Your round? A pint of extreme beer for me, thanks!

If you thought that Elephant Beer was strong with alcohol content of nigh on 8 per cent, or Chimay was pushing things at 9 per cent, then wait till you see the alcohol content that some U.S. producers have been turning out in recent years.


In a game of big-swinging-dick, one-upmanship, several  breweries have begun producing very high alcohol “extreme” beers.  As Russell Contreras reported in the HuffPost : “In 1993, Koch set a new bar by creating Triple Bock, a beverage with 17.5 per cent alcohol by volume.”  

Upping the ante in the early 2000s, Dogfish Head responded with a high strength India Pale Ale  that went to 22 per cent but which has now been dialled back to a more reasonable 18 per cent. Not good enough, I’m afraid, as Utopia, the latest megabrew from Samuel Adams slams in at a hangover-inducing 27 per cent alcohol.

But you’ll need a big wallet to earn that hangover as Utopia is acknowledged as the most expensive ale in the world at US$150 per bottle. If it came in a six-pack, you’d be forking over the best part of a grand!

Taste wise (and I have little interest in finding out for myself), this beer is supposedly more like brandy than beer. It isn’t carbonated, it is best served at room temperature and it improves with age.

Basically, it’s not really beer, is it?


25 Responses

  1. Unless this stuff follows the old germanic purity laws, I am not up for it. Barley, hops, and water — that’s it.

  2. Why not have a good glass of whisky then?? Couldn’t imagine how “beer” (non-carbonated = beer left in the sun on a hot summer’s day) with an alcohol percentage like that would possibly taste any good…

  3. I’ve been to several breweries here in Colorado and the product doesn’t have the same qualities as beer. Taste and finish are often different. Tastes more like a flat wine. Not really for me.

  4. Seems very special, I wish to have one cup of beer.

  5. Like you say – it’s not even a beer really is it! Why bother and more to the point who forks out that kind of money when you can get a perfectly good pint for a couple of quid!

    • Yep, there’s always a cost-benefit analysis involved in my drinking — I don’t mind spashing out on the odd premium bottle here and there but more often than not enjoyment derived doesn’t quite match my outlay.

  6. I’m curious to try some of these extreme beers but I confess nothing hits the spot like a good British ale. I think that officially means I am an old fart.

  7. Beer’s gross.

    Brandy’s less gross.

    Drink wine.


    Or port.


  8. Sounds awful! Impressive…. But awful, what standards do they have to meet in order to call it beer?

    • Looks like grain, hops, malt and yeast.

      Quoting: “To create Utopias, the brewers at Sam Adams used traditional brewing ingredients including all four types of Noble hops, which add a slightly earthy, herbal taste. The spiciness of the hops really comes alive. In fact, Utopias MMII has even been described by some as almost “fiery” — a fitting description for the strongest beer in history. Beyond the special brand of hops, Utopias features ingredients that truly set it apart from other varieties of beer. Utopias MMII contains caramel and Vienna malts for its rich amber color and several different types of yeast including a variety found in champagne.”

  9. Wow. Somebody let the genie out of the bottle.
    I’m an 11 percenter, but thanks.
    Can I have the beautiful copper decanter when you’re done?

  10. Sam Adam’s Imperial Stout is 9.5% ABV. A four-pack won’t break the bank at around $10.

    I prefer a less stout stout myself.



  11. wow $150usd! Give me the good ole Red Stripe that will contain me good enough.

  12. a 17.5% alch beer – for when you’re just going to have a few?

  13. I see that BrewDog Ltd have come up with one at 32% called Tactical Nuclear Penguin
    Er…. gimmick anyone?

  14. O.o i need one 😛

  15. lol, Jonas you crack me up! Agreed.

  16. it’s actually not a a game of “big-swinging-dick one-upmanship”, but thanks for letting us know what you think of when you’re drinking beer!

  17. Speaking of champagne, has anybody else noticed what a bargain some of the Spanish Cavas are in comparison to Champagnes and Sparkling Wines?

  18. Is it beer 30, yet? I’m ready to crack open a nice bottle of Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale!

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