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Sweden’s strongest beer brewed at 18.5 percent

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

Sweden's strongest beer brewed at 18.5 percent

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.

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BEER

Divers find 500-year-old Danish beer barrels in Swedish wreck

Divers excavating the wreck of a medieval warship off the coast of Sweden have found barrels they believe may hold traces of 500-year-old Danish beer.

Divers find 500-year-old Danish beer barrels in Swedish wreck
The beer barrels had been branded with the letter 'A'. Photo: Brett Seymour
The Gribshunden, or Griffen, the flagship of King John of Denmark, sank in 1495 off the coast of Ronneby, southeastern Sweden, while on the way for talks with Swedish separatist forces int he city of Kalmar. 
 
“It's what we would expect but I still think it's quite fun because it gives us an insight to the life on board,” Johan Rönnby, an archeologist from Södertörn University outside Stockholm, told The Local. 
 
“We haven't taken any samples, so we can't 100 percent say that it is beer, but it is most likely that it would be beer on a ship, as water was not that healthy to drink.” 
 
The suspected beer barrels are marked with the letter 'A' and fitted with two stoppers on the lid, which would have enabled easy pouring. 
 
Rönnby's colleague Brendan Foley, a researcher from Lund University, said that the team were currently taking samples from the barrels to determine their contents. 
 
“We're taking sediment samples now and hoping we're going to find DNA evidence of hops,” he said. 
 
“What we're doing is getting a look at not just what the men on the ship were drinking but what King John was taking to Kalmar to impress Sten Sture the Elder.” 
 
Sten Sture the Elder had led Swedish separatist forces to victory against royal unionist forces at the Battle of Brunkeberg in 1471, after which he had become effective ruler of Sweden. 
 
The excavation of the Gribshunden, which is being part-funded by the Lund-based Crafoord Foundation, involves 40 researchers from 10 countries. 
 
The researchers announced the discovery with a press release on Friday. 
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