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April 17, 2013 4:21 PM   Subscribe

America's 10 most alcoholic beers
posted by Renoroc (91 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
I had no idea Dogfish Head had a 120 minute IPA. Considering that two 90 minute IPAs get me drunk, i don't think I'll be trying that any time soon.
posted by dortmunder at 4:24 PM on April 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


When I drank I had a beer made from... gopher feces... or something like that. Among other stuff. It was something like 30 proof.
posted by LukeLockhart at 4:31 PM on April 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


20% is beyond what I would recognize as beer. The highest % beer I enjoy is Old Stock Ale at 11.9% from North Coast Brewing co. It's nice to sip on at a bit below room temp and it'll get you plenty toasty.
posted by MillMan at 4:32 PM on April 17, 2013


I like high percentage belgians but even I find that beers start tasting awful to me at around the 13% point. Above 15% they make my lips feel numb which is a bad thing when drinking (unless you have a straw).
posted by srboisvert at 4:34 PM on April 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


We've really got to step up our game if we want to compete with the Brits and their 55% ABV beer. That would be an arms race I could believe in.
posted by iNeas at 4:36 PM on April 17, 2013


Metafilter: Punch your liver in the face.
posted by symbioid at 4:38 PM on April 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


55% ABV beer.

That sounds nigh undrinkable.

PROVE ME WRONG
posted by shakespeherian at 4:38 PM on April 17, 2013


I'll be honest, all these sound super gross and the few I've tried on this list don't prove me wrong. Mrs. Llama and I call these "stunt beers" -- I think there's a point of decreasing return past a certain ABV.
posted by jeffehobbs at 4:41 PM on April 17, 2013 [11 favorites]


120 min. IPA is a beautiful beer, I actually think it's better balanced than the 90 min. It's a little tough to get a hold of (at least here in CO), and I've only ever seen it sold in single 12 oz. bottles.

There's a place for strong beers, but I guess I think boozey for boozes sake is a good way to get a bad beer that costs a lot of money. I mean, I started salivating at the description of the Bruery's beer, but I like the Bruery, and trust them not to be just doing a big beer because "Fuck yeah, Big beer!"
posted by Gygesringtone at 4:47 PM on April 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think there's a point of decreasing return past a certain ABV.

Based on my experience, I would say that there's a point of decreasing ability to stand up.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:48 PM on April 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I had no idea Dogfish Head had a 120 minute IPA.

They're easier to get around the brewery as they don't really make these in large batches. It's got quite a punch to it (both in abv and booziness). As far as balance, I prefer the 90 over it however (or even Old School which is their high abv barley wine). World Wide Stout is fantastic on its own merit however.

I'm happy to see BrewDog didn't make this list...they've pushed the boundaries too, but not in a good way.
posted by samsara at 4:49 PM on April 17, 2013


NEXT UP OUR LIST OF THE 15 SHARPEST PENISES, ARE YOU MAN ENOUGH TO PUT ONE OF THESE BAD BOYS IN YOUR HANDS, BETTER HAVE SOME GAUZE READY
posted by Greg Nog at 4:59 PM on April 17, 2013 [21 favorites]


120 Min. IPA (and to a lesser extent, Worldwide Stout) ruined good beer for me for a while. Especially IPAs. I'm not much of a beer snob: I've had some good beer in my time but I've really always thought that objective comparison is pointless, it's just about what's put in front of you (and how many). But after having 120 Minute a couple times, every IPA just seemed weak and pointless. Not to say that it's so good that other beers didn't stack up, it's just that it's so...MUCH.

It's been a couple years since I've had one so that feeling has kind of gone away. Fuck it though if they still sold it in WI I'd buy more. It will definitely mess you up.

I'm curious about some of these truly potent beers though. Sometimes even a 10-12% beer tastes just like someone took a bottle and dropped an ounce of vodka in it.
posted by hafehd at 5:01 PM on April 17, 2013


they've pushed the boundaries too, but not in a good way

In spite of my callout upthread, I do have to agree with you. I think The End Of History is funny in concept, but funny doesn't make for good beer (speaking as a person who's tried the 32%), and neither does a relentless push for higher ABV.
posted by iNeas at 5:01 PM on April 17, 2013


55% ABV beer.

That sounds nigh undrinkable.

PROVE ME WRONG


Ingredients include fresh juniper berries. Blech.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 5:02 PM on April 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


dortmunder: "I had no idea Dogfish Head had a 120 minute IPA. Considering that two 90 minute IPAs get me drunk, i don't think I'll be trying that any time soon."

A friend and I split - split! a 12 oz, 120 minute IPA and we were both fucked up.
posted by notsnot at 5:07 PM on April 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Incidentally, I don't think the idiots at Brew Dog are eligible for this list; it's America-only, and Brew Dog is Scottish, if I recall correctly.
posted by Greg Nog at 5:08 PM on April 17, 2013


55% ABV beer.
...
Ingredients include fresh juniper berries. Blech.


That's... overproof gin?

Anyway, as one of the entries notes, these are only marginally beer depending on how much you like to split hairs. They're barley wines or something. IMO few beer drinkers would classify these as beers of they were presented with it in a blind taste test. Of course, most beer drinkers would say the same thing about the average belgian beer, so that may not be the greatest classification method.
posted by GuyZero at 5:09 PM on April 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I bought the Dogfish Head Fort beer at a corner store because it looked interesting. I lubed myself up with a few normal proof beers before taking a whack at it. It tasted kind of like jelly donut filling, but in a good way. halfway through, I looked it up on line and realized it's potency. Damn. I slept very soundly that night.
posted by jonmc at 5:10 PM on April 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


I really enjoy the 90 min IPA and will have to track down the 120 min.

I'm happy to see Hair of the Dog at #1. Their beer is fantastic and frustratingly hard to find at the same time. What you may not know is (most of) their beer continues to ferment in the bottle, meaning older bottles are higher ABV than listed.

Several years ago I was having lunch with a friend at the Portland City Grill. After finishing a second beer in about an hour or so (I think it was Rose), I asked for another and a manager type came over to tell me they could only serve me two beers as it was 3 year old Hair of the Dog. 10 minutes later I felt fairly drunk.
posted by efalk at 5:11 PM on April 17, 2013


I am weak sauce. I got excited when I learned about "session beer" here on MeFi. I am scared of big beers with high ABVs. Had too many glasses of poktanju (Korean car bombs) given to me by my professors...
posted by spamandkimchi at 5:12 PM on April 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


They're barley wines or something.

It only mentions in the top entry that it's freeze-distilled, but I would bet some of the other ones are similarly distilled; I would classify any such stunt-beers as weak whiskies rather than strong beers.
posted by Greg Nog at 5:12 PM on April 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


IMO few beer drinkers would classify these as beers of they were presented with it in a blind taste test.

Would the blindness come before or after?
posted by srboisvert at 5:14 PM on April 17, 2013 [10 favorites]


I enjoy a good beer in the English barleywine style (malty, 9-12%ABV, fairly sweet, low hop profile) provided you serve it in similar amounts as you would a red wine, 5 ounces or so. For these beers, better serve me nothing more than a shot glass of the stuff. But I'll try a 20+% beer someday when the chance presents itself.
posted by jepler at 5:16 PM on April 17, 2013


The top item on the list (which is at the bottom of the list, spatially) - er the #1 item, seems like it's not really technically a beer, since it's freeze-distilled.

And, efalk, no yeast is going to survive long enough to make more alcohol at 29% ABV. In fact I'm curious about their carbonation. Do they freeze it while still under pressure? Do they recarbonate it afterwards? Is it just flat?
posted by aubilenon at 5:17 PM on April 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Most commercial beer is force-carbonated.
posted by jepler at 5:19 PM on April 17, 2013


I am weak sauce. I got excited when I learned about "session beer" here on MeFi.

Sister, never be ashamed for liking session beers! The drive to make the highest ABV beer is like trying to make the most-feces-covered cat or something. It's a goal, all right, but it strikes me as a really machismo-laden attempt to seem Tough rather than to actually make a good beer. Like, I drink straight Everclear on the regular, and I think this smacks of ridiculous attempts for the brewers to compensate for having poor social skills or something.

Session beers are wonderful, and I would love for more brewers to experiment with them rather than with crazy-high-ABV beers that you can only have like half a pint of.

(And incidentally, if you're looking for a really good session beer, Full Sail's Session Black is a FANTASTIC black lager that you can have like 30 of while sitting by a fireplace in winter.)
posted by Greg Nog at 5:20 PM on April 17, 2013 [17 favorites]


It only mentions in the top entry that it's freeze-distilled

Yeah, I saw that too, and thought "Nope. Not a beer, a spirit or liqueur perhaps, but not a beer."

That said, I would gladly try it. I'm a big fan if barleywine, as long as it is actually balanced, and aged to mellow a bit. It's not nearly as boozy as thy can be, but Full Sail's Boar's Head barleywine is a good introduction to the style. Each time it's released I add a dozen to the cellar to steady against the winter.
posted by furnace.heart at 5:21 PM on April 17, 2013


So what if I drink Budweiser? I find the insulting mass of produced American beers to be so boring. Ugh.
posted by Literaryhero at 5:21 PM on April 17, 2013


Freeze-distilling can still leave beer as beer... in the 90's "ice beers" were pretty trendy (in canada at least). They usually only got into strong-beer territory though - 6-7% ABV.

But yeah, once it's distilled it's again not beer depending on how picky/drunk you are.
posted by GuyZero at 5:22 PM on April 17, 2013


But yeah, once it's distilled it's again not beer depending on how picky/drunk you are.

I've had most of a bottle of wine and half a block of cheddar for dinner so I Am Ready To Go All No True Scotsman On This Jawn
posted by Greg Nog at 5:25 PM on April 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


And, efalk, no yeast is going to survive long enough to make more alcohol at 29% ABV. In fact I'm curious about their carbonation. Do they freeze it while still under pressure? Do they recarbonate it afterwards? Is it just flat?
posted by aubilenon at 5:17 PM on April 17 [+] [!]

I don't know about the one listed on the post, but the main HotD brews, like Fred and Rose, continue to ferment in the bottle, as is my understanding.
posted by efalk at 5:26 PM on April 17, 2013


MetaFilter: I Am Ready To Go All No True Scotsman On This Jawn
posted by GuyZero at 5:27 PM on April 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


For those wishing to recreate the Utopias experience at home, mix two parts vodka, one part maple syrup, and three parts regular Sam Adams, then flush 100 bucks down the toilet.

Still haven't turned that damned empty faux copper bottle into a lamp.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:27 PM on April 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


For those wishing to recreate the Utopias experience at home, mix two parts vodka with one part maple syrup, and three parts regular Sam Adams, then flush 100 bucks down the toilet.

And don't be thrown off by the charred Red Lobster sign in out front. This club is a burned down Red Lobster.
posted by GuyZero at 5:30 PM on April 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


I remember "ice beers" being popular among people who wanted more bang (alcohol) for their buck, not beer snobs. They tasted pretty bad.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 5:32 PM on April 17, 2013


I'll just sit here drinking my Ommegang Rare Vos (6.5% ABV).
posted by shakespeherian at 5:33 PM on April 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


As an example, Molson Cold Shots are pretty obviously designed for public/covert drinking, not taste.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 5:43 PM on April 17, 2013


I'll sit here drinking my Ballantine (it has rebuses on the caps).
posted by jonmc at 5:43 PM on April 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


As an example, Molson Cold Shots are pretty obviously designed for public/covert drinking, not taste.

Yes, most ice beers were marketed as bang-for-the-buck. Cold shots are specifically aimed at people shotgunning beers - it's hardly about being covert. I recall they used to have a target near the bottom of the can on the side where you were supposed to punch through the can.

And yes, that's the exact opposite of all these beers.
posted by GuyZero at 5:48 PM on April 17, 2013


I tried Sam Adams' Utopias at GABF in Denver last year.

I generally think Sam Adams stuff is solid, likable beer, particularly for as much of it as they sell. Utopias was:

a) Fucking disgusting.

b) A perfect reductio ad absurdum encapsulation of almost all the stupid shit that I wish American brewers would get over now that they've pretty well all demonstrated their distaste for Bud/Pabst/name-your-light-beer for the last 15 years. (Well, aside from "so hopped it'll make you gag!", which is where most of the penis-measuring impulses besides "lots of ethanol!" seem to live.)
posted by brennen at 5:53 PM on April 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I dunno. After all the bullshit, it's still just an alcohol delivery system.

(Disclaimer: I like my fancy ass microbrews as much as anyone, but let's not kid ourselves here)
posted by jonmc at 5:53 PM on April 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well the few times I bought Cold Shots was because they resemble a small can of Red Bull at a distance. There's also less liquid/weight per unit of alcohol.

To me, shotgunning a tiny beer would feel like cheating, somehow.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 5:58 PM on April 17, 2013


I dunno. After all the bullshit, it's still just an alcohol delivery system.

I mean, sure, and I could get my caffeine in the morning from a 64 oz gas station fountain Mountain Dew, but somehow I still keep making coffee.
posted by brennen at 5:59 PM on April 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


The Dogfish 60 / 75 / 90 are all great, nigh perfect offerings. The 120 is a syrupy cordial that isn't worth your time.
posted by lazaruslong at 5:59 PM on April 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't know that I'd recommend drinking these by the bucket...
posted by yoink at 6:01 PM on April 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


brennen-I'm not saying that flavor and all that dosen't matter. I'm just saying that if beer (and coffee) weren't accompanied by their psychoactive effects, would we be bothering to acquire such tastes. And as much as I enjoy a La Fin Du Monde, I'll happily drink OE as well.
posted by jonmc at 6:01 PM on April 17, 2013


I'm not saying that flavor and all that dosen't matter. I'm just saying that if beer (and coffee) weren't accompanied by their psychoactive effects, would we be bothering to acquire such tastes.

Yes? Is this a trick question? There are certainly some types of beer and some varieties of coffee that might well disappear absent their ability to convey alcohol, but at least for some people the flavor is, in fact, the main appeal.
posted by cjelli at 6:06 PM on April 17, 2013


I don't know that I'd recommend drinking these by the bucket...

Well don't wander too far from the bucket. You might need it.
posted by aubilenon at 6:11 PM on April 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


55% ABV? Damn, just pass me the Bourbon or Scotch. It will taste better and give me less of a hangover.
posted by rtha at 6:18 PM on April 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've had the Dogfish Head Fort, and it was spectacular--I'm not really into hoppy, so I think the 120-minute IPA would be wasted on me. I've never seen any of these other beers carried in a store, and I've been to some pretty beer-geeky stores, so they must be very limited releases indeed.

DiscourseMarker and I have our tickets for the upcoming ACBF (2nd session). Any other Boston MeFites going?
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:41 PM on April 17, 2013


ARE YOU MAN ENOUGH TO PUT ONE OF THESE BAD BOYS IN YOUR HANDS

Hands??

21st Amendment is killing it this season with lovely strong beers. Not quite this strong but still awesome.

Sneak Attack: 6.2%

Lower Deboom: 11.5%

Marooned on Hog Island: 7.9%

Mmmmm, beer.
posted by bendy at 6:42 PM on April 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


If your concern is the beer being too hoppy, don't worry with regards to the 120. They don't balance the ridiculous amount of malts needed to get that ABV with hops. It's sticky sweet.
posted by lazaruslong at 6:49 PM on April 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


My personal favorite of the three I mentioned is Sneak Attack but that may be because my memory of the other two is a bit fuzzy.
posted by bendy at 6:50 PM on April 17, 2013


I'm not saying that flavor and all that dosen't matter. I'm just saying that if beer (and coffee) weren't accompanied by their psychoactive effects, would we be bothering to acquire such tastes.

I agree with you to a point, but I know some rabid decaf coffee fans, who can't touch the stuff for health reasons, but still. fucking. love. coffee. And they geek out to the same silly levels as some of us who can have

Though, the same can't be said for Non-alchoholic beers, I'm afraid.
posted by furnace.heart at 6:59 PM on April 17, 2013


If your concern is the beer being too hoppy, don't worry with regards to the 120. They don't balance the ridiculous amount of malts needed to get that ABV with hops. It's sticky sweet.

Oh, really? Well sweet beer is my jam, I will have to give that a try. Shoutout to the great folks at Craft Beer Cellar in Belmont, where I will pick that up at my next opportunity.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:59 PM on April 17, 2013


the same can't be said for Non-alchoholic beers, I'm afraid.

I got hooked on non-alcoholic beers. Maybe it was the flavor, or the bubbles, but I was drinking three or four of these bad boys a day.

It got so bad that I joined Non-Alcoholics Anonymous. Don't know if you're familiar with NAA, but we have regular meetings to discuss our non-addiction. One of the twelve steps requires that we apologize to people we haven't offended. So sorry to all of you for not that.
posted by twoleftfeet at 7:47 PM on April 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


Thanks for admitting that you have a problem. I don't accept your non-apology.
posted by bendy at 7:55 PM on April 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've been really bummed out that Dogfish Head hasn't brewed Fort for the past couple of years since it is MY FAVORITE BEER OF ALL TIME. It's amazing. Sigh. I do hope they make it again some day.

I almost bought Colossus once, more as a joke for a friend, but at $30 a bottle, it seemed a little pricey for what I was going for.

I do generally gravitate toward higher-alcohol beers (once, my roommate came home and brought up that some beer he'd bought was 8% and said "and that's sort of high for beer" and I said "Well, for some people ...") but there is a point where things just get ridiculous. I like envelope-pushing, but I also want a balance of flavors and alcohol. I don't like beers that are "extreme" just because they can be.
posted by darksong at 8:04 PM on April 17, 2013


I think it's funny how some craft breweries (judging by the ales and IPAs I know best) try to out-macho each other with bigger and bigger ABVs, and these irreverent, butch names, and....end up tasting like grandma's brandy.
posted by applemeat at 8:25 PM on April 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is kind of why Lagunitas is like the Liu Kang of breweries for me, because they strike a really perfect balance in their beers between boozy and tasty that's always there for you if you you're not being tugged in any particular direction style-wise.

As far as the would-we-drink-beer-if-it-weren't-alcoholic thing goes, I'm always surprised when people can emphatically answer that question. I honestly have no idea, because I love both aspects of the beer experience, but I've never really been able to tell to what extent my pure of enjoyment of being tipsy bleeds over into the taste category. It's different with something like bourbon, where the alcohol is always an explicit flavor component, and in which case I maybe ironically feel like I would I totally consume it even if it had no psychoactive effect.

Also is this is the metafilter thread where we get to drunk post without fear of reprisal? Because maybe oops too late.
posted by invitapriore at 8:40 PM on April 17, 2013


If your concern is the beer being too hoppy, don't worry with regards to the 120. They don't balance the ridiculous amount of malts needed to get that ABV with hops. It's sticky sweet.

I have to disagree 120 IS very hoppy. It's like if you took well balanced Bitter and multiplied both the IBUs and the Gravity by the same amount, but yeah, it is much maltier than you'd expect from a big American Double IPA. You know it just struck me that it wasn't too long ago that Dogfishhead had that "Extreme for Extreme's sake" reputation, and now it seems pretty tame.

Anyway, as one of the entries notes, these are only marginally beer depending on how much you like to split hairs. They're barley wines or something.


Barley wine's a style of beer, it's pretty closely related to Old Ales, and the two have been used interchangeably, but now a difference is gradually developing. My personal favorite is J.W. Lee's vintage harvest, but there's a lot of really good ones out there. Left Hand's got a good one (Widdershins), and Sam Smith's Winter Welcome is one of those beers I have to get as soon as I see it's out again. Oh, and I had a great collaboration between Green Flash and Cigar city (Candela) that actually had some rye in it. I thought the spicy from the rye was really nice (Also is it just me or is rye the big thing in beers this year?)

It only mentions in the top entry that it's freeze-distilled, but I would bet some of the other ones are similarly distilled

Distilling by freezing is actually used for some German beers, but that's for a boost of 4-5%, so not really that distilled. I know Utopia's not distilled (at least it wasn't in 2007 when I bought a bottle). It was a huge investment getting a strain of yeast that could still work at that high of an alcohol content, the kind of thing that Sam Adams could pull off, but not any of place much smaller.

I dunno. After all the bullshit, it's still just an alcohol delivery system.


There's some evidence out there that primates in general just REALLY like alcohol. We're all lightweights compared to this fellow.

If you want to read a really fascinating book about the history of booze I recommend this book (Uncorking the Past, in case the link breaks), it's by the guy who helped DogFishhead brew it's Ancient Ales series. One of the things the guy complained about was he wasn't able to find wine makers willing to do the sort of experimenting based on his research (he's an archeologist) that brewers did.
posted by Gygesringtone at 8:40 PM on April 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also it's a glib and probably culturally myopic over-simplification of a complicated set of human behaviors but the sentiment expressed in this comic has always given me the warm fuzzies.
posted by invitapriore at 8:44 PM on April 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


One of the things the guy complained about was he wasn't able to find wine makers willing to do the sort of experimenting based on his research (he's an archeologist) that brewers did.

Man, yeah, that's a perfect symbol of something that I've been aware of subconsciously for a while but never had the words to express, which is that beer culture is just more fun. That's not to say that it's innocent of cooptation as a status marker or whatever, but as far as it goes it's not been co-opted to the extent that the beer crowd is as ridiculously po-faced about everything the way the wine industry seems to be.
posted by invitapriore at 8:57 PM on April 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


That session beer thing seems interesting, except for the absurd "Beers under 4.5%" thing. One of the few nice things about the beer wasteland that is Japan is that beer starts at 5%. Many small brewery beers are between that and 6 or 7%. Then again, the average Japanese drinking party qualifies as binge drinking by American standards.

On the other hand, the Delirium Tremens Christmas beer was about 10%. I came home to find Mrs. Ghidorah sprawled out on the sofa, a half-drunk bottle of it in front of her. Bit strong, that stuff.
posted by Ghidorah at 9:25 PM on April 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Then again, the average Japanese drinking party qualifies as binge drinking by American standards.

To be fair, so does the average American drinking party.

Or almost everyone I know is a functional alcoholic.

I guess I'm stating the obvious.
posted by brennen at 9:54 PM on April 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


So, unlike everyone saying "55% abv, yuck!", I've actually tried some of Brewdog's high ABV beers, specifically the two beers described in this article: Tactical Nuclear Penguin (a 32% ABV "Imperial Stout") and Sink the Bismark (a 41% ABV "IPA"). And they were... very interesting. Not the experience you'd expect from a beer, if you're used to standard strength beers (which I would say is 5-7%), or even the stronger beer that seem to dominate at US craft-beer bars. Tactical Nuclear Penguin is not unlike an aged rum, and Sink the Bismark is like nothing I've ever tasted: resinous, and hoppy, and I'm not sure I really liked it but I'm glad I tried it.

Bismark and The End of History came about as part of a rivalry with a German brewery which was also brewing high ABV beers. The technique was always freeze distillation, which for my mind still leaves some latitude for describing the result as beer rather than whisky: the hop flavours which form an integral part of beer would, I imagine, be destroyed by standard distillation. And yes, all these beers are uncarbonated: I'm not sure they'd even support carbonation.

Brewdog caught some flak, as described in the Time article above, for an earlier beer (Tokyo, an 18.2% Imperial Stout), which the chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland called "irresponsible". That assumes it's possible to binge-drink this stuff: I tried to drink a bottle of Tokyo on my own, and it was unpleasant: these are beers to drink in small sips, and to share.
posted by Omission at 10:13 PM on April 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


The list was interesting until I got to the end and discovered that the #1 beer was made by freezing Hair of the Dog's Adam multiple times.

What possible madness could drive someone to abuse one of the World's Great Beers in such despicable manner? If you have 300 gallons of Adam lying around that you don't know what to do with I can help you with your problem, no need to resort to such drastic measures. I had to take a trip down to the beer fridge to make sure the couple of bottles of Adam at the back weren't traumatized.

Personally I top out at about 15% abv; I've yet to meet a beer that was well balanced past that.
posted by N-stoff at 10:27 PM on April 17, 2013


From the article:

It’s a beer that’s almost ¼ pure alcohol. If you made someone a mixed drink with that much alcohol in it they’d assume you were trying to get them drunk so you could take advantage of their diminished inhibitions,

This is fucking stupid. If you made me a drink with that much alcohol in it I'd ask why the fuck you'd watered down my whiskey by half.
posted by dersins at 11:01 PM on April 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


I am weak sauce. I got excited when I learned about "session beer" here on MeFi.

Nooo, session beers are wonderful, especially if you're drinking pints. They're for people who actually want to go to the pub to talk to people and have a good time with friends, not to get fucked up as soon as possible while still drinking beer.

They usually only got into strong-beer territory though - 6-7% ABV.

Is that strong? That's only slightly above a run of the mill pilsner.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:20 PM on April 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm just saying that if beer (and coffee) weren't accompanied by their psychoactive effects, would we be bothering to acquire such tastes.

Probably not. If we'd be drinking just for sustenance, we'd stick to water. Alcohol does help shape beer, even without the getting you drunk side effects. The same sort of beer at different alcohol levels tastes different.

After all the bullshit, it's still just an alcohol delivery system.

But once you're really into beer, you really don't drink it for the alcohol, but the flavour. If I'm drinking alone I rarely drink more than one or two beers and none of that is enough to even get me mildly tipsy.

the same can't be said for Non-alchoholic beers, I'm afraid.

Mainly because nobody is making alcohol free variants of interesting beers, just zero percent Heinekens and why drink that if you're not looking to get sloshed?

Though I've had some alcohol free witbier, bought for my wife who couldn't drink alcohol and it tastes almost, but not quite, entirely unlike real witbier. Not a bad drink if you don't want alcohol but want to drink something cold that isn't pop.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:30 PM on April 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


"After all the bullshit, it's still just an alcohol delivery system."

In the same way a Baconator is a food delivery system. Give me a bottle of Old Peculier and some mature cheddar and dammit I'm a gourmet.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 11:43 PM on April 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I got a 6-pack of West Vleteren for Christmas 2011. Only drank one bottle. But then, in our house, if we're out of West Malle tripple, it's a crisis. Our apartment building has a wine cellar with locked cages for each apartment. We keep the special beer in there, so I don't worry about it. The West Malle, Bush, Rochefort 10, etc are in the apartment.

It's very weird how the beer landscape in America has changed since I married a Belgian and moved to Europe.
posted by Goofyy at 12:22 AM on April 18, 2013


America's 10 Most Expensive Vomits
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 4:22 AM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Greg Nog: I drink straight Everclear on the regular

This explains so much.
posted by Aizkolari at 5:55 AM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm a beer fan. I had a chance to pay in, I forget how much... $20 or $30 bucks maybe?, for a portion of a bottle of Sam Adams Utopia to sample. Ya'know, split it with other beer geeks to see what it's all about.

Reading up on it I heard references that it was more like cognac than beer.

I passed and bought a six pack of Fat Tire instead. Never looked back.
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:52 AM on April 18, 2013


For those wishing to recreate the Utopias experience at home, mix two parts vodka, one part maple syrup, and three parts regular Sam Adams, then flush 100 bucks down the toilet.

Or this, yea, I second this. Thank you foresight for saving me those dollar bills.
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:54 AM on April 18, 2013


I can't fathom how anyone who has had the 120 minute IPA could describe it as 'hoppy'.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:06 AM on April 18, 2013


I love beer, and I happen to have the good fortune to work in growler shop. I've had several of these beers, but would not have bought any of them (fortunately, I didn't have to). Reviews of obscure/limited edition/scarce/EXTREME beers don't really impress me because no one's gonna admit they blew an obscene amount of money on a beer for bragging rights that ended up tasting merely mediocre.

That said: I woulds step over my own grandmother to have another Zombie Dust. You can believe me, because I got mine for free.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 7:21 AM on April 18, 2013


I've had most of a bottle of wine and half a block of cheddar for dinner so I Am Ready To Go All No True Scotsman On This Jawn

Bernard? Bernard Black? Is that you?
posted by kurosawa's pal at 8:04 AM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Reviews of obscure/limited edition/scarce/EXTREME beers don't really impress me because no one's gonna admit they blew an obscene amount of money on a beer for bragging rights that ended up tasting merely mediocre.

I kind of feel the same way even about the renowned greats such as the Westvleteren 12 and Pliny the Elder. The former was fairly expensive to obtain for what it was. Don't get me wrong...both are fantastic beers to represent their respective styles, and should be on everyone's beer bucket list...but for trappists, Rochefort 8/10 is right up there with the Westy (and much cheaper/easier to obtain). For Pliny, I was able to find a way to get them easily on the east coast. Perhaps I'm missing a rare tastebud others have. To me the Pliny equally ranks with Firestone Double Jack or Dogfish 90 (and even a few from Stone)...so while great, it's much more convenient to grab something of equal quality that is distributed to the store right around the corner.

Come to think of it, rarity does likely play a huge role on how satisfying a good beer can be. What you say about Zombie Dust I could easily say about Goose Island's Bourbon County....best barrel aged stout I've ever had...ever (and this is factoring in many others top of the list at BeerAdvocate). The fact that they're near impossible to find makes them all the more desirable. (the fact that AB now owns Goose Island also makes me nervous that the new batches won't achieve the same quality) You know, that's a weird feeling, because I wouldn't say I'm a heavy drinker by any means (perhaps 1-2 quality beers a week tops)...but if I see BCS anywhere in the near future I'd likely go insane with my wallet and buy every last damn bottle in stock...
posted by samsara at 8:06 AM on April 18, 2013


I tend to steer clear of high-ABV beers, and I think none of the ones on that list would be an exception I'd make. I really dislike it when alcohol content isn't listed on the menu/blackboard, since it makes it more difficult to make reasonable decisions about how much I'm going to drink. I love beer, but alcohol content alone is really not what I'm going for with it.

As a sour beer fan, though, I'm very pleased that sours are the new who-is-more-macho style. Relatively low alcohol content (especially with the Berliner Weisse) and great flavor. The only problem is they're usually expensive, as they take more time to produce.
posted by asperity at 8:09 AM on April 18, 2013


I <3 sour beers.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:34 AM on April 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


samsara: I've got Goose Island's Sofie and Matilda on tap at my shop right now and I daresay their quality is a good as ever. There's an interesting read regarding craft beers and the big guys with one of AB's guys in this reddit thread.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 8:34 AM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Avery deserves a place on this list. Both The Beast and Mephistopheles Stout clock in at 15% or more and both are great with a couple of years on them. DFH's 120 is another beer that ages really well.
posted by maurice at 9:15 AM on April 18, 2013


1f2frfbf: Oh cool, thanks! I've been casually following the change of ownership over at BeerAdvocate's forums too. AB has promised that they won't change any of the recipes, just provide facilities to up the production and distribution. I'm all for it if they can keep at it without cutting corners on the ingredients and aging process. I think the danger is that with many publicly traded companies, you tend to get CEOs that bend to shareholders that focus more on maximizing production speed and profits than providing the best quality for long term customers...i'm hoping the new Goose Island stays relatively immune to that for decades to come...because if they keep to their promise, this means much much more BCS on the shelves. (and yea, I can confirm that this year's bottled Maltilda, 312, and Père Jacques are still in excellent shape...has given me hope!)
posted by samsara at 10:09 AM on April 18, 2013


Pepe Nero is the best of the Goose Island Belgians, just so we're all on the same page.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:11 AM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Man, Goose Island certainly has some good beers, but I don't get 312. It tastes like the milk at the bottom of a bowl of Corn Flakes to me.
posted by invitapriore at 12:54 PM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I can't fathom how anyone who has had the 120 minute IPA could describe it as 'hoppy'.

Well, it does have 120 International Bitter Units, or IBUs, which is a direct measure of how much of the alpha acids from hops are in the beer. Their 90 min. IPA has 90 IBUs, 60 Min. (you guessed it) 60 IBUs and their Indian Brown ale is 50. For comparison, according to the BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program, which gets you in on judging beers for home-brew contests, I recommend it, the classes are a great excuse to try lots of beers) style book, both English and American style IPAs are around 40-60 IBUs (with Americans being on the higher end of that scale). In fact, checking out Ruination, which I think we'll all agree is supper hoppy, and they list their IBUs as 100+, so I'm guessing it's about the same, maybe even a little under.

Of course, all this is just the bitterness from the hops, and doesn't really address the other flavor and aroma compounds. There's two different categories of hops, aroma (or flavor) hops and bittering. You add generally add the bittering hops first, so that the most alpha and beta acids can be extracted, but this destroys a lot of their aromatic oils, so you add a second (or third) batch of hops that don't have the high alpha acid content, but do have more of the aromatics. Here's a great chart that helps visualize it.

Any way, my point is that objectively, it's a hoppy beer, it has a lot of the chemicals that come from hops in it. It's also a supper malty beer. The two aren't exclusive. That's actually what I like about the beer, it's balanced, so rather than just tasting like an IPA that somebody threw 400 pounds of hops in, it tastes like an IPA that somebody took and ratcheted up, but ratcheted up EVERYTHING about it not just the one element. Well, to be honest, I don't remember if the yeast profile is supper obvious, but it's not really that obvious on IPAs either.

Perception's a funny thing, if you upped the carbonation of the 120 IPA we'd be having a different conversation, because the mouth feel would be lighter, the malt would taste less syrupy, and the hop aroma would be more noticeable. That's what makes brewing such an art as well as a science, you can't just change one thing, every change effects how the other aspects of the beer are perceived.

Avery deserves a place on this list.


Yeah, I was surprised they weren't on there. They do sponsor the big beers festival every year.
posted by Gygesringtone at 1:16 PM on April 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


I used to wind up at Avery's taproom with a bunch of coworkers most Friday afternoons (before Asher Brewing opened up a five minute walk from our office).

I didn't used to remember much about Friday nights.
posted by brennen at 2:17 PM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


When I really want to get drunk I go to Li Po Lounge in Chinatown and have one or two of their infamous mai tais and a shot of their "magical" Chinese liquor (ng ka py).
posted by mike3k at 11:19 PM on April 18, 2013


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