Does Wine Have More Alcohol Than Beer? - Wine Turtle

Does Wine Have More Alcohol Than Beer?

This post was updated on: December 1, 2018

Does Wine Have More Alcohol Than Beer?

Does Wine Have More Alcohol Than Beer?

Enjoying a glass of wine or a beer has always been the best way to decompress after a long day’s work. But, have you ever wondered how much alcohol you’re really consuming in that five-ounce or ten-ounce beverage? And does wine have more alcohol than beer? It can honestly be quite shocking and make you wonder if you should swap out your beer for wine and vice versa.

How Alcohol Content is Determined

Alcohol content is measured by volume, also known as ABV. That helps us determine within a single ounce or bottle how much alcohol we’re really drinking. For instance, the standard serving size is measured by every six ounces. The way you would calculate this is by the number of ounces in your glass times the ABV to equal however many six ounces. You can also keep track of how much you’re drinking by the volume times alcohol percentage divided by six ounces.

How much Alcohol Does it Have?

Typically wine starts at around eight percent ABV extending all the way to twenty-five percent ABV. While beer starts as low as zero point zero five percent ABV to twelve percent ABV. But, don’t let the alcohol by volume fool you. Just because you have twenty-five percent, ABV doesn’t mean you’ll automatically get drunker than the twelve percent ABV counterpart. It is really all in the way you ration it out. Proportions matter!

Plus not all wine and beer are made alike. You can have a hard cider or low alcohol beer that is zero point zero five percent ABV and still get hammered. Many different factors will determine how drunk you get such as:

  • Weight
  • How fast you drink your beverage
  • Alcohol by Volume (ABV)
  • How easily your body metabolizes alcohol
  • The age of the alcohol
  • You’re biological gender
  • Any Medications You’re on can be affected or affect you
  • How much food you’ve eaten or lack thereof
  • Your Overall Health

All of these factors play some type of role in your ability to get drunk and how many drinks it will take for you to get there.

Types of Beer

There are a variety of beers out there, and it can get to be overwhelming if you’re just beginning to drink them and not sure what you like. The main types are:


  • Ales
  • Bock
  • Lager
  • Malt
  • Stout and Porters

To help you out we will give a description of each and their typical alcohol content or ABV.

Ales

Ales are known for its light fruity taste with some spice. It is very rich of flavor and the aroma to match. The slightly bitter taste makes it perfect if you don’t want anything too sweet yet like a fruit and spice flavor. The standard alcohol by volume for Ales is going to be four percent to seven percent.

Bock

Bock is normally associated with special religious occasions such as Christmas. Don’t let that fool you though. This dark, lightly bitter, and malty beer can be enjoyed at any time. It is brewed in Autumn and ready to drink in the Spring. It is strong, yet, tasteful. The standard alcohol by volume for Bock is six percent to eight percent.

Lager

You are probably really familiar with Lager beer. It is the most popular with its crisp and refreshing taste. One of the smoothest beers, it has three percent to six percent alcohol by volume.

Malt

If you like a sweet, nutty, and caramel or toffee taste, Malt is the beer for you. Generally dark in color this beer is perfect for those with a sweet tooth. Plus the alcohol by volume is only between zero point five percent to three percent. This makes it the perfect low-alcoholic beverage on the market.

Stout and Porters

These two beers differ in flavor, and both share a rich, dark color. Stout is going to be your bitter and thick beer. While Porters are still dark but have a fruity flavor to them. Stouts have more alcohol by volume at a whopping five percent to ten percent and Porters only having four to five percent alcohol by volume.

Types of Wine

Whites

White wines can be made from white or red fermented grapes. Unlike its red counterparts, white wine is separated from the skin of grapes leaving you with a clear, white color and a decadent fruity to earthy taste. These wines have an alcohol by volume amount stretching from eight to twenty percent.

Reds

Red wines have a variety of different taste and styles ranging from full-bodied to thin and musky to clean. There are eighteen different kinds of red wine, so you get why we can’t specifically describe them all. They are made from red grapes that are fermented to create these classic dinner companions. The alcohol by volume, however, is going to range from five percent to twenty-one percent.

The Fermentation Effect

Wikipedia defines fermentation as the “metabolic process that produces chemical changes in organic substrates through the action of enzymes. In biochemistry, it is narrowly defined as the extraction of energy from carbohydrates in the absence of oxygen.” We define it as the amount of yeast that turns sugar in a beverage to alcohol to get you that nice buzz. But, the real question is what part does fermentation play in your alcohol by volume?

To answer this question, let’s start with the formula for fermentation. That is yeast plus glucose creating ethanol, another name for alcohol, plus carbon dioxide, and oxygen. All of this combined is what makes fermentation if you want to be exact and scientific about it. Although it may sound gross, this is the same process to bake bread any other goods that we all love or at least have experienced in our lifetime.

Usually, you’ll find fermentation in fruit juices, making wine the prime alcohol to naturally have this fermentation because it is made from grape juice. That could explain why the alcohol by volume typically is more than your average beer. However, beer is a derivative of fermented malt.

To conclude, fermentation creates the alcohol by volume and can even increase it in your beer or wine. It’s the process you need to make alcohol form and be the beverage you adore.

Wine Drunk Versus Beer Drunk

To make things straight, alcohol is alcohol regardless of if you’re drinking wine, beer or a spirit because it is all ethanol at the end of the day. However, depending on your mood state they do affect you differently when you’re drunk, and you could even have a biased to how it makes you feel creating an allusion of the effects.

The way ethanol travels through the body is by the bloodstream. It enters the stomach and small intestine before it is broken down by the liver to help you metabolize everything. Whatever can’t be processed by the liver goes to other organs such as the brain that ends up regulating your mood.

So how does this all fit into being wine drunk or beer drunk? Well, this tells us that depending on how fast and well your body breaks down ethanol before entering your brain could have a huge effect on the way your mood is when drunk by either wine or beer. It also means that a lot of it is mind over matter as well.

So, if you think that wine drunk feels better than being drunk from beer, it will feel better. We all know that the brain is a very powerful and important organ in the body. If your brain isn’t functioning properly, then nothing else will as a result. Therefore, it makes a lot of sense that scientists have found that what you think influences your perception.

We can even see this when we are not under the influence. Have you ever thought something was going to turn out bad and it did? Have you ever thought you were going to be sick from something and it happened? Trust us that is no coincidence. Your mind has a ton of influence on how you see the world and what you perceive.

So is wine drunk really different than being drunk by beer? No. The only difference is how fast you’ll get there depending on some factors alongside the alcohol by volume.

The Verdict

The verdict is here. Wines have more alcohol than beer. However, the alcohol in them affects you all the same. Most of this has to do with how you perceive it will affect you along with biological factors. If you’re concerned about the amount of alcohol you are consuming, it is best to watch how many ounces of liquid you’re drinking in comparison to the standard serving size of six ounces. As far as your mood, you’ll want to watch how fast you’re consuming your alcoholic beverage and your mindset. It’s all about perception when it comes down to it. If you’re saying to yourself “I’m going to feel horrible” or “beer makes me aggressive” then you will be just that.

About the Author

Although not having any formal training in wine, Tim has developed an irrefutable love wine and interest in anything related to it ever since he was a little kid. Coming from a family of wine lovers, it was from a young age that he got exposed to wine and the culture that goes with it and has been addicted ever since. Having traveled to dozens of wine regions across the world including those in France, Italy, California, Australia, and South Africa and tasted a large selection of their wines, it is with great joy that he hopes to share those experiences here and take you along on the journey.

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