Believe it or not, you will sometimes pay more beer than you actually get when ordering a pint of beer in a bar. The reasons are variations in the glass size and the pint definition in different parts of the world.
If you google the number of ounces in a pint, you will quickly discover that one pint contains 16 ounces (473 ml). Unfortunately, it is not necessarily true. Let’s find out how many ounces in a pint of beer actually are.
Standard Beer Sizes
Nowadays, there are hundreds of beer brands that come in various sizes, flavors, and designs. Still, the usual packaging choices are a bottle, can, keg, or draft beer.
Many people confuse where the pint fits into the beer metric. Plus, it is unclear if it is a measuring unit or a glass size. In fact, it is both. You can measure beer by the pint, and there are pint glasses with various volumes.
Number of pints in standard beers
|Bottle||12 ounces (354 ml)|
|12 ounces (354 ml)||0.75|
|Half-barrel keg||1,984 ounces (58.7 l)|
|16 ounces (473 ml)|
Typically, a pint of beer equals 16 ounces (473 ml). That means a standard 12 ounces (354 ml) beer bottle contains exactly 0.75 pints. The same goes for a standard size beer can. A pint of beer equals 1.3 standard can. However, you can also find a smaller, so-called split bottle with only 6 ounces (177 ml). That means a pint has 2.7 split beers.
Sometimes, craft breweries pack their products in large, 22 ounces (650 ml) bottles that contain exactly 1.37 pints of beer. Don’t forget those big beers also have more ABV (alcohol by volume) than the mass-produced beers. If you order a pint of draft beer in a bar, you will get a 16 ounces (473 ml) glass.
Pint vs. Pint Glass
People use the term pint as a unit of beer measurement in many countries worldwide. The problem is that variations in the pint definition are often significant. Thus, a pint in the US is 16 ounces (473 ml), while an imperial pint in the UK is 20 ounces (568 ml). Germany, France, and Israel also use their own pint values.
Throughout history, many countries had their own units for the fluid measure. However, the terms they used were often identical. Gallon and pint are just some examples that create confusion to this day.
Differences in metric systems
16 ounces (473 ml)
|Imperial pint||20 imperial ounces (592 ml)|
11.2 ounces (330 ml)
|Royal pint||32.2 ounces (952 ml)|
|Scotland||Pint or joug|
57.3 ounces (1,695 ml)
The UK solved this problem by passing the Weights and Measures Act of 1824, which introduced the British Imperial System. Up to today, UK law stipulates that draft beer and ciders may be sold exclusively in imperial pint.
Unlike the pint, which denotes the volume of beer, the pint glass is the beer glass shape. It has a cylindrical shape that expands towards the top. If you enter a bar and order a British-style Imperial Stout, you will get a 20 imperial ounces (568 ml) pint glass filled with dark beer.
However, a domestic stock is served in 16 ounces (473 ml) glass, but many bartenders have started to serve beer in 14 ounces (414 ml) glass. Unlike other states of the US, Michigan clearly defined that one pint of beer equals 16 ounces (473 ml) with the adoption of the House of Bill 5040 in 2013.
According to this regulation, the staff in catering establishments is prohibited from pouring beer in pints smaller than the prescribed ones. In other states, you can get a pint glass of 12 ounces (354 ml) or even 22 ounces (651 ml), depending on the beer type you drink. That means one pint contains 1.8 times more beer than a standard bottle.
Still, one pint of glass will contain precisely one pint of beer only if the beer is poured up to the top. Otherwise, you lose up to 1/4 content on beer foam, depending on how well the bartender pours you a beer.
Some pint glasses have a handle or even two, depending on their design. Another thing you can notice is markings on the glass wall. Fractions 1/3, 1/2, and 2/3 indicate the lines to which the bartender pours the beer, leaving space for foam. Besides these marks, some glasses have the letter M next to a number representing the year they were measured.
Pint Alcohol Content
Two same pints contain equal volumes of beer no matter what type of beer is in the glass. However, that doesn’t mean the amount of alcohol is the same. The average beer has between 4 and 6% ABV (alcohol by volume), but some craft beers can have over 20% alcohol.
An ABV number describes how much pure alcohol is in 3.4 ounces (100 ml) of beer at 68 F (20 C) temperature. Therefore, a 16-ounces pint with 5% beer contains 0.8 ounces (23.6 ml) of ethanol alcohol.
If you order one pint of a 12% craft beer, you will consume 1.9 ounces (56.2 ml) of alcohol. In that case, the consequences for your body can be significant, depending on your tolerance to alcohol.
Pouring a Pint
If you enjoy drinking from a pint glass, you will correctly pour a beer with a few simple rules:
- Always use a clean and dry glass. Water or residues of dish soap can affect beer taste.
- Tilt the cup at a 45-degree angle and pour beer in its center. That way, you will avoid excess foam and splashes.
- Once you fill about 70% of the glass, you need to correct it. The foam on top of the pint beer shouldn’t take up more than a 1-inch (2.5 cm) case.
In most cases, one pint contains 16 ounces (473 ml), but some countries have different definitions of this value. Plus, the word pint can refer to the type of beer glass of various volumes. A standard pint contains a 1.3 average beer bottle, but the amount of alcohol in a pint depends on the beer ABV value.