Beer Alcohol Content

There are thousands of beers identifiable by their distinct flavors and mouthfeel but not so much by their alcohol content. In this article, we delve into the alcohol content of your favorite alcoholic beverages, depending on the beer style, and with popular beers as examples.

Beer alcohol content - featured

Although you can identify how much alcohol is in beer by looking at the label, there’s a trend in alcohol content between different beer styles.

This way, you don’t have to fiddle around with your beer bottle to know its alcohol content, and you can select just the right drink, depending on your tolerance.

The alcohol content in a beer is determined by a percentage, known as the alcohol by volume or abv of the drink. It can range from as low as 2% to as high as 50%. The higher the alcohol content (abv), the stronger and more likely the beer will intoxicate you.

What Is Alcohol Content (ABV) Of A Beer?

The ABV or alcohol by volume of a beer is the amount of pure alcohol in the drink. It’s measured in percentage, as you’ll find different labels holding a 2% – 10% abv tag. For instance, if you have 100ml of beer with a 2% ABV, it means that 2ml of the whole beer is pure alcohol. The other 98ml is of different components such as barley, hops, water, and yeast.

The alcohol content of many alcoholic drinks also has an impact on their taste. Beers with higher alcohol content have a sharper taste that leaves your tongue with a harsh pang. You’ll find high alcohol content in beers like imperial stouts, pale ales, and pilsners. On the other hand, beers with little ABVs are your light beers, and some in the medium beer category.

What’s The Regular Beer Alcohol By Volume Percentage?

In the United States, an alcoholic beverage such as beer typically has an alcohol by volume percentage of 5%. The most popular beer brands with this alcohol content in the country include Coors Banquet, Budweiser, Heineken, Keystone Ice, Natural Ice, Blue Moon Beer, Stella Artois, Asahi, Milwaukee’s Best Ice, and Hard Mountain Dew.

Beers in this country are served in ounces, and the most common is in 12-ounce bottles and cans. Although the 5% ABV percentage is the most common, there are several other beers with lower and higher alcohol content. Generally, based on their alcohol content abv, we can categorize them into non-alcoholic beers, light beers, medium beers, strong beers, and ultra-strong beers.

Non-Alcoholic Beers

Non-Alcoholic Beers

A non-alcoholic beer is one with an abv range of 0% – 1.2%. Some people simply love the distinct taste of hops and the floral aromas of a standard beer. As such, they enjoy indulging in these non-alcoholic drinks without worrying about alcohol consumption. Some of the famous beer brands that are known for their non-alcoholic varieties include Heineken, Clausthaler, Lagunitas, and Brewing Run Wild.

Light Lagers

Light Lagers

A light lager/beer typically has an alcohol content abv of 1.2% – 5.0%. How much alcohol is found in these beers is not as touted as their calorie count. It’s why they’re particularly a best-seller amongst popular beer brands, allowing health-conscious drinkers to indulge in a bottle or two without worry. These beers are well-reputed for their refreshing taste, making them a popular summertime beverage.

They’re of moderate alcohol consumption, and you can pair them with virtually all dishes. Examples of beers in this category are Bud Light, Coors Light, Busch Light, Miller Lite, and Pacifico Light.

Medium Beers

Medium Beers

This is where the alcohol content starts peaking in the beer categories. The alcohol content of beer of this type is in the range of 5% – 8%, and they’re referred to as full-bodied beers. A standard drink in this category will have you well-relaxed and cozy on chilly nights. The alcohol content balances with the bitterness of the hops, beer yeast, and cereals used.

Examples of these medium beers include India pale ales (IPAs), such as the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Dark Lagers such as the Michelob Amber Bock, Brown Ales such as the English-style brown ale, and Sour Ales, such as the American Sour Beer.

Strong Beers

Strong Beers

The strong beer category has beers with higher percentages of distilled spirits. They’re the beers that you should drink responsibly and save for chilly autumn nights. You’ll encounter an alcohol percentage range of 8% – 15% in these beers. They include the likes of Imperial Stouts, Wee Heavies, and IPAs. So, if you’re still wondering how much alcohol is in beer of chocolate stouts and Imperial IPAs, the quick answer is that it’s a lot.

Ultra Strong Beers

Ultra Strong Beers

These are higher abv beers of a percentage above 15%. They’re specialty beers whose brewing process involves adding distilled alcohol in high content. These beers are not as common as your average beer, and some are only available when you order directly from the manufacturer. Examples of beers like this include 28% ABV Utopias by Samuel Adams Brewery, 18.53% Rumpkin by the Avery Brewing Company, 18% Chocolate Rain by The Bruery, and 120-Minute IPAs (craft beers) by the Dogfish Head Craft Brewery.

Different Beer Styles And Their Alcohol Content

In this section, we break down alcohol content by beer style, from your American pale ales to the Hefeweizens (German beers). This helps you specifically point out how much alcohol is in your favorite brews.

India Pale Ales

These are pretty popular beers in the United States, taking the style of your typical American pale ale. However, you’ll find them in much darker hues with higher concentrations of hops and floral aroma. Pale Ales take a percentage range of 6.3% to 7.5%. Examples of these IPAs include DDH IPA, West Coast IPA, and Wolf Pup IPA.


These drinks are quite similar to stouts, and they’re well-distributed within the United States of America. Porters are thick and hazy with a dark brown to black color hue. They’re packed with lots of hops and are quite distinct with their burnt chocolate flavor and hints of fruit. Their complex flavors make them perfect for food pairings such as smoked, barbecued, and roasted food. Porters have an alcohol-by-volume percentage ranging from 4.5% to 6%.



Pilsners are a delicious brew of lager packed with flavors of hops, spices, and beautiful floral aromas. They’re distinct with their pale golden hue and reputed for their refreshing taste in the height of summer. These pilsners have a complex maltiness and a hint of bitterness, complementing the 4.1% – 5.3% abv.

Wheat Beers

These beers are light and refreshing and come with a golden hue that pairs with lots of summer dishes, from salads to barbecues. You’ll encounter a percentage range of 3.5% – 5.6%.

Amber Ales

These Amber Ales have a golden to deep red hue and are packed with delicious flavors of caramel malt and roasted toffee. They’re fermented at warmer temperatures, giving them a rich mouthfeel and moderate carbonation. Amber Ales have an alcohol-by-volume range of 4.4% – 6.1%.



These German beers are reputed for their flavors of banana and clove. They’re great for several events, from family gatherings to social parties. Hefeweizens come with low alcohol content, ranging from 4.9% – 5.6%.

American Pale Ales

This American-style lager is medium-bodied, and it comes with a golden to amber hue. These ales are made with high hop concentrations and many floral aromas. American Ales have an alcohol content range of 4.4% – 5.5%. You’ll enjoy the beer with several dishes, including cheeseboard, fish & chips, Mexican food, roasted duck & quail, and pizzas.

Imperial or Double IPAs

Imperial or Double IPAs are stronger than your average IPAs, ranging from 7% to 14%. These Double IPAs are packed with high concentrations of hops, having a bitterness that balances with the high alcohol content. They pair with different foods, such as smoked beef brisket, southern chicken-fried steak, grilled lamb, and desserts like persimmon rice pudding, ginger spice cake, and caramel apple tart.

Sour Beer

Sour Beers

The flavor of this beer is a combination of tart and sour, brewed using yeast and wild bacteria. The taste can be described as that of lemon and vinegar with abv of 3% to 5%. Sour beers pair with green salads, goat cheese, smoked pork, spicy Mexican food, seafood, mussels, and berries.

English Pale Ales

English Pale Ales, such as the Lord Chesterfield Ale and the Bass Ale, have an alcohol content abv ranging from 4.5% to 5.5%. The pale ales have light malt flavors with a smooth and refreshing taste. The ales also have fruity notes, making them perfect with dishes like English cheese and hamburgers.


What is the amount in grams of alcohol in a 5% 12-ounce beer?

A 12-ounce serving of 5% alcohol means you’ll encounter about 14 grams of distilled alcohol in the drink.

Will light beers get me drunk?

Yes, the light lagers will get you drunk if you take more than a couple of bottles. Most of them have an abv range of 4.0% – 5.0%.

What’s the most famous non-alcoholic beer in the market?

This is the Heineken 0.0 non-alcoholic beer.

Wrapping Up

With this article, you now know how much alcohol is in beer, depending on the style. So, when next you find yourself at an event, you know just what and how much beer to take to keep things fun and responsible.

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