Two Madison brewers are teaming up to create the biggest all-malt beer ever brewed. To achieve this goal, Rob LoBreglio of the Great Dane and Kirby Nelson of Capital Brewery have designed an elaborate brewing process that will rely on some sophisticated beer science, artistic elements, and just plain luck.
Both brewers say they want to create a beer with a very high specific gravity, the result being a brew with an extremely high alcohol content.
Other brewers claim their creations to be the biggest and strongest beer. Some beers, like Sam Adams Utopias, even top more than 20% alcohol by volume (ABV). Nelson and LoBreglio say many high alcohol beers are based on the use of brewing adjuncts like candy sugar and maple syrup. The two local brewmasters want to follow the German definition of beer by only using malted barley for the fermentable sugars that yeast converts to carbon dioxide and alcohol. They say their goal is to make a beer that exceeds 17% ABV. By comparison, standards like Budweiser or Miller come in at around 5% ABV.
Nelson and LoBreglio say they are documenting what is going into their beer, so if they exceed 17% they feel they have rights to the strongest beer title. While a handful of other big beers fall in the 12-14% range, LeBreglio says his research has found none with a higher alcohol content that can prove it was made following the Renheitsgebot. Their target to beat is a 14-15% ABV beer called Samichlaus. This dopplebock is brewed at the Schloss Eggenberg, which is the oldest family-owned brewery in Austria.