Spitzbergen Ale

In late 2009 and early 2010 Scottish brewer Brewdog engaged in a tit for tat battle of super strength beers with German brewer Schorschbrau. First came a 32% abv beer from Brewdog, named Tactical Nuclear Penguin. Schorschbrau followed up with 40% Schorschbock, which Brewdog quickly trumped, in February 2010, with Sink the Bismarck, a beer that came over the horizon at an astonishing 41% abv.

At the time, these freeze distilled beers seemed like something new, but there is a precedent from almost 400 years earlier, recounted by William Scoresby Jr., in his Account of the Arctic Regions (1820). Perhaps one of these two brewers might like to try the following:

Seven Dutch sailors who wintered in Spitzbergen in the year 1633-4, were exposed to such a degree of cold, that as early as the 13th October, casks of beer placed within eight feet of the fire froze three inches thick, and soon afterwards became almost entirely consolidated. In all cases of beer, ale, wine and spirits freezing, it may be observed, that the aqueous parts only freeze so as to become solid; whereby, even in ale or beer, the liquor becomes concentrated in the centre, until almost as strong as spirits.

When you think about it, there is only one way Scoresby could have known that.

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