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Alcohol Content in Beer

Alcohol content in beer varies from one brand to another. Beer heads the list of alcoholic beverage consumption in the world. The popularity of beer can be gauged from the fact it is third in rank after water and tea in global consumption of drinks. In general, beer is prepared from starches, which are brewed and fermented. The starches are normally derived from malted barley, though wheat, corn or maize, millet, potato, cassava root, sorghum, agave, and rice are also widely used in preparation of beer. Hops are added to beers to provide flavor and act as preservatives. The bitterness of beer comes from these hops. A few brands of beers are flavored with fruits and herbs. The history of beers goes back to several millennia, with many historians dating the origin of beers to around 9,000 BC.

Beers are usually categorized into two major types, the pale lager beers that are popular all over the world, and the distinct ales that are restricted to a few regions. Ales are further classified as pale ale, brown ale, and stout ale. Majority of beers contain between 4% and 6% of alcohol content by volume. However, the alcohol content in beer can vary from less than 1% to more than 20% in a few cases. The basic ingredients of beers are fermented starch, yeast that produces the fermentation, flavoring materials like hops, and water.

Most of the beers available in the global market contain barley malt as the basic starch material. The microorganism of yeast ferments the malt into what makes up the alcohol content in beer - alcohol and carbon dioxide by metabolizing the sugars in the grains. The common yeasts used are lager yeast and ale yeast. The lager beer and ale beer derive their names from these yeasts. Ale yeasts are fast acting, while lager yeasts are slow in their fermentation action. The fibrous husk of this barley malt produces amylase, which is a powerful digestive enzyme. This enzyme converts the starch into sugar. Hops balance the sweet nature of the barley malt to provide bitterness. The bitterness of beers is measured on an International Bitterness Unites Scale.

The pale lagers that are consumed by majority of people have alcoholic strength in the range of 4% to 6%. However, beers with 14% alcohol by volume or abv are also available in many countries. Certain brands of beers have about 20% abv through re-pitching of the beers with champagne yeast. Beers with around 41% had also been brewed through a special process of freeze-distilling.

So? Who Highest Alcohol Conntent in Beer?

When alcoholic drinks were included in the Guinness Book of World Records, Vetter 33 was listed as the strongest beer at that time in 1994 with 10.5% abv, though Samichlaus from Switzerland had been recorded earlier as the beer with maximum strength of 14% abv.

When brewers started using champagne yeasts, the abv increased. Samuel Adams achieved 20% abv with his Millennium beer and then enhanced it to about 25.6% abv with the beer named Utopias. BrewDog used the freeze distilling method of eisbock to make 32% abv beer, Tactical Nuclear Penguin, and 41% abv beer, Sink The Bismarck! in 2009. The other strong beers produced through this process are Schorschbock of German brewer, Schorschbrau, with 31% abv and Dave of Hair of the Dog, with 29% abv.

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