How Does ABV Impact Beer? | Trusted BrewKnowledge
In this series of Trusted BrewKnowledge™, you'll join the conversation between Advanced Cicerone® Jeremy Storton and Huss Brewing Market Manager Erin Deuble to learn everything you need to know about ABV and how to use it for the right occasion.
How Does ABV Impact Beer? (Part 1/6)
This video covers the basics of alcohol by volume (ABV). ABV is simply the percentage of alcohol per volume of liquid. Jeremy gives some background on ABV by explaining how alcohol is made.
Specific gravity and degrees Plato are units of measurement used in brewing. Brewers compare the starting and final measurements to determine what percentage of the beer is actually alcohol.
In the US, a standard "drink" is defined as 12oz of 5% ABV beer, a 5oz glass of wine at 12% ABV, and one and a half ounces of a spirit at 40 ABV. The average beer is typically between 2-12% ABV, although some styles push those limits.
How do we use our knowledge of ABV to make every experience a great one?
Alcohol affects each of us differently. When you know how your body reacts to different amounts of alcohol, you can plan your drinks accordingly and enjoy craft beer responsibly.
How Does ABV Impact Beer? 2-4% ABV (Part 2/6)
Jeremy sits down with Erin Deuble, Market Manager of Huss Brewing, to discuss ABV more in-depth.
What does ABV mean to you?
ABV can be considered when choosing a beverage at different points in the day. If you're enjoying a brew earlier in the day, Erin recommends sticking to a lower ABV beverage. If it's the evening, she might try something that has a higher ABV.
What are good occasions for a beer with 2%-4% ABV?
Session IPAs or lagers are great styles that are typically low in ABV. Beers in the 2-4% ABV range are perfect for enjoying a drink during the day, at a business lunch, when you're golfing, at a ball game, or to reward yourself after long hours of mowing the lawn or shoveling snow. When you want to enjoy a drink responsibly, this is the ABV to look for!
How Does ABV Impact Beer? 4-6% ABV (Part 3/6)
The 4-6% ABV range is where the vast majority of beers lie. You'll often see Koelsch, American Wheat, and even IPAs within this ABV range.
Why are so many beers within the 4-6% ABV range?
A lack of grain back in earlier brewing years could be a reason that most beers falling within this ABV range. Another possible explanation could come from the British brewing tradition. If you wanted to get a higher alcohol volume from your beer, you'd have to let it age for a year, and people didn't want to wait - they wanted to sell! Lower alcohol beers were also sustenance in times of plague and suspicious water sources. The 4-6% ABV range is the "sweet spot"!
What are good occasions for a beer with 4%-6% ABV?
Like the 2-4% ABV beers, this range of ABV is also great for enjoying at ball games, celebratory events, at the pool, or on a golf course. With higher alcohol levels comes more body and flavor, which make these beers great to pair with a meal.
How Does ABV Impact Beer? 6-8% ABV (Part 4/6)
What are good occasions for a beer with 6-8% ABV?
The 6-8% range gets into a more substantial range of alcohol.
This level of ABV in a beer is typically hearty, flavorful, has depth, and a nice profile. You can match the strong flavor profiles of this type of brew with a hearty dish, or maybe you'd prefer to sip on it throughout the evening.
Set boundaries with alcohol consumption and don't feel obligated to finish it if it's too strong or if you aren't enjoying it. If a 6-8% feels intimidating, don't feel pressured to order the 16oz - try ordering a 10oz taster instead!
How Does ABV Impact Beer? 8-10% (Part 5/6)
Beers within the 8-10% ABV range are strong and well above average in alcohol volume. As ABV increases, it's important to be mindful of how and when to drink beers within this range.
These brews typically have a lot of complexities. Don't rush through this experience - take your time and enjoy! Warm the glass up in your hand and sip on it to appreciate the flavors.
Be sure to enjoy beers with 8-10% ABV in a safe space. If you're out drinking with friends, plan your ride home in advance. You can even take a growler to go and share this beer with friends in the comfort of your home.
How Does ABV Impact Beer? 10-12+% (Part 6/6)
This is not your everyday brew - this type of brew should be used in celebration or on a special occasion.
A 10-12% brew is a perfect substitution for champagne or a glass of wine. You can make a toast with this beer or sip on it slowly throughout the evening. Beers in this ABV range will have big flavors and a big impact. This ABV range will affect each person differently, so be aware of what you can handle and enjoy it safely!
Beers of this strength can change over time, so buy two - one to drink now, and one for later. You'll be surprised by the difference in taste!