Super-High Alcohol Beer: Sink the Bismarck!

by David Lauterbach
2010 April 10

Thanks to a war between European brewing companies, it’s never been easier to catch a healthy beer buzz. Or get yourself totally sloshed. In November 2009 BrewDog, a Scottish microbrewery started three years ago, released a new brand, dubbed Tactical Nuclear Penguin. The beer set a new record by weighing in at a scary 32% alcohol-by-volume, over six times the strength of a beer like Budweiser.

As explained in a video at (warning: the clip contains simulated penguin sex), the brewery was able to attain such a high alcohol content for its product by freezing the beer at a local ice cream factory, at temperatures as low as -6 degrees, for 21 days. Alcohol freezes at lower temperatures than water, and removing water from the solution increased the alcohol concentration. The page goes on to say “No Penguins were harmed in the making of this beer; some humans did get very, very cold though. It was worth it.”

In February, German Brewer Schorschbrau, released a 40% alcohol-by-volume beer called Schroschbock. BrewDog fired back a few weeks later: it’s latest high-octane concoction, Sink the Bismarck!, checks in at 41%, enough to reclaim the “world’s strongest beer” mantle (the name is a not-so-subtle reference to the famous German battleship deployed during World War II).

For now, Sink the Bismarck! is only available for purchase on BrewDog’s website, and the 500 or so bottles that BrewDog has produced are already sold out. Brewdog says more are on the way. Because of the painstaking process involved with producing such a strong drink, an 11.2-ounce bottle of Sink The Bismarck! costs some $60, minus shipping. Tactical Nuclear Penguin costs about $53 bucks a bottle and is in the process of being shipped to a few stores in California and New York City, including a Whole Foods location.  It can also be ordered online.

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Pardon us please, while we pay for beer...

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