Strong beer styles

The Signal - - FOOD & ENTERTAINMENT - By Rob McFer­ren Rob McFer­ren is the owner of Wolf Creek Restau­rant & Brew­ing Co.

One of the many things a brewer has con­trol over when brew­ing beer is how much al­co­hol the fin­ished brew has.

There are of­fi­cial style guide­lines that will give a range of what a cer­tain beer style should fall into and brew­ers will ad­just their recipes so that the style they are brew­ing will be in that range. Some of these strong beer styles have been around for quite some time and oth­ers are fairly new.

The fac­tors that will de­ter­mine the al­co­hol content of the beer are the amount of su­gar the brewer pro­duces from the grain when brew­ing their beer and, to some ex­tent, the yeast strain they choose to pro­duce the al­co­hol. Nor­mally, the more grain the higher the al­co­hol but it also de­pends on the con­cen­tra­tion of the sug­ars pro­duced. The brewer can also add ad­di­tional sug­ars such as honey, maple syrup or brown su­gar just to name a few. Fer­ment­ing a beer with fruit can also con­trib­ute su­gar, which could in­crease the al­co­hol content.

Some of the beer styles that have a long his­tory are “Bar­ley­wine” ( a very malty and some­times hoppy ale that orig­i­nated in Eng­land), Bel­gian-style ales such as “Tripel” and “Quadru­pel,” Ger­man Dop­ple­bock, and Rus­sian Im­pe­rial Stout. These beers are very high al­co­hol and are great cold weather beers for shar­ing and sip­ping around the fire­place.

There are some newer styles of strong beers that have come around in re­cent years such as “Dou­ble and Triple In­dia Pale Ales, Im­pe­rial Pil­sners (brew­ers will put “Im­pe­rial” in front of any style of beer that they brew that has a higher al­co­hol content than the guide­lines), and many more. To­day’s brew­ers will cre­ate end­less new high al­co­hol beers us­ing their cre­ativ­ity and are only lim­ited by their imag­i­na­tion! These higher al­co­hol beers are great to share so find some friends and give one a try.Cheers!

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