Beer Alcohol and Calories

Alcohol and Calorie Content of About 200 Popular Beers


Consumption of beer in the United States is about 33 gallons per person per year based on persons over 18 years of age (6). In all, over six billion gallons of beer are produced each year in the United States (6,7).

Generally three types of beer are sold: regular, light, and non-alcoholic. The term light intends to signify a product with less alcohol and fewer calories than regular beer. About 2-3 percent of beer sales are now of the light type (4). Non-alcoholic beer usually claims less than a half percent of alcohol and is intended for people who desire a product with little or no alcohol.

In all, 202 samples of beer were tested. The alcohol and calorie content for each sample are reported. In comparison to regular beer which averaged 5 percent alcohol and 43 calories per 100 ml, light and non-alcoholic beer averaged 16 and 94 percent less alcohol and 27 and 60 percent fewer calories, respectively.

Analysis of Beer

Brand/Brewer (Country)% AlcoholCalories/100ml
Anchor Porter Anchor (USA) 5.6659
Anchor Steam Beer Anchor (USA) 4.63 43
Asahi Draft Beer Asahi (Japan) 5.21 41
Ballantine Prlvate Stock Malt Liquor Narragansett (USA) 6.01 47
Ballantine Indla Pale Ale Falstaff (USA) 6.17 53
Ballantine Premium Lager Beer Falstaff (USA) 4.82 43
Ballantine XXX Ale Falstaff (USA) 5.08 46
Bass & Co's Bale Ale Bass (England) 5.51 45
Beamish Irish Cream Stout Beamish - Crawford (Ireland) 4.95 41
Beck's Beer Brauerei Beck (Germany) 5.13 42
Big Barrel Australian Lager Cooper & Sons (Australia) 4.66 39
Black Horse Premium Draft Beer Black Horse (USA) 4.74 45
Blatz Beer G. Heileman (USA) 4.86 43
Blatz Milwaukee 1851 Beer Blatz (USA) 4.48 38
Boulder Porter Boulder (USA) 6.07 53
Budwelser King of Beers Anheuser Busch (USA) 4.82 40
Busch Beer Anheuser Busch (USA) 5.19 43
Carling Black Label Canadian Style Beer G. Heileman (USA) 4.38 39
Cerveza Carta Blanca Cerveceria Cauhtemoc (Mexlco) 4.02 36
Cerveza Tecate Beer Cervecerla Cauhtemoc (Mexico) 4.49 41
Chester Golden A]e Greenall Whitley (England) 5.43 44
Colt 45 Malt Liquor G. Heileman (USA) 6.11 49
Coors Banquet Beer Adolph Coors (USA) 5.03 41
Corona Extra Beer Cereveria Modela SA (Mexico) 4.84 45
Dos Equis XX Imported Beer Cauhtemoc (Mexico) 4.79 42
Dos Equis XX Special Lager Cerveceria Montezuma (Mexico) 4.96 44
Dragon Stout Desnoes - Goeddes (Jamaica) 6.79 62
Foster's Lager Garlton & United (Australia) 5.25 42
Furstenberg German Beer Fustlich Ferstenbergische 4.43 39
Genesee 12 Horse Ale Genesee (USA) 4.98 44
Genesee Beer Genesee (USA) 5.03 43
Genesee Cream Ale Genesee (USA) 4.70 42
George Killian's Irish Red Ale Adolph Coors (USA) 5.79 50
George Killian's Irish Red Brand Beer Adolph Coors (USA) 5.54 49
Great Wall Imported Chinese Beer Green Bamboo (China) 4.63 45
Greenall's Cheshire English Pub Beer Grecnall Whitley PLC (England) 5.00 40
Grizzly Canadian Lager Hamilton (Canada) 5.4B 43
Grolsch Lager Beer Grolsch Bierbrouweri (Holland) 5.17 44
Guinness Extra Stout Gulnness (Ireland) 4.27 43
Harfenrefrer Private Stock Malt Llquor Narragansett (USA) 6.87 50
Hamm's Beer Pabst (USA) 4.53 40
Harp (mported Lager Beer Harp (Ireland) 4.55 40
Heineken Lager Beer Heineken (Holland) 5.41 45
Heineken Special Dark Beer Heineken (Holland) 5.17 48
Hofenperle Special Feldschlosschen Bier (Switzerland) 5.28 45
Kaiserdom Rauchbier-Smoked Bavarlan Dark Beer 5.88 49
Kirin Beer Kirin (Japan) 6.85 53
Knickerbocker Natural Beer Ruppert (USA) 4.16 38
Kronenbourg Beer Kronenbourg (France) 5.11 43
Kronenbourg Imported Dark Beer Kronenbourg (France) 5.08 46
Kuppers Kolsch Kuppers (Germany) 5.38 45
LA Anheuser Busch Premlum Pilsner Beer Anheuser Busch (USA) 2.29 26
Labatt's 50 Canadian Ale 5.34 43
Liberty Ale Anchor (USA) 6.12 53
Lord Chesterfield Ale D.G. Yuengling & Son (USA) 5.57 44
Lowenbrau Dark Special Beer Miller (USA) 5.00 45
Lowenbrau Special Beer Miller (USA) 5.12 45
McEwans Scotch Ale Scottish & Newcastle (Scotland) 9.50 83
Michelob Beer Anheuser Busch (USA) 4.99 45
Michelob Classic Dark Beer Anheuser Busch (USA) 4.76 45
Michelob Classic Dark Beer Anheuser Busch (USA) 4.93 45
Mickeys Fine Malt Liquor G. Heileman (USA) 5.70 45
Miller High Life Beer Miller (USA) 4.80 43
Miller High Life Genuine Draft Beer, Miller (USA) 5.02 43
Molson Canadian Beer Molson (Canada) 5.19 43
Molson Golden Beer Molson (Canada) 6.04 48
Moosehead Canadian Lager Beer Moosehead (Canada) 5.08 43
O'Keefe Canadian Beer O'Keefe (Canada) 4.96 40
Olde English Brand 800 Malt Liquor Pabst (USA) 6.13 48
Old Milwaukee Beer Stroh (USA) 4.51 41
Olympia Premium Lager Beer Pabst (USA) 4.78 41
Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer Pabst (USA) 5.01 43
Piels Premium Draft Style Beer Stroh (USA) 4.23 39
Pilsener Urquell Beer Pilsener Urquell Pilzen (Czechoslovakia) 4.25 45
Red Strlpe Lager Beer Desnoes & Geddes (Jamaica) 5.04 43
Red White & Blue Special Lager Beer G. Heileman (USA) 5.15 43
Rheingold Premium Beer Rheingold (USA) 4.78 42
Rolllng Rock Extra Pale Premium Beer Latrobe (USA) 4.64 40
Rolling Rock Premlum Beer Latrobe (USA) 4.51 34
Samuel Adams Boston Lager Boston Beer (USA) 4.88 48
Schaefer Beer Stroh (USA) 4.66 40
Schlitz Beer Stroh (USA) 4.70 41
Schlitz Malt Liquor Stroh (USA) 6.29 52
Sheaf Stout Carlton & United (Australia) 5.28 49
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Sierra Nevada (USA 4.82 45
Sierra Nevada Porter Sierra Nevada (USA) 5.34 48
Sierra Nevada Stout Sierra Nevada (USA) 5.10 56
Signature Stroh Beer Stroh (USA) 4.84 43
Sol Cerveza Especial Cerveceria Montezuma (Mexico) 4.13 37
Spaten Munich Special Dark Beer Spaten-Brau (Germany) 6.63 52
St. Pauli Girl Beer St. Pauli (Germany) 5.00 39
St. Pauli Girl Dark Beer St. Pauli (Germany) 5.02 45
Stroh's Beer Stroh (USA) 4.68 42
Suntory Draft Beer Suntory (Japan) 4.64 39
Superior Imported Beer Cerveceria Moctezuma (Mexico) 4.34 43
Thos Cooper & Sons Adelaide Lager Cooper & Sons (Australia) 4.27 36
Thos Cooper & Sons Naturally Brewed Real Ale Cooper & Sons (Australia) 6.77 45
Thos Cooper & Sons Naturally Brewed Stout Cooper & Sons (Australla) 7.10 58
Tolly Origlnal Premium Ale Tollei-ache & Cobbold (England) 4.85 41
Tsingtao Beer Tsingtao (China) 4.79 43
Tuborg Deluxe Dark Export Quality Beer G. Heileman (USA) 5.11 46
Tuborg Export Quality Beer G. Heileman (USA) 5.02 44
Tusker Malt Lager Bia Ni Bora (Kenya) 5.24 42
Utica Club Pilsener Lager Beer West End (USA) 4.82 27
Watney's Red Barrel Beer Stag (England) 3.92 40
Wurzburger Hofbrau Pilsner Beer Wurtzburger Hofbrauag (Germany)5.42 45
Yuengling Porter D.G. Yuengllng & Son (USA) 4.13 40
Yuengllng Premium Beer D.G. Yuengling & Son (USA) 4.65 39

Brand/Brewer (Country)% AlcoholCalories/100ml
Amstel Light Bier Amstel Brouwerij B.V. (Holland) 3.96 28
Anheuser Busch Natural Light Beer Anheuser Busch (USA) 4.12 31
Bud Light Beer Anheuser Busch (USA) 3.88 33
Coors Llght Beer Adolph Coors (USA) 4.36 30
Dribeck's Light Low Calorie Beer Brauerei Beck (Germany) 3.39 28
Genesee Light Beer Genesee (USA) 3.55 27
Michelob Light Beer Anheuser Busch (USA) 4.52 39
Miller Lite Pilsner Beer Mlller (USA) 4.40 29
Molson Light Beer Molson (Canada) 2.41 23
Nordik Wolf Light Imported Beer A.B. Pripps Bryggerier (Sweden) 4.70 31
Old Milwaukee Premium Light Beer Stroh (USA) 3.82 32
Pabst Extra Light Low Alcohol Beer Pabst (USA) 2.50 19
Piels Naturally Light Beer Stroh (USA) 4.49 40
Rheingold Extra Light Beer Rheingold (USA) 4.32 27
Schaeler Light Lager Beer Stroh (USA) 4.07 34
Schlitz Light Pilsner Beer Stroh (USA) 4.28 31
Stroh Light Beer Stroh (USA) 4.45 35
Watney's London Light Beer Watney Combe Reid (England) 3.56 29
Wurtzburger Hofbrau Pure Bavarian Light Beer Wurtzburger Hofbrau Ag (Germany)5.44 43

Brand/Brewer (Country)% AlcoholCalories/100ml
Bass Barbican Non-Alooholic Malt Beverage Bass (England) 0.10 15
Clausthaler Non-Alcoholic Herbfrisches Schankbier Bindlng Brauerei (Germany) 0.44 13
Clausthaler Hon-Alcoholic Herbfrlsches Schankbier Bindlng Brauerel (Germany) 0.48 14
Elan Swiss Brew Non-Alcoholic Malt Beverage Feldschloschen (Switzerland) 0.50 25
Kallber All Natural Non-Alcoholic Brew Light Malt Beverage Guinness (England) 0.10 14
Kingsbury Non-Alcoholic Malt Bev. G. Heileman (USA) 0.10 14
Metbrau All Natural Draft Non-Alcoholic Malt Beverage Metropolls (USA) 0.50 21
Moussy Non-Alcohollc Malt Beverage Cardlnal Filbourg (Switzerland) 0.10 16
Saint Michael's Non-Alcoholic Malt Beverage St. Michael's (USA) 0.73 17
Wurtzburger Hofbrau Non-Alcoholic Light Malt Beverage Wurzberger Hofbrau Ag (Germany) 0.10 30


Beer is a generic name for beverages made by fermentation of extracts of cereal grain, particularly barley, or other starchy material (1,8). Beer is a beverage known since antiquity and next to wine is probabLy the oldest of prepared food drinks. In modern times the countries of northern Europe set the style of beer as it appears today. In fact, the words "beer," "brewing," and "Lager" are all of German origin (1,8).

Beer is defined in Connecticut Statutes (2) as any beverage obtained by the alcoholic fermentation of an infusion or decoction of barley, malt and hops in drinking water and containing more than one-half of one percent of absolute alcohol. Taxes on beer sold in Connecticut are collected by the Excise Tax Division of the Department of Revenue Services at the rate of $3 per barrel (not less than 28 nor more than 31 gallons per barrel).


Samples were collected at wholesale beer distributors in Connecticut by inspectors of the Excise Tax Division of the Department of Revenue Services during April and May, 1987. Analysis for alcohol content was by AOAC methods (5) using gas chromatography (3). Proteins, ash, and solids were analyzed by AOAC methods (5). Carbohydrate content was calculated as percent total solids - (% protein + % ash) Calories were calculated as (% alcohoL X 6.93) + ((96 carbohydrate + %protein) X 4) (3). Duplicate analyses for alcohol in the same container of beer showed an average deviation of 0.057 percent and duplicates for protein 0.05 percent.


Of the 202 samples tested, 163 were regular beer (Table 1), 26 were light beer (Table 2), and 13 were non-alcoholic beer (Table 3). These represented 81, 19 and 9 different brands of regular, light, and nonalcoholic beer, respectively. Each Table lists the brand name of the beer, the name of the brewer, the country of origin, alcohol content, and the calories per 100 ml (milliliters) (3.5 ounces).

Alcohol in regular, light, and non-alcoholic beer averaged 5.0, 4.1, and 0.3 percent, respectively (Table 4). Calories in regular, light and non-alcoholic beer averaged 43, 32, and 17 per 100 ml, respectively. The range in values for alcohol and calories was wide. Alcohol in regular beer ranged from 1.0 to 9.5 percent, while light beer ranged from 2.4 to 5.4 percent and non-alcoholic beer from 0.1 to 0.7 percent. Similarly, calories varied among all types of beer. Some variation was noted in alcohol content among different containers of the same type of beer. A dilference of 1.5 percent was found in one type of regular beer and 1.6 percent in another. Although the labels showed no code numbers, each container of beer is likely from a different manufacturing batch.

A comparison of alcohol and calorie content between regular and light beer from the same manufacturer can be made by examining Tables 1 and 2. For example, eight regular beers made by Anheuser Busch (does not include beer claiming half the amount of alcohol as regular beer) averaged 5.11 percent alcohol. Four light beers from the same manufacturer averaged 4.17 percent, 15 percent less than found in the regular beer. Calories in the same Anheuser Busch regular beer averaged 44 per 100 ml and 35 in light beer, or 20 percent lower calories. Similar comparisons may be made for other manufacturers.


Analyses were by Lucia McLean, Dr. Vipin Agarwal, Lois Hornig, Deborah Behnfield, and John Hayes. Arrangements and collections of samples were made by Pasquale Oronzo, James Pyne, and Robert Brown of the Excise Tax Division.


1. Encyclopaedia Brittanica. Vol. 1, 15th edition, 1974, Chicago, IL.

2. General Statutes of the State of Connecticut. revised January 1, 1987, sections 12-433 and 435.

3. Hankin, L. 1986. Analysis of wine and beer coolers. Bulletin 840, CT Agricultural Experiment Station.

4, Messenger, B. 1988. Coors Target: Beer across America. Prepared Foods 157:58-61.

5. Official Methods of Analysis. 1984. 14th edition, S. Williams (ed.). Assoc. Official Analytical Chemists, Arlington, VA.

6. Statistical Abstracts ol the United States. 1985 105th edition, Washington, DC.

7. Statistical release Dept. of the Treasury, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. ATF R A:I 5130-2.

8. The Chemistry and Technology of Food and Food Products edition. M.B. Jacobs (ed.). 1951. Interscience Publishers, Analysis of Beer.

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