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Cold war arms race

February 4, 2010
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Schorshbock40

The World's Strongest Beer, Schorshbock 40

A German brewery has reclaimed the title of brewer of the World’s Strongest Beer, releasing a beer with a 40% alcohol content by volume.

Schorsch Bock 40, made by German brewery Schorschbräu breaks the previous record set by Scotland’s BrewDog late last year with their beer, Tactical Nuclear Penguin. BrewDog claimed the title with a 32% abv beer.

Both breweries achieved the high alcohol content in their beers by taking them to below the point where water freezes. Water freezes sooner than alcohol and so removing the ice from the beer removes water, leaving alcohol and concentrating the flavours and alcohol in the remaining beer. The style, Eisbock, is still considered to be a beer. Similar alcohol levels and flavour concentrations can be achieved by heating the beer, though beers distilled in this way are generally considered liquers. Bier Likor, from Brazil’s Eisenbahn brewery, is made by distilling the brewer’s dunkel. Using this process the distilled beer reaches a strength of 30% abv.

Made traditionally, the Eisbock is best described as a ‘sipping beer’. BrewDog says their version, made from an 11% Stout base, 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.”

One reviewer on ratings site RateBeer.com said the Schorschbrau version “starts extremely hot and alcoholic, very, very strong, brings you almost to tears.”

Australian beer lovers will have the chance to try for themselves when a limited supply of Tactical Nuclear Penguin goes on sale in Australia in mid-March.

The video below is BrewDog’s account of how they made the beer.

Tactical Nuclear Penguin from BrewDog on Vimeo.

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