Colt 45 Beer Review: A Close Look at America’s Top Malt Liquor

Colt 45 beer is one of the top three malt liquors in the United States, and for a good reason! With its light malt hop flavor and balanced nuances, you can enjoy drinking this beer for its sweet and smooth character at any time.

Colt beer review infographic

If you’re looking for a great introduction to malt liquors, you can’t go wrong with the Colt 45. To know more about the tasting notes and food pairing of this beer, continue reading our complete review below.

Colt 45 Beer Stats

Country  United States
Brand Pabst Brewing Company
Style Malt Liquor
Taste  Grains, tangy
Body Light Body
ABV 5.6 percent
Flavors & Aromas Sweet malts, grains, tangy, corn
Serving Temperature 35 – 40 degrees Fahrenheit

Tasting Notes

Colt 45 Tasting Profile

Colt 45 Beer Review

Colt 45 is a malt liquor with a 5.6 percent alcohol content that is brewed by Pabst. It is one of the top beers with this style in the United States, popular for its smooth and solid character. The beer has barely any flaws and has surprisingly retained its quality as a top malt liquor over the years.

The malt liquor has flavors and aromas of sweet malts, grains, tanginess from slight fruits like green apple, and corn. It pours light straw gold and feels like soft-bready beer, going down easy with the decent ABV. The beer is thin-bodied and finishes watery with an unexpected carbonation bite.

You can serve the Colt 45 into a pint glass to enhance its small head and ensure it’s cold to fully enjoy the flavor. You can go for a temperature between 35 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Garnish this smooth beer with a citrus slice to complement the tanginess, and you can have it with a wide range of foods.

The average ABV and drinkable nature of this beer make it a perfect choice for any occasion without getting drunk quickly. It’s especially a fantastic winter beer, with the warm and bready feeling making you feel comfortable as the days are getting colder.

– Appearance

The Colt 45 looks like a generic lager at first glance, but don’t let that fool you because it has some surprises to offer. With the light straw gold color, the beer appears crystal clear with no particles or hazing. On the pour, it forms a one-finger high head that appears fizzy and yellow, but it doesn’t last too long.

Light straw gold color beer

The head leaves decent lacing against the glass, keeping its sweet aroma intact. There is also some lively carbonation in the appearance, showing itself in the form of bubbles floating and popping at the top. The beer’s appearance is bright and fizzy and will look great in a pint glass.

– Aroma

The nose of the Colt 45 is surprisingly mild for its malt liquor style, and this allows you to fully enjoy the flavor as the aroma is just a slight push. At first, you smell slight green apple notes, but this doesn’t last long and quickly moves on to the bready malt aroma expected from malt liquor.

There are some detectable hops on the nose too, but these are slight. The beer tastes a bit oxidized. As it warms up, the green apple aroma becomes too much, and some might even say it begins to smell unpleasant, so you should enjoy it while it’s cold.

– Mouthfeel

When you first taste the Colt 45 beer, it feels watery and finishes quickly on your palate. The carbonation offers a big bite that feels fizzy and tingly against your tongue. As you drink, the carbonation makes the beer more filling and vibrant.

Malt liquor green apple aroma

You might forget that you’re drinking malt liquor with the fizzy and watery feeling of this beer. Some beer lovers might find this light-bodied beer too fizzy and watery due to its high carbonation. But the beer manages to be smooth and slick on your tongue, although not refreshing enough for a hot day.

– Flavor

The flavor of the Colt 45 beer follows the aroma, but the corn comes out along with the bready malts. There are barely any hops in the taste except for some slight bitterness that is interwoven with a bit of green apple. The next thing you taste is the pleasant and soft bready and malt flavor, balanced with corn and grain.

The beer is sweet upfront, and there’s a touch of diacetyl that will follow you into the dry and toasty finish. There is less green apple than in the aroma, but you will definitely taste the tangy fruitiness along with the sweet malts and grains that are upfront.

Despite the low ABV, there is still some alcohol warming when you swallow the beer that will take hold of you. This does not make the flavor worse in any way and quickly disappears, leaving you with a bittersweet finish.

– Food Pairings

When having the Colt 45 beer, there are different kinds of food that you can consider with this style. The beer goes great with foods that linger on your palate, matching the maltiness and sweet character. You can pair it with roasted, smoked, and braised beef, chicken, fish, or pork.

Also, it goes well with bready foods, so try out toasted grains and bread, crust-focused pizzas, sandwiches, pancakes, bread soups, burgers, or bread salads. On the side, it’s a good idea to have some earthy vegetables and legumes like beets, mushrooms, and baked beans. Pork and chicken with sweet components are also a good idea.

Go for sweet and chocolatey desserts when having this delicious beer. Chocolate bread pudding, caramel cheesecake, pear fritters, desserts with milk chocolate, or butter truffles will go great with this beer. You can also try out oven-baked fruits or a green apple pie.

As for cheese, you should opt for nutty, aged cheeses when having the Colt 45. The beer offers a caramelized flavor that goes well with a Havarti, mild Colby, or baby Swiss cheese. In general, you should focus on matching the sweet intensity of the beer with similar foods.


The Colt 45 malt liquor is made with malted barley, special corn syrup that the brewery firmly states it’s not a high fructose corn syrup, filtered water, hops, and cultured yeast. The corn syrup used to make this beer consists of simple sugars and carbohydrates.

The sugars in the beer are fermented into alcohol and CO2, while the carbohydrates from the malt and corn syrup contribute to the flavor, appearance, and mouthfeel of this beer. The beer is safe for vegans due to its ingredients, but those allergic to grains should avoid having Colt 45.

Nutrition Facts

In every 12 ounces of Colt 45, you get a 5.6 percent alcohol content. The alcohol content is pretty decent and won’t get you drunk quickly, but it manages to offer some warming as you swallow. As for the IBU, it is 6 since there are barely any hops appearance aside from the hint of green apples.

There are 150 calories in every 12-ounce serving of this beer, so consider this when calculating your daily dietary intake. As for the carbs, there are 10.9 grams, and the protein is 1.1 grams. There are also 656 kilojoules in this beer, but no fat, cholesterol, or dietary fibers.

If you’re on a keto diet, you should stay clear of this beer because its high carbs content makes it unsuitable. While it is friendly to vegans, the beer is not ideal for those who cannot consume gluten. Check the can before drinking to see if there are any allergens that will affect you.


Colt 45 is one of the most popular malt liquors in the United States and was first introduced in 1963. The beer was made and marketed in the USA before being available worldwide. It was first introduced by the National Brewing Company, but the company is now owned by Pabst Brewing Co.

Greatest history of malt liquor

Before Colt 45 was released, the only other malt liquor brand was Country Club. On the beer label, there was a kicking horse and a horseshoe, which was a sign of its competitive advantage over other brands.

The name of the beer was inspired by the running back number 45, Jeremy Hill, who was a part of the Baltimore Colts in 1963. There were also some experiments with Colt 45, like the Colt 45 Double Malt, which has two horseshoes on the label instead of one. There was also Blast by Colt 45.


If you’re looking for classic malt liquor, Colt 45 can show you why it’s one of the most popular brews around the world. We covered a lot about this beer in our review, but here’s the rundown:

  • Colt 45 is a malt liquor with a 5.6 percent alcohol content by Pabst.
  • The beer has aromas and flavors of sweet malts, grain, corn, tangy fruitiness, and green apple, offering a thin-bodied, fizzy, and smooth mouthfeel.
  • It is made with malted barley, special corn syrup, filtered water, hops, and cultured yeast.
  • You can serve this in a pint glass while cold, with a citrus slice to enhance its character.
  • The beer is best paired with hearty meats, bready food, sweet desserts, and nutty cheeses.

You can try out the Colt 45 easily, as this popular beer is sold in beer cans and bottles at a wide range of stores online and in person.

5/5 - (16 votes)

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