The Race to Brew The World’s Strongest Ever Beer.
This is the story of BrewDog's part in the race to brew the strongest beer in the world. Ever.
German brewer Schorschbraeu happily hold the world record for the world’ strongest beer with their 31% beer.
On 26th November 2009, we released a 32% imperial stout known as Tactical Nuclear Penguin. It was our most audacious and ambitious project to date, and we smashed a world record in the process, beating the previous record of 31% held by German brewer Schorschbrau.
The beer was designed to take innovation in beer to a whole new level and to re-shape people's perceptions of what beer is, how it can be made and how it can be enjoyed.
The 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 months in oak, the final stages took a ground breaking approach by storing the beer at -20 degrees for three weeks to get it to 32% ABV.
A warning on the label states: This is an extremely strong beer, it should be enjoyed in small servings and with an air of aristocratic nonchalance. In exactly the same manner that you would enjoy a fine whisky, a Frank Zappa album or a visit from a friendly yet anxious ghost.
You can buy some here http://www.brewdog.com/product/tactical-nuclear-penguin
Shortly after we released Tactical Nuclear Penguin, the German brewers at Schorschbrau struck back and reclaimed their record with a 40% beer. Peace is restored to middle Europe.
We claim the record back with the 41% Sink the Bismarck. Released on 16th February 2010. Sink the Bismarck is beer, amplified. With the volume turned full up, it is important you that you be careful with this beer and show it the same amount of sceptical, tentative respect you would show an international chess superstar, clown or gypsy.
We made a video outlining the German-Scottish battle to make the strongest ever beer.
This is IPA amplified, the most evocative style of the craft beer resistance with the volume cranked off the scale. Kettle hopped, dry hopped then freeze hopped for a deep fruit, resinous and spicy aroma. A full out attack on your taste-buds ensues as the incredibly smooth liquid delivers a crescendo of malt, sweet honey, hop oils and a torpedo of hop bitterness which lasts and lasts. Here is what beer drinkers of the beer:
Undeterred, the Germans at Schorschbrau came back with an even stronger beer at 44% ABV.
On the 22nd July 2010, we released The End of History which was 55% ABV and packaged in taxidermy. We only produced 12 bottles and they sold out within 30 minutes of launching on our online shop priced at £700 per bottle.
In true BrewDog fashion we torn up convention, blurred distinctions and pushed brewing, science and beer packaging to their absolute limits. This beer was an audacious blend of eccentricity, artistry and rebellion. The impact of The End of History is a perfect conceptual marriage between art, taxidermy and craft brewing. The bottles are at once beautiful and disturbing – they disrupt conventions and break taboos, just like the beer they hold within them.
We ultimately want to show people that there is an alternative to the mainstream, generic beers and make other people as passionate about craft beer as we are. We have pushed the limits of beers in many directions, ultra hoppy low abv beers (such as Nanny State), Islay Barrel Aged Stouts, Ageing IPAs on the Ocean, doing off the wall collaborations and even brewing beer at the bottom of the sea!
Another area we have explored is extreme ABV brewing. Using clowns, penguins and polar bears we have frozen, hopped and oak aged stronger beers than have ever before been made in the history of beer. This program has parented the infamous Tokyo*, Tactical Nuclear Penguin and Sink the Bismarck! with The End of History, at 55% being the final instalment of our efforts to redefine the limits of contemporary brewing.
Although End of History has recently been surpassed by Schorschbrau with a 57% beer, we are happy with our efforts here and how we helped shape brewing history. One of the 12 bottles of The End of History is proudly on display at the amazing MONA museum of new and old art in Australia. Maybe, just maybe, behind all the headlines, we did achieve our goal of fusing beer and art after all.
- Just make some whisky or vodka or gin or any other shite. Dont worry THEY will buy it. saliorboy05.07.2012
- I love how all of the newspaper coverage of your record breaking is from good quality publication. Matthew05.07.2012
- Still love the TNP video!
It is what introduced me to BrewDog in the first place
- Had some STB at Brewdog Manchester on Saturday. It blew my mind - amazing.
- yes - by Herriot Watt university. Feel free to contact them if you want. James, BrewDog05.07.2012
- were all of your abv's verified by an independent analysis? Dinnae hink so04.07.2012
- the race is over ???!!! metalman04.07.2012
- I forgot how awesome these videos were!
- @toffeslot - think they were trying to beat us by any means possible. Even dilution :) James, BrewDog04.07.2012
- What's with the bullshit German study that shows STB is only 29%? toffeeslot04.07.2012
Thanks for your reply.NateDawg2704.07.2012
- @natedawg - it is 14 - sorry for the typo
- @Lovecraft. But the processes are fundamentally different for different objectives.
Distillation removes the alcohol from the beer (leave low / alcohol-free pasteurised, even boiled beer) and the distillate which can then be used for spirit-based drinks.
Freezing preferentially loses the h2o as ice, concentrating the original native alcohol in the liquid beer.
The eventual drinking experience - depends what you were aiming for, depends on the brewing ingredients and process, and on the different heating / freezing effects on the components that remain in the beer.psyberton04.07.2012
Vacuum distilling and freeze fractioning are both ways of turning beer into something else. If anything, freeze fractioning is worse. At least non-alcoholic brewed beers still taste like beer (provided a German did it).H.P. Lovecraft04.07.2012
- Start the Future is a joke: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brouwerij_'t_Koelschip Shedden04.07.2012
- Start the future is left out because it is not solely beer. STB and TNP and all schorschbrau beers are all ice-distilled beers. Start the future is beer blended with whisky sdehn04.07.2012
- Why has 't Koelschip been left out of this with their 60% "Start the Future?" JW04.07.2012
- I just noticed… the product description for Tactical Nuclear Penguin (here: http://www.brewdog.com/product/tactical-nuclear-penguin) says it was double aged for 14 months. This post is saying 16 months.
Which is it, James?NateDawg2704.07.2012
- @Jonas: freeze fractioning is not distillation.
The significant difference is that most of the solids of the beer remain in it with freeze fractioning, whereas with distillation, one just throws them away once the alcohol has been removed.
Which means a beer that's been freeze fractioned still very much is beer, with proteins, sugars, hop resins etc. in it.SubCapt04.07.2012
- Will have to look.closer at MONA next time I'm there mike smith04.07.2012
- As I recall it, the "Strongest Beer" at the moment is Start The Future and it is 60% (atleast my bottle says so). Otherwise fun post about the battle between Brewdog and Schorschbra. Sad I missed out on End Of History though :( ajsiem04.07.2012
- This blog is terribly written, and all but one of the beers featured here are produced by distillation, so it's not really "brewing the world's strongest beer", it's "brewing a strong beer then distilling it until it's as strong as whisky..oh wait what do you call distilled beer?" Jonas04.07.2012
- I proudly own a bottle of the end of history.
so glad I bought it!
- Great story! And amazinf videos - espeically Bizmark Pippa04.07.2012
- http://www.boozebeatsbites.com/2012/06/booze-nate-dawg-vs-craft-beer.html NateDawg2704.07.2012