A war broke out a little over five years ago that many people have never heard about. The fight raged over which brewery could create the world’s strongest beer. Since most brewing yeasts couldn’t survive and help make beers at these levels, the brewers had to get creative with freezing to make their brews clock in at these crazy levels. This is the story of how it all went down:
Schorschbräu, a Germany brewery known for pushing the limits with wheat beers and bocks, set out to craft the world’s strongest beer. In December of 2008, they released Schorschbock 31, a 31% ABV eisbock. The brew clocked in just a few percentage points stronger than any beer previously made.
Nuclear Tactical Penguin
Martin Dickie and James Watt, the crazy geniuses over at Scotland’s BrewDog (you may know them from their show on Esquire), decided they wanted to trump Schorschbräu’s record beer. At the end of November in 2009, they released Tactical Nuclear Penguin an Imperial Stout which clocked in at 32% ABV, stealing the title away from Schorschbräu. The beer was aged in oak casks for well over a year and then stored in subzero temps so they could ramp up the alcohol.
Though a small Italian brewery named Revelation Cat attempted to enter the arms race with a 35% beer called Freeze The Penguin right around this time, at the end of 2009, the battle to create the world’s strongest beer was a two brewery race. Not happy having their champ dethroned, Schorschbräu released a revised version of their Schorschbock that came in at 40% ABV.
Sink the Bismarck
BrewDog struck back in February of 2010. The Scottish brewery released a 41% beer named Sink the Bismarck. The name was clearly a slap in the German brewery’s face.
Not ready to go down without a fight, Schorschbräu ratcheted up the alcohol content of their Schorschbock to 43% to take back the title belt.
End of History
July 22, 2010
In what is easily one of the most unique beers ever sold, BrewDog came back at the crown with End of History. The 55% ABV beer cost upwards of $1,000 a bottle and came in actual taxidermied squirrels.
Start the Future
July 29, 2010
Just a week after BrewDog announced End of History, Brouwerij ‘t Koelschip released Start the Future which came in at 60% ABV. While all the beers on this list are far from traditional, this one seems to break the rules altogether. It’s actually blended with whiskey to achieve its high alcohol levels, and thus not often considered a contender for the crown.
BrewDog called it a day with End of History and Schorschbräu made one last effort to claim the title. Schorschbock 57 finis coronat opus was a limited edition brew that came in at 57.5% ABV.
Brewmeister, another Scottish brewery, released a beer called Armageddon that claimed to be 65% ABV, making it the strongest beer at the time. Many say the beer didn’t actually come close to the 65% the brewery claimed. It has since been removed from Brewmeister’s lineup.
Brewmeister came back with a beer that has a much more pronounced alcohol flavor. In October 2013, the brewery released Snake Venom. The beer is said to be 67.5% ABV and currently the strongest in the world.