There’s no elegant way to say this but, in life, there is beer, and then there is everything else. Alright, that may be a step too far, but beer is pretty great. Looking with frank and uncompromising honesty about my own life, being able to drink beer is among the best things about adult life. There are a lot of aspects much better than beer don’t be mistaken, but beer adds a certain, “je ne sais quoi” to life. Whether the goal is to unwind after a long day at work or to get lit up like a Christmas tree at a party, beer is there for you.
Speaking of “lit up”, that is one of the many beautiful things about beer, it’s actually refreshing, without any mix, and can be drank for an extended period of time, such as an afternoon at the ball park. Whiskey can be sipped over a few hours but the experience isn’t the same and there is no “thirst-quenching” of any kind when hard liquor is involved. For those who want the best of both worlds, there is strong beer. Strong beer is brewed in a variety of ways, but at the end of any of these processes, what results is a beverage ready and able to make a warrior (of damned fool) out of any man.
While some may consider 7%-9% to be a strong brew, and other more sophisticated chuggers may be all about the 15%-20% rarities, there are some bottles of suds out there that will knock your socks and hat off. What is the purpose of such a strong brew one might ask? Bragging rights? We don’t know, but these mean beers are worth writing about. Here are the ten strongest beers in the world. There is somewhat of an ongoing contest among brewers over who can make the strongest beer, and while this list is accurate as of early 2015, it is subject to change.
10. Baladin: Esprit De Noel – 40%
Italian brewer Teo Musso produced a beer called the “Spirit of Christmas”, which comes in at number ten on our list. The Baladin brewery is Musso’s passion and much like the De Struisse Brouwers, he has come up with dozens of different types of beer. The Baladin website recommends Esprit De Noel for “passionate drinkers who like taste and elegance”. Although a bottle would be rather inexpensive, costing around $35.00 USD, you won’t be able to get it at your local liquor commission. You’ll have to get on a plane and travel to Italy to get it.
9. Brewdog: Sink The Bismarck – 41%
Scottish brewers/sadists Brewdog make their first appearance on our list at number nine with a beer they produced back in 2010. Sink The Bismarck was the original “strongest beer in the world”. It’s an IPA style beer but “this ain’t your daddy’s IPA”, this one might just strip paint. Sink The Bismarck has four times the hops of a normal IPA, along with being frozen throughout the brewing process which ups the ante on the alcohol content. Some people would quit after producing the strongest beer in the world, but the good folks at Brewdog were nowhere near done, but more on that later.
8. Schorschbrau: Schorschbock 43 – 43%
Dear English speakers, don’t try to pronounce that first word, you might end up swallowing your tongue. Remember how Sink The Bismarck was the strongest beer in the world? Schorschbock 43 was this German brewery’s ruthless concoction that took that record back. When this beer came out, the brewers announced that not only had they retaken the label of “strongest beer in the world”, but that “Franconian (an area in Germany) men don’t dress like girls”, adding a distinct edge of cultural insensitivity to the fight. At roughly $150 per bottle, thank goodness it won’t take much to catch a buzz.
7. Brouwerij t’ Koelschip: Obilix – 45%
Not wanting to be left out of the grudge match that was building between BrewDog and Schorschbrau, Dutch brewers Koelschip tried their hand at a strongest beer in the world, and succeeded. According to the brewers’ website, the inspiration for Obilix was in response to BewDog and Schorschbrau one-upping each other. At around $25.00 USD, it is by no means a bargain, but it can be ordered online through the brewery’s website.
6. BrewDog: End of History – 55%
Not to be outdone by their German and Dutch competitors, BrewDog struck back in late 2010, with End of History. They named it after an idea of political philosopher Francis Fukuyama, and in short, announced it would be the last “world’s strongest beer” that they would produce. There were only twelve of these ever produced and each bottle was inside a stuffed squirrel. Each beer sold for a bit over $750 USD.
BrewDog are out of the “strongest” race nowadays, but they continue to make great beer and have opened over a dozen bars in Scotland, in addition to a few scattered throughout Europe and one in Brazil, as of the end of 2014.
5. Schorschbrau: Schorschbock 57 – 57%
Schorschbrau, in their quest to make the strongest beer the globe has seen, failed to recognize one geographical concern, which has to do with Germany’s beer purity laws. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Germany has a centuries-old code, going back over 500 years, that governs how proper beer is made. They do love their beer over there, and for that we salute them. Schorschbrau’s 57% Schorschbock is as high as said laws will allow the brewery to go, and as of the creation of number 57, they could no longer participate in the contest they and BrewDog had started. Only 36 bottles were made and they were sold for $275 USD.
4. Brouwerij t’ Koelschip: Start The Future – 60%
Koelschip didn’t let themselves be in second place for very long and ultimately took the title back with their Start the Future (appropriately named) brew, which was released in September 2010 (in the same year when much of this “contest” started up). Start the Future is sold in some pubs in the vicinity of the brewery, and in bottles at the brewery itself. In contrast to the End of History brew and Schorschbrau’s 57 brew, Start the Future is priced at around $50 USD.
3. Brewmeister: Armageddon – 65%
With BrewDog out of the game and Schorschbrau basically considered disqualified, another Scottish brewery; Brewmeister, decided to step into the ring of strength. They only came into business a few years back in 2012, after the brewery’s two founders became fed up with the mainstream beers on the market. Armageddon was released in 2012, and was recognized as the strongest beer in the world, but (as you may have already assumed) not for long. It is rather expensive, being sold for just under $100 USD.
2. Brewmeister: Snake Venom – 67.5%
Snake Venom was unveiled in 2013, and while many voices around the internet shout and holler that this is the number one, sadly for Brewmeister, they only get number two and three on this list. It is available through their website for about $80 USD. If you have a pile of money lying around and want to get loaded, Snake Venom and Armageddon might be the way to go, but fortunately for all the beer lovers out there, Brewmeister produces several other beers that are more “normal” in terms of alcohol content and price.
1. Brouwerij t’ Koelschip: Mystery of Beer – 70%
Brewmeister had their fun, but Koelschip is the winner of this little contest (for now, at least). Mystery (Mistery) of Beer is 70%, and at around $50 USD per bottle, it actually isn’t a bad deal. Many people can’t handle it though, as it is approaching the strength of Bacardi 151.
There is some speculation over whether these beers can truly be called beers, and this is due to their brewing process. In essence, these beers are all made in such a way that they are partially frozen, at which point the alcohol remains liquid, while the water becomes ice and is removed. Some consider these beers therefore a distilled product and not truly beer. This article was not written with those people in mind, but they can curse my name in the comments section while I enjoy a six pack and ignore them.
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