Author Topic: Legality of brewing eisbier  (Read 2917 times)

Offline gabetoth

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Legality of brewing eisbier
« on: March 11, 2011, 11:53:46 AM »
My business partner and I (at the nearly open Taos Ale House) have been discussing eisbier for a few years, and our impression has been that eis-ing is considered an artificial method of concentrating alcohol and so is legally categorized as a distilled product requiring a distiller's license.

However, we've been unable to verify this with the actual legal code or statute, and have heard of occasional eis-style beers being offered in the United States. Can anyone me to any material that would clarify this issue for us?

Thanks!

gabe

Offline dbeechum

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Re: Legality of brewing eisbier
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2011, 12:07:13 PM »
I'll admit, I'm confused too.

Some folks at least believe it to me legal and the TTB has allowed things like the old Kulmbacher Eisbock or any of the new "Mega" Beers from Brew Dog on the shores.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Legality of brewing eisbier
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2011, 12:52:03 PM »
From what I've been told it is not considered distillation and breweries can do it if they like.

Also, Redhook released an eisbock this year, I doubt they would have done it if they weren't sure of the legalities.  Of course, just because they call it an eisbock doesn't mean they actually removed any water.
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Offline denny

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Re: Legality of brewing eisbier
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2011, 01:04:18 PM »
I agree with Tom, but unless there's a lawyer who's familiar with local and Federal statutes on this board, you'd be better off contacting a lawyer or the ATF than asking homebrewers for a legal opinion.  I mean, would ya ask your lawyer about mash temps?
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Offline Pawtucket Patriot

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Re: Legality of brewing eisbier
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2011, 01:12:00 PM »
I mean, would ya ask your lawyer about mash temps?

If his name was Pawtucket Patriot, you certainly could!   ;D

I would echo Denny's advice though. Local alcohol-related regulations are often very complex. If you're unsure about being in compliance, you should seek out a local attorney with specialized knowledge of the regulations in your jurisdiction.
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Offline maxieboy

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Re: Legality of brewing eisbier
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2011, 01:12:36 PM »
I agree with Tom, but unless there's a lawyer who's familiar with local and Federal statutes on this board, you'd be better off contacting a lawyer or the ATF than asking homebrewers for a legal opinion.  I mean, would ya ask your lawyer about mash temps?

If it was Pawtucket Patriot, then yes... ;D

edit: look at that timing!!!

« Last Edit: March 11, 2011, 01:17:25 PM by maxieboy »
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Offline Pawtucket Patriot

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Re: Legality of brewing eisbier
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2011, 01:14:08 PM »
I agree with Tom, but unless there's a lawyer who's familiar with local and Federal statutes on this board, you'd be better off contacting a lawyer or the ATF than asking homebrewers for a legal opinion.  I mean, would ya ask your lawyer about mash temps?

If it was Pawtucket Patriot, then yes... ;D

edit: Look at that timing!!!

Wow, great minds?!  ;D ;D
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Offline maxieboy

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Re: Legality of brewing eisbier
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2011, 01:15:50 PM »
Nope, just one! (you)  ;)
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Offline Pawtucket Patriot

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Re: Legality of brewing eisbier
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2011, 01:19:53 PM »
Nope, just one! (you)  ;)

You've obviously been pouring a few Friday pints already! ;)
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Offline gabetoth

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Re: Legality of brewing eisbier
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2011, 01:20:04 PM »
Thanks guys. We'd definitely do the deeper legal research before turning out an eisbier, but that's a ways off. I just thought I'd see if this issue is as confusing to everyone else as it is to us, or if we're missing something, some easy answer.

And our attorney does indeed know a few things about mash temps ...

Offline bluesman

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Re: Legality of brewing eisbier
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2011, 01:28:05 PM »
I've heard it both ways. Some say it is and others believe not. I think it will depend on how the law will be interpreted if bought to a court's attention.

Eisbock beer created via freeze distillation of doppelbock beer. Increasing the strength of beer by "freeze distillation" is the process of enriching the beer by partially freezing it and removing frozen material that is poorer in alcohol than the liquid portion left behind. The question is whether or not the law will interpret this process as distillation.

According to 26 USCS § 5002 the terms distilled spirits, alcoholic spirits, and spirits means “substance known as ethyl alcohol, ethanol, or spirits of wine in any form (including all dilutions and mixtures thereof from whatever source or by whatever process produced)."

I'm not a lawyer but there are some members here that are...maybe we can get some interpretation from them.

Edit:

I mean, would ya ask your lawyer about mash temps?

If his name was Pawtucket Patriot, you certainly could!   ;D

I would echo Denny's advice though. Local alcohol-related regulations are often very complex. If you're unsure about being in compliance, you should seek out a local attorney with specialized knowledge of the regulations in your jurisdiction.

...and look who chimes in while I'm typing.

Sounds like great advice Matt and Denny.  :)

« Last Edit: March 11, 2011, 01:31:44 PM by bluesman »
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Offline tomsawyer

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Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Legality of brewing eisbier
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2011, 01:56:39 PM »
Do you have Brewers Notice?
If yes contact your friendly TTB agent.
They will be more then willing to help.

Another thing is that by freezing you are removing volume.
Beer is taxed by volume (not by % of alcohol).
You would still have to have process permit by TTB because in essence you are reducing volume and government is losing tax.
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Offline gabetoth

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Re: Legality of brewing eisbier
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2011, 02:36:22 PM »
We're still waiting for our Brewers Notice, got the state and town taken care of already. We'll definitely talk to someone at the bureau and diligently research the federal and state statutes ... when that time comes. I just wanted to see what the good citizens of Forumland might know, kind of a pre-pre-preliminary step.

Offline tubercle

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Re: Legality of brewing eisbier
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2011, 04:14:46 PM »
What would happen if you "accidentally" left it outside on a freezing night?
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