A Good Beer Blog


Have you read The Unbearable Nonsense of Craft Beer - A Rant in Nine Acts by Alan and Max yet? It's out on Kindle as well as Lulu.

Maureen Ogle said this about the book: "... immensely readable, sometimes slightly surreal rumination on beer in general and craft beer in particular. Funny, witty, but most important: Smart. The beer geeks will likely get all cranky about it, but Alan and Max are the masters of cranky..."

Ron Pattinson said: "I'm in a rather odd situation. Because I appear in the book. A fictional version of me. It's a weird feeling."


ethan -

The calorie content for Guiness directly conflicts with their website:

By quite a bit!

Bob Skilnik -

The Guinness "problem" is the biggest pain in the ass in terms of measuring nutritional values for a number of reasons, all which are pointed out in the book. This was the #1 "Gotcha" when I wrote The Low Carb Bartender too.

1. You’ll probably notice disparities between the nutritional information for the same brands of beer, but brewed in different countries. Guinness or Beck’s comes to mind. Some worldwide breweries contract to have their beers brewed in satellite breweries, far from their home offices. The use of more easily available indigenous grains or accommodating known taste preferences of local beer drinkers can influence the use of different mixtures of grains in the mash, differently treated water sources, changing ratios of various types of hops in the kettle, and even yeast strains in the fermentor, which can account for variances in calories, carbohydrates and alcohol levels for the same brand of beers in different countries. Guinness, for instance, is extremely popular in Nigeria, yet the cost of shipping malted barley from Ireland would be prohibitive. As a result, indigenous grains such as sorghum and soybeans can also be added to the grain bill. As noted throughout the book, and reflective of different brewing practices in a host of countries, the nutritional values for Guinness will vary widely.

2. Serving size for beer is listed in the book as 12-ounces (with rare exceptions), even if the beer comes in 22-ounce “bombers” or half-liter bottles, as per the TTB and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggestions. If a site quotes "pints," all bets are off.

3. One more caveat. Breweries are changing, and tweaking their recipes all the time, skewing their beers’ nutritional values with any given batch. Also be aware that any measurement of the nutritional values of beer is based on an average analysis. No two batches of beer will ever be the same. That’s why the TTB gives an expected range (+, -) for calorie, carbohydrate and protein analyses (ranges explained in the book). Of the many breweries that contributed to this book, The Lion Brewery in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania was the only brewery that sent me their beer nutritional information with expected ranges, NOT as definitive numbers. That’s really how you have to look at the information in this book; numbers will fluctuate with each batch of beer. Keeping the nutritional data within an expected range and deriving an average analysis of product is what’s given here. It's what you see on a package of Twinkies or a 6-pack of Coors Light. There are NO absolutes in measuring the nutritional values of food, only ranges averaged out to a single number.

Alan -

Bob sent me the pdf of his book. So, now I know that the big bottle of Allagash Odyssey is 25.36 ounces and that there are 23.08 callories per ounce. Which makes 585.31 calories per bottle. I read that the UK Department of Health Estimated Average Requirements (EAR) are a daily calorie intake of 1940 calories per day for women and 2550 for men. So 4.36 big bottles of Odyssey is the full daily caloric requirement for an adult male. A six pack (or rather 2000 ml) would be 1560 calories.

Another reason for session ales?

Drew Brown -

Thank you for your post, it was very interesting to read. I always like to read and write about this kind of craftsmanship.

Matt Dunn -

Funny. I was just commenting on how many calories must be in a bottle of Three Floyd's Dark Lord. It's got to be at least twenty thousand.

Alan -

LOL!!! A man could live on one for two weeks.

kennhyn -

in term of health beer calories will not be a good one, the worst part is you never stop at 1 pint. You go on and on. I think the best is still exercise rather then looking out for the calories. If we look out for the calories in drinking beer, so what's the fun of drinking beer anymore?

Bob Skilnik -

Of course if you don't know how many calories are in a beer, you sure as hell don't know who many calories you're expending when you "exercise" either. Sort of like saying you don't need a speedometer in your car since driving's all about the fun.

I hear this line all the time. "I'll just exercise more." How much more? What duration? At what rate? Incline or not? Cardio or strength conditioning?

Jack Segar -

Great post, unfortunately beer is high in calories and high in carbs and because of this it can really have an effect on your waist line. But I think for many it would be better, to cut back on the amount they drink and switch to a light beer rather than trying to cut out beer all together. Even though the difference between a regular beer and a light beer may not seem like much multiplying that number over several a week can really add up quickly.

bill keiser -

I downloaded it. On page 10 is a link to http://www.DrinkHealthyTV.com which appears to be a non existent URL. Where would I find updates on the data?

Rob Young -

I think I'd rather drink watered down oatmeal than switch to light beer

D Stro -

Exercise and drink as much as you want.

CC -

It's hard to say how many calories in any beer.. I'm pretty sure the numbers are cheated anyway to make you feel better. Either way, you drink a beer for the taste, not to watch your waistline. If you were, you'd just drink water.. so bottoms up!

Jon Battle -

If someone could find an accurate answer, ...
The wrong answer I see everywhere is that alcohol content of beer is basically the whole calorific payload. WRONG! It depends on the beer, varies between half (rich lagers) and almost all (ultra-carb things). You can get a rough idea just from the taste. Pyramid apricot has a syrupy texture, Coors-lite feels like a vodka+soda-water.

Jon Battle -

Here's an actual rough calculation, I'd like it corrected by anyone who can do it more accurately.
- a 330 ml bottle of Kasteel, so 11 oz of 11% abv, has:
- 220 cals of alcohol
- an unknown amount of extra unfermented starches and sugars - I guess 150+ because of its rich taste
- So, it's probably almost 400 cals.
- compare that with a full 20oz Imperial pint of Guinness: 240 cals (Guinness is a calorie bargain with a deceptive taste).
- BTW when numbers are actually published, they are mostly accurate, but I have not seen any "serious" Belgian beer maker publish anything.

Jon Battle -

- A guy called Bob Skilnik has published books on this, and here's a useful, but incomplete, rambling on this subject:
- A useful point is that,for many "regular" beers (ie. not lites, ultra, lo-carb-bla, japanese, special yeasts etc etc) ... to get a rough idea on caloric content of a 12 ounce craft beer, multiply the alcohol content by 34. It works on Guinness, Kasteel, many other brews. This calculation builds-in an estimate that 60% of cals are alcohol, 40% unfermented starches and sugars.

Big Tom -

I big fella too. Me likes beer, and beer food places. I not count calories, for girlish boy. I drink, eat, and that all. You think too much, and drink little. I drink your beer now

Dave -

Don't forget, all this calorie counting is interesting but when you compare beer to McDonald's food, there's a FAT content that no one talks about. Beer is only sugar. Of course sugar WILL turn into fat if nothing is done about it (A.K.A. sports... activities) but otherwise it's not as bad as the numbers look.
So let's try a calorie + fat count on beer. Saturated fats... trans fats (ya right).... Stuff like that and THEN we shall see if beer is all that bad for us!
Beer is more or less just empty calories.

Alan -

That's the silliest argument I have ever read - empty calories as harmless calories.

Andrew the beer chemist -

The rule of thumb of calories in beer is that approximately 2/3 thirds are due to ethanol and the balance is due to complex carbohydrates and proteins. Typically, mainstream beers are around 150 calories @ 5% ethanol. Variations from this benchmark are due to the amount of malt/corn/rice that was used to produce each beer. The previous blog has suggested that "sugar will turn into fat" which is not scientifically true. However, the other comment indicating the influence of fat consumption is on the mark and there is no fat in beer or at least measurable. The body consumes three principle sources of nutrition; carbohydrates, fat and protein. People get "fat" because of the amount of fat they intake. A balance of each food group along with an active lifestyle is required to maintain ideal weight. I have posted on a couple of other blogs topics on this web blog including my credentials. Please enjoy!!! Drink up!!

Alan -

No, you have provided no real credentials to speak of, Andrew... if that is your name. Though I do think you have used more exclamation marks this evening than any other comment maker.

Robert Geczi -

I think each person should do what suits them, and it's not like "calorie counters" have a notepad and paper at all times, writing down EVERYTHING they eat or drink. A knowledgeable person that wants to do it discreetly can do some research before going out, and keep a running tab in your head. Then when you get home, write it all down.

No one will be the wiser.

Wayne Lyons -

Andrew, you should check your facts on fat production. The body does convert surplus carbohydrates (glucose) and stores it as glycogen and fat.

Bert -

Life is short & unpredictable. Don't waste your time on light beer, drink great beer and just drunk less of it!!

Maureen Ogle -

Wait!? You're tall? I would not have guessed that. Like... over six feet tall? Really? Never would have guessed. Huh.

Yours in caloriedom.

Alan -

Six three. 37 inch shirt sleeves. I can eat three heads of lettuce at a sitting.

John B -

Difficult subject, this. The truth is you have to be honest with yourself (which is precisely what Alan is saying). If you're fat, you need to lose weight. Over two years leading up to this summer I got fat. It was down to beer. There's no point in pretending otherwise.

I've cut right back on alcohol, which also helps with eating healthier. I've done a bit more exercise, though not lots more. I've lost nearly 30 pounds since June but still have about 15 to go to be at the weight I was 5 years ago. It's been quite hard but I'm glad I'm doing it as I don't want to be a fat, beery mess.

Truth is all those calories in beer make you fat - and more than that, they alcohol makes you drunk and you make poorer decisions with food, while under the influence and when recovering. And although you can go a while and maintain some sort of equilibrium - I did for a few years - as you get older and as you begin to slowly let yourself go, you soon pile on the pounds.

You can't exercise your way out of a beery lifestyle. It isn't possible. You need to drink a lot less beer.

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