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Sweden's strongest beer brewed at 18.5 percent

Sweden's strongest beer brewed at 18.5 percent

Published: 22 Sep 2010 12:15 GMT+02:00
Updated: 22 Sep 2010 12:15 GMT+02:00

Microbrewery Sigtuna Brygghus near Arlanda airport has brewed Sweden's strongest beer ever with 18.5 percent alcohol content.

The limited edition Sigtuna Ace of Spades Imperial Stout is brewed with fresh figs, dates, raisins and heather honey. An additional 2.5 kg of dark chocolate from Ecuador and star anise are added to the brew, which uses Columbus and green bullet hops.

"I got the idea to brew Sweden's strongest brew from other breweries from around the world, like Scotland's BrewDog, which has brewed 55 percent, 41 percent and 32 percent beers," head brewer Mattias Hammenlind told The Local. "They also have a beer called Tokyo which is also an Imperial, a similar style."

He added, "We settled at 18.5 percent. Above that is a little bit too much. I want it to be drinkable."

The new brew is only slightly higher than Sweden's previous strongest brew at 17 to 17.5 percent. The brewery has made 1,500 bottles that will be available starting next Friday at the Stockholm Beer and Whisky Festival. After this batch, they will give the brew a rest until June or July next year to be ready for November and Christmas sales.

"We first fermented it with a British ale yeast strain to about 13 percent ABV, then added 25 kg of muscovado sugar and fermented it again with an American super-high gravity yeast," Hammenlind told BeerSweden.se. "Then we matured it in steel tanks with French oak chips (heavy roast) for three months."

Hammenlind joined the brewery last year. In his spare time, the brew master is also a drummer in the band SuperJudge.

"My brewing style is a mix of classical British and US innovation," he told BeerSweden.se. "All our beers at Sigtuna have a distinctive character of their own, but every one is made with the emphasis on quality, complexity and taste."

The brewery is located in a business park 3 kilometres from Stockholm Arlanda airport. In 2008, the brewery produced 35,000 litres of beer, a volume that doubled to 100,000 litres last year and is expected to reach 250,000 this year. Hammenlind added the brewery can increase capacity to 1 million litres a year.

Vivian Tse (vivian.tse@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:53 September 22, 2010 by balbright
Now if only the stupid laws could be changed so that consumers could actually buy this beer. Swedish micro's are pumping out some good stuff that never hits the systemet shelves. Sure I could privately order, but maybe I don't want a case of 18.5% brew. Sure I may be able to find it in one of the few bars around Sweden that carry something other than Carlsburg, but I'd rather not fork out 400:- for a pint. 150 - 200:- though I could handle for the novelty and enjoy in the comforts of home.
13:56 September 22, 2010 by Åskar
What makes you think that it has anything to do with Swedish laws?
15:18 September 22, 2010 by Swedesmith
Is it beer or cleaning fluid?
16:17 September 22, 2010 by anglesaxon
stout or porter,ive never been able to tell the difference.a good brew from uk is theakstons old peculier @ 5.6% but my favourite is coopers stout@ 7% from oz none of which i can get from the system ball ache. the best swedish one is copparbergs, but can never f***kin well find any,but the carnegie is ok,better than guinness.why cant we have pubs here like in uk & oz,with reasonable priced ale?
16:47 September 22, 2010 by crofab
I wish I could try this beer!
16:47 September 22, 2010 by ricenbeans
anybody want great beer at a reasonable price that you dont have to go to systembolaget for? be independent and make your own!
17:08 September 22, 2010 by riose
@ricenbeans

Or sail to Tallin, like real pirates do!
17:41 September 22, 2010 by spo10
i hope it'll be on Systembolaget soon! just in time for Christmas when it's utterly boring. i could sleep the day off by then :D
17:56 September 22, 2010 by ricenbeans
lol. yarr matey, prepare the longboat, eesti´s booty will be ours by sundown. you like that? thats a viking pirate.
18:40 September 22, 2010 by Michael Whitfield
If this Sigtuna Ace of Spades is anything like Gotlandsdricka, it it worth checking out. Leave it to the Swedes to come up with something unique.
20:04 September 22, 2010 by wxman
This is actually relatively low in alcohol content compared to other micro imperial beers being brewed around the world these days. The Scots have an ale that was recently released that is actually up around 40% ABV. That's whisky strength!
08:46 September 23, 2010 by Åskar
@Michael Whitfield

I don't think it has anything to do with Gotlandsdricka whatsoever. That is a singularly unique thing.

@wxman

But it wasn't fermented to that strength. It was distilled, although not by heat. They froze it to separate the water from the alcohol.
22:50 October 1, 2010 by Mr. Puppy
I want some high-THC mary jane at Systembolaget. So does Swedish author Birgitta Stenberg.
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