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Beer Basics

History
Defining Beer
Beer Styles
Choosing
Serving
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Glossary

Comparing Beer Styles: Strength

A beer’s strength is determined by its original gravity and the attenuation of the yeast. To indicate strength, both alcohol by volume (ABV) and alcohol by weight (ABW) are used. ABV indicates the volume of alcohol as a percentage of the beer’s total volume, and is used by most of the world. ABW indicates the weight of alcohol as a percentage of the beer’s total weight, and is used in the United States. ABW numbers are usually about 20 percent less than ABV.

Beer Style Family

Strength (ABV%)

Abbey Ale

5.4 - 10.0

Amber Lager

4.6 - 6.3

American Ale

3.5 - 6.1

Belgian and French Ale

4.2 - 11.3

Bock

6.1 - 14.4

Dark Lager

3.8 - 5.7

English Ale

2.5 - 7.5

German Ale

4.3 - 5.5

Lambic

4.0 - 7.0

Pale Lager

3.0 - 6.0

Pilsener

3.5 - 5.6

Porter

4.3 - 9.5

Scottish and Irish Ale

2.8 - 8.6

Specialty Beers

2.5 - 8.8

Stout

3.1 - 10.0

Strong Ale and Barleywine

5.6 - 10.0

Wheat Beer

2.7 - 8.4

 

Click on a beer style family name to learn more.