Not two beers are the same and except for abv%, calories are among the things that many consumers are looking for when drinking beer. Still, while nutritional information in beer is not mandatory everywhere, it is a myth only to look at calories in beer from a health perspective. We have spoken with our in-house specialist Nikolaj Metz Jansen about the importance of knowing and analyzing calories throughout the brewing process.
Where do calories in beer come from?
“Calories in beer depend upon the alcohol level and the sugar/carbohydrate content, with alcohol having the most impact due to the higher number of calories pr. gram. However, this does not mean that low alcohol is always equivalent to a low number of calories, and you cannot always assume a certain number of calories depending on alcohol/sugar level.” Nikolaj says and elaborates “Many often confuse light beer as being a beer with low calories, but this is not always the case as sugar level is often higher in light beer as a way to round the flavor.”
What beer has the most calories?
“A good Stout usually has a high number of calories, but you cannot assume that stout is always higher in calories than for example lager beer. A good example is the Samuel Adam Boston Lager that has 52 calories/100 ml compared to a Guinness Extra Stout that only has 35 calories/100 ml.” Nikolaj says and continues “Calories in beer only partly depend upon and sugar content. There are other things to take into consideration and when looking into the fermentation process, it is interesting to take a closer look at craft beer that often has a higher number of calories than commercial beer.”
Why does craft beer often have more calories than commercial beer?
“There are three reasons why craft beer often has more calories than commercial beer. The first thing is the generally high amount of alcohol in craft beer.” Nikolaj explains “Another reason comes out of a more technical aspect. As craft breweries do often not have access to the same advanced equipment as bigger commercialized breweries, they cannot fully optimize on sugar throughout the brewing process. Finally, craft brews often have more raw materials like berries, banana, etc. added, and it all adds more calories to the brew.”
Why is it important to measure calories in beer?
The most important reason for measuring calories in beer is product transparency, Nikolaj explains. “We got a lot of requests from brewers, who would like to be able to measure calories in a fast and easy way.” He says and continues “Previously brewers would have to calculate the approximate number of calories using the formula: Approximated kcal/100 g in Beer = 6.9*(ABW%) + 4*(Real extract % by weight – ash content % by weight)” Nikolaj explains “But measuring calories is not only about product transparency. It also enables you to get a better understanding of what happens in the brewing process. By comparing calories, you get another tool to backtrack your beer and see what parameters to adjust to get a certain beer.” he says “By using the BeerFoss you can measure calories and other important parameters all at once. It adds transparency to your product.” Nikolaj concludes.