Most beer aficionados will tell you that a good brew isn’t consumed for the sole purpose of getting tipsy. But lately, people are finding that there are plenty of strong beers out there enticing them to enjoy a little buzz and flavor at the same time. Some beers have such a high ABV that a single bottle will have you blitzed before you even polish off the whole serving.
Right now, there are a handful of truly decadent beers available with astoundingly high alcohol content—some even higher than vodka or whiskey. If you are tired of watered down beers and want something stronger, then you’ve come to the right place.
We have selected 8 beers with some of the highest ABVs available right now. Let’s have a look.
What is ABV? And Why Does it Matter?
ABV stands for “Alcohol by Volume,” and it notes the percentage of alcohol per bottle. For instance, if you have a 12-ounce bottle of beer at 4.0 percent alcohol, it means the bottle contains 0.48 ounces of pure alcohol. The standard is around 0.6 ounces of alcohol, so one bottle of a mainstream beer is typically considered 1 standard alcohol beverage.
While the title of “high ABV” is a bit subjective among beers, there are some brews that are astoundingly high. You may notice that some people think high ABV is 9 to 20%, but we’re not talking about that. We’re talking about the beers with such a high level of alcohol they may as well be called liquor.
7 of the World’s Highest Alcohol Content Beers to Try
Beers with high alcohol content are luxurious—a true journey of flavors that will warm you up right. Allow us to introduce our favorites:
1. BrewDog Sink The Bismark: 41% ABV
Kicking off our list of beers with high alcohol by volume is BrewDog’s classic Sink the Bismark. As an Imperial IPA, it retains its strong hop flavor and bitterness but gets an aroma of alcohol and resin. The golden color will remind you of whiskey—and you should treat every sip as such. The process to give the beer its gloriously spicy flavor involves things like kettle hopping, freeze hopping, and dry hopping. Definitely give it a try.
BrewDog is a Scottish brewery that opened in 2007 by two guys who were tired of industrial beers and wanted something different. In their second year of business, BrewDog was already the largest independent brewery in Scotland. Now, their beers are enjoyed throughout the world. The people behind BrewDog also do some amazing work, such as donating to charities (like making hand sanitizer for hospitals during COVID-19) and making their breweries carbon negative.
BrewDog has two other high ABV beers for you to try: Tactical Nuclear Penguin at 32% ABV (described as a beer with “a soul and a purpose”) and The End of History at 55% ABV. Both are available in Scotland but can be shipped to other locations, so you can try all of BrewDog’s beers no matter where you are in the world.
2. Evil Twin Brewing Molotov Cocktail Heavy: 17.2% ABV
While this Evil Twin beer has the lowest ABV on this list, that doesn’t mean you should take it lightly. Consider this a great beer to introduce yourself to the world of high ABV brews. It’s an Imperial IPA with a lot of punchy flavor, like hops, mango, caramel, and malt. Poured in a glass, the head dissipates quickly, leaving a dark amber beer with zero carbonation (a normal thing for beers with higher alcohol content).
On the tongue, it’s an explosion of flavor, then one of malt and some alcoholic heat. It feels thick and slightly grainy but not in a bad way. No wonder Evil Twin calls this beer “by far one of the most anti-authoritative beers ever made.” It’s nothing like you’d expect.
Evil Twin originated in Denmark by a former schoolteacher, but since it is considered a gypsy brewery, it doesn’t have a single headquarters but instead collaborates with breweries around the world to make limited-edition and seasonal beers. Evil Twin Brewing recently opened a real brewery and tap room in Queens, NYC in 2019, so you can opt to take a road trip to try Molotov Cocktail Heavy out.
3. Schorschbräu Schorschbock 43%: 43% ABV
Schorschbräu, a German brewery, has some of the strongest (and most expensive) beers in the world. So if you consider yourself something of a connoisseur, then the 43% brew should be on your list of beers to try. The Schorschbock 43% has quickly made a name for itself as being atypical. It’s technically an amber ale, but it is nothing like you would expect. The beer is fruity on the tongue but is very tart at the end.
Schorschbräu only releases 450 bottles of its 43% ABV beer a year, and it comes in a stylized bottle. It’s a bit of a collector’s item, and it will never go stale.
Want something a bit stronger? Try Schorschbräu Schorschbock 57%. The lager’s ABV rating of 57% is as impressive as how quickly you get tipsy. The flavor is similar to the 43% brew but with more fizz, herbs, and earth.
4. Baladin Espirit de Noel: 40% ABV
Italy may be more famous for its wines and meats, but it also churns out some award-winning beers. Case in point: Baladin’s Espirit de Noel. This beer is one of a kind. With a dizzying 40% ABV and a chocolate-covered aftertaste, you will feel like you are drinking your dessert instead of a beer. No wonder Baladin markets it as “spirit” instead of beer.
Espirit de Noel was bottled in 2011 and comes in a wine bottle. It gives off a faint amber color, so don’t be shocked if some people think you’re pouring them a class of pinot grigio. Served it chilled to taste the complete flavor profile.
Baladin has some amazing history, too. Originating in 1996 as a brewpub in the small village of Piozzo, but Teo Muzzo, the founder, moved the brewery several times to accommodate for the business’ growing popularity.
5. Sam Adams Utopias: 29% ABV
Although Sam Adams is a well known brand in the US and beyond, it has a surprisingly vast array of beers that cater to all palates. Utopias is an alcohol-soaked masterpiece with a rich ruby color that is as lovely to look at as it is to drink. Not only that, but the container the beer comes in is absolutely stunning (hello, Instagram).
Newer batches of Utopias have been blended with earlier versions—some over 20 years old. The beer is also aged in wood barrels of various types, including some that once held Moscato wine and Scandinavian aquavit. Utopias also is made by freeze hopping but rather what Sam Adams calls “ninja yeast.”
Regardless of how it’s made, Utopias is bound to become a favorite of yours after the first try.
6. Brewmeister Armageddon: 65% ABV
Looking for a smooth German Eisbock? Brewmeister’s Armageddon might have 65% ABV per 330 mL, it is amazingly silky in the mouth. Armageddon is bound to instill images of a lit fireplace on a winter night—dark, smoky, and warm.
Brewmeister Brewery (Keith Brewery LTD) is from Scotland, like BrewDog, but operates out of Keith. The brewery began with a student loan, and Armageddon was the first beer to stock the shelves. The beer’s alcohol content is a result of fractional freezing, which cools the beer to a temperature where water is frozen but alcohol is not. From there, the ice is removed, leaving alcohol behind.
Brewmeister says that Armageddon is flavors like bubblegum and caramel, and most drinkers would agree. If you are up for trying something unique, then Armageddon will blow your mind.
7. Brewmeister Snake Venom: 67.5% ABV
This is the world’s strongest beer. At 67.5% ABV per 12-ounce bottle, you can expect a strong, boozy aroma and a bit of an after-burn with every sip that is reminiscent of whiskey or tequila. This is definitely not a beer for chugging, and Brewmeister even puts a warning on the label. The flavor profile is everything you would expect from Brewmeister: sweet, fruity, nutty, and smoky.
And while Snake Venom makes no attempt at masking its alcohol, it is unmistakably and unapologetically beer.
Understandably, Snake Venom is one of the most expensive beers per bottle on this list. So make sure you are ready for it!
Sometimes, you want a strong beer with a punch. The beers in this list have a very high ABV percentage, some the equivalent of liquors. There will be no forgetting just how many beers you’ve had when you pop the cap off one of these beers!
If you are going to try these high alcoholic content beers, please do so responsibly—and don’t drink and drive.