces another beer in the same vein: Blueberry Eisbock (15.5 percent ABV), which was first released in 2013, also in 375ml bottles.
The Kuhnhenn website explains further:
This lager-style beer endures a ridiculously long boil to perfectly caramelize and concentrate the wort, before being lagered at super-low temps and aged with fresh raspberries and raspberry juice from our native state. Weighing in at 15.5% ABV, this is a sipper to share, and opens up further as it warms, with luscious raspberry notes giving way to flavors of cocoa and a hint of caramel. The extra-long aging time dulls the heat, as this beer drinks like it has far less alcohol than it actually does.
While it was first released in 2004, the beer is not an annual release. In fact, according to the Warren, Mich.-based brewery, it is an “Occasional Special Release,” and is only available when the brewery has the time and materials to produce it. The 2014 incarnation was released on Nov. 29 and was packaged in 375ml bottles ($30), with about 3,600 bottles sold.
The Kuhnhenn Raspberry Eisbock pours a muddy, opaque dark copper color with a finger of brown tinged head that eventually reduces to a respectable lacing of the same color. Aroma from the glass is strong raspberries puree, creamy oak, strawberries and candy-like sweetness.
Starting out, the Kuhnhenn Raspberry Eisbock has a massive amount of close-to-cloying raspberry sweetness on the palate, with creamy oak, malt, chocolate and dark fruit on the finish. There is a bit of a medicinal bitterness noticeable on the finish as well, and it lingers on the tonge after every sip. The alcohol is obvious, but nowhere near overwhelming, and with the overt sweetness really giving it a good cover to hide in. Carbonation is quite low, and that fact combined with the sweetness causes the mouthfeel to be more on the syrupy side, especially as it warms up.