How much alcohol is in your beer? The answer will depend on what brand and type of brew you're drinking. Typically, you'll find that your beer alcohol content is labelled on the can or bottle you’re drinking from, or else you’ll see it displayed on the tap at the bar. But what does this percentage really mean, and does it matter? In this article we'll walk you through everything you need to know about the alcohol in your beer.
What’s the average alcohol percentage in beer?
The first thing to know is that alcohol is measured in standard units called "alcohol by volume" (abv). This is calculated by measuring the number of millilitres of pure ethanol found in every 100mL. This standard is used worldwide and any percentages mentioned throughout this post are also “abv”.
The average pint of beer is around 4.5% alcohol, with most pale lagers that are consumed in bars being between 4-6%. But as we all know, beer comes in hundreds of different varieties and brands, so this figure can vary a lot. Light beers tend to be between 2-4% alcohol and - here’s a surprising fact for you - beers that are marketed as “alcohol free” can sometimes have a small trace of about 0.5% alcohol.
What’s the highest percentage beer?
This is a question that’s asked a lot. At Beers of Europe, we sell beers with an alcohol content of up to 14.5%. It’s possible to create beers that have even higher alcohol percentage with the use of special techniques like re-pitching with champagne yeast or using a method called freeze-distilling. Beers are actually getting stronger over time. Back in 1994, the strongest beer listed in the Guinness Book of Records was a brew called Vetter 33 at 10.5%. Fast forward to 2011 and the well known Scottish brewer BrewDog produced Ghost Beer which it claimed was the strongest beer produced by fermentation alone at 28%. Brewdog later trumped this with a beer called Sink the Bismark, at 41%.
After that came a slew of beers produced with special brewing techniques were produced, and the race to produce the highest percentage of beer really took off.
Here are some of the highest percentage beers in the world, at the time of writing:
End of History, from Brewdog, was a limited edition 55% beer that came in a stuffed squirrel and sold out immediately in the UK. Today one of those bottles will cost you a whopping £20k.
Schorschbrau 57 is a 57% limited edition beer produced by hand and presented in a ceramic bottle that is sealed and signed by the master brewer. This is one of the strongest beers in the world currently.
Snake Venom from Brewmeister is an amber coloured beer, the sale of which is limited to one per customer. At an eye-watering 67.5%, it could almost be classed as a spirit, and has no bubbles as they are eliminated by the high alcohol content.
What’s the percentage of alcohol in your favorite beer?
What is the Guinness alcohol percentage? And what’s the bud light percentage? If you’re wondering about your beer’s alcohol content, here is a quick guide to some of the major beer brands and how much alcohol they contain. You’ll see that the light beers like Coors Light only contain around 4.2% alcohol, whereas brands like Peroni contain 5.1%:
Why exactly is there alcohol in beer?
The reason beer contains alcohol is all down to how it’s made and the ingredients used. During the fermentation process sugars in the barley are broken down and two by-products are produced: alcohol and carbon dioxide. The amount of alcohol in every beer depends on the variety of yeast used, and the amount of fermentable sugars available. Alcohol is actually toxic to the yeast in large amounts, and the average brewing yeast typically can’t survive when the alcohol content goes over 12%. If temperatures during the brewing process are low and there is not enough fermenting time this decreases the effectiveness of yeast and in doing so, it also decreases the alcohol content. You’d be right in thinking that this process sounds rather complicated - getting the alcohol percentage right is an exact science that depends on very specific chemical processes.
FAQs: How much alcohol is a lot?
We get lots of questions about this here at Beers of Europe. If you’re not a seasoned beer drinker you might be curious to know how much is too much. The good news is things are quite straightforward when it comes to beers:
Is 4.5 percent alcohol a lot? This is the average alcohol content of a pale lager and would not be considered a high alcohol content.
Is 5% alcohol a lot? Not really. A lot of the major beer brands that you’ll find at your local pub or off licence contain this concentration of beer.
Is 8 percent alcohol a lot? For a beer, 8% is on the high side if you consider that the average percentage is around 4.5%.
How much alcohol is in an IPA beer?
IPAs are typically stronger than the average beer, ranging from 5-7%, which means that an "average" IPAis around 6%.
If reading all of this has left you feeling thirsty, you’ve come to the right place. At Beers Of Europe, we have thousands of high quality beers to choose from. Order right here on the website and get next day delivery. You’re very welcome!