Archive for the ‘whisky’ Category
Time Magazine calls the above beer one of the world’s strongest. It looks to be considerably stronger than any beer that the US rules can tolerate. In other countries, Tactical Nuclear Penguin is sold as a beer, at 32% alc./vol.
But this approval shows that, under US rules, this “Super-High-Alcohol-Beer” is actually a distilled spirit (Spirits Distilled from Grain). The Time article explains how BrewDog uses low temperatures to get the alcohol content so high:
the brewery was able to attain the high alcohol content by freezing the beer at a local ice cream factory, at temperatures as low as -6°C (21°F), for 21 days. Alcohol freezes at lower temperatures than water, and removing water from the solution increased the alcohol concentration.
Under US law, such manipulation of the alcohol may be treated as distillation. The Time article points to two even stronger products that at least start as normal beers (before becoming tactical or nuclear):
The drinking games continued in February when a German brewer, Schorschbrau, released a 40% ABV beer called Schorschbock. The BrewDog boys fired back a few weeks later with high-octane concoction Sink the Bismarck!, which checks in at 41%, enough to reclaim the “world’s strongest beer” mantle. …
There is no sign that these other two have been approved for US sale at all yet, let alone as beer.
What do these three things have in common? All three are featured in Brad Paisley’s song, “Alcohol.” Of all the songs about alcohol beverages, this one is worth covering, because it mentions specific brands and deals directly with the interplay of alcohol and society. It also has witty lyrics. It would be even better for this blog if it dealt specifically with a legal topic, but perhaps that’s asking too much of Mr. Paisley.
Here are the most pertinent lyrics:
Well I’ve been know to cause a few breakups
And I’ve been known to cause a few births
I can make you new friends
Or get you fired from work
I got blamed at your wedding reception
For your best man’s embarrassing speech
And also for those naked pictures of you at the beach
I’ve influenced kings and world leaders
I am medicine and I am poison
I can help you up or make you fall
The song does a good job of putting the good and bad in perspective.
The Malt Advocate blog had an interesting article about Single Malt Whisky from other than Scotland (specifically, Amrut Single Malt Whisky, made in India). The initial post, on September 7, 2009, tends to suggest that TTB would not allow “Single Malt” on whiskies produced outside of Scotland.
Do they? Should they?
Amrut’s apparent difficulty touched off a fairly strong torrent of comments. The Spirit of Islay site points out (comment 4), having done a recent tasting and review, that “It’s bloody good whisky.” Mark Gillespie explains (comment 3):
Amrut is sold in the UK with no objections from the [Scotch Whisky Association], since it’s clearly labeled as an Indian product. The SWA goes ballistic when someone in another country tries to pass off locally produced whisky as Scotch.
With admirable understatement, the distiller (Ashok Chokalingam) observes (comment 11): “This is a pain the neck for us.” He also explains that he cleared it with the SWA before the launch — in Glasgow, Scotland. Other commenters proceed to mention several good examples of already approved Single Malt Whiskies not from Scotland. Just two days later, Ashok reports (comment 23) “[At least for] now, the terminology issue is sorted out. This is half of the battle that got over.” At comment 27, TTB tends to say the regulations require a Malt Whisky label to indicate “Straight” if aged two years or more.
More than a month after Mr. Chokalingam said the issue is largely resolved, there is still no sign of a new label approval for this brand. Stranger still, the 2004 approval (for Amrut Single Malt Whisky) has been sitting in plain view the whole time.
Sin City seems to be alive and well in the hearts and minds of drinkers and marketers everywhere. Sin City Whiskey (above) is imported by Side Pocket Foods of Oregon. Viva Las Vegas is a California white wine bottled by Cartlidge & Browne Winery of American Canyon, California.
Rogue Spirits makes a Dead Guy Whiskey “Ocean Aged in Oak Barrels for 1 Month.” Is it a gimmick or a good idea? Let’s just say they are not alone in searching high and low to make innovative products. Ocean Vodka “uses deep sea water from Hawaii” according to Luxist. “The water is drawn from 3,000 feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean … to be devoid of surface pollutants.”
Montanya Distillers is headed in the other direction. They make Mountain Rum in Silverton, Colorado, where it is “altitude aged” far from the seas.