“World’s Strongest Beer” is a highly-coveted title. At around this time last year, the record holder was a brew called Armageddon – a 33o ml bottle of malty goodness from the Scottish madmen at Brewmeister. Weighing in at a formidable 65 percent ABV, it was considerably more hazardous to your liver than most bottles of whiskey.
But this year there’s a new reigning champ. Not satisfied with the meager 65 percent of Armageddon, Brewmeister set out to break its own record, and has brewed a concoction called Snake Venom – a dastardly dram that tips the scales at a staggering 67.5 percent alcohol by volume.
To achieve such a ridiculously high alcohol content, the brew is fermented with two different types of yeast; a top-fermenting strain used in ales, and another that’s generally used in champagne. The latter strain is known to have a higher alcohol tolerance, and can therefore survive longer and make the brew more powerful. However, this only takes the beer so far. Champagne yeast can only survive in alcohol concentrations of about 17 to 20 percent, depending on the strain. So in order to make Snake Venom more potent after the initial fermentation process, Brewmeister uses a technique called freeze concentration. Basically, this involves bringing the beer to a specific temperature just below the freezing point of water, and just above the freezing point of alcohol. When the water freezes and becomes solid, it’s removed so that all that’s left behind is highly-concentrated and unfrozen booze.
We haven’t yet gotten a chance to try a bottle for ourselves, but according to Brewmeister’s website, “The alcohol is very strong but the beer still tastes like a beer rather than a spirit. It’s hoppy, malty and very pleasant.” We’re working on tracking down a bottle to confirm this.
You can get your hands on a bottle of Snake Venom online for about £50 ($81), but availability is spotty and prices tend to vary widely from retailer to retailer. Find out more on Brewmeister’s website.