Worthy of a warning label.
Known for pushing the envelope, BrewDog Brewery from Aberdeen, Scotland, brewed an “uber-Imperial Stout” that clocks in at 32% ABV! The typical alcohol by volume range for this style according to the Beer Judge Certification Program is 8 to 12% ABV; so yeah, BrewDog took this one to the limit.
A beer this strong is technically difficult to make because yeast need very precise conditions for fermentation and at become sluggish at high alcohol concentrations. So just how did they do it? According to the BrewDog website –
“This beer began life as a 10% imperial stout 18 months ago. The beer was aged for 8 months in an Isle of Arran whisky cask and 8 months in an Islay cask making it our first double cask aged beer. After an intense 16 month, the final stages took a ground breaking approach by storing the beer at -20 degrees for three weeks to get it to 32%.”
The practice of freezing beers and removing the ice to concentrate the beer’s flavor and alcohol content began in the city of Kulmbach, Germany, giving rise to the beer style known as Eisbock (pronounced “ice-bock” – get it?). BrewDog applied this technique to a barrel aged Imperial Stout, creating the strongest beer ever brewed. I can’t say I’ve tried it myself (and to be honest, don’t really have a desire to), but if you have, leave a note in the comments and let us know your thoughts.
As a note, Tactical Nuclear Penguin held the title of world’s strongest beer until last year, when a fellow Scottish brewery beat BrewDog at their own game and brewed a beer that’s 68% ABV. Aptly named Snake Venom, this beer definitely deserves a warning label.
Maybe now’s a good time for my drinking in moderation plug, eh? The Centers for Disease Control has some great resources. Check them out.