A bottle of Coors Light has 4.2% alcohol by volume. That is 12 ounces of beer that is brewed ice cold and served in either bottle, can, or on draught. It falls in line with such American classics as Budweiser, Bud Light, Miller Light, Busch Light, and Keystone. They are all what we have come to know as domestic beers and are pretty much guaranteed they are the cheapest thing at any given restaurant or bar.
If you are lucky enough to be able to afford a beer found on the import list like Corona, Blue Moon (even though it is made in the United States), Foster’s, Guinness, or any other handful of microbrews then you know the alcohol content can range from 5% all the way up to 10-12% per bottle. These are all beers that you find in the liquor stores by the bottle rather than the six pack or case, and they tend to run you just as much as a case of that domestic stuff you were drinking before you discovered what beer was meant to taste like.
I travel all over the city of Indianapolis trying to find the next great beer tasting and local brewery. There are breweries all over the city, actually. You have the Ram, Alcatraz, Sun King, and Rock Bottom downtown, Barley Island in Broad Ripple and Noblesville, and Upland down in Bloomington. There are more, don’t get me wrong, but these are just the ones that I have visited in the last couple of months. They all make about the same lineup of beers ranging from a light beer for the faint at heart to the dark, meatier beers like porters or a nice IPA. IPA stands for Indiana Pale Ale and they leave an incredibly dry, bitter taste in your mouth but all of you true beer drinkers out there know what makes that taste so sweet.
So if these beers that are served by the bottle on nearly every street corner liquor store have that high of an alcohol content, then what holds the record for the highest alcohol percentage per volume? Until recently most thought it was a beer from Sam Adams, a brewery located in Boston, which held this title. Not the regular Sam Adams that you can get almost anywhere, but the Sam Adams Utopias. This beer is one of the most talked about treasures from Sam Adams and takes nearly fifteen years to produce a batch. With that comes a hefty price tag. A bottle of this, although not purchased to drink on any given night, can run you over $200. (You can find this cheaper, of course, but that is the common price tag associated with it.) I have not personally had this beer, but have heard is not only thick, and tastes almost like molasses but is nearly impossible to drink an entire pint of. This beer comes in at 24% alcohol by volume.
The Sam Adams Utopias comes close but falls short to a German beer known as German Concoction Schorschbraerm. This German beer contains an alcohol content of 31% per bottle and is nearly impossible to find as well. The Sam Adams’ has been outlawed in thirteen US states at 24% so I could not imagine how many states have outlawed this beer. But as long as the German Concoction Schorschbraerm has held the title of world’s strongest beer it has been toppled by yet another incredible sounding brew.
BrewDog of Fraserburgh has reached a new high by releasing a beer known as Tactical Nuclear Penguin. This beer, although not gaining much ground as the new strongest beer champion, comes in at 32% alcohol by volume. The makers of this brew have asked the folks who take part in this beverage to enjoy it like you would a nice bottle of whiskey. It comes with a wine stopper and is recommended to be served in small batches, enjoyed over time, and not used a quick way to get intoxicated. And knowing what I do of the Sam Adams Utopias the thickness and utter flavors packed in this beer have to be intense. I could not, if I was able to afford this beer, be chugging it by any means.
The Tactical Nuclear Penguin is not as expensive as you might think as it comes in at just under $50 a bottle. The beer, however, is being bottled and sold in very small quantities. BrewDog claims to have bottled only five hundred cases and are shipping it to very few locations. So not only is it expensive but it is also nearly impossible to wrap your lips around. So as I sit here and drink my discount microbrew I dream of the day that I can sip on something as dark and delicious as the Tactical Nuclear Penguin.