I’m about as tired of the “Most Alcoholic Beer on Planet Earth” arms race as I am with the existential nerd debates over “What IS beer?”* Sure, BrewDog’s 41% Sink the Bismarck! is a gimmick, but, surprisingly, it’s a damn fine one at that.
There’s nothing wrong with gimmicks–in all facets of life and art. They often act as envelope pushers to enable the way for more “legitimate” enterprise. Like the skanky strippers who gets Triple-D breast implants paving the way for the girls next door to get more reasonable and socially acceptable Cs. However, sometimes, these gimmicks are damn fine in and of themselves. Such was the case with this bad boy.
Sink the Bismarck! is shockingly considered a double IPA and, what is even more shocking is that it truly is one. This is no boozy near-liquor mess, this is actually a beer with all the beer check boxes in place and checked off. It smells boozy sure, so boozy in fact it singes your nose hairs (better clip ‘em before you sniff this one); but it also has a nice bitter hop presence wafting through. And what’s even more amazing is that the beer is actually carbonated. A very fizzy carbonation, in fact, totally indicitive of style.
It’s super alcoholic sure, and it necessitated my first career all-male sixsome with the 11.2 ounces (priced at about $7 per ounce–YOW!) to put the bottle down. Two ounces per dude was more than enough and we probably could have split it eight ways.** There’s no other beer in the world like this. It’s so strange to drink something that tastes like liquor but is bitter. So strange to drink something that tastes like liquor but has a tingly carbonation. It’s not something your mouth is used to.*** The bitter hops taste comes through quite strong and this is amazingly neither a thick nor too sweet of beer, like most high ABVers are. It’s a sipper, it might even make you cough, but it’s clearly a jet-fueled DIPA and a damn tasty one at that.
Comparisons will most frequently cite Sam Adams Utopias (a masterpiece in and of itself but far too flat and liqueur-ish to compare) or the similarly alcoholic DIPA Dogfish Head 120 Minute (amazingly MORE malty sweet and LESS carbonated than this one, even at half the ABV) but both are way off base. As for me, the only similar thing I’ve ever imbibed to Sink the Bismarck! is a friend’s home-distilled hop liquor, which of course differed in that it wasn’t carbonated. I haven’t exactly been floored by any of Brewdog’s “normal” ABVed stuff, but they are just killing it with the high octane brews. Buy a bottle or buy a “share” of a bottle if you can. You won’t regret it****.
*Still, I suppose that’s better than them wondering what beer and pizza to serve a new Belgian neighbor. (My suggestion: Bud Light Chelada and skip the pizza, bring over a pasta bread bowl from Domino’s.)
**Ironically, while having a sixsome with this bottle of beer on the rooftop of Chicago’s swank Palomar Hotel during a friend’s bachelor party, nearby, countless sinewy homosexual lasses in tiny boy shorts seemed to be foreplaying their way to some gang sex in the pool. It just so happened to be International Mr. Leather weekend in town.
***Apropos of the previous footnote, I won’t make any gagging jokes.
****And a few sips will make you forget the foreplay to gang sex you saw in the Palomar’s hotel swimming pool.