Do Dark Beers Have More Alcohol Than Lighter Beers?

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You can’t judge a beer by its color. It’s a common myth that dark beers have more alcohol, are heavier on the palate, and have more calories than their lighter counterparts.

iStock_000009227815XSmallIt’s hard to say how this myth began, but the idea that a dark beer is somehow heavier or higher in alcohol than a lighter colored beer might come from the “meal in a glass” marketing concept that Guinness came out with years ago. At 126 calories per 12 ounces of Guinness, it is actually lower in calories than a lot of beer. American lagers like Bud, Miller, and Coors actually have closer to 145 calories for the same serving. Most of the calories in beer actually come from alcohol, which is 9 calories per gram. Guinness is around 4.2% ABV, while a golden-colored Belgian triple can weigh in at as high as 11% ABV!

Some dark beers like Schwarzbiers are very light-bodied, easy-drinking lagers. They tend to get their color from a special darkening agent called Sinamar, which is actually a very dark extract made from concentrated dark malt. The alcohol content for Schwarzbier ranges from 4.4% to 5.4% ABV. Don’t fear the dark beer!

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