LONDON (AFP) – The strongest and most expensive beer ever created sold out within hours Friday, a Scottish brewery said, as they courted controversy by packaging the bottles inside the bodies of stuffed animals.

BrewDog, the self-described maverick brewery, presented the beer -- which contains a record 55 percent alcohol -- inside the bodies of dead squirrels and stoats.

Animal rights activists rushed to condemn the stunt.

"It's pointless and it's very negative to use dead animals when we should be celebrating live animals," Advocates for Animals policy director Libby Anderson told BBC Scotland.

"This seems to be a perverse idea."

BrewDog said the limited edition Belgian ale -- made with juniper berries and dubbed "The End of History" -- was also the costliest beer ever sold.

The squirrel bottles cost 700 pounds (1,000 dollars, 840 euros) each and the seven stoat bottles went for 500 pounds a pop.

All sold out within four hours of going on sale, BrewDog managing director James Watt told AFP.

Watt said the controversial drink was the last in a line of experimental brews, explaining: "For the final installment in the strong beer series, we wanted to create something epic, something monumental."

He said there were no plans to come up with a beer to beat this record, insisting: "We're quite happy at 55 percent."

As for the taste, Watt described "The End of History" as a "complex" beer with a multitude of flavours including honey, mint and cinnamon.

He recommended sipping the drink "much like you would a malt whiskey", served up in a spirit glass rather than a pint glass.