back to article Scots unleash world's strongest beer

A Scottish brewer appears to have torpedoed a German rival's claim to the world's strongest beer, by bottling a "quadruple IPA" weighing in at a liver-bashing 41 per cent ABV. Just weeks after German outfit Schorschbrau floated its 40 per cent Schorschbock, Aberdeenshire hop-botherer BrewDog has counterattacked with the …

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  1. SuperTim

    Friendly banter...

    It's good for morale!

  2. Wemb
    Thumb Down

    Ewww

    That is going to be utterly disgusting...

  3. James Fox

    Hang on...

    ... you're suppose to drink it in spirit sized measures but it hasn't got a screw cap. That would be spirit sized measures all the way to the end of the bottle in one sitting, then.

  4. Mark Talbot
    FAIL

    Whiskey?

    Isn't that called whiskey

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Roger Cornwell
      Pint

      No, Whisky

      They're Scots, remember...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      No

      Just no

    4. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      No

      If it's from Scotland it'd be Whisky - note the correct spelling.

      With an E it's from Ireland.

      1. Mark Aggleton
        Thumb Down

        Not quite true

        or USA or Japan or anywhere else actually

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Very true

          Just because they can't spell, doesn't make it correct.

          Whisky = Scottish

          Whiskey = Irish

  5. Disco-Legend-Zeke
    Pint

    At Wal-Mart...

    ..the cheapest beer in the cooler is 211, a/k/a Steel Reserve.

    It is also the strongest, coming in at 8.1 ABV. Nicely, it also claims extra hops, the cousin of cannabis, so its possible to remain blissfully ignorant of the state of the Universe.

    Excellence in reporting, a hallmark of El Reg!

    1. Nate Phillips
      FAIL

      Uhh...

      ...you realize that 8.1 is LESS than 41?

      Well, no. You probably don't realize that ...you willingly drink Steel Reserve.

      1. peyton?

        I think he meant

        It is the strongest in the WalMart cooler, which probably does not include 'Sink the Bismarck!'

        1. Raspy32

          Re:I think he meant

          "It is the strongest in the WalMart cooler, which probably does not include 'Sink the Bismarck!'"

          So why did he refer to the usual "excellence of reporting" of El Reg in a snide way like he was making a correction to their error?

          No......I think he misread or misunderstood and made a complete idiot of himself.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        To be fair...

        ....I think he means the strongest in Wal-Mart.

      3. Disco-Legend-Zeke

        Compared to...

        ...the other beers in the cooler. Fortified wines are available in the US, but to my knowledge, not fortified beers.

        The point was, that the best (in terms of drug content) was also the cheapest.

    2. skeptical i
      Pirate

      211 Steel Reserve -- the favorite of homeless drunkies everywhere.

      We always knew when "our" drunkie was back in our section of town by the pile of 211SR cans piled next to "his" dumpster.

      <-- the label for all toxic products

    3. jake Silver badge

      @Disco-Legend-Zeke

      "Nicely, it also claims extra hops, the cousin of cannabis, so its possible to remain blissfully ignorant of the state of the Universe."

      Uh ... dude(ette??), hops don't contain THC ... but I'd pay a dollar to watch you run a cone or three of my home-grown varietal thru' your <insert-dope-pipe-of-choice> ... Should be good for a giggle.

      That said, Malt Liquor isn't beer. It's inebriation in a container for people who want to get drunk on the cheap, and don't care what it tastes like.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        WTF?

        @jake

        "A cone or three of my home grown varietal"...? Lol you remind me of that scene in human traffic where a pair of dopeheads fresh back from "the 'dam" are represented by a pair of arses blowing smoke and rabbiting on about blue Rizlas.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Clarification.

          I brew beer at home. I grow, harvest and dry most of my own hops (Fuggle, Goldings and Cascade), not pot. Make better sense now?

  6. Paul Woodhouse

    I bet it tastes even worse than Stella

    Urghh.... thats gonna be horrid, still : Scots produce something thats not fryed shock...

  7. Jon Double Nice

    Won't it go flat?

    Or are you supposed to dig out the old soda stream if you want to drink it over the course of a few different sessions?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      @Paul Woodhouse

      What about kilts, cabers, the US Navy, Cullen skink, modern refridgeration, the telephone, etc etc?

      (or "Potted Heid" - which admittedly is no longer allowed under EU regs and is disgusting!)

      1. Alex-TheManfromUncle
        Boffin

        Potted Heid/Hough/whatever - EU regs

        oh really?

        Funny, as I went into a butchers North of the Border and got some. Whoever told you that one is mis-informed (even if it is the EU themselves).

        And no.. not disgusting, just rediculously fattening and life shortening.

        Still good though :-)

    2. Brutus
      Pint

      You must be a lager drinker!

      'nuff said :)

    3. Ned Leprosy

      Cream Soda

      For some reason I misread "Soda Stream" as "cream soda": the thought of a sort of weird barley wine whisky hybrid mixed with cream soda is... well, it's... actually, words fail me.

      Words don't fail the Soda Stream contraption I had as a kid, though: it was made of fail, as was that horrid, bitter, syrupy diarrhoea substitute that you'd get in place of cola. That the perpetually almost empty CO2 cylinder would half-heartedly make even more flat than before it started. The '70s were great, but the Soda Stream didn't really contribute to their greatness.

      Er, where were we? Oh yeah, frightening beer. I think I'll view that one as a spectator sport.

      1. ForthIsNotDead
        Stop

        @Ned

        Oy! You take that BACK!

        The Soda stream ROCKED!

        We soda streamed ourselves into a sugar/caffeine induced stupor all the time as kids. I can still remember climbing the curtains...!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Won't it go flat?

        No. To get more alcohol in they've removed the bubbles.

    4. jake Silver badge

      @Jon Double Nice

      "Won't it go flat?"

      It is probably a still brew, unless they are force carbonating it. This kind of thing isn't designed for your average Friday/Saturday night session ... rather, it's designed for me to provide as a sip or three at some point in a formal meal when I'm cooking when my inlaws are visiting.

    5. Paul 4

      I dounbt it

      Brew Dog make some nice ales, and know there stuff.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Headmaster

      @ Paul Woodhouse

      The word you wanted is "fried", ya numpty.

  8. psychoscot
    FAIL

    RE: Whiskey?

    Don't you mean whisky?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    Pushing the boundaries

    I thought that the normal brewing process topped out at about 12 or 13% ABV, because the alcohol poisoned the yeast that produced it. Maybe this is what they mean by 'amplified'. The standard way to make a beer stronger is to freeze it just below zero, and scoop off the ice that forms. This removes some of the water, while leaving the alcohol behind. I wonder if this is what they've done. I would have thought that this would have a detrimental effect on the taste. At 40 quid a bottle though, I don't think I will take a taste.

  10. blackworx
    Alert

    Just waiting for the Daily Mail headline

    BOOZED UP HOODIE KIDS ON BEER STRONGER THAN VODKA WREAK HAVOC AND TERRORISE KIDS! WON'T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

    ...without a single reference to it costing £40 a bottle. Although they may get confused when they try to tie in the anti-Boche angle. perhaps they'll run that one on a different page...

    GOOD OLD BLIGHTY SHOWS JOHNNY KRAUT HOW IT'S DONE!

    On a saner note, BrewDog beers are generally fucking excellent - well worth hunting out, especially their Punk IPA.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Titsle

    Had something similar in Germany, obviously to be drank in small portions and very slowly, as you would a whisky. It resembled a very thick guinness, and was actually very tasty. But most people would struggle to have more than a very small glass, just as you would struggle with more than a dram or 2 or bog standard 12 year old malt.

    I think the bottle style maybe makes it seem that it's promoting abuse, but I assume it has a twist and re-shuttable cap, rather than your typical beer cap?

    In moderation, most food-stuffs are fine.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: Titsle

      I had a similar German beer at a UK beer festival.

      It was served in 1/3 of a pint measures and if you bought one, they marked your hand with permanent marker (the bastards) to make sure no-one sat getting too messed up on it...

      It tasted quite good - a bit like Guiness original (not draft!) and 'tis a shame I can't remember the name (due to having imbibed an awful lot of beer that evening!)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Me and my mate

      A real mate - not some bloke in the street, or a copper arresting me - once bought a half bottle of vodka in the offy, then went in the pub and got a pint (probably bitter) each. When we'd downed half we emptied the vodka into our glasses, then downed the rest.

      Then we went on a pub crawl. Ended up on Newky Brown chased down by Southern Comfort. That was about thirty years ago and the thought of vodka still makes me queasy. And I reckon this stuff sounds just as disgusting.

      1. jake Silver badge

        @Dominic Fishbowl

        "Then we went on a pub crawl. Ended up on Newky Brown chased down by Southern Comfort. That was about thirty years ago and the thought of vodka still makes me queasy."

        Wasn't the vodka, mate, nor the bitter ... I can't imagine what possessed your to mix the broon & sudden discomfort ... That's a recipe for a really, really bad following morning ...

        "And I reckon this stuff sounds just as disgusting."

        Nah. This kinda thing is good in sips, sometimes drops on a plate. It's just pushing the ancient art of brewing, using modern technology.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          That was...

          ...as reading back, it wasn't clear...a half bottle of vodka added to our remaining half pints of bitter. Basically the problem is the taste and smell of neat alcohol mixed with that of the beer (which I remember now was 'Director's'). Of course, we didn't 'sip' the resulting fortified pints, we quaffed them like we would have without the vodka. I knew before we'd left the first pub that talking to Huey was on the cards - which I very rarely did, mostly because I'd tell myself not to. That night my command of mind over matter seeped through the cracks in the floorboards (to dry on the heat of the radiator pipes below).

          Anyway, for £40 I'd rather have 2 bottles of Jack Daniels! One thing I suspect is that good or bad it would have to be better than Red Stripe's 'Crucial Brew'! That was one it almost gives me a migraine to think of. As for why the mixing, the answer is probably "because it was there!".

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re. Me and my mate

        What did it for me was finishing off a bottle of raki with a couple of Turkish mates, next morning I thought I'd woke up dead. Ever since I've not been able to drink spirits so on balance it was probably a life improving experience.

    3. Ian 31
      FAIL

      Pah.

      'just as you would struggle with more than a dram or 2 or bog standard 12 year old malt.'

      Amateur.

    4. IR

      Can go a bit better

      There are some yeasts that will work up to 19%, but getting that far isn't an easy prospect.

      Sounds like in this case they could have made a barley wine and then frozen off the extra water. A bit more beer-like than distilling.

    5. jake Silver badge

      @AC 17:12

      "I thought that the normal brewing process topped out at about 12 or 13% ABV, because the alcohol poisoned the yeast that produced it.

      Yeast mutates (if you let it), and brewers/winemakers have been selecting for alcohol resistance. I make a near-clone or Dogfish Head's India Brown that comes in at 16% ABV, over twice the original (was a fortunate mistake). The yeast involved started out as champagne yeast ... I don't normally make high alcohol brews, but this one is pretty good. I may go commercial with it. Last time I looked, the highest ABV commercial brew made with traditional brewing processes was just over 25%

      "Maybe this is what they mean by 'amplified'."

      I think "amplified" is a non-regulated variation on "fortified".

      "The standard way to make a beer stronger is to freeze it just below zero, and scoop off the ice that forms. This removes some of the water, while leaving the alcohol behind."

      AKA "fractional distillation by crystallization". A friend of mine used to make pretty good Apple & Pear brandy using this technique. It's quite illegal in the USA if you don't have a license, so don't try it at home.

      "I wonder if this is what they've done."

      Probably.

      "I would have thought that this would have a detrimental effect on the taste. At 40 quid a bottle though, I don't think I will take a taste."

      Not detrimental, rather concentrated. This is a sipping thingie, and/or a flavo(u)ring agent in a meal, not a so-called "session" brew. If your palate can't handle a high-alcohol, very concentrated beer, don't waste your money.

    6. Oz
      Pint

      What's a title?

      Ironically, I was recommended the Punk IPA and it was absolutely rank. I'm a real ale fan, and I brew my own, so I have a fair appreciation for a decent beer, so I can only assume it's brewed with a target audience of lager drinkers. I do like the slogan on the side of the bottle though: "if you don't like this beer then f**k off" or words to that effect!

  12. Pat Volk
    Badgers

    Whiskey or malt liquor/barley wine

    82 proof fizzy whiskey? You don't get that without adding alcohol or distilling. It could sink the Bismark, and remove the oil stain.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whatever happened....

    ... to Roger and Out, which was in the record book as the worlds highest original gravity beer. It was so powerful that they sold it in thirds. Brewed and served at the Frog and Parrot in Sheffield. I remember it well .. or, rather, I remember the morning after very well.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Grenade

      Actually you do

      You don't need to fortify or distill to get to 40%. Just like Tactical Nuclear Penguin (high 30s) this will almost certainly have had the alcohol content increased with the aid of a freezer.

      I never managed to try Tactical Nuclear Penguin on the grounds that I couldn't get it in the US, but I was told by a UK beer drinking buddy that it was actually pretty nice.

      1. jake Silver badge

        @AC 23:44

        "You don't need to fortify or distill to get to 40%. Just like Tactical Nuclear Penguin (high 30s) this will almost certainly have had the alcohol content increased with the aid of a freezer."

        That's distillation. It's known in the trade as FDC, or "fractional distillation by crystallization".

        These days, you can get to around 25% +/- with traditional brewing.

    2. Smallbrainfield
      Pint

      'Difficult to enjoy' would be putting it politely.

      It was bloody awful stuff. On the plus side, my missus used to work at the Frog and Parrot.

      Which ws nice.

    3. John 211
      Thumb Up

      or Roger's Birthday Bitter

      That was much nicer than R&O (only 1100 gravity though as opposed to the 1135 for R&O). I also like Hastings (gravity 1066).

      Ah happy days in Sheffield.

  14. Dayjo
    Pint

    Available only in...

    16 Packs?

  15. jon 72
    Pint

    Genetic Egineering

    Made plenty of super strength 'home-brew' over the years, you can get special yeast with a high tolerence to alcohol that's good to around 20%.

    Did try a couple of Hardy's Ale down the local, now that's 11% and quite frankly like drinking cold diesel through a cigar. Eagerly awaiting to Sink a Bismarck.

  16. brian korn 2

    $120 with shipping to the US...

    $120 with shipping to the US.... Ack.

    Bruichladdich has their "Perilous Whiskey" at 90%

    http://www.bruichladdich.com/latestnewsarticles/quadruple.htm

  17. Tom 35 Silver badge

    How can they even call it Beer?

    There is no way you could brew beer that strong, they have to be adding alcohol or cheating in some other way.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fizzy whiskey via Sodastream

    Buy yourself a bottle of whiskey and a soda-stream. Same effect.

  19. YP
    Pint

    Linux Beer?

    Just gotta love these guys! After creating Tokyo at 18% and being accused of feeding the scrotes of Scotland with strong beer, they came up with Nanny State at 1.1% so weak it can't be classed as beer!

    The IT angle, well they also make Tactical Nuclear Penguin at 32%!

    1. Paul 4

      Its Ale

      so not fizzy, ya soft sothern larger drinker.

  20. mafoo

    Shandy!

    "Its ok officer, i only had a few shandies. You can ask the landlord."

  21. Eddy Ito Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Dear BrewDog

    So what is it? Ale or beer. It's called a beer in one paragraph and an IPA in the next. IPA is ale and ale != beer. Where do your yeast live, up top or down under?

    As to how it's done, they state "frozen four times to create at a staggering 41% ABV". So in essence it's freeze distilled or more accurately recrystallized to get the ABV that high. That also explains the price and also means you can likely do this at home* starting with about 10 bottles of stock for every one bottle you want to make. Other ferment only products can use one of the various "turbo" or champagne yeasts to reach near 17-18%. So there you have it, don't sweat the bubbles it's likely quite flat already.

    *IANAL but it is likely that this could get you thrown in the pokey since gubbermint frowns on people who concentrate alcohol without paying the appropriate royalties to the tax man.

    1. Paul 4
      FAIL

      Ale and beer

      Ales are beers... I think your getting beer and larger mixed up...

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ale

  22. Steen Hive
    Thumb Up

    Freezing

    The video I saw for the making of "Tactical Nuclear Penguin" shows that they freeze the water out of the beer to up the strength.

  23. Robert E A Harvey

    amplified?

    Beer + waste industrial wood alchohol I suppose.

    Amplified suggests all sorts of ideas, such as negative feedback, that might still be appropriate in the beer domain.

    1. Magnus_Pym

      IMS

      I used to work at an adhesive manufacturers (glue factory to the layman) where IMS Alcohol was delivered in 45 gallon drums. My job was to verify the contents.

      It was ethanol mixed with a bit of methanol to make it undrinkable which was wise considering the smell was very reminiscent of gin. The stuff was crystal clear and the surface did not refract the light as water does so the drum appeared to be empty in low light conditions.

      Produced by industrial process and very cheap (compared to spirits). I believe that when alcopops talk about vodka what they actually mean is this type of industrially produced ethanol.

  24. Steve Smith 2
    Go

    Golly...

    FFS: more than $100 for a bottle of eisbock? I suppose it's good that they prey on the gullible. It _should_ hurt to be stupid.

  25. Fred Flintstone Gold badge
    Alert

    Does it come with warning labels..

    .. not to cremate anyone who died from this through alcohol poisoning?

    You'd go out with a bang..

  26. ian 22
    Flame

    41%

    Other than the price, it should replace petrol in my car quite nicely. Does it taste like petrol?

    Not to be drunk near an open flame!

  27. Campbeltonian

    Yuck

    I tried some of their 32% Tactical Nuclear Penguin, and it was horrible. I've got no desire to try this.

    £40 would get me a bottle of 10 year old Longrow, which is a bigger bottle, stronger and nicer, or 25 bottles of Brewdog's delicious 5am Saint.

  28. Glesga Snapper
    Grenade

    Good on ye BrewDog!

    I await the Portman Group having a sense of humour failure, as per normal.

    If it's like their previous strongest creation "Tactical Nuclear Penguin" it'll be supplied with a cork stopper, so that you can savour properly.

  29. Alan 6
    Pint

    respect

    I notice you missed this line from the BBC story, which they've now pulled, but it's been retained in The Huffington Post's story...

    "It is important 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."

  30. Gene Cash Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    They need to advertize on Top Gear

    This would fit in fine with that show... Heck, I can even see JC holding the bottle and extolling the virtues himself...

    Plus *THIS* is the beer that Paris should be doing commercials for! Not that weak Brazilian water!

    1. jake Silver badge

      @Alan 6

      That's nothing ... See:

      http://www.arrogantbastard.com/index2.html

      It's actually a pretty good brew, for a commercial product. I almost always have a pint or four in my beer fridge ... The advertising is aimed at the BMC crowd (Bud, Miller, Coors ... roughly the equivalent to lager-louts, to you Brits). With reason. If your palate can't tell the difference between hops, malt and yeast, AB isn't a brew that you will enjoy.

  31. Celticson
    FAIL

    Come on...

    There was no reason to INSULT the Germans, it could have been done an just an effective way. All they did was create hard feelings from the insult, and justifiable so.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge
      Grenade

      Insult?

      I've just held a quick straw poll in the immediate vicinity and everyone thinks that the German fun-poking here is both amusing and entirely justifiable.

      Then again I am English and sitting in a Dutch* office at the moment, so I may not have surveyed a representative sample of the population as a whole.

      *Special request. My colleagues would like their bicycles back if it's not too much trouble.

    2. Daniel Wilkie
      FAIL

      Wait what?

      Have you been at the sauce already?

      Insulting the Germans is what we do best. The Bismarck was a battleship designed to dominate it's theatre of operations, and we sunk it. This pathetic german alcoholic water was designed to dominate IT's theatre of operations, so we sunk it again.

      Seems perfectly factual and not at all daily mail to me.

      Also,

      "There was no reason to INSULT the Germans, it could have been done in just as effective a way. All they did was create hard feelings from the insult, and justifably so, in my opinion"

      See THAT'S how you create justifiably hard feelings :D

    3. GhilleDhu
      Pint

      2u

      Err right whatever mate, and the next thing you'll be saying is that the Germans dont have a sense of humour, when they call their budget line items after the Scots... e.g. Mc Fit etc.... Its just good natured fun, so stop being a pompous muppet and enjoy life :)

    4. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      Re: Come on...

      Sticks and stones, mofo!

  32. Matt K
    FAIL

    Not big, not clever

    Maybe their more normal beers are decent - dunno, never tried one that I can remember - but this seems pretty juvenile to me. Woo! Look how witty we can be! Insult Germans and make a pointlessly strong beer at the same time, then bask in the publicity!

  33. ToddRundgren
    Happy

    Good for Brazilian's?

    Plus *THIS* is the beer that Paris should be doing commercials for! Not that weak Brazilian water!

    So can you shave with it too?

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    British flat beer

    Be afraid

  35. pctechxp

    Beer slogans

    I remember seeing one quite a few years ago that featured a picture of a bottle and said "So it doesn't look good, what are you going to do? drink it or sleep with it.

  36. Emilio Desalvo
    Grenade

    The Yanks, as usual...

    ... escalated the conflict...

    http://web.mclink.it/MC4187/PlutuoniumPorter.JPG

    Obviously from the Atomic Ale Brewpub & Eatery.

    http://www.atomicalebrewpub.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3&Itemid=4

    The beard behind the coaster is my brother's.

  37. Rob
    Thumb Up

    You lot bring a tear to the eye...

    ... a tear of joy and pride with the knowledge you have on Beer, I'm sure the BOFH is smiling in his grave too :)

  38. Seareach

    Bier, mein Arsch

    Yeast can't survive in 40% alcohol. So it's not beer. So they shouldn't call it beer (or ale, or IPA) and neither should you.

    Aberdonians are a highly confused and primitive bunch anyway. When they mention "ale" they are talking about soda-pop, not anything alcoholic. I suppose they could use this revolting-sounding concoction to wash down the deep-fried batter-coated mealie puddings which they huddle and gnaw to keep body and soul together through the harsh winters in their litter-strewn, municipally vandalised wreck of a formerly proud and beautiful city.

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