Take the 2-minute tour ×
Beer Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for beer aficionados and collectors. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I've always wondered what the strongest beer in the world is and how would taste.

Are there reliable historical records of a very strong beer? What would be the highest % alcohol that's Brewable for a beer? And also of course it would be great to know where to get such a beer from.

share|improve this question
    
in the answers, there seems to be a focus on whether these strong beers are distilled (freeze-distilled) or not. Is a freeze-distilled beer no longer a real beer? –  mdma Mar 21 at 14:16
    
As long as it's still called a "Beer" it's a legit answer I guess. It just has to be labeled as a freeze-distilled beer and not as a brewed one if it isn't. But there are just as many different answers right now as when I googled for the strongest beer... ^^ –  Jutschge Mar 21 at 15:46
5  
IMO once beer is distilled (freeze or otherwise) it ceases to be beer and becomes a liquor (essentially hop-flavored whiskey). –  iamnotmaynard Mar 21 at 21:37
2  
Regarding how it would taste, I'm going to go on a limb and say "probably pretty awful." At least, that's usually the result when you optimize a product for one specific measure, and that measure isn't taste. –  Ilmari Karonen Mar 21 at 21:47
    
@iamnotmaynard: That could be according to a US legal classification. Other English speaking countries don't even use the term "liquor". This brings up the question of since countries have varying different legal definitions of beer (In Japan this gives us oddities such as "happoushu"), is there a natural definition of beer, or do we need to come up with our own definition for the purposes of the site? –  hippietrail Mar 30 at 3:27

7 Answers 7

up vote 14 down vote accepted

There are strains of Saccharomyces Cerevisiae (brewer's yeast) such as WLP099 - Super High Gravity Ale Yeast that reportedly can tolerate up to 25% alcohol by volume.

The world's strongest beer is Snake Venom coming in at a colossal 67.5% abv. Sources cite it as freeze-distilled, where the beer is frozen and the ice (pure water) is drawn off, leaving a more concentrated beer behind. Although, comments in the same link cast doubt upon if the beer is truly the abv claimed.

share|improve this answer
2  
In addition, Samuel Adams Utopias is brewed with proprietary yeast strains that they've developed that allow it to get it up to 28%-29% ABV using only fermentation. –  Xander Mar 21 at 13:46
7  
Personally, I'm of the view that once you've freeze distilled it to substantially alter the alcohol level it's no longer beer. Beer is a fermented drink; once you've applied a significant level of freeze distilling you've created something that I don't what is but it ain't a beer. –  Jack Aidley Mar 22 at 14:19
    
@JackAidley: You have a nonsequitur. A fermented and freeze distilled drink is still "a fermented drink". You also leave open how much freeze distilling you are OK with that's under "a significant level". –  hippietrail Mar 31 at 5:33
    
@hippietrail: All distilled drinks are fermented to start with - that's how you make alcohol. –  Jack Aidley Mar 31 at 7:33
    
@JackAidley: Good point which I stupidly overlooked, but it's also been pointed out that freeze distilling is not distilling unless you allow a sense "any process that results in higher alcohol". To paraphrase you, "Distillation is vaporizing and condensing; once you've frozen and removed a significant amount of water you've done something that I don't know what is but it ain't distillation." You are free to like it or not like it but it's not down to the definition of words. Your "it ain't a beer" is somebody else's "it is a beer". Nobody makes beer in a still (-: –  hippietrail Mar 31 at 8:02

There has been a bit of a battle recently, with Brewdog and Schorschbräu constantly topping each other's efforts: http://www.brewdog.com/blog-article/the-battle-to-brew-the-worlds-strongest-ever-beer

Currently it's a Schorschbräu Schorschbock 57% finis coronat opus, which comes in at 57.7%, beating Brewdog's latest effort: http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/schorschbrau-schorschbock-57-finis-coronat-opus/154245/

I'd say the strongest commercially viable option (these 50% beers only ever have a few bottles in the batch and cost a silly amount) in the UK anyway, is Watt Dickie, also by Brewdog, which comes in at 35.0%: http://www.brewdog.com/product/watt-dickie

EDIT:

Oops, I didn't know about Snake Venom, 67.5%: http://www.brewmeister.co.uk/#/snake-venom/4580369643

share|improve this answer
3  
Yeah, on paper Snake venom is stronger, but I've not seen a credible source that has verified it, and several that show it to be much lower abv. Also the brewery seems ill-equipped to produce it. I think the beers you mention have more credibility. –  mdma Mar 21 at 13:37
2  
Are those really created through pure brewing, without adding extra alcohol? I thought even the hardiest yeasts couldn't survive above 17% or so. –  mcv Mar 21 at 13:46
1  
@mcv They are not. See mdma's answer for more details. –  Xander Mar 21 at 18:57

Brewdog's The End of History, at 55% is currently the world's strongest beer.

See - http://www.brewdog.com/blog-article/the-battle-to-brew-the-worlds-strongest-ever-beer

share|improve this answer

I suppose it depends on how one defines beer. Following the German Reinheitsgebot, beer may contain only 4 ingredients:

  1. Water
  2. Yeast
  3. Hops
  4. Barly malt

Beverages which do not adhere to these restrictions may not be labeled as beer in Germany, and several other countries.

To my knowlege, the strongest beer of kind is Schorschbock 57, an ice-distilled doppelbock with 57,5% alcohol content.

share|improve this answer
1  
That's not really because they aren't beer though...Just because the German authorities wanted to make sure that brewers couldn't skirt their taxes by using different ingredients. –  Xander Mar 21 at 22:28
    
The original was ratified, in Bayern at least, in 1516. As I understand it, it was to prevent the monastaries from adding potentionally harmful ingredients. Besides, the current Biersteuer is only a fraction of the Branntweinsteuer. Using other additives wouldn't skirt taxes, it would increase them. –  primo Mar 22 at 3:48
    
Is the Reinheitsgebot strictly about ingredients only and not about processes etc? –  hippietrail Mar 31 at 5:27
1  
@hippietrail The modern formulation, known as the Vorläufiges Biergesetz von 1993 does have some processing restrictions: namely, how and when hops extracts may be added (§9 ¶5), and how sediment may be removed (§9 ¶6). I see no others. –  primo Mar 31 at 6:25

This might be a duplicate question, but since as far as I know beer uses fermentation and no distillation, I expect the maximum alcohol level to be around the same maximum as for wine, which I believe is somewhere around the 13% to 15% level (by volume) as this is the level around which micro organisms seem to die.

I know some beers in the 10% to 12% range, like the Dutch het Kanon ("the canon") by Grolsch at 11.6% and Grand Prestige by Hertog Jan at 10%, both of which I like. They have a bit of a sweet caramel-like flavour, but I'm not sure if that related to the amount of alcohol in any way.

share|improve this answer
    
Het Kanon was originally introduced in larger (0.45 liter) bottles, which combined with its light and sweet taste to knock out experienced beer drinkers. I've got a friend who can put away staggering amounts of alcohol, but when he drinks Het Kanon, weird stuff happens to him. It's the only beer in which I can outdrink anyone. And I like the taste. Dangerous stuff. –  mcv Mar 21 at 13:52
    
Try "Gulden Draak", (Golden Dragon). 10.5%, they sometimes brew a special occasions batch (in 0.5 liter bottles) that is 11.5%. There are some more Belgian beers in the 10-12% range. I'm pretty certain a saw a 14% beer once, but I can't recall what it was. –  Tonny Mar 21 at 14:24

It depends on your definition, commercially available is Kwak, around the same as wine, if you go to the Grand Place it comes in those horse & cart designed bulbous glasses (like a mini yard of ale). Once you go above that the others are all pretty specialist.

share|improve this answer

The strongest beer I know - made without distillation - is a Belgian beer called Bush Prestige, with 13%. Source and description of taste: http://www.br-dubuisson.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=14&Itemid=18&lang=en

share|improve this answer
2  
Oh, they go much stronger than that. I made a 14% RIS just a few months ago, an that was without distillation. –  mdma Mar 21 at 14:22

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.