Tallying the number of carbs and calories in your beer will help you keep track of your weight and health. Lagers vary in their calorie content and can range from 10 to 15 grams per pint. Pilsners have a lower carb content than the ales. But, how much of the carbs are in your glass of home-brewed beer? Let’s find out!
What are Beer Carbs?
Carbs – also known as carbohydrates – form part of the micronutrients in our daily foods. The body requires seven main micronutrients, including water, minerals, vitamins, fiber, fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.
Chemically, carbohydrates are made up of oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen. So, they break down to release energy and the compounds of these elements, including water, carbon dioxide, and alcohol.
Starches and sugars form the main parts of carbohydrates, and they provide the energy the body needs to fuel up its functions. Fruits, whole-grains, and vegetables, also add up to these body-energy foods.
Beer is essentially made from grains and, therefore, it does contain a lot of carbs. After taking your bottle, your beer’s carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, easily soluble in the blood. Then, the body absorbs this glucose and uses it as energy or converts it into fats for storage.
When there is too much glucose in the blood, you could suffer from hyperglycemia, leading to diabetes. When you don’t have enough glucose in your blood, you risk having hypoglycemia due to low blood sugar.
It is, therefore, prudent to count what’s on your plate and in your bottle to make sure that you are at the Recommended Daily Amount (RDA) for carbohydrates. The Cleveland Clinic organization has a system that guides you to understand how many carbs you need to take about your age, gender, athleticism, medical conditions, and weight objectives.
Adults need about 135g of carbohydrates only in a day. This amount is enough to run all the body functions and keep us healthy.
Of course, you don’t want to deprive your body of these carbohydrates, or else it will result in breaking down fats and proteins in the body for energy. Certainly, you don’t want the body to eat up the existing body proteins, which should be used in tissue repair and growth.
Simultaneously, you’re advised to eat complex carbohydrates instead of simple sugars because the former comes with more benefits to your body. Complex carbohydrates have less sodium, fats, and cholesterol than popular rice and pastries.
What are Beer Calories?
Your body needs energy to gas up its functions. All this energy is provided by the food we eat, while the excess is stored in the form of fat. A calorie is equal to the amount of energy that heats a gram of water from 0° to 1° Celcius.
In simple terms, a calorie is a nutritional unit of energy that people get from the food they eat or beverages they drink. A calorie is the basic form of chemical energy that keeps the body’s functions active.
Different jurisdictions have different standard measurements for calories. For instance, the USA measures its calories in kilocalories or the energy needed to heat a kilo of water from 14.5 degrees Celsius to 15.5°C. In Australia and across Europe, kilojoules are used to measure calories.
So, a small calorie is equal to the energy that can heat a gram of water by 1°C. Then, the large calorie is the amount of energy that heats a kilo of water by one °C.
Nutritionists worldwide recommend that adults take 1200 to 2000 calories a day for women and about 1500 to 2600 calories for men. If you consume more than this, it will be converted into fat and stored in your body, which adds to unnecessary weight.
Fortunately, there are devices you can use to measure your calorie intake and manage it appropriately. In extreme cases, you may want to check out with your nutritionist or doctor.
- 1 gram of carbohydrates has 4 calories.
- 1 gram of protein has 4 calories
- 1 gram of fat has 9 calories
- And 1 gram of pure ethanol has 6.9 calories.
Mostly, your beer carbs and calories come from both the alcohol content and the unfermented sugars. We’ll therefore calculate the calories in your drink below.
How to calculate carbs in craft beer
Now that we have all the information about carbs, we can dive right into calculating the calories in your homemade brew. Here, you will need to have correct measurements, and everything else will be an easy roll.
First, you must measure the original gravity end final gravity of your homemade beer. You get these respective density readings from your wort and beer. Or, simply it’s the density of your beer when you started brewing and the density of the final product.
The initial density tends to be greater than the final density because used has already broken down most of the dense sugars into lighter alcohol and carbon dioxide. Also, the calories and carbohydrates are always higher at the beginning of the brewing process than after fermentation. Of course, you will need a hydrometer or refractometer to get the correct readings.
Original Gravity (OG) > Final Gravity (FG)
The total amount of calories present in your beer is equal to those in your carbohydrates plus your alcohol. To approximate the total number of calories in your beer, use the formula below:
Approximated calories in Beer = (ABV% x 2.5) x fl oz
ABV= Alcohol by Volume
Calories in ethanol = 6.9cal/g
Top 10 Commercial Beers With Insane Amounts of Calories
You’re probably wondering how you are craft brewers calorie content compared with other brands from mainstream breweries. In this section, we are listing down the top ten highest calorie beers in the market today.
Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock
- An ABV rating of 5.8%
- 237 calories
- 18.0 carbs
Steel Reserve High-Gravity
- ABV 8.1%
- 222 calories
- 14.7 Carbs
The New Belgium Trippel Belgian-Style Ale
- ABV 8.5 percent
- 215 calories
- 20.0 carbs
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale
- 6.8% ABV
- 214 calories
- 19.4 carbs
Budweiser’s Bud Light Lime-a-Rita
- 8.0% ABV
- 220 Calories
- 21.9 carbs
The Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Beer
- 9.6% ABV
- 330 Calories
- 32.1 Carbs
The Samuel Adams Double Bock
- 9.5% ABV
- 323 calories
- 27.2 carbs
Sierra Nevada Hoptimum
- 10.4% ABV
- 314 Calories
- 24.4 Carbs
Coronado Idiot IPA
- 8.5% ABV
- 241 calories
- 21.0 Carbs
The Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA
- 7.2% ABV
- 236 calories
- 20.6 Carbs
Is beer one of my macro contributors to carbs?
An adult human body requires fats, proteins, and carbohydrates as the main sources of calories. And, having found out that beer contains a lot of calories, you may want to know how much the beer contributes to your Macros. Especially, if you are working on strict diets, you might try to replace one of your macros with beer.
And yes- your beer can successfully replace a source of fat or carbohydrates. The calorie content of ethanol in beer is about 4 calories per gram and that of fat is around 9 calories. So, you can replace your fat sources with beer.
For instance, take the case of the 12 ounces Budweiser, which has 145 calories. That’s equal to 36 grams of carbohydrates and 16 grams of fat.
Why do beer-drinkers have a bigger tummy?
It’s common to find beer aficionados with the signature beer belly. But why does body fat come so easily for alcohol enthusiasts?
First, we have to admit that taking beer in reasonable moderation has lots of health benefits. The reason people become fat when they take beer is the nutritional package that comes with it.
For instance, one pint of the standard 5% alcohol beer has 200 calories, barely 10% of the doctor’s recommendation. If you take five beers every evening, then you will have already covered 50% of the calories you need in a whole day.
If you were to stop at that, there would be no problem. But, you’ll, of course, want to snack and dine. In the end, if you are the calories in the beer and the ones in the food or snacks that you eat you will have gone way over the doctor’s recommendation for daily carries.
Can I be on a weight-loss diet and still take my favorite beer?
You can still take a bottle or two when you’re on a weight loss diet. However, you’ll need to cut down greatly on your other sources of calories. Alcohol slows your body’s ability to burn up fats, according to a report reviewed by M.D. Elaine K. Luo on Healthline. When you take alcohol, the liver will stop working on the fats and instead pay attention to the alcohol.
Psychologists advise that you should try drinking water beforehand if you want to cut on your alcohol intake. Then, try nursing your bottle for a little longer as this gives you time with friends, but with few bottles.
Also, taking lots of proteins helps remove alcohol from the blood. Then, proteins tend to stimulate the liver, for an optimum breakdown of alcohol and fats.
Does beer have more carbs than hard liquor?
Beer, vodka, and whiskeys don’t have many differences in their calorie content—instead, the difference in their carbohydrates.
The hard liquors are products of distillation and have no carbs remaining from their brewing process. Their only sugars come from the flavoring ingredients.
Beer is made of grain, which contains lots of natural carbs. Even when the brewing and fermentation are complete, some of the carbohydrates and sugars that were initially in the wort are still present. These sugars make beer have more calories than hard liquor.