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The Strongest Beers In The World, Ranked

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The world of craft beer has always been characterized by its unrelenting pursuit of innovation. It’s an industry in which increasing competition has valued a sense of novelty above all else, initiating a fight to be first at something in order to stand apart from the crowd. For some breweries, this may simply be an effort to create the best-tasting beer possible, but for others, more objective metrics are the best way to be distinguished. And one that’s resulted in some particularly fierce rivalries is the right to the title of the “world’s strongest beer.”

In fact, it’s this such accolade that spawned an arms race between Germany’s Schorschbräu Brewery and Scotland’s BrewDog back in the early oughts. For once the latter had brewed its ‘Tactical Nuclear Penguin’ and laid claim to a seat atop the throne, it was only a matter of time before the Germans responded in kind. What resulted was an intense contest in which each party brought its booziest brew to the table, continuously one-upping each other in the hopes that someone would eventually retire. Of course, the days of such high-octane offerings are largely behind us; drinkers are now primarily concerned with enjoying light craft beers and reaping the benefits of their meager calorie counts. But that’s not to say that the strong stuff is gone for good. Rather, in an effort to cater to your appetite for high-ABV brews, we’ve rounded up a list of the strongest beers available. Read on to find out — just be sure to proceed with caution.

World’s Strongest Beers Breakdown

What Is ABV?

ABV stands for “Alcohol By Volume,” and denotes the amount of alcohol in any sort of beverage. For instance, if you have 100mL of beer at 10% ABV, you’re drinking 10mL of actual alcohol.

What Is IBU?

IBU stands for “International Bitterness Units” and is used to inform you how bitter a beer is, which can be useful when rating hoppier ales. It’s determined by the parts per million of isohumulone from hops that go into the beer itself.

How We Picked

Of course, the aim was the provide you with the best high-ABV brews on the market, but the beer world is riddled with limited releases and seasonal options. As such, we did omit certain bottles if you simply aren’t readily available.

10. Schneider Aventinus Eisbock

Schneider Aventinus Eisbock

12% ABV: Just because Schneider’s Aventinus Eisbock is the lowest-ABV option on our list, doesn’t mean that you should discount it as some weakling wheat beer. On the contrary, for though the alcohol content “only” clocks in at 12%, the brew’s special freezer maturation process ensures that it still packs quite the punch. Smooth in mouthfeel and heavy in body, it offers a palate packed with dark and fruity flavors, including banana, raisin, molasses, brown sugar, as well as caramel. As tempting as it may be to pair it with starchy meals, we’d recommend you go for something more savory like sausage, or even a sweet dessert such as dark chocolate.

Style: Eisbock
IBU: 15
Brewery: Schneider Weisse
Location: Kelheim, Bavaria

9. Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout

Goose Island Bourbon County Stout

12.9% ABV: Each year, Goose Island brews a grip of different seasonal imperial stouts as part of its barrel-aged Bourbon County lineup. Whilst any one of them would be more than qualified to make this list, we felt that the Brand Stout acted as the best representation of what you could expect; after all, it’s the OG. For the latest iteration, Goose Island aged the brew in a mix of bourbon barrels from several different undisclosed distilleries, giving it a complex tasting experience loaded with fudgey flavors and complemented by notes of vanilla and caramel. So, even though it’s an extremely dark (read: pitch-black) pour with a strong whiskey scent, it’s a beer that only gets better as it warms up, meaning chances are pretty good that it’ll have you reaching for more.

Style: Stout
IBU: 60
Brewery: Goose Island
Location: Chicago, IL

8. Evil Twin Molotov Cocktail

13% ABV: Although Evil Twin makes a “Heavy” version of its Molotov Cocktail — adding another 5% ABV — the beer’s limited availability means that it can be pretty tricky to find in stores. That being said, the standard brew that we’ve featured here is much more than the next best thing, as the juicy texture and spicy heat ensure that it’s a big, full-bodied option heaped with hoppy taste. Of course, because of the high alcohol content and generous use of hops, it’s distinctively bitter on the nose and through the palate. But if you can stick with it long enough to enjoy the finish, it’s sure to please with notes of orange peel, pine resin, and malty pumpernickel. Hopheads look no further — this one should be on your list of must-try beers.

Style: Triple IPA
IBU: 80
Brewery: Evil Twin Brewing
Location: Queens, NY

7. American Solera Chet

American Solera Chet

13% ABV: American Solera’s Chet Imperial Stout is another beer that you’ll have to keep your eye out for, as it’s not one you’re likely to find gathering dust on store shelves. And it’s for good reason. Brewed with chocolate, it pours a rich brown with a thick, almost opaque texture. While you might be inclined to think that it’d be overly sweet because of its candied ingredients, the warmth of the coffee and the maltiness of the palate mean that it’s actually quite subtle, and even sippable considering its 13% ABV. Add to that a medium body and a silky smooth mouthfeel, and you have a stout that’s sure to appeal to drinkers of all kinds.

Style: Imperial Stout
Brewery: American Solera
Location: Tulsa, OK

6. Three Floyds Dark Lord Day Russian Imperial Stout

15% ABV: If you want to get your hands on this Russian Imperial Stout from Three Floyds, you’ll have to attend the annual Dark Lord Day festival in Indiana — it’s the only time of year that the titular brew is available. Thankfully, Dark Lord is a beer that more than lives up to the hype, as each vintage combines a supple mouthfeel with a well-rounded flavor profile and a richness unlike anything else on the market. Widely regarded as a ‘whale’ amongst beer collectors, you can either hunt for a bottle on the classifieds or purchase a ticket and pick some up for yourself. $170 might sound steep, but it’s a small price to pay when you consider that it gets you four regular bottles, a random exclusive expression, as well as some Three Floyds swag along with a ticket for entry.

Style: Imperial Stout
IBU: 50
Brewery: Three Floyds Brewing
Location: Munster, IN

5. Avery Brewing Rumpkin Barrel-Aged Pumpkin Ale

16.3% ABV: Okay, so at $15-plus for a single 12oz bottle, Avery Brewing’s Rumpkin is definitely a bit of an indulgence. However, the good news is that this is a beer that’s actually worth the premium you’re paying — it’s easily one of the best pumpkin ales you can buy. At 16.3% ABV, you definitely catch the rum-aging on the nose, but thanks to the delicious, pie-flavored palate, thick, candy-like mouthfeel, and sweet finish, it’s barely even noticeable in the taste. Perfect for cold autumn days, you can scoop this one up annually in limited, rolling releases from August through October.

Style: Pumpkin Ale
IBU: 25
Brewery: Avery Brewing Company
Location: Boulder, CO

4. DogFish Head 120-Minute IPA

Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA

15 to 20% ABV: DogFish Head offers a 60, a 90, and a 120-Minute IPA, and the latter is (naturally) the strongest of the bunch. Clocking in at anywhere from 15-20% depending on the batch, it’s a brew that’s sure to satisfy hopheads because of its high-alpha American hop content and bitter 120-IBU flavor profile. Moreover, due to the extra time spent in the boiling process, DogFish’s offering makes for a unique experience compared to other IPAs. With its dark golden pour, peculiar piney aroma, and medium-heavy body, 120 Minute IPA is sure to change your perception of just how complex an off-the-shelf beer can be.

Style: IPA
IBU: 120
Brewery: Dogfish Head Brewery
Location: Milton, DE

3. Samuel Adams Utopias

30% ABV: Samuel Adams’s Utopias is one of the most highly sought-after seasonal beers in craft brewing, with demand only exacerbated by the biennial release schedule, eye-catching bottle design, and exorbitant $240 asking price. What’s more, each vintage is a true grail of an expression, combining a blend of batches, age statements, as well as maturation methods to deliver a drinking experience that’s completely unto its own. For the upcoming iteration of Utopias, Samuel Adams incorporated 30-year blends, bourbon barrels, and an undisclosed finish.

Style: Strong Ale
IBU: ~45
Brewery: Boston Beer Company
Location: Boston, MA

2. Baladin Esprit De Noel

40% ABV: In addition to being one of the driving forces behind the current Italian craft beer kick, Baladin is also credited with the invention of the Teku tasting glass, so it’s safe to say that the Piozzo-based brewery is well-steeped with experimental initiative. When it comes to the Esprit De Noel, this means that you’re getting an oak-aged, freezer-distilled brew that weighs in at a hearty 40% ABV. A bright straw-yellow in color, it first surprises you with its smoothness, after which it follows things up with a pleasant palate punctuated by notes of woody char and subtle chocolate. It’s a bit on the pricey side at $45 for a 500mL bottle, but the unique flavors and stunning presentation ensure that it’s worth every penny.

Style: Freeze-Distilled
Brewery: Baladin
Location: Piozzo, Italy

1. Brewmeister Snake Venom

Brewmeister Snake Venom

67.5% ABV: Ever since it first hit the shelves back in 2013, Brewmeister’s Snake Venom has reigned as the undisputed world’s strongest beer. And here’s the thing — at 67.5% ABV, it’s not just boozy by brewing standards; it’s also more alcoholic than most liquors on the market. For those drinkers who are daring enough to try Brewmeister’s offering (it actually comes with a warning label) know that your bravery will be well-rewarded. Best enjoyed in small 35ml (1.2oz) shots, it’s far smoother than you’d be inclined to think, and it even offers subtle flavors of fruit, nuts, and spice because of the smoked peat malt and champagne yeasts used in its fermentation.

Style: Barleywine
Brewery: Keith Brewery LTD
Location: Keith, Speyside, Scotland

The Best Cask Strength Bourbons

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If you’re into high-ABV liquor, check out our guide to the best barrel-strength bourbon whiskeys you can buy.