No longer do beer drinkers need to settle for watered-down brews. The explosive craft beer trend throughout the 2010s means all of us are more educated about brews than ever. One of the metrics all beer enthusiasts understand is ABV or alcohol by volume.
Alcohol by volume measures how strong an alcoholic beverage is. This metric helps people gauge their intoxication level and remain safe.
The ABV appears as a percentage number displayed prominently on the label. Whiskey and vodka hold an average ABV of around 40%.
Domestic beers like Corona or Budweiser offer an ABV of around 5% ABV. Craft beers’ ABV can range from 10 to 15% ABV.
With this understanding of ABV, we can now dive into the best high alcohol content beers available on the competitive beer market.
High Alcohol Content Beers
Below is our analysis of the top 11 high alcohol content beers.
Baladin Espirit de Noel
The Baladin Espirit de Noel represents pure Italian flavor and innovation.
This beer appears as a pale yellow color, almost the same as a Chardonnay. This 2011 distilled beer is aged in oak barrels for a final flavor with hints of wood and chocolate.
The ABV of this Italian beer is 40%, closer to whiskey or vodka levels.
In addition to the flavor and appearance choices that are similar to wine, Baladin Espirit de Noel is served from a wine bottle-like vessel.
This beer is sealed with a cork to seal in the authentic aromas. Baladin emphasizes a connection to the Italian land this beer comes from. This brewery grows all of its beer’s ingredients and uses water from the Italian Alps.
Sam Adams Utopias
Sam Adams maintains a reputation for relatable domestic beers.
Flavors like Oktoberfest and Summer Squeeze make Sam Adams a reliable grocery store choice. However, the line of Sam Adams Utopias pushes the limits of this dependable beer brand.
These beers are frequently described as extreme and include buzzwords like wild yeast, bourbon barrel aging, and high alcohol content.
Some of the Utopia beers, released in specific vintages, experience decades of supervised aging.
While Sam Adams is a ubiquitous supermarket choice, Sam Adams Utopias are much harder to find. Look for the impressive, decanter-shaped bottle in specialty liquor stores.
Schorschbrau Schorschbock 43
Coming in at a whopping 43% ABV, Schorschbrau Schorschbock 43 contains an alcohol volume closer to Hendricks Gin than the average bear.
This syrupy German beer is often described as hot, burnt, or smoky. Flavors like raisins, caramel, and port wine contribute to this complex and strong brew.
Schorschbrau produced only 450 bottles of Schorschbock 43 in 2015. These wax-sealed bottles are individually numbered and challenging to find.
Not only does this beer hold the title of one of the highest alcohol content beers on this list, but Schorschbrau Schorschbock 43 is also considered one of the strongest beers in the world.
BrewDog Sink The Bismarck
Like so much in the craft beer world, the title of strongest beer in the world is a constantly moving target.
BrewDog’s Sink the Bismarck IPA boasts an ABV of 41%. BrewDog states it wishes to change England’s relationship with beer, to promote sipping a complex beverage instead of slamming a brew.
This quadruple IPA contains four times the hops. A tremendously bitter beverage, the hops endure a kettle-hopping, dry-hopping, and freeze-hopping process.
The Sink the Bismarck promises a smooth drinking experience, with a lasting bitter, hoppy flavor. Flavors of honey and malt provide a juicy balance to the bitterness.
BrewDog operates bars in Ohio and Pennsylvania and more locations in the United Kingdom. The Sink the Bismarck is a limited release, so snatch one up if you spot it!
Brewmeister Armageddon blows the Highest Alcohol Content Beers Contest wide open.
This Scottish beer boasts an astonishing 65% ABV. This beer ranks at nearly 10 times the alcohol volume of the average craft beer and has more alcohol than gin, vodka, or whiskey.
Sip a Brewmeister Armageddon to experience beer often described as surprisingly flavorful. A bitter, yet sweet beer, expect a dark color and malty flavor.
If you’re interested in drinking a molasses-type beer with the strength of moonshine, grab the limited edition Brewmeister Armageddon.
Brewmeister Snake Venom
Brewmeister was not content to release one beer with a jaw-droppingly ABV.
The Brewmeister Snake Venom breaks its record, delivering a beer with a 67% ABV. This beer is so dense there is no carbonation or head on the beer, typically a signature of beer drinking.
This Scottish brewery recommends drinking this mega beer via a shot glass instead of a pint glass.
It’s best to heed this warning, as Brewmeister admits its Snake Venom brew was developed as an experimental beer.
Evil Twin Brewing Molotov Cocktail Heavy
Looking for a strong, effective beer that you can drink like a beer? Reach for an Evil Twin Brewing Molotov Cocktail Heavy beer.
This Imperial IPA contains a more reasonable ABV of 18%, which is still on the high end of craft beer ABVs.
Tropical fruits like guava and mango balance the strong malt and hop flavors within this beer.
Overall, the Molotov Cocktail Heavy delivers a syrupy, thick, and bittersweet drinking experience.
This dark-colored beer pours with a lot of sediment in the glass, so beware.
BrewDog and Schorschbräu Strength in Numbers
Two previously mentioned mega-beer brands joined forces in 2020 to celebrate the Highest Alcohol Content Beer Contest they both had participated in.
BrewDog and Schorschbräu Strength in Numbers delivers a precise 57.8 ABV within these chic, black, and metallic 40-milliliter bottles.
If you managed to grab one during its 2020 release, savor it! This limited release quickly sold out.
This beer achieves its high ABV through the Eisbock brewing method. The Eisbock method freezes the beer, then removes bits of ice that accumulate. What’s left is a concentrated liquid with a high ABV.
Koelschip Start the Future
The Dutch entered the race for the highest alcohol content beers with Koelschip’s Start the Future.
This 60% ABV beer packs a punch, with flavors and strength often compared to whiskey.
Enjoy this pale yellow liquid chilled and in a small glass. Tangy, malty flavors mix with the classic beer ingredients of hops, yeast, and water to produce this super-powered German Eisbock.
A traditional Eisbock typically holds an ABV between nine and 14%.
Struise Black Damnation VI – Messy
If you are looking for a mega Guinness, the Struise Black Damnation VI – Messy delivers this signature flavor and appearance paired with a hefty 39% ABV.
The appealing head of the beer is visible here, unlike in many high ABV beers. This Belgian beer is commonly poured at beer festivals throughout Europe, including the Netherlands, Denmark, and of course Belgium.
An aroma of scotch and smoke hits the drinker first, along with a motor-oil dark color. Flavors of coffee, vanilla, chocolate, and roasted malt deliver a robust taste.
The Struise Black Damnation VI – Messy will delight porter and stout drinkers with this creamy beer.
BrewDog End Of History
Scotland’s competitive brewery reappears with their third super-beer on this list of highest alcohol content beers.
BrewDog’s End of History offers a 55% ABV drink. This beer is a blonde Belgian ale composed of local ingredients like Scottish nettles and juniper berries.
This over-the-top beer’s release in 2010 experienced extensive media coverage.
Not only was this beer one of the first to push the ABV boundaries, but the End of History was also shipped to beer enthusiasts packaged inside a taxidermied animal.
One of the first bottles would cost about $500 and the re-release bottles fetched a price of $20,000 per bottle in 2016.
High Alcohol Content Beers
- Baladin Espirit de Noel
- Sam Adams Utopias
- Schorschbrau Schorschbock 43
- BrewDog Sink The Bismarck
- Brewmeister Armageddon
- Brewmeister Snake Venom
- Evil Twin Brewing Molotov Cocktail Heavy
- BrewDog and Schorschbräu Strength in Numbers
- Koelschip Start the Future
- Struise Black Damnation VI – Messy
- BrewDog End Of History
Beer enthusiasts push the boundaries of what is considered the highest alcohol content beers.
The craft beer movement is no longer content with an ABV averaging around 12%, and regularly releases scientific marvels reaching 40% ABV or higher.
These modern beers push the boundaries to deliver drinks with potency rivaling whiskey, gin, and vodka.
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