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Brewdog launches another super-strength beer

Always controversial, UK independent brewer Brewdog now claims to have “snatched victory from the jaws of defeat” by reclaiming the title of ‘brewer of the world’s strongest beer’ from German brewer, Schorschbräu, with a 41% ABV beer named ‘Sink the Bismarck!’.

Just two weeks after Schorschbräu, released its 40% ABV brew Schorschbock, Brewdog, hit back with this IPA priced at £40 for a 330ml a bottle, and only available via the Brewdog website.

James said: "In true BrewDog fashion we've torn up convention, blurred distinctions and pushed brewing to its limits with this audacious amplified ale. With Sink the Bismarck!, we have created a liquid which takes beer to a whole new level. We also wanted to reclaim our world record from the Germans who killed our Penguin. We will fight them in the mash tuns, we will fight them in the fermentation tanks, by golly we'll physically get into the freezers and fight them there if we have to.”

Sink the Bismarck! is a quadruple IPA that contains four times the hops, four times the bitterness and is frozen four times to create a staggering 41% ABV, stronger than whisky and vodka.

In November last year Brewdog tackled controversy head on as they faced criticism from alcohol awareness groups when they launched the 32% Tactical Nuclear Penguin, stealing the record from Germany’s Schorschbräu and its 31% ABV beer. All 500 bottles sold out within days with a new batch due in March 2010.

Determined to keep pushing the boundaries in brewing and retain the world record, Brewdog MD James Watt and co-founder, and BrewMaster, Martin Dickie set about creating the 41% beer using the same technique that was used for Tactical Nuclear Penguin. The beer was put into containers and transported to the cold store of a local ice cream factory where it endured 21 days at penguin temperatures. Alcohol freezes at a lower temperature than water and as the beer got colder BrewDog Chief Engineer, Steven Sutherland decanted the beer periodically. Only ice was left in the container, creating more intensity of flavours and a stronger concentration of alcohol for the next phase of freezing. The process was repeated until it reached 41%. James and Martin decided to name the beer after the famous German Battleship, Bismarck in a reference to their ongoing battle with their European competitors.

Known for their irreverent attitude, and with tongue firmly lodged in cheek, Brewdog has also created a video to launch Sink the Bismarck! which can be viewed on the BrewDog website at Starring founders James, who is fluent in German, and his partner-in-crime Martin, the video shows the guys as a variety of characters including British WWII naval officers and lederhosen-wearing German brewers. The video goes onto show a German chasing a (tactical nuclear) penguin and killing the penguin with a malt shovel before the original BrewDog - Bracken (a real canine pooch) makes an obligatory appearance - in a Navy outfit complete with HMS BrewDog hat.

Speaking on the launch of Sink the Bismarck! James said: “This is the beginning of the craft beer revolution in the UK. We are doing all we can to promote a new and responsible approach to beers in this country. We want the public to learn to understand, appreciate and respect beer. At BrewDog we want to highlight a different approach to beer, one which focuses on quality ingredients and craftsmanship and not marketing budgets and volume sales and binge consumption. Many fall down the monolithic corporate brewers rabbit hole, we are on a mission to open as many people’s eyes as we can. As a company responsible consumption and better education about beer is ingrained in all we do.  Beer has a terrible reputation in Britain, it’s ignorant to assume that a beer can’t be enjoyed responsibly like a nice dram or a glass of fine wine. A beer like Sink the Bismarck! should be enjoyed in spirit sized measures. "

In typical BrewDog style the label comes with a cheeky explanation of Sink the Bismarck’s raison d’etre: 

“Armed with their 40% ABV beer, German brewers have infiltrated our front lines, slipped under the defences and straight onto the radars of you – the noble beer drinkers of the Empire.

”We ask of you to keep calm and carry on whilst saluting the valiant efforts of Tactical Nuclear Penguin whose fall has allowed the German's to recapture the world record for the strongest beer.

“Well, until now that is. The tide has turned and the restoration of our nation’s pride is drawing near.”

Sink the Bismarck! is kettle hopped, dry hopped then freeze hopped for a deeply fruity, resinous and spicy aroma.  The flavours explode into crescendos of malt, honey, sweet alcohol, hop oils, coating hop resins then kick you with a torpedo of hop bitterness."

1 February 2010 - Felicity Murray