Hot Topic: What is High Gravity Beer
Updated February 8, 2010
by Laura Brady from AssociatedContent.com
High Gravity Beer is a long-standing European tradition but it's growing in popularity in the U.S. High Gravity simply means specialty craft beers with an increased weight of sugar and gravity "pull" in the fermentation process. They are higher in alcohol because they contain more sugar and other ingredients at the start of the brewing process.
High gravity beers are not crafted with the sole intent of a higher alcohol content. The higher percentage of alcohol is due to the different ingredients used because brewers are trying to create complex, flavorful and unique beers. High gravity beers are meant to be sipped and appreciated, even paired with foods like wine. They're more expensive than beers that are mass produced, but with these beers it's about quality, not quantity. There are still only a small amount of U.S. microbreweries that produce high gravity beer. There are approximately 1400 microbreweries in the U.S., but they don't all produce HGB. Some of the styles of beer that are considered high gravity are already quite popular in the states, such as; India Pale Ale, bocks, imperial stouts, barley wine, and many Belgium beers to name a few.
In fact, due to the hard work of the Brewer's Association, American craft beers are now being distributed in Europe in small amounts. Earlier this year Holland's largest beer importer, Bier and Co. imported a selection of U.S. craft beers to distribute in Germany, the Netherlands, U.K., Ireland, Switzerland, Greece, and Italy. This will provide the U.S. breweries with much-needed exposure and hopefully some newfound respect from the old guard breweries.
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