There’s nothing more refreshing than cracking open a cold beer on a hot summer afternoon. But for the few among us who have found themselves trapped in the endless cycle of craft-beer elitism, a simple VB may no longer do. After years of delving into the very depths of the liquor cabinet, seeking out the brews with names that are entirely too hard to pronounce, the taste of 4.5% ABV is just too bitter a pill to swallow. Just like Kanye West, you want harder, better, faster, and most importantly, stronger beers.
But while the pursuit for a brew that packs the ultimate punch may take you down a dark ale path, you still might not be ready the strongest beer in the world. How strong, you ask? Forget your 11% IPAs, we’re talking in excess of 60% ABV. The strongest beer in the world isn’t just a moniker given to high alcohol beer, it’s an unrelenting quest from brewers across the globe to truly capture the peak of beer-gineering. Are you game to tackle these heavy hitters?
Before we dive into the list of the strongest beers in the world, it’s worth getting reacquainted with our terminology. Put simply, beer is brewed through cereal grains, most commonly from malted barley. During the brewing process, fermentation of the starch sugars in the wort produces ethanol and carbonation in the resulting beer. Most modern beer is brewed with hops, which add a certain level of bitterness that we’ve come to enjoy. In commercial brewing, the natural carbonation effect is often removed during processing and replaced with forced carbonation.
The reason this knowledge is important is that the very definition of what is and isn’t a beer is highly contentious. Some people argue that changing the traditional brewing process isn’t innovation, but blasphemy. It’s a big reason you’ll see more than one brewery claiming to have the strongest beer in the world. Technically, they’re all correct, it just depends on what definition you are running off.
Snake Venom from Brewmeister, for instance, is undoubtedly one of the highest ABV beers in the world, however, the beer is fortified with additional alcohol, meaning many people disqualify it. Similarly, BrewDog and Schorschbrau are using “freeze distillation” to raise the alcohol levels, which some traditionalists argue is just not cricket. Whatever your ideology, it means little to us. We’ve counted them all, from freeze distillation to alcohol additives. When it comes to high alcohol beer, we don’t discriminate.
Strongest Beers in the World
Now, whether you believe that the strongest beer in the world is or isn’t in fact a beer, the simple truth is that it will get you loaded. Any ‘beer’ with an alcohol content that puts a bottle of whisky to shame is more than capable of turning the most steadfast of men sloppy. The beers we’ve collated offer an opportunity to tell the missus you’re only going out for one, and truly mean it.
Here is a list of the 13 strongest beers in the world.
1. Brewmeister Snake Venom
While it sadly doesn’t contain real venom, the Snake Venom from Brewmeister is just as deadly. At 67.5% ABV, the brew is not only the highest ABV beer in the world, it’s also one of the most worrisome. The hoppy, malty, carbonated beast is best sipped like a relatively mild spirit and it has the flavour profile to match. Brewmeister created Snake Venom using everything from smoked peat malt to two types of yeast during production to achieve that high alcohol volume. Such an astounding ABV was also reached by freezing the brew multiple times during fermentation. If you only plan on having one beer on a night out, the Brewmeister Snake Venom is as much bang as your buck is going to get.
2. Brewmeister Armageddon
Before there was Snake Venom, Brewmiester shook up the brewing world with Armageddon. The 65% ABV brew was designed as the ideal cross-over between beer and whisky, hitting that sweet-spot we’ve all been yearning for. Crafted from crystal malt, wheat, flaked oats, and 100% Scottish spring water, Armageddon is a more pure example of brewing skill without as much innovation technology as the Snake Venom. A true assault on the taste buds, Brewmeister Armageddon is easily one of the highest alcohol content beers we’ve ever seen.
3. Koelschip Start the Future
There’s no denying it, the quest for the strongest beer in the world is certainly being spearheaded by the European micro-brewery scene. It seems, each year these passionate brewers take things one step further, pushing the boundaries of what is achievable and most importantly, palatable. After the success with its Obilix, Koelschip went back to the drawing board to craft Start of the Future. At 60% ABV, the high alcohol beer hits hard, on the night and in the morning.
Origin: The Netherlands
4. BrewDog and Schorschbräu Strength in Numbers
The newest release to make the list and the first to be a collaboration, Strength in Numbers comes as a combined effort from Scotland’s BrewDog and Germany’s Schorschbräu. Banding together to create the a 57.8% beer, the two breweries made use of the traditional eisbock method–which means freezing the beer, removing ice and then re-blending. Add to the mix a combination of Belgian golden ale that’s been aging in whisky casks for 10 years and you’ve got a recipe for the strongest beer in town. While it still hasn’t reached the lofty ABV heights of Snake Venom, BrewDog and Schorschbräu are claiming that Strength in Numbers is the strongest beer in the world, by traditional definition standards.
Brewery: BrewDog, Schorschbräu
Origin: Scotland, Germany
5. Schorschbrau Schorschbock 57
The Germans know their beer, and while Schorschbrau Schorschbock 57 did fall short of the strongest beer in the world title, it did capture the attention of the craft beer world. Like some of the other heavy brews on this list, Schorschbrau Schorschbock 57 is probably more of a scientific achievement than an exploration of flavour. Reports suggest this high alcohol beer burns on the way down and on the way up.
6. BrewDog End Of History
Scottish brewery BrewDog has made a bit of a name for itself in the strongest beers world. With a dedication to innovation that is rarely seen amongst the craft beer world, BrewDog has chalked up some heavy hitters over the years, but The End of History is one you simply can’t go past, and for good reason. This ultra-limited blond Belgian ale is wrapped in a dead squirrel. Yep, that’s not a typo. At USD$780 a bottle, the beer contains hints of juniper berries, mead, and nettles.
7. Koelschip Obilix
Koelschip’s second appearance on the list is a good one. The Obilix really set the tone for the brewery’s foray into the world’s strongest beer category. While the limited-edition brew came and went quickly, it was around long enough to make a massive impression on the industry, revealing our demand for high alcohol beer was stronger than ever.
Origin: The Netherlands
8. Schorschbrau Schorschbock 43
Another addition to the strongest beers list comes by way the German micro-brewery Schorschbräu. While much lighter than the Schorschblock 57 or Strength in Numbers, the Schorschblock 43 is still a heavy brew. With an overwhelming spicy flavour, this one wasn’t a massive winner with beer drinkers, but that hasn’t stopped it from becoming a cult favourite.
9. BrewDog Sink The Bismarck
A quadruple IPA isn’t something you see every day, but Sink the Bismark isn’t your run of the mill brew. At 41% ABV, this release from the Scottish icon is one of the strongest beers in the world and surprisingly, one of the most popular. Where other releases have sacrificed flavour for alcohol content, BrewDog has actually managed to craft a brew that is high on taste and on execution.
10. Baladin Esprit de Noel
The strongest beer Italy has to offer, the Baladin Esprit de Noel is a decidedly more upmarket release. With a brewing process that is befitting of the country’s famed wine regions, Esprit de Noel has been aged in oak barrels for three years. A true craft beer connoisseur’s piece, this straw yellow coloured beer is smooth, with light wood and chocolate notes.
11. Struise Black Damnation VI – Messy
As one of the only beers on this list that focused on using high alcohol content to improve flavour, the Struise Black Damnation VI is one Imperial Stout we’re quite fond of. The dark, black brew carries some fantastic notes of coffee, dark chocolate and peat, giving it an almost whisky-like mouthfeel. Despite the additions, the Imperial Stout has all the elements we’ve come to love from darker beers, making it not only one of the strongest beers in the world, but one of the more impressive.
Brewery: De Struise Brouwers
12. BrewDog Tactical Nuclear Penguin
As one BrewDog’s first real ventures into high alcohol content beer territory, Tactical Nuclear Penguin has become a bit of a cult favourite. When it released back in 2009, it was the strongest beer in the world, and thus started the arms race for hefty brews. This beer is freeze distilled three times before being bottled, giving it a fragrant, thick-bodied ice beer with notes of roasted coffee and chocolate.
13. Sam Adams Utopias 2017
The only American to make the list, Sam Adams Utopias 2017 is less like a beer and more like a rich vintage port or old cognac. With notes of dark fruit, subtle sweetness, and a deep rich malty smoothness, Utopias is surprisingly palatable for such a high alcohol beer. According to the brand, the brewers utilised several yeast strains during fermentation, including one typically reserved for champagne and a “ninja yeast,” created for its ability to survive and continue fermenting in an environment that has such a high alcohol level.
Brewery: Sam Adams
What is the strongest beer in the world?
The strongest beer in the world is the Brewmeister Snake Venom. Bottled at 67.5% ABV, the Scottish beer is easily the heaviest on offer.
Where can you buy the Brewmeister Snake Venom?
You can purchase the Brewmeister Snake Venom online via some alcohol distributors such as Drink Supermarket, Amazon and through the official Brewmeister site. But be warned, a bottle of this hefty ale will set you back around USD$80.
Can you drink 100 per cent alcohol?
It is dangerous as 100% ethanol as it kills biological cells by absorbing the water associated with them. Pure ethanol effectively dessicates cells as the equilibrium state of ethanol in the atmosphere is 95% ethanol and 5% water. For this reason, it is not advised for you to drink 100 per cent alcohol.