Nick: Hi George, first of all: gratulations for conquering back the title. It has taken over a year to get it back from Brewdog. Did they send their regards?
Georg: We haven’t had that much contact. Perhaps we will have the chance to drink a beer together at the Brau Beviale in Nuremburg, Germany.
Nick: One year is a long time, a lot of time to contemplate and test. Your fans have been waiting for your next move.
Georg: I have always said: “it ain’t over till my work is done”
Nick: The fight for the title has been going on for a long time now. For how long has the race ran already?
Georg: It started with the 27,6% Vol. icebock from the pub brewery Südstern from Berlin, Germany; this was in January 2009. Vox [German TV station] wanted to shoot a beer battle against our 16% bock. I declined it because of the different production methods (icebock against bock from normal fermentation).
After that I asked myself what will happen if I refine my already strong bock using the icebock method. At the beginning we had 31% Vol. Than the Scotts came with 32%.
Nick: There is much ambition in it. We in Germany are very proud of you. I already heard from your icebock method when I was at the brewing school in Munich. How did the idea of brewing an icebook came around?
Georg: Actually the icebock method is a very old German purity law conform method to freeze a beer to gain higher alcohol content. This method was and is still used by EKU or Schneiderbräu Kehlheim for example. Over the years it got lost in the mists of time though.
Nick: If history is proven right the icebock was developed by accident. But somehow icebock sounds very complex. How many hours of work does it take to brew a Schorschbock?
Georg: Many! Any process nearly at its limit gets more and more difficult when the limit gets nearer. Fractioning of ice (frozen water) from the rest (concentrated beer) is nearly impossible at the point I reached.
Nick: The demand on the Strongest Beer in the World is probably very high. I have read that there are only 36 bottles at a price of 200 € per bottle are available. That's very few…
Georg: Most of the bottles are already reserved. There are a few left. First come first serve!
Nick: How do you describe the characteristic of a Schorschbock?
Georg: The „normal“ Bocks with 13 and 16% Vol. are very malt aromatic and fruity with a light smoked Sherry flavor. With the icebock everything else than the smoked flavor gets stronger. And because there is much more alcohol there is alcoholic sharpness. You will also get the flamy impressions, like the one you will get from a cask strength whiskey. That’s why you should drink it consciously (and in small quantities).
Nick: Finis coronat opus, a sentence from Ovid which means translated „The end crowns the work“. Is this the end, or is there some space left?
Georg: The measurement showed 59,82 Vol. In order to get a better a colour I blended it with a 45% bock to make the world record beer with 57,7 Vol. At this point I see the search for the strongest beer of the world finished for me . Higher contents of alcohol are only possible if I have to leave my beloved German purity law. But that’s what I’m a little proud of: to brew the strongest beer in the world in accordance with the purity law.
Nick: 57,7 is the benchmark. Respect. It'll take an effort to top that. On the other hand: Is this still beer?
Georg: Yes, of course, this is beer. Derive it from the logic: The mother liquid is beer and stays beer till the end. No other liquid was added or an extracted part of it used as end product. This is pure contentration. That’s the difference to distilling. And, it tastes like beer!
Nick: Brewdog writes at ist website that „The end of History“ will be there last try to redefine the borders of contemporary brewing. If the Scotts will hold their word you have to find a new opponent..
Georg: The battle was the driving force only up to about 40%. During the battle I got curious and wanted to find the limit. What others did was of minor importance. Another goal was the possibility to give my customers the possibility to be part of a very special experience, to taste a beer that has never been brewed in such way before and probably will never be available again.
Nick: Thank you for the interview.