Monday, 4 January 2010

Worst Beer in the World Created in Belgian Brewery

One of the worst beers ever brewed has apparently been created in a small Belgian brewery.

Proprietor of De Spoofbrouwerij, Piers ran dom Shite, says that he wanted to do something to "really put our little brewery on the map".

"We used every technique we could think of - extreme continuous hopping, freeze and boil distillation, smashing the malt with the little toffee hammers, everything. At one point, we even fired hops out of a cannon straight into the boiling copper" explained Mr ran dom Shite. "We used many different strains of yeast - cultured, uncultured and barbarous - to get the fermentation going. Then we just wandered off and left it over the weekend. It smelled pretty bad when we came back, but we skimmed the scum off and put it into the old barrels".

Months of barrel ageing have produced a beer that unpleasantly acidic, overly bitter, and full of dangerous higher alcohols. Members of various beer rating and advocacy communities are thought to be appalled by the description of the beer, but nonetheless excited to try it.


For the avoidance of doubt, this is a spoof, inspired by this. It's one thing making a beer big, bold and beautiful, it's quite another thing to go all out for numbers. It's like making the noisiest car in the world, or, as Garrett Oliver says, the saltiest food - it's missing the point completely.

Complexity, length and balance - that's what it's all about, not hoppiest, strongest or bitterest. Sure, push the envelope, but remember - it's meant to be beer. I was particularly impressed that the ratings for Mikkeller X Hop Juice say things like one dimensionsal, thin, funny experiment, but it still chalks up a high rating.

(As I was writing this, I wondered if BrewDog's Tactical Nuclear Penguin fell foul of the "shooting for the high numbers" rule, but I don't think it does - it's an interesting beer liqueur in its own right, unusual and extreme, but still enjoyable, albeit with a bit of prior knowledge of what it is. And anyway, TNP is no longer the strongest beer in the world - it's been eclipsed by Schorschbrau Schorsch Bock)


  1. Maybe TNP didn't fall foul of the numbers game, but surely Nanny State did?

    You're right though. Extreme for extreme sake is just silly.

  2. Zak, I know this chap and buy his ales. He is a genuine beer enthusiast and brews some fantastic ales, which you should try and get hold of (they're not in bottles yet though). But isn't he just trying to do what all of us are trying to do? Eg. Promote himself. The way that Brewdog do? The way that you do with a blog? If extreme is silly, then it's Peter's money at the end of the day and he is just buying a headline in the local paper and a bit of PR via the blogosphere. Good plan

  3. I am not sure that even complexity is a signature element. Simplicity in balance can also be very attractive.

  4. Will you be getting the De Spoofbrouwerij in? I've heard good things about it. Save me a bottle.

    I think the 'bitterest beer' is a bit of fun, nothing more. Look at his wide, smiling face in all the press photos, he's having a ball! It's a one-off beer to appeal to the extremeties of beer enthusiasts and a curious few others who read the local news.

  5. I hope Mark has his tongue in his cheek here. As for extreme beer or in this case extremely hoppy beer, it is nothing new. Our Yankee friends were pushing boundaries even back in 2003 when I went to the Chicago Real Ale Fest. The biggest IBU then was 177 and many were over 100. I know. I've just re-checked the programme.

    Were any any good? Well yes actually and surprisingly, but I suspect when you get beyond a certain point, you can't taste it anyway.

    Just looking at the entries. Some strange stuff though. British Triple anyone?

  6. Heavily hopped has been done a thousand times over, I imagine this is for fun and for a piece in the paper and to get people talking.

    The pursuit of 'extreme' beer for the sake of extreme beer is impotent without good beer and to me a 500 IBU barley wine sounds a bit silly but the proof will be in the pudding. If it spurs on a few more interesting bitters and session ales that are drinkable I won't complain too much.

    I'll take a bottle of De Spoofbrouwerij too please, but only if it's prized over £50...

  7. Well, that's just it, isn't it? As Stuart says, a nice promotional piece, and fair play to him for getting his brewery name out there without too much bells and whistles. All the better if he makes really good regular beers too. Still, I'd try it if offered a sip, and a De Spoofbrouwerij one! :D

  8. Chunk - I must be alone in enjoying bottled Nanny State (although the pint I had on handpull was pretty hard work)

    Stuart - as you point out, we all have an agenda. Thinking about it a bit harder, I wonder if the thing I find irritating is the idea of making a beer as bitter as possible. Does this reinforce peoples negative stereotypes about ale, and potentially turn people off? Why not bill it as the most expensive pint ever produced, or use more different varieties of hops than ever before? But full marks to him for effort, I guess - we're all talking about it!

    Alan - horses for courses - personally, I like to feel a bit of interplay between malt, hops and alcohol in my beer to some degree.

    Tandleman - they probably would have been good beers without the extra IBUs.

    Mark, Mark and Barry - I've ordered some De Spoof Grande Reserve. It's unreal.


Sorry about the word verification - the blog was getting spammed to bits.