Most guys will agree, beer is quite possibly the greatest invention of all time. Smells great, tastes great, and after putting down one too many – you feel great. In all honesty, we drink beer first and foremost because we love the way it tastes, but that feeling is what keeps us coming back. With the craft beer revolution officially upon us, micro breweries all around the world are focusing on creating high quality, hand crafted beers. All of which happen to be much higher in alcohol content (ABV) as well. After throwing back a few 10% ABV Double IPAs over the weekend, it got us thinking, what are the world’s strongest beers?
First off it’s worth noting that in order to achieve these ungodly amounts of alcohol content, fractional freezing is required – essentially separating substances with different melting points. This process raises a lot of red flags with beer enthusiasts, and rightfully so. While the process of freeze distillation may seem somewhat simple (alcohol has a much lower freezing point than water, therefore freeze the water and remove it), it’s actually not that easy. This is an oversimplified method of what is happening, but those interested in learning the exact process, can learn more about it (we won’t bore you with the subject of thermodynamics). It’s also worth mentioning that although a handful of these beers are over 50% ABV, the world’s strongest naturally fermented beer is Sam Adams Utopias clocking in at 29% ABV. So without further ado, let’s into the list of the 10 strongest beers in the world. Proceed with caution.
10. STRUISE BLACK DAMNATION VI – MESSY
Brewery: De Struise Brouwers
Most of the beers on this list were created with one goal in mind – to make the world’s strongest beer. There are a handful however, that actually taste great. This is one of them. This Imperial Stout is nearly pitch black, and carries some nice notes of roasted malts, coffee, dark chocolate, and even peat for you whiskey enthusiasts out there. This beer still tastes like a beer, carbonated with a nice rocky head, and although you can definitely taste the alcohol, it’s not overwhelming.
9. BALADIN ESPRIT DE NOEL
Baladin’s ultra strong “Christmas Spirit” was distilled back in 2011 after being aged in oak barrels for three years. Considered a “gem for connoisseurs,” this straw yellow colored beer is smooth, with light wooden and chocolate notes.
8. BREWDOG SINK THE BISMARCK
Many people credit the Scotland based team at BrewDog for popularizing the whole quest for the world’s strongest beer. Years ago the brand created a 18.2% ABV Tokyo brew, and after mass criticism from beer fans, decided to respond in a spiteful manner, continuously upping their own ante. After making the Tactical Nuclear Penguin (32% ABV), BrewDog is sitting pretty on the list at #8 with this Sink The Bismarck, and this quadruple IPA isn’t even their top contender.
7. SCHORSCHBRAU SCHORSCHBOCK 43
Get used to seeing the name, because these Germans will be making the list more than once. This Eisbock (ice strong beer) was only brewed once, and due to its poor flavor (overwhelmingly spicy), was never considered anything more than a gimmick – just like the majority of the “world’s strongest beers.”
6. KOELSCHIP OBILIX
Origin: The Netherlands
Another name that you’ll be seeing more than once, Koelschip doesn’t mess around when it comes to strong beers. Like many of the other beers on the list, this thing was a limited brew, and is extremely difficult to get your hands on. Don’t worry though, because as we understand, it tastes more like cough syrup than beer.
5. THE END OF HISTORY
The folks at BrewDog make another appearance on the list, and while they are once again falling short of the top spot, they did earn themselves some other notable mentions. This ultra limited blond Belgian ale wins the award for the coolest packaging on the list, seeing that the bottle is wrapped in a dead squirrel. At $780 a bottle, the beer containing hints of juniper berries, mead, and nettles is also considered the most expensive beer as well.
4. SCHORSCHBRAU SCHORSCHBOCK 57
We already told you that these Germans are on a quest to earn the number one spot. While their flagship Schorschbock 57 did fall short of that, the aptly titled brew is seriously strong. If you’re looking for a smooth, tasty beer, look elsewhere. This thing has been described as nothing more than a fiery shot of booze.
3. KOELSCHIP START THE FUTURE
Origin: The Netherlands
You’re probably starting to see a pattern here. The quest for the strongest beer in the world consists of a small handful of micro breweries, who continuously introduce stronger creations every few years. After seeing success with their Obilix, Koelschip went back to the drawing boards, and earned itself a temporary number one spot in the world strong beers category with this concoction. The beer was created in response to BrewDog’s 55% ABV The End Of History, and is said to taste more like rubbing alcohol than actual beer.
2. BREWMEISTER ARMAGEDDON
In 2012 the Scottish brewery decided it was done sitting on the sidelines watching BrewDog, Schorschbrau, and Koelschip go toe-to-toe in the quest for the strongest beer. So what did they do? They blew everyone out of the water by releasing the 65% ABV Armageddon, the world’s new strongest beer. Meant to be consumed like a fine whiskey, this concoction is crafted from crystal malt, wheat, flaked oats, and 100% Scottish spring water. For such high alcohol content, the beer’s taste test reviews haven’t been horrible.
1. BREWMEISTER SNAKE VENOM
Proving that they were the only competition, the Scotland based brewery one-upped themselves in 2013, rolling out the new belt holder for the world’s strongest beer. The aptly titled Snake Venom is made with smoke peat malt along with Champagne and ale yeast. You can buy a 9-ounce bottle of this bad boy for roughly $80 online.