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Would the highest alcohol percentage be things like bud light or something resembling an ale?

  • @nhinkle cant a guy have a wondering mind? – user4737 Nov 19 '15 at 0:59
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    A wondering mind is great, I'm just saying that it might not be wise to post about beer from an account with your name on it when you're under age. There's nothing preventing you from creating an anonymous account to ask questions you'd rather not have associated with your identity. Remember that on the internet nothing ever truly goes away! – nhinkle Nov 19 '15 at 1:01
  • "light/lite" beers are so deginated because they don't have as many calories. Alcohol has calories, so lowering the alcohol lowers the calories. Here in Utah many lite beers don't have to be changed to conform to our 3.2 laws for beer sold outside of "State Liquor Stores". – Eric Deloak Nov 27 '15 at 17:41
  • There is a max of natural (not concentrated) beer as at a certain alcohol level the bugs that produce the alcohol die. – paparazzo Feb 28 '16 at 22:31
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Strange question, but here goes: No, on both.

Explanation: To make a beer strong requires a LOT of ingredients and of these the ones that provide sugars for the yeast are most important. The large volume of ingredients means that the beer will (usually) have complex malt flavours.

Mashing: We immediately run into a problem: You can only get so much sugar out of malt. So you use all sorts of tricks to get the most out of your malt.

Boiling: To increase the sugar content the brewers add sugars to the wort. Next problem: too much sugar and the beer does not taste very good and fermentation problems are a possible problem. (Sugars can also be added to the fermentation). Another trick is to concentrate the wort by boiling for a longer period. The water evaporates, but the sugars and other ingredients stay in the wort. Note that a large amount of hops is required to balance all the sugars.

Fermentation: High gravity beers are notoriously difficult to ferment. The biggest problem is that the alcohol in the beer becomes so much that it poisons the yeast. So, you need a yeast that is "strong" enough to work in these harsh conditions. You will often find that brewers will mix strains, starting with a lager, then going to ale, then to champagne or wine yeast. Most "normal" yeasts will (with help) get you a product of 15-20% ABV. Stronger yeasts can go higher than 20%, but not much further.

Post Fermentation: Lest assume that you ended with a naturally fermented product of 20%. Fermentation is complete and your yeast is dead. The alcohol kills any other yeast that you add. What next? Ice concentration! This process is seen as a form of distilling. You put your fermenter in a freezer and scoop out the ice crystals. As water freezes before alcohol, the alcohol in the beer increases. Stronger beer! But the penalty is that you use a lot of flavour and aroma during this process.

The final product: A boozy, typically malty, bready, product, usually on the sweeter side. The body tends to be heavy. Hops is usually low to none, unless the beer was dry-hopped post concentration.

Here is a list of the strongest beers: http://www.beertutor.com/beers/index.php?t=highest_alcohol

  • And you have heat distilling but not something that would like yield tasty results. – paparazzo Dec 31 '15 at 23:33
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    @Frisbee I would argue that once you start getting into distillation, you're no longer working with beer. In my mind, distillation equals liquor. – MattDMo Feb 28 '16 at 21:46
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    @MattDMo Agree but it would more be call fortified like a MD 20 20. They have iced bear that is kind of like fortified and still called beer. – paparazzo Feb 28 '16 at 22:29
  • I think the major difference between those two techniques is that the one removes everything apart from the alcohol, the other concentrates the alcohol, whilst keeping (most) of the flavors. – Atron Seige Feb 29 '16 at 7:14

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