MUST TRY HIGH ABV BEERS These Beers Pack a Punch
With all due respect to sessionable beer, sometimes we all want to dig in, show our liver who’s boss and indulge in a brew that packs a solid punch. Now, it’s not all about grabbing a buzz, as high-ABV beers usually provide enormous flavor too. Indeed, when brewers want to flex their creative muscles, they often concoct high-octane brews for your pleasure.
Sam Adams | Utopias (22-28%)
Released every two years, this pioneer craft brewery’s finest creation tastes more like a cognac or a port wine than a prototypical beer. Some of the beer blended into Utopias ages more than 20 years in a variety of barrels, which provides considerable booziness along with flavors comprised of nutty oak, toffee, honey, fig, chocolate, raisin, vanilla and spice. And that all gets packaged in one helluva cool bottle.
Dogfish Head | 120 Minute IPA (15-20%)
120 Minute IPA is continuously hopped throughout the boil and whirlpool with copious amounts of high-alpha American hops. If that’s not enough, Dogfish then adds even more dry hops to 120 Minute -- another pallet full. It’s unfiltered, unabashedly hoppy, a little sweet and presents spectacular aromatics.
Evil Twin Brewing | Molotov Cocktail Imperial IPA (13%):
The citrus-laden aromatics are followed by robust hoppiness. Flavors include a Caribbean Island’s worth of fruity notes: mango, orange, grapefruit and more. Throw in some carbonation and this IPA is enough to beat your palate into joyful submission. It’s a great beer to toast the mighty Fins, who used actual Molotov Cocktail bombs to fend off invading Soviets during the ‘39 Winter War.
Goose Island Beer Co | Bourbon County Brand Stout (13.8%)
In 1993, BCBS became the first true bourbon-barrel aged beer, and it’s possibly the most recognizable big beer around. Released every Black Friday to throngs of fans waiting in line, BCBS purchases result in an onslaught of social media posts. It is dark as midnight, dense, has a thick foamy head, and offers fans an intense mix of charred oak, chocolate, vanilla, caramel and a little smoke.
Avery Brewing | Tweak (17.0%)
A coffee stout aged four months in fresh Bourbon barrels; it’s part chocolaty espresso, part stout, part bourbon. Look out though, because Tweak’s masterfully balanced recipe means the high ABV is hidden and it will sneak up on you. Alongside the big flavors are wonderful notes of vanilla, coconut, and charred oak notes. How can something be so robust and contain so much ABV, yet go down like a cold pilsner on a hot day after mowing the lawn? That’s Avery for you.
AleSmith Brewing | Old Numbskull Barleywine (11%)
Old Numbskull is more than a great name; the beer provides generous amounts of rich, caramel and toffee flavors, dark fruit and sublime toasted malt. The sweet malt character of this full-bodied sipper plays harmoniously with the infusion of American hop bitterness and just a touch of booziness resulting in an all-around smooth-drinking big beer. Drink it now, or enjoy it later -- Old Numbskull is even better when, well, it’s older.
Founders Brewing | Backwoods Bastard Wee Heavy (11.2%)
Founders keeps its goodies in a cave below its brewery, and from that cave arises a wee heavy that contains all the loveliness of single-malt scotch, the oakiness of bourbon and the sweet-caramel malt found in a brown ale or porter. Along with the booziness, one gets notes of dark fruit and warming, earthy spices that’s perfect for Scottish-style rainy days.