I know, I should just leave the i-word alone and move on. But each time I start on that path, something crosses my mind that causes me to revisit. Like this.
According to Pete Brown, there’s a new strongest beer in the world in town, and it’s the product of those ever-irreverent boys over at Scotland’s BrewDog. Going by the wonderful name of Tactical Nuclear Penguin, this new ale is an astounding 32% alcohol, which bests Sam Adams Utopias by not the 7% Pete notes, but a still impressive 5% — the first edition Utopias was, indeed, 25% alcohol, but subsequent releases, including the latest, released just this month, upped the bar to 27% — and tops Schorschbräu Schorschbock by a single percentage point.
The way BrewDog achieves such grandiose strength is by freezing the beer and doing away with the solids, thus concentrating the amount of unfrozen alcohol in the brew. Which is really a sort of distillation, much like the Schorschbräu and in contrast to the Utopias, which gets all of its 27% through fermentation.
On their website, BrewDog refers to the Penguin as “taking innovation in beer to a whole new level.” But does it? The technique is certainly not new and neither is the period the beer spends in whisky casks. But there’s no denying that the percentage of alcohol it contains has never before been seen.
So, strong? Certainly. Innovative? The jury is still out.