Friday, July 23, 2010

Getting Serious Alcohol Levels in Wine

I was amazed to learn recently that beer can be made with an alcohol by volume (ABV) of over 20%. The Samuel Adams Utopias weigh in at 27%. Impressive until you learn that BrewDogs Sink the Bismarck! checks in at 41%! That ABV is achieved because alcohol freezes at lower temperatures than water and so by freezing the beer you can selectively remove water (as ice) from the solution thereby increasing the alcohol concentration.

This would be an ideal way to get more alcohol into Barossa Shiraz - wouldn't that really upset the anti-high alcohol league! It also sounds like the perfect, completely unnatural, wine - that would tick-off even more people.

The easiest way to increase alcohol in any wine would be to freeze some until its slushy (in a container that won't break) and then just pour off the unfrozen liquid. That should be high in alcohol. I wouldn't try this at home, but there is no reason why you shouldn't!