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what's the strongest beer I can buy off the shelf?

LuluTheMagnificent Nov 11, 2006 08:59 PM


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  1. Josh RE: LuluTheMagnificent Nov 11, 2006 09:14 PM

    I believe Duvel is 11%, and is pretty widely available.

    If you're in California, you might be able to find AleSmith. Their Speedway Stout is 11%. They also have a Scottish ale, Wee Heavy, that's also around 12%. Barleywines get up to 14%.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Josh
      Stiv RE: Josh Nov 12, 2006 05:58 PM

      Duvel is 8.5% abv, a strong beer to be sure, but not even close to the strongest beer available.

      AFAIK, the strongest beer ever available off the shelf is Boston Beer Company's Utopias (25 % abv) as another poster already suggested.

      1. re: Stiv
        Josh RE: Stiv Nov 12, 2006 08:04 PM

        Thanks for correcting that. I don't why I thought it was 11%.

        However, I wasn't saying it's the strongest beer available. I simply said it's one of the strongest that is WIDELY available. Utopias may well be the strongest beer out there, but that doesn't do much good if you can't purchase it. FWIW I've never once seen it for sale, and I have some pretty well-stocked beer purveyors in my area.

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      Luwak RE: LuluTheMagnificent Nov 11, 2006 09:55 PM

      Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (Milton, Delaware)makes some amazing (and expensive) brews: their World Wide Stout is 18% alcohol, 120 Minute IPA is 21%!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Luwak
        GraydonCarter RE: Luwak Sep 20, 2010 05:56 PM

        << 120 Minute IPA

        Yum! Dogfish Head bartenders serve it in a small snifter... probably 6 oz?

      2. j
        jkent RE: LuluTheMagnificent Nov 11, 2006 11:02 PM

        It depends on the laws of your state, and on what the distributors carry. As Luwak said, there are a number of "beers" being made now that exceed 15%, but they are prohibited in some states, and expensive. Some types that tend to be among the highest are imperial or double stouts, imperial IPAs, and Belgian tripels. These brews are usually only found in stores that have a wide variety of craft brews. If you're talking about beers that are available in every store that sells beer, you're probably not going to find anything above 7% or maybe 8% abv. Most of the mass-market American beers are about the same, in the 5% range. There is some info on state-by-state rules at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcohol_...

        1. e
          ergozum RE: LuluTheMagnificent Nov 12, 2006 01:11 AM

          It depends on your demographic... Dogfish Head makes a beer so strong, in Oregon they've scribbled out the alcohol content! I think it's a barley wine?

          1 Reply
          1. re: ergozum
            PDXpat RE: ergozum Nov 13, 2006 07:18 PM

            I believe this is because Oregon discourages (prohibits?) displaying the alcohol content of beers on their labels.

          2. c
            Chicago Mike RE: LuluTheMagnificent Nov 12, 2006 09:08 AM

            World Wide Stout comes in at around 18%. That stuff is smooth as port, delicious with a major punch. Serve it as an after-dinner drink to your wine friends and they'll swear it's a semi-dry port.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Chicago Mike
              esg101 RE: Chicago Mike Dec 29, 2006 12:50 AM

              Chicago Mike, Can you buy the World Wide Stout at Sam's or Binny's? I can, almost, taste it and feel the buzz now.

            2. t
              Truh RE: LuluTheMagnificent Nov 12, 2006 02:57 PM

              Hard to find, and usually retailing for $120+ a pop, Sam Adams Utopias clocks in at 25% abv.

              1. jbyoga RE: LuluTheMagnificent Nov 12, 2006 03:13 PM

                EKU 28....not sure if it it still around but a yummy, syrupy (in a good way) brew...

                1. l
                  LuluTheMagnificent RE: LuluTheMagnificent Nov 12, 2006 06:34 PM

                  I'm in Los Angeles, where should I go to find some of these? I also hate a real bitter beer. If that matters.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: LuluTheMagnificent
                    Josh RE: LuluTheMagnificent Nov 12, 2006 08:07 PM

                    If you're in LA, I'd suggest looking for AleSmith beers. Look for either Wee Heavy or Horny Devil. Both are high alcohol content, but more on the sweet/malty end (i.e. not bitter). AleSmith is a San Diego brewery, but I know their stuff makes it to LA. Whole Foods might carry it.

                    1. re: LuluTheMagnificent
                      Diana RE: LuluTheMagnificent Nov 13, 2006 07:12 PM

                      Vendome. red Carpet in Glendale, Wine House..all MAY have Utopias, whcih is a sipping beer better than a fine brandy. It's hard to get, but worth it.

                      1. re: LuluTheMagnificent
                        RallyMonkey RE: LuluTheMagnificent Nov 29, 2006 01:36 AM

                        You can get Duvel at any upscale liquor store. btw, It's not bitter.

                      2. therealbigtasty RE: LuluTheMagnificent Nov 12, 2006 07:15 PM

                        Another one, Samichlaus, is somewhere around 14 percent. It used to hold the title of world's strongest beer, but it looks like some microbrews are taking that title.

                        I bought a Samichlaus once and it was just plain nasty. The only beers that succeed in strength without being nasty are Belgian, in my humble opinion.

                        In Brugge I spent five hours in a beer bar and drank fifteen beers...best experience of my life.

                        My beer for the last three was a Rochefort Trappistes 14 percenter, I believe.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: therealbigtasty
                          Jim Dorsch RE: therealbigtasty Nov 13, 2006 03:29 AM

                          Samichlaus is pretty interesting IMO. I don't care for EKU 28, which is so syrupy it sticks to my lips.

                          1. re: therealbigtasty
                            speshulk99 RE: therealbigtasty Nov 23, 2006 10:42 AM

                            When you were in Brugge, did you spend some time @ de Beir Tempel? I spent about 2 hours there last March and sampled many beers, one of my favorites was Brugge Zot. BTW, there is a beer festival in St. Niklaas, Be. the first weekend in March. This will be my 7th year that I go there for Belgian beers and a good time. Cheers!!!

                            1. re: speshulk99
                              therealbigtasty RE: speshulk99 Jan 4, 2007 04:48 PM

                              I think it must've been that bar. Apparently that place is pretty famous, I ran into another guy that had been there.

                              Is the Beir Tempel the one off the main road in the little tiny side street, pretty unassuming small place with like three hundred beers?

                              God, I love that place. They gave me my first Gueze...

                          2. l
                            LuluTheMagnificent RE: LuluTheMagnificent Nov 13, 2006 01:03 AM

                            Ok. I am going to look for this AleSmith beer. Will keep you posted. Thanks for the help.

                            1. c
                              ChewFun RE: LuluTheMagnificent Nov 13, 2006 01:04 PM

                              It's not especially strong in the alcohol department, but if you define strong as taste, then go for Aecht Schwaengerle Rauchbier from Bamberg. It's a smoked beer and tastes like hickory smoked bacon. Under the right circumstances, it's delicious.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: ChewFun
                                therealbigtasty RE: ChewFun Nov 14, 2006 07:46 AM

                                I love Rauchbier!

                                1. re: ChewFun
                                  LStaff RE: ChewFun Nov 16, 2006 02:11 PM

                                  I'm sorry, but you got me rolling with Aecht Schwaengerle. I googled it to make sure it was some Bamberg brewery I'm not aware of, and this post on Chowhound is the only result! Congrats on your originality.

                                  I think you mean Schlenkerla though. Again, sorry for laughing at your error, but for some reason it strikes me as really funny.

                                2. l
                                  LuluTheMagnificent RE: LuluTheMagnificent Nov 15, 2006 01:14 AM

                                  my car has been in the shop and my internet has been down. lol! I will be heading over to Vendome and looking for stuff on this list tomorrow and will report back. Thanks!

                                  1. s
                                    strukljv RE: LuluTheMagnificent Nov 22, 2006 09:19 PM

                                    The Dogfish Head beer as previously suggested is really good. On top of being really tasty it's also widely available as far as I know. I've seen it in the Kroger (supermarket chain) around my area (in VA), though the 120 min is rare. I do know that the 90 minute is pretty heavy, easier to find, and packed with alcohol. Good luck!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: strukljv
                                      Josh RE: strukljv Nov 22, 2006 10:54 PM

                                      Alas, Dogfish Head is relatively rare here in So Cal. Few places have it at all.

                                    2. l
                                      limey RE: LuluTheMagnificent Nov 28, 2006 06:14 PM

                                      Keep in mind the difference between the 2 alcohol measurement systems.

                                      Alcohol by weight and alcohol by volume.
                                      ABV = ABW X 1.25 or ABW = 0.8 X ABV (for the same amount of alcohol content).

                                      So a 10% ABW beer = 8% ABV beer.

                                      Most world beers are measured by ABV which appears as a lower %value but is equal to the higher ABW system. This has caused much confusion over the real difference in strength between US and Canadian beer as some US beers are measured as ABW.
                                      A 4% ABW beer = 3.2% ABV and a 4% ABV beer = 5% ABW a difference of 1.8% or 36% !!! But in reality its not the beer quality but the way its measured.
                                      Apparently more and more US beers are being brewed to ABV values.

                                      Hope this helps....


                                      1. JessKidden RE: LuluTheMagnificent Nov 28, 2006 06:57 PM

                                        "Most world beers are measured by ABV which appears as a lower %value but is equal to the higher ABW system."

                                        Uh, you got that backwards (but your formula is correct).

                                        "Alcohol by Weight" produced the lower figure, since alcohol is lighter than water and, so, by weight, is a smaller percentage of the total than by volume.

                                        But, as you note, most US beers that list alcohol content on the label (in states that allow it) now use "Alc./Vol." so all the math in no longer necessary.

                                        1. l
                                          limey RE: LuluTheMagnificent Nov 28, 2006 11:12 PM

                                          exactly what I said, you need a higher number ABW to match an ABV beer ie. 1.25 more for the same alcohol content.

                                          ABW is lighter so the % has to be 1.25 higher.
                                          So for a beer match, a 4% ABV beer has to be matched with a 5% ABW beer, which to an observer unfamiliar with the difference looks like a smaller value, even though they are equal.

                                          I think this topic gets a little confusing depending on how you word your point.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: limey
                                            ted RE: limey Nov 30, 2006 12:44 PM

                                            limey- your formula's right, but your conclusion is off. A lower ABW beer is equivalent to a higher ABV beer. GA's old 6% ABV limit is roughly equivalent to AL's (unfortunately still in place) 5% ABW limit for beer.

                                            1. re: limey
                                              Luwak RE: limey Dec 1, 2006 04:22 PM

                                              OK, for the sake of clarification, I propose the following scenario: I have two bottles of beer of identical volume. One is labeled "10% ABW," the other is labeled "10% ABV." Which one will leave me more inebriated after consuming its entire contents?

                                              1. re: Luwak
                                                Jim Dorsch RE: Luwak Dec 1, 2006 11:07 PM

                                                10% ABW (which is approx 12.5% ABV)

                                            2. onlytwomuses RE: LuluTheMagnificent Nov 29, 2006 01:52 PM

                                              Don't know if this is widely available; in NE it is. Fin Du Monde, a Quebec-made beer.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: onlytwomuses
                                                Jim Dorsch RE: onlytwomuses Nov 29, 2006 11:08 PM

                                                It's available, but nowhere near the strongest beer sold.

                                              2. onlytwomuses RE: LuluTheMagnificent Nov 30, 2006 12:00 PM

                                                Jim, you're absolutely right, 9% abv I think. It sneaks up on ya, but not as hard as some. But I like the crispness and the aroma. A lot of the higher alcohol beers I've tried give me the Old English aftertaste, but that could be just my palate.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: onlytwomuses
                                                  Jim Dorsch RE: onlytwomuses Nov 30, 2006 12:13 PM

                                                  I don't particularly care for ultrastrong beers either. I'd rather nurse a few lesser beers over a period of time.

                                                2. k
                                                  katienhoj RE: LuluTheMagnificent Dec 4, 2006 09:42 PM

                                                  Can anyone tell me where to buy the Sam Adams Utopia for 200$ or less?

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: katienhoj
                                                    Diana RE: katienhoj Dec 29, 2006 04:39 PM

                                                    Nowhere. Utopias is never $200 or under. The best bet if you can't afford it is to find someone with a bottle and figure out a way to get a taste.

                                                    1. re: katienhoj
                                                      deepsouth RE: katienhoj Sep 17, 2010 02:30 PM

                                                      i bought two bottles this year. one was $165 and the other was $190. i bought one from the guy who owned the liquor store adn the other from a guy who worked in a liquor store.

                                                    2. JessKidden RE: LuluTheMagnificent Dec 29, 2006 04:59 PM

                                                      Never under $200? IIRC, the original suggested retail price for Utopias was in the $100-150 range. And, since it wasn't released at all in 2006, most of the bottles around now are going for well above the original price due to rarity and, in some cases, having been bought and re-sold for "investment" purposes (eBay sellers, etc). Seems I read recently that a new release is planned for 2007 (no report of a price change) and, no doubt, some retailers will jack the price up.

                                                      1. p
                                                        paleogeek RE: LuluTheMagnificent Jan 11, 2007 03:23 PM

                                                        just bought ~20% abv Dogfish Head 120minute IPA in Central Market in Houston.

                                                        1. s
                                                          Sonofgoose RE: LuluTheMagnificent Sep 17, 2010 12:50 PM

                                                          I had a, thats just one, Goose island Bourbon County last night, 13% ABV, knocked my dick in the dirt, WOW!! Co-worker bought it at the grocery store in Wausau, Wis. Oh, after tax, $20.04/4 pack.

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