How Many Percentages of Alcohol Are There in a Beer?

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Beer has a favorite drink for many people all over the world. It’s a refreshing beverage that people of all ages enjoy. If you are a beer lover, you should be able to know how many percentages of alcohol are there in a beer and the different types of beer.

How Many Percentages of Alcohol Are There in a Beer?

There are 4-7 percentages of alcohol in a beer, with the average being 5 percent. However, The alcohol level is determined by the brewing process and the type of yeast used. If you use a highly active yeast, the alcohol level will be higher. The reverse will be true if you use a less active yeast.

A man in a brown t-shirt and blue denim pants holds a bottle of beer placed on a brown wooden table

The alcohol by volume (ABV) measures the amount of ethanol, or pure alcohol, in a beverage and is expressed as a percentage of the total volume. It is a requirement by law in most countries that the manufacture, sale, and distribution of alcoholic beverages must list the ABV on the label. This gives the consumer an informed choice of the alcoholic range of the drink they purchase.

So, if you drink 12 ounces (355 ml) of 5% ABV beer, you will have consumed 0.6 ounces (17 grams) of alcohol. The alcohol range in beer differs from the proof system used for hard liquor, which measures twice the percentage of alcohol by volume. In most cases, brewers use the ABV to list the alcohol content of their beers, as it’s a more accurate reflection of the amount of alcohol.

How Do You Determine the Alcohol Content in Beer?

Every brewer must list the potency of the beer on the label. In the United States, this is done in terms of alcohol by weight (ABW) or alcohol by volume (ABV). It’s not a must to mention the method of measurement. The brewers can use any legal method to determine the alcohol range.

The ABV is calculated by measuring the specific gravity of the wort before and after fermentation. The difference between the two measurements is multiplied by 131.25 to give the percentage of alcohol by volume at standard temperature and pressure. You can use a hydrometer to measure the specific gravity of the wort.

For example, if you have an original gravity reading of 1.040 and a final gravity reading of 1.010, you would multiply the difference by 131.25. This would give you alcohol by volume content of 3.9%. Here is the formula; ABV = (OG-FG)*131. The number 131.25 is constant and is derived from the fact that water’s density is 1 g/mL.

What Factors Affect the Alcohol Content in Beer?

The percentage of alcohol in beer can be affected by many factors that brewers control and some that don’t. The following are some of the things to consider:

  • The type of yeast used: Each yeast has a different tolerance to alcohol. Some yeast will ferment to dryness, while others will stop fermenting before all the sugars are consumed. So, if you use yeast with high alcohol tolerance, you will end up with a beer with a higher alcohol range.
  • The length of fermentation:  A longer fermentation means more sugars are converted to alcohol. This gives a higher alcohol content. A shorter fermentation will result in a beer with less alcohol because not all the sugars are converted.
  • The temperature of fermentation: Temperature plays a vital role in fermentation. An optimal temperature for yeast is between 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit. The yeast will be active at this temperature and ferment the sugars quickly. If the temperature is too high, the yeast will produce fusel alcohols, giving the beer an off-flavor. If the temperature is too low, the yeast will hibernate and not ferment.
  • The amount of priming sugar used: The priming sugar is converted to alcohol and carbon dioxide during bottle conditioning. So, if you use an optimal amount of priming sugar, you will end up with a beer with the perfect amount of alcohol and carbonation.
A woman in a white t-shirt holds a green bottle of beer while seated on a blanket placed on the sand

Frequently Asked Questions

Are All Beers 5%?

No, all beers are not 5%. The percentage of alcohol in beer ranges from 0.5% to over 20%. Each beer style has a different alcohol content. For example, light beer will have less alcohol than a stout. However, most beers fall in the 4-6% range. This is the ABV of most commercial beers.

Do All Beers Contain Alcohol?

Yes, all beers contain alcohol. Even non-alcoholic beer contains a small amount of alcohol. The brewing process cannot remove all the alcohol from the beer. The alcohol content of non-alcoholic beer is 0.05% or less.


The alcohol in beer can range from 0.5% to over 20%. This is affected by many factors, such as the type of yeast used, the length of fermentation, and the fermentation temperature. If you are a beer lover, ensure you know the alcohol content of your favorite beer. Cheers!