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February 17, 2010 2:19 PM   Subscribe

Scottish brewery Brewdog announce the world's strongest beer, Sink The Bismarck, at a staggering 41%.
posted by Miss Otis' Egrets (88 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
It shouldn't be called beer.
posted by flippant at 2:23 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why even bother...?
posted by ZaneJ. at 2:24 PM on February 17, 2010


Previously, 32%.

Beer starts to taste bad to me around 10%, imperial stouts or triples are awesome but anything with more booze is bad. If you want something that high in alcohol and you are in Scotland, maybe try, I dunno, Scotch?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:25 PM on February 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


What's the point? At some percentage, this stops being "beer" and starts becoming "liqueur." I mean, I can slam a giant glass of Wild Turkey right now...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:26 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


This guy thinks it's totally reasonable.
posted by mullingitover at 2:26 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


No, the world's strongest beer is called "Everclear boilermaker."
posted by msalt at 2:27 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


At 41% and 40 quid a bottle, it's the perfect companion to Kobe beef in truffle sauce.
posted by Ella Fynoe at 2:27 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Man, that's freeze-distilled. It is distilled fermented barley. As far as I'm concerned, it's hopped whisky. Which is a cool concept and all, but for serious.

Maybe I should become a shareholder in their company. I like some of the stuff they brew, but I'd rather see them trend towards a Dogfish Head kind of approach to bizarreness, rather than their current SO EXTREME BLAST THUNDERVIOLENCE KICK IT UP A NOTCH approach.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:28 PM on February 17, 2010 [6 favorites]


Speaking as a homebrewer, it's only interesting as a question of yeast management.
posted by No Robots at 2:28 PM on February 17, 2010 [6 favorites]


Thankfully, their Lite version is only 20% ABV!
posted by mosk at 2:29 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ah, wait. Only Brits can be shareholders, it seems. Very well, then.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:29 PM on February 17, 2010




Speaking as a homebrewer, it's only interesting as a question of yeast management.


Is it even that when they are distilling?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:30 PM on February 17, 2010


Hmm... this proves that the beer of today is WAY stronger than the stuff you remember from your hippie days, and therefore should not be legalized -- wait, what?
posted by Crane Shot at 2:31 PM on February 17, 2010 [15 favorites]


They're freezing off the water; it's distillation without calling it distillation. It has the same alcohol level as 'hard' liquor, but they get to be edgy and call it "beer" because of how the laws are written.

Traditional whiskey is just brewed malt, which is also the basis for beer. With beer, they add hops and bottle it straight off the ferment. With whiskey, they don't add hops, and distill it instead, boiling off the water and concentrating the alcohol.

This is just whiskey with hops, distilled by a different method.
posted by Malor at 2:31 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


But is it flammable?
posted by GuyZero at 2:33 PM on February 17, 2010


So does this guy..... Christ....it's me!! Anyway, it adds a whole new meaning to what in Scotland is called a pint of "heavy".
posted by MajorDundee at 2:33 PM on February 17, 2010


beer schnapps.
posted by kaseijin at 2:34 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Speaking as a homebrewer, it's only interesting as a question of yeast management.

Not much yeast to manage at 41% ABV. Homebrewing was never easier!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:37 PM on February 17, 2010


Speaking as a homebrewer, it's only interesting as a question of yeast management.

That's the thing! It would be extremely interesting in terms of yeast management, if indeed they were doing something other than freezing it four times! Any fool can distill by freezing! Any fool can add more hops!

All of this is not to say that I find such a thing unappealing; I'm rather curious to try it, actually. In fact, one of the most interesting whiskeys I've ever had was the first release of Charbay's Double Barrel, which is a beautiful, fascinating, hoppy whiskey, essentially distilled from beer. But seriously, all their talk about "We're doing such new and exciting things with beer!" don't really hold water when what they're doing new and exciting things with is whisky.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:39 PM on February 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


We've had this conversation already, recently. Or rather, had it regarding a beer with an alcohol percentage that would be marginally drinkable.

What the hell is this?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 2:42 PM on February 17, 2010


Sink the Bismarck! is beer, amplified. With the volume turned full up, it is important you that you be careful with this beer and show it the same amount of sceptical, tentative respect you would show an international chess superstar, clown or gypsy.

?!
posted by brundlefly at 2:43 PM on February 17, 2010


By definition, beer is not distilled; this stuff isn't beer.
posted by octothorpe at 2:46 PM on February 17, 2010


all their talk about "We're doing such new and exciting things with beer!" don't really hold water

They should try calming down and putting it in barrels then....seems to work for most brewers....
posted by MajorDundee at 2:49 PM on February 17, 2010



Sink the Bismarck! is beer, amplified. With the volume turned full up, it is important you that you be careful with this beer and show it the same amount of sceptical, tentative respect you would show an international chess superstar, clown or gypsy.

?!


As an international chess clown, I don't see anything wrong with that paragraph.
posted by TwelveTwo at 2:51 PM on February 17, 2010 [5 favorites]


Meh. I think I'll have a Philadelphia Brewing Company Walt Wit, even though it's winter and not really time for wheat beers. I love beer, and I'll try it given the opportunity, but that is really stretching the definition of beer.
posted by fixedgear at 2:55 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Darling, I just had one beer.
Officer, I just had one beer.
Your Honour, I just had one beer.
etc.
posted by Elmore at 2:56 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry, but I am unimpressed by the alcohol level arms-race in beer. I'm far more impressed with a well-balanced and delicious brew that comes in at a paltry 4% than I am at someone's latest Über-Imperial Quintuple Blood Stout that tips-in at a hefty 15% (or whatever.)

Frankly, I have yet to drink any high-alcohol brew that I thought was...delicious. Or, at the very least, something I'd want to ever drink again.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:05 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


That's not Beer. That's Barleywine.
posted by basicchannel at 3:07 PM on February 17, 2010


There's evidence that the Bismarck was scuttled by its crew, rather than sunk by the Royal Navy.

Just sayin'.
posted by tommasz at 3:09 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


A former brewer pointed out to me elsewhere that this is 'beer' mainly by virtue of it being taxed by the Customs and Excise as beer rather than as spirits. If Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs are happy for it to be taxed as beer, then it is by definition beer. Which is silly, but then that seems to be Brewdog's schtick.
posted by Jakob at 3:11 PM on February 17, 2010


SO EXTREME BLAST THUNDERVIOLENCE KICK IT UP A NOTCH

I'm looking to get back into homebrewing. THUNDERVIOLENCE KICK will be the name of my first Imperial.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:12 PM on February 17, 2010


Forty quid in Australian currency equals three slabs.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:24 PM on February 17, 2010


On a related note, the NYT recently ran a fascinating article on the controversy in Scotland surrounding the popularity of Buckfast Tonic Wine.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 3:33 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


A few misconceptions here. First of all, basicchannel, barleywine is a subset of beer. It's not a different product altogether. They're not distilling this in the traditional sense, though they are freezing it to take out the water. An Eisbock is a recognized beer style, though it could be argued that this is so far out of style that it's no longer a beer. I'll leave that debate up to the suits in washington, or wherever.

Because it's a super-eisbock, it's really not very interesting in terms of yeast managment, because their yeast isn't fermenting up particularly high. A beer that is interesting from brewing perspective is Sam Adams' Utopia, which weighs in at 25-27% abv, isn't boosted by freezing. The SA crew has worked for a long time at selecting alcohol-tolerant, high-attenuating yeast strains that can handle the alcoholic environment (which becomes toxic to yeast) and ferment out enough of the sugars to bring the abv up that high. In my opinion, it's a much more impressive feat.
posted by craven_morhead at 3:34 PM on February 17, 2010 [12 favorites]


Trying to be more like potheads who seem to care only about smoking the strongest they can get.
posted by HTuttle at 3:39 PM on February 17, 2010


Forty quid in Australian currency equals three slabs.

Or, you know, a tallie.
posted by GeckoDundee at 3:58 PM on February 17, 2010


Distillation = !Beer
posted by dirigibleman at 4:04 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]



Trying to be more like potheads who seem to care only about smoking the strongest they can get.


That is just logic though with pot. You can smoke less and get just as high, which is good for health and legal reasons.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:16 PM on February 17, 2010


Not quite 40%, but I spent Saturday night drinking Rochefort 10 (11% alcohol) and it was fantastic! That is all.
posted by Popular Ethics at 4:18 PM on February 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's actually Sam Adams Utopias, but yes.
posted by fixedgear at 4:20 PM on February 17, 2010


Metafilter: only interesting as a question of yeast management.

seriously? no one got to it first?
posted by reverend cuttle at 4:25 PM on February 17, 2010


So they made... whiskey with bubbles. I know a lot of home brewers, so this is interesting in a kind of far-out geeky "well HOW WOULD YOU do that" kinda thing, but it's not beer. Let beer be beer, let whiskey be whiskey and we can allhave fun under the tent until we pass out.
posted by The Whelk at 4:28 PM on February 17, 2010


And with regards to other intoxicants, I am a firm believer in levels and appropriateness. Sometimes you want to have a buzz on, sometimes you wanna forget your name rank and serial number. Best to know what's what.

(Also, how does this taste? If it's not just a stunt then taste is a factor..hoppy Whiskey, hmmmmm)
posted by The Whelk at 4:31 PM on February 17, 2010


Now that's a Forty.
posted by bwg at 5:03 PM on February 17, 2010


Just the other day I was enjoying a nice cask conditioned pint of Fuller's London Pride and thinking, "Why isn't this 40% alcohol?"

No, no, wait. That wasn't it. I was thinking "Why can't American craft brewers expend some energy on brewing flavorful lower alcohol beers?" Now, I'm as a big a fan of super-hopped IPAs as much as anyone, but when you start to see "imperial" attached to everything from milds to pilsners to wits, it doesn't seem like it's about making interesting, drinkable beer anymore.

If they ever make homebrewing illegal again I guess I'll have to become an outlaw.
posted by mollweide at 5:10 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Session Beer Project is all about session beers. The author is an aquaintance of mine. It hasn't been updated in a while but he's busy editing a book, blogging about the possible demise of the PA LCB, etc.
posted by fixedgear at 5:18 PM on February 17, 2010


mollweide: Brew Dog are Scottish, not American.

But your point still stands.
posted by flippant at 5:30 PM on February 17, 2010


I was going to buy this, but the shipping would have cost as much as the beer itself. I'll save that money to buy my full allocation of Dark Lord in a couple months.
posted by HumuloneRanger at 5:38 PM on February 17, 2010


I'm pretty sure anything over 13% ABV kills its own yeast...so its basically a beer flavored liqueur...or beer with alcohol added.
posted by samsara at 5:54 PM on February 17, 2010


Malor: They're freezing off the water; it's distillation without calling it distillation. It has the same alcohol level as 'hard' liquor, but they get to be edgy and call it "beer" because of how the laws are written.

Traditional whiskey is just brewed malt, which is also the basis for beer. With beer, they add hops and bottle it straight off the ferment. With whiskey, they don't add hops, and distill it instead, boiling off the water and concentrating the alcohol.

This is just whiskey with hops, distilled by a different method.


While you are correct in stating that Brewdog utilise freeze distillation to achieve the ABVs they do, you are massively overstating the similarity between freeze-distillation and distillation - not only are the processes wildly different, so are the products they produce.

Most notably, it is not true that in water is boiled off during distilling. Alcohol has a significantly lower boiling temperature than water, and it is this fact that is enables distillation. The alcohol is boiled off the mash, and re-condensed in a separate vessel. What this means is that much of the water is left behind, but so are many of the aromatic compounds that give the mash its flavour. The degree to which the resultant liquid is pure of these flavours depends on the method of distillation (column-still/continuous distillation gives purer alcohol than pot-stills, the former used for grain whisky, the latter for malt), the length and angle of the lyne arm on a pot still, and the chaotic fluid dynamic properties of each individual still.

In freeze distillation, the mash is chilled to below the freezing point of water, but above that of alcohol. Ice crystals of theoretically pure water form, and these can be filtered off. This product, however, contains an entirely different, and much fuller, spectrum of the flavours in the original mash (or wort, in this case). This means it should taste like beer (albeit incredibly strong beer) and not whisky.

So while it is 41%, and product of freeze distillation, it is very misleading to label this as simply a hopped whisky. Despite the name, freeze distillation should not be considered a form of distillation per se, but merely another method for separating mixtures.
posted by Dysk at 5:55 PM on February 17, 2010 [8 favorites]


It should also be noted that Brewdog do some excellent beers. I haven't had their Tactical Nuclear Penguin or Sink the Bismarck!, but we had one of the early runs of Paradox at the university ale festival, and it was quite literally the best beer I've ever had. Granted, part of that magic was maturation in Laphroaig casks, but the Isle of Arran and Smokehead versions they do now aren't bad, either. Their Hardcore IPA is very tasty, as well, despite being 9%. Come to think of it, I haven't had a bad Brewdog beer.
posted by Dysk at 6:08 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Anybody else tried Goose Island's Bourbon County yet? I'm halfway through a glass, but I'm still kinda undecided.
posted by box at 6:11 PM on February 17, 2010


I'm pretty sure anything over 13% ABV kills its own yeast...so its basically a beer flavored liqueur...or beer with alcohol added.

We talked about this in the last Brewdog thread, but no. Dogfish Head 120 minute IPA clocks in at around 20%, and they started with Champagne yeast and worked from there. Same with Utopias. They are not freeze 'distilled,' they are most definitely brewed using special yeast strains.
posted by fixedgear at 6:13 PM on February 17, 2010


BrewDog said they were going to bring the world's strongest beer, Tactical Nuclear Penguin, to Pre-ZBF this year, but 2 weeks before the festival, they unveil a new, stronger beer. So will they bring TNP to the fest, or their strongest beer? Or both?

Either way, I'll give it a taste, to say I did as much as for any other reason. But I agree that this is pure spectacle, and less interesting as spectacle than Utopias, which I also feel strains the meaning of "beer."

--

The Philadelphia Brew Co Walt Wit mentioned above is a 4% ABV, crisp, refreshing, Belgian-wheat style beer, made and brewed in America. For anyone looking for low ABV, delicious US-ian beers, it is a great place to start. Row House Red, from the same company, packs a slightly sour, full flavored amber ale brewed with a touch of rye into 5% and only 9$ for 6.
posted by paisley henosis at 6:17 PM on February 17, 2010


Re-reading the Brewdog press releases, there's no explicit mention of freeze distillation. They mention that the beer is "freeze hopped" though, which could involve such a process. There's no guarantee, however - my parents' local brewery manages 12% with no special yeast at all by doing slow fermentation pretty much at the freezing point of the wort.
posted by Dysk at 6:19 PM on February 17, 2010


Flippant, I know they're Scottish. I fear the trend started in the US, though, and it shows little sign of stopping. I believe there are several factors in the UK that discourage this type of alcohol escalation, including the marketplace/real ale drinking culture.
posted by mollweide at 6:44 PM on February 17, 2010


Anybody else tried Goose Island's Bourbon County yet? I'm halfway through a glass, but I'm still kinda undecided.
Yeah. It's a really interesting flavor but as one of the reviewers on 97bottles noted, it just has no business being consumed in 12oz bottles. I tend to split one with a friend; it's just way too intense to enjoy in quantity.
posted by verb at 6:53 PM on February 17, 2010


I'm not a fan of the Goose Island, myself; it's sort of interesting in a lot of ways, but I can't get past the double-pronged attack of sharp alcohol bite and Hershey's-like syrupyness. I seem to be in the minority on this, but to me, it tastes more like a dare than a beer.
posted by Greg Nog at 6:57 PM on February 17, 2010


I'm not a fan of the Goose Island

Sorry, I mean, the Bourbon County Stout, not Goose Island in general, who I feel make a lot of really lovely brews.

posted by Greg Nog at 6:58 PM on February 17, 2010


I like the taste a lot, but it's a little heavy and/or overwhelming (I bet I'd like it better on draft). Kinda the opposite of drinkable, even by imperial stout standards. If I'm going to sip it like this, I might as well be drinking bourbon.

Maybe I'll cellar a couple bottles.
posted by box at 7:11 PM on February 17, 2010


I have a bottle of "Sink the Bismarck" on order, and will be tasting it with friends in the next week or so. It's probably worth a blog entry over here.

NB: we'll be using a measuring jug to decant it in 35ml servings — should get 9 out of the bottle — each of which is equivalent to a standard Scottish whiskey measure in alcohol content (regular whiskey, not cask-strength).

I think three of us can make one bottle last a merry evening. (Two for tipsy, one for acute liver toxicity ...)
posted by cstross at 8:02 PM on February 17, 2010


i've seen brewdog's beers selling for around 16 bucks a bottle - is it really worth it? - there are many truly great beers i can pick up for that price as a six pack - or less

41% alcohol? - hey, if that's what i want, i'll drink jim beam
posted by pyramid termite at 8:29 PM on February 17, 2010


Why do they make it stronger and stronger? The market demands it...

Take a look at the ABV in the top beers on beer advocate...

posted by outsider at 9:32 PM on February 17, 2010


I find it a little odd how seemingly obsessed the british still are with WW2. I mean, their finest hour and all that, but jesus, just grow up a bit.

As for the 'beer', I'm sure it's perfectly disgusting. Strongest beer I've had is 'supershine' c/- Grand Ridge Brewery, at about 13%. Very very rich, you can only sip it. Anythign more than that would likely be disgusting.
posted by wilful at 9:43 PM on February 17, 2010


Why do they make it stronger and stronger? The market demands it...

Take a look at the ABV in the top beers on beer advocate...
Honestly, I think that there's an interesting dynamic at work on most of the beer-rating sites. Odd beers are more interesting to talk about, and ratings and discussions skew heavily towards the extremes. A beer that makes for an interesting "novelty" drink will probably garner more attention (as long as it's widely available) and those interested in seeking it out are more likely to think favorably of it.

That's not to say that the strong stuff isn't good, or that people aren't rating them accurately, but I've done a lot of work with publicly accessible voting systems and the skewing effects you get with sites like that are really brutal. One of the reasons I like 97bottles.com is that it can find you beers that were rated highly by other people who like the same beers you do. Those kinds of correlations end up being a lot more interesting, in the long term, than flat ratings.
posted by verb at 9:44 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Man, that's freeze-distilled. It is distilled fermented barley. As far as I'm concerned, it's hopped whisky. Which is a cool concept and all, but for serious.

Hopped whisky. Made in Scotland. So, does that make it "Hopped Scotch"?
posted by polymath at 10:55 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is a mildly interesting post, but it was widely reported in the UK when they announced it. A far more interesting post would have been about Brewdog themselves.

They released Nanny State (1.1%) recently, but were a bit unhappy with it. As they put it, it was designed to make a statement, and wasn't enough about the beer. They then decided to revisit the low ABV beer niche with a non-stunt beer.

Nanny State 2010
"Our new Nanny State is 0.5% ABV and focuses on being a great drink as opposed to a great publicity ploy. This beer is now focussed on getting all that is good about BrewDog into a practically alcohol free format. It is a West Coast inspired pale ale with a difference!

The beer has 45 IBUS and is brewed with centennial, amarillo, columbus, cascade and simcoe and intensively dry-hopped with centennial and amarillo. The backbone is provided by 8 different types of speciality malts with only 87 kilos of malt used in a 20HL batch (our Punk IPA uses 450 kilos in 20HL)."


Greg Nog: I believe that US citizens can buy shares in Brewdog, this is lifted from their facebook page:

"BrewDog
US Equity for Punks people - you can actually invest. We cannot actively promote this fact however and you just have to be made aware that the share offer is regulated and fully approved under EU security laws and has not been approved by US security laws. If you can live with this then you can invest online at www.equityforpunks.com But hurry"

posted by knapah at 3:48 AM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


"A full out attack on your taste-buds ensues as the incredibly smooth liquid delivers a crescendo of malt, sweet honey, hop oils and a torpedo of hop bitterness which lasts and lasts."

Hmmm... if I'm reading this right and they're adding hop oils, it's not beer. Even Greene King stopped that shit...
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 4:03 AM on February 18, 2010


As far as I know, although I could be wrong, the hop oils referred to there are those left behind after the freezing process, not an additive.
posted by knapah at 4:38 AM on February 18, 2010


For a unique beer experience (if you'll allow that it's still beer, without hops, which is barley wine), try Deus, from Brewery Bosteels, in Belgium. It's brewed and fermented like beer, in Belgium, then shipped off to France for ageing in barrels, and bottled according to the champaign method. Unlike most Belgian beers, this one is intended to be very cold, like champaign. Alcohol 11.5%. Very tasty, quite different. And having drank some, I concluded the name was not over the top too much.
posted by Goofyy at 6:26 AM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is Deus available in Champaign, IL? (j/k)
posted by fixedgear at 6:39 AM on February 18, 2010


I find it a little odd how seemingly obsessed the british still are with WW2. I mean, their finest hour and all that, but jesus, just grow up a bit.

Its more of a pun to the German brewer who made Schorschbock a beer that bested Brewdog's Tactical Nuclear Penguin as the previously held highest ABV. I do like Brewdog's punk IPA and I have a bottle of Paradox that I'm saving.

Garret Oliver, brewmaster at Brooklyn Brewery had the best take on the current extreme beer trend (be it hoppiest or highest ABV)

“The hoppiest beer?” Garrett asked. “It’s a fairly idiotic pursuit, like a chef saying, ‘This is the saltiest dish.’ Anyone can toss hops in a pot, but can you make it beautiful?”


A beer that once held the highest ABV was DogfishHead 120Min IPA, it used to clock in around 20 and they reduced it to about 18%. This is a beer that is very skillfully devised. I can't say anything about Sink The Bismark, but the taste of a 120 is well worth the $10 US you will pay for a single 12 oz bottle. Now that's a beautiful beer!
posted by phirleh at 7:23 AM on February 18, 2010


Besides, it's all about the marketing. (vimeo)
posted by phirleh at 7:27 AM on February 18, 2010


For a unique beer experience (if you'll allow that it's still beer, without hops, which is barley wine), try Deus, from Brewery Bosteels, in Belgium.

I just had a bottle of Kasteel Cru the other day. It seems to use the same method as Deus but produces a normal strength beer (5.2%). I can report that it does indeed taste a bit like champagne. But why would you want a beer that tastes a bit like champagne?
posted by ninebelow at 7:41 AM on February 18, 2010


I don't understand the pedantic "This is not beer, it's xxx" comments. It's beer because it is made from hops and malt. I don't know if it's a very good beer, but I'm all for pushing the envelope. Their regular beers are quite tasty, so it's not like they're a one-trick pony. Why not try something far-out every now and then? The beer world would be boring if we only allowed beers within traditional parameters.

I have spoken to a couple of people who've tasted Tactical Nuclear Penguin, and they both really liked it.

As to why high ABV beers get high ratings, they tend to be more complex because they require more malt and hops to balance out the alcohol. While I wouldn't want to drink a Russian Imperial Stout every day (actually that's debatable), they are certainly more complex in taste and more difficult to brew properly than your average Pilsener or pale ale.
posted by sid at 7:50 AM on February 18, 2010


Kasteel Cru is pretty tasty; another wine-inspired beer is Dogfish Head's Red and White, it's fermented with pinot noir juice and part of the batch is aged in pinot barrels. Tasty, if a little funky, like most of DFH's beers.
posted by craven_morhead at 7:56 AM on February 18, 2010


"Our new Nanny State is 0.5% ABV and focuses on being a great drink as opposed to a great publicity ploy"

I don't think Brewdog is capable of eating a sandwich without trying to turn it into a publicity ploy. I've never had one of their beers, but I see their name in the news all the time. And every time I do the story is about how and why a new beer was made, and never ever mentions how the beer actually tastes.
posted by revgeorge at 8:04 AM on February 18, 2010


I don't understand the pedantic "This is not beer, it's xxx" comments. It's beer because it is made from hops and malt.

Aren't there two schools of thought here? One is the Reinheitsgebot-y one, that says four (used to be three) ingredients only, full stop. The challenge is what kind of flavors can you create with just four ingredients, and the answer is a hell of a lot. The other is the Sam Caliglione school of thought which says push the envelope and anything goes. It's a big world with room for everyone.
posted by fixedgear at 8:10 AM on February 18, 2010


I mean, my pedantry was in regards to the freezing, which I assumed was to remove the water content, thus distilling the beer into whisky.

If the freezing-it-four-times was actually for another purpose, and they acheived the 40% ABV just by yeast selection and management, then yeah, I'm happy to call it beer, and it's quite impressive, from a technical standpoint (and maybe from a taste standpoint, too; I ain't tried this, it could be spectacular).

Though they mention in several places that they do freeze the beer four times during its crafting, they don't say exactly why or what it's doing. I kinda woulda preferred a walkthrough of the brewing process to that HURF DURF GERMANS video, to actually explain what the freezing is all about.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:34 AM on February 18, 2010


revgeorge, that's at least partially because the media like to jump on them for doing interesting things with alcohol. If you read the link I posted to Nanny State 2010, they say this about the new beer:

Big fruity up front and in your face aroma with a Medley of ripe citrus, orange, sherbet lemon, lychee. Herbal and piny edges add a touch of balance. On the pallet the 100% of speciality malts work hard to balance out the barrage of Humulus lupulus we throw at this beer. Amber and crystal malts add some biscuit sweetness which is quickly balanced and overcome with more fruity hop and resinous flavours and then these cleanse the palate and transcend into a long, refreshing and quinine bitter finish.


Rip Tide: A strong, silky smooth imperial stout with a deep, dark ruby appearance. Mocha, bitter chocolate, liquorice and dark cherry flavours prevail, before the balanced, warming and encapsulating finish.

Punk IPA: This 6% trans-atlantic fusion IPA is light golden in colour with tropical fruits and light caramel on the nose. The palate soon becomes assertive and resinous with the New Zealand hops balanced by the biscuit malt. The finish is aggressive and dry with the hops emerging over the warming alcohol.

Of course the marketing is a big factor, but that's the dilemma with being a small brewery awash in a sea of monotony...
posted by knapah at 8:37 AM on February 18, 2010


sid: As to why high ABV beers get high ratings, they tend to be more complex because they require more malt and hops to balance out the alcohol. While I wouldn't want to drink a Russian Imperial Stout every day (actually that's debatable), they are certainly more complex in taste and more difficult to brew properly than your average Pilsener or pale ale.

Actually, to make a decent to good, let alone excellent Pils is one of the hardest feats in brewing; with only a few flavors, all fairly light, there is nowhere to hide a mistake.

Conversely, you can screw an RIS up six ways from Sunday, and just toss it in a bourbon barrel for a while and nobody will notice, because you will have hidden your mistake. With a double IPA, dry hop with more hops until nobody can taste the malt you ruined. Much more wiggle room with bigger beers.
posted by paisley henosis at 8:53 AM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I know you didn't write it, knapah, but pallet for palate makes me crazy, just like rode bikers talking about their breaks. I like how they managed to use both spellings, though.
posted by fixedgear at 9:00 AM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've had the Brewdog Punk IPA, it was a reasonably nice IPA, but they are so self-consciously edgy about the whole thing I am put off buying their beer. I don't want a "post-modern IPA" from "a beacon of non-conformity in a increasingly monotone corporate desert", I just want a nice beer, preferably one that comes in 500ml bottles rather than 330ml ones that cost nearly as much, and there are usually ones from other small breweries available if I feel the need to stick it to the man in some way.
posted by penguinliz at 9:08 AM on February 18, 2010


As an aside, when are we finally going to create a MetaFilter homebrew club?
posted by revgeorge at 10:57 AM on February 18, 2010


I'm in for BrewMeFi.
posted by craven_morhead at 10:59 AM on February 18, 2010


Holy fuck, that would be killer. We could do like the CD-swap, each person sending out five bottles of homebrew through the mail. Oh my. Oh my.
posted by Greg Nog at 12:18 PM on February 18, 2010


Take it to MeTa. I'm too busy to organize these days but I'd be happy to do some bottle exchanges.
posted by revgeorge at 12:27 PM on February 18, 2010


Dammit, I took it to MeTa so I'll put on the organizer hat.
posted by revgeorge at 12:48 PM on February 18, 2010


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