In 2008, German brewer Schorschbräu fired the first shot in what became an epic beer war. The initial volley? A 31 percent ABV beer known as the Schorschbock. At the time, it was the strongest beer on Earth.
The distinction would not last.
A Scottish brewery, BrewDog, returned fire on the Germans with its Tactical Nuclear Penguin––a 32 percent imperial stout––only 11 months later. Undeterred, the Germans went to work on their signature Schorschbock and managed to up the ABV to a whopping 40 percent.
For the next couple years, the rival breweries went tit for tat in the low 40s. But in 2010, the Scots escalated this beer war to even weirder levels with End of History––a 55 percent ABV beer that cost upwards of $1,000 a bottle and came in actual stuffed squirrels. Seriously. From brewer to taxidermist.
As you try to forever erase that picture from your mind, we’ll let you know that Schorschbräu eventually reclaimed the coveted title with a 57.5 percent Schorschbock in 2011.
Since then, Schorschbräu and BrewDog have seemingly agreed to a brewing ceasefire. But this year, the bitter rivals decided to do the unthinkable: join forces to collaboratively brew the “world’s strongest beer.”
Brewed in the Schorschbräu facility in Germany, the Scots sent over a barrel of their 26 percent ABV Death or Glory, which had been aged in a Scotch whiskey cask for 10 years. While the brewing collaboration was supposed to happen in-person, COVID-19 forced the brewers to work together over Zoom.
This is the story of how we made the strongest beer in the world.
— James Watt (@BrewDogJames) September 17, 2020
Despite the obstacles, the brewers were able to accomplish the goal and top their previous ABV records with a 57.8 percent beer, Strength in Numbers. Unsurprisingly, bottles of the “world’s strongest beer” collaboration sold out in less than 24 hours.
The Schorschbräu/BrewDog beer war has been long, strong and at times, flat-out strange, but this 57.8 percent ABV collaboration marks the successful and peaceful conclusion. Apparently, there really is Strength in Numbers.
As for how the world’s strongest beer actually tastes? This Youtube beer reviewer gives us a virtual taster.