What Is ABV In Beer?

There are so many different beers all around the world and they’re just waiting to be tried. From lagers to ales, there are simply just too many to count, with a lot of them being unique to anything else.

Many people know that no two beers are the same, although some of them might taste like it!

ABV is very important when drinking because it keeps us safe when advertised on the bottle or can that we’re drinking from.

What Is ABV In Beer?

Many people might assume that all beers are around the same strength, when they first start drinking, however, they would be very wrong.

Follow our guide to find out what ABV means, what it is in different beers, and why it is so important for keeping us safe when enjoying a good beer.

At the end of the day, drinking beer should be enjoyable! Knowing what ABV is, definitely helps toward meeting this end.

What Is ABV?

Let’s get straight into it because understanding what ABV is can help you to explore different possibilities and find the best beer for you.

If you haven’t guessed by now, ABV isn’t a word. It’s an abbreviation, standing for the words ‘Alcohol By Volume’. This is used to measure how much alcohol is in a drink, which needs to be displayed on any packaging of alcoholic beverages by law.

So what is ABV in beer? The way that ABV is presented is through a percentage that will determine and showcase how strong a beer is.

For example, if a bottle of Budweiser is around 4.3% and a bottle of Peroni stands at 5.1%, then the Peroni is stronger than its counterpart and will have a stronger effect on the person drinking the beer.

How Strong Are Beers? A Brief Guide

Now that we know what ABV stands for and what it does when it comes to drinking beer safely, we can have a look a the different ranges that different beers have.

The beauty of beer is that they don’t always have the same strength and will often vary to suit the needs of the many. 

India Pale Ale/IPA

With strong hoppy flavors and often coming with a bitter aftertaste, IPA beers are great for those who wish to enjoy a drink with a bit more bite to it.

With an amber color and a shady haze to them, IPAs are usually found somewhere between the 4.5-6% mark and will require a strong stomach if you’re to enjoy several of them.

Some IPAs even check in around the 9% mark, for those who want a stronger drink to enjoy.


A lot lighter than IPAs, lager is a great drink that is served in lots of different bars around the world as their primary drink.

Usually around 4-5% ABV, lagers provide the drinker with a crisp and light taste with lots of bubbles and a good foam on the top.

Because the percentage is generally lower, they tend to be on the cheaper end of the spectrum when it comes to drink prices.



Similar to lager, pilsners are light and crisp with a softer malt, making them a great drink during those hot summer months.

Standing at around 5%, these beers are great for social drinking and will often supply a good option for those looking for a lighter drink.

With bitter flavors, pilsners have been around for 140 years and look like they’re staying for good.

Wheat Beer

Moving slightly higher in the range, wheat beers usually stand anywhere between 3-7%, which provides something for drinkers of all beers.

Made with wheat malt and barley malt, this beer has a hazy color and often has a bit of a kick!

Low in hops and accompanied with a yeast flavor, these are great for consuming in warm weather – just like pilsners.


With tones of coffee, chocolate, and much more, stouts are a huge fan favorite in many different corners of the globe.

With an incredibly dark and cloudy color, these beers usually clock in around the 4-7% mark, which isn’t too over the top compared to other beverages.

Guinness is a classic stout that many people recommend once they’ve tried it!

How Much ABV Should Someone Drink?

A lot of this depends on the size of the person due to their alcohol and blood percentage. However, the general rule of thumb is that someone should drink one alcoholic beverage per day as a basic outline to follow.

However, it’s believed that women can drink one alcoholic drink per day, with men being able to ingest two.

What ABV Is Considered A Strong Beer?

Of course, many people are used to different strengths and it often comes down to where they’re from.

A lot of Americans will tend to enjoy a light lager such as Coors or Budweiser, whereas many Europeans will enjoy a pilsner or a wheat beer because of how close they are to where the beer was manufactured and brewed.

Despite this, many people will consider 6% around the strong point and will usually look to drink something a bit weaker if they’re looking to have more than one drink.

There are, of course, a lot of beers that come at a much higher percentage but they are usually specialty made to be stronger than usual.

Final Thoughts

ABV is a great thing to know about because of how much it keeps people safe and allows them to understand how strong their beer is.

If you end up drinking a beer toward the 8% or 9% area, then you need to expect a stronger drink with a higher effect of alcohol on the body.

Because beer brewing companies often have to promote safe drinking, they need to display their ABVs on the drink’s packaging, so if you’re curious to find out how strong a beer is, simply look online or check the bottle!

Robert Kaser
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