Wednesday, September 28, 2022

A Thought On High ABV Beers

One thing I often tend to notice is that there are a good amount of people that prefer to drink higher
ABV beers as we approach the colder months, beers like the Imperial stouts and barley wines start showing up and people start to enjoy them, especially at some of the fall and winter beer festivals. I, myself, tend to enjoy all types of beers year-round, even the larger ABV ones so I often find this interesting. Are people doing this because they just like these beers in colder months as they can add warmth or is it just because they have become trained to expect and drink these often at this time of year because this is when many of the breweries release them?

Having a space where I can store some of these bigger beers allows me to build a collection that I can enjoy year-round, but it has never been a seasonal thing for me. Now I am not saying I will crack a 15% ABV in the middle of a hot summer day, but sitting out on a summer night having a nice stout and stogie is a pleasant experience as well. At least, I think so. Beer shouldn't be just dictated by seasons, it should be more about the feel of enjoying it and being able to do so when the mood or setting is right. 

I guess all of this just came to mind as I am writing this during much of the initial Oktoberfest week here in the states which happens right before the turn for many into looking for some of these bigger beers, after pumpkin beers of course. Although pumpkin beers are a whole other thing as many now start releasing them in July which also goes to my point, people start scooping them up that look forward to those as well. There was a time when this used to be more in October but now that timeline has shifted, so if it can be for pumpkin beers then why not the high ABV ones?

We are pretty much two months out before the release of probably the most heralded imperial stout which is the Goose Island Bourbon County Stout and its suite of variants. Maybe, this is why many look forward to really November being stout season as it is often referred to. We will see other breweries also release theirs like Epic Brewing and their Big Bad Baptist beers as well, and many others but beer is bigger than just one season. And if you have ever thought about starting a beer cellar then this is one of the best times of the year to do so because of the inventory that will be produced and available.

One of my favorite higher ABV beers to also enjoy year-round is New Holland Brewing and their Dragon's Milk series. Each year they often have some wonderful variants and their base version is also offered year-round as well, showing these beers do not have to just be enjoyed in one or two seasons. If you have not tried their beers then I definitely recommend them, and if you are a person that enjoys high ABV beers usually in the fall or winter then maybe keep some back as well. Pulling one of these out on a spring or summer evening when relaxing may just surprise you with how good it may be at that time as well. Just remember to drink responsibly as they can still sneak up on you if not careful, but free yourself of thinking these are just for a certain time of the year. They are for any time that you deem them so, Cheers!


  1. Good article Rod. North America seems to be driven by marketing and the sheeple just follow along. The more discerning drinker ignores it.

    1. Thank you, that does tend to happen I think as well. Cheers!


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