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Alcohol Content in Beer vs Wine: Explained (2024 Best Edition)

Alcohol Content in Beer VS Wine

The alcohol content is one of the key differences between beer and wine. Although both beverages contain alcohol, the amount contained in each varies widely.

This article will explore the varying levels of alcohol content in beer vs wine to help you make informed decisions when choosing your beverage.

Alcohol Content in Beer vs Wine

refilling glass of beer

Generally, wines have more alcohol content than beers.

The average alcohol content for wines ranges between 11 percent to 13 percent, while standard beers have an average of 5% ABV.

Different types of wine can have 5% ABV to 23% ABV. 

Wines produced in cooler regions like New Zealand and Germany have lower alcohol content, while those produced in warmer areas have higher alcohol.

Beers also vary in alcohol content. Some beers can be as low as 0.5% ABV to a whopping 13% ABV. But what’s the best alcohol for a party?

Let’s Take A Closer Look

refilling glass of wine

Wine Alcohol Content


Red wines have an average alcohol content between 12%-15% by volume. It is mainly produced from varieties of dark-colored grapes. [1]

The fermentation of red wines includes the skin and seed of the grapes, which contribute to their color and contains more tannins.

Tannins make it possible for red wines to contain more alcohol while still balancing the taste.


pouring wine on a glass

White wines have a 10 % average ABV, but they can range between 5% and 15% depending on the brand.

White wines are made from non-colored-pulp of grapes, or “white” grapes, and typically don’t include skin and seed. 

The white grapes used in fermenting these wines are often less ripe, containing less sugar resulting in lower alcohol content than dark grapes.


Fortified wines have the highest alcohol content ranging between 17% to 22% ABV. 

Some Famous styles of fortified wines include port, sherry, Madeira, marsala, and vermouth.

Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance.”

– Benjamin Franklin, One of the United States Founding Fathers

Because distilled spirits are added to make fortified wines, it has more alcohol content than traditional wines.

Beer Alcohol Content


malt on a strainer

Malt beers have the lowest alcohol content among different types of beers.

Some malt beverages are alcohol-free, but malt beers typically have 0.5% to 2.5% ABV.

Fermentation is usually halted to lower the alcohol content to create malt beers, and they usually taste sweet and nutty.


Lagers usually contain alcohol between 4.5% to 13% ABV. Lagers are the type of beer produced from bottom-fermenting yeasts and are stored in cold temperatures.

Lagers are usually light, crisp, and highly carbonated. It is the most consumed type of beer worldwide.


Ales are the opposite of lagers, which are made with top-fermenting yeast that tends to flocculate on top during the brewing process.

Pale ales usually have lower alcohol (up to 5% ABV) than dark ales (up to 6.5% ABV).

Ales are more flavorful and fruity, with more profound bitterness from hops than lagers.

Stout & Porters

refilling a glass of beer

While both stouts and porter are dark beers, they are distinguished by the type of barley used and their alcohol content.

Typical porters use malt barley and usually have 4.8% to 6.5 %ABV, while stouts use roasted unmalted barley and an average ABV of 5.5% to 8%.


Bock beers are typically dark lagers that are fairly strong and have an average ABV between 6% and 7%. 

It was first brewed in Germany during the 14th century and is now very popular in the Netherlands.

Traditional bocks are usually bottom-fermented, with fewer hops and more robust malt flavors.

How To Determine Alcohol Content

The alcohol content is typically measured as a percentage of the total alcohol by volume (ABV). 

To calculate, divide the amount of ethanol present in milliliters (mL) by the total liquid volume in mL and then multiply the result by 100. 

For example, if a 750-mL bottle contains 30 mL of ethanol, its ABV would be 4% (30/750 x 100 = 4%).

This can also be determined by using an alcoholmeter or hydrometer, which measures the density of liquids compared to water, and by measuring the sugar content with a refractometer.

FAQs Related to Alcohol Content in Beer vs Wine

How many beers equals a glass of wine?

A standard glass of wine, usually around 5 ounces, generally contains roughly the same amount of alcohol as a regular beer, which is typically around 12 ounces. This means that, in terms of alcohol content, one glass of wine is roughly equivalent to one regular beer.

However, it’s important to note that the actual equivalency can vary depending on factors such as the specific alcohol content of the beverages, individual tolerance levels, and other factors influencing how alcohol affects the body.

The equivalency between beer and wine is based on the amount of alcohol they contain rather than the volume of liquid. Beer typically has a lower alcohol content by volume (ABV) compared to wine, but because beer is usually consumed in larger quantities, the total alcohol intake may be similar when compared to a standard glass of wine.

What gets you drunk, beer or wine?

The effects of alcohol consumption can vary depending on various factors, including the amount consumed, the alcohol content of the beverages, individual tolerance levels, and other factors influencing how alcohol affects the body. Generally, consuming the same amount of alcohol from beer or wine will have similar effects on intoxication.

However, because beer and wine have different alcohol contents, the rate at which you consume them and the volume you consume can influence how quickly you feel the effects of alcohol. For example, if you drink beer with a higher ABV more quickly than wine with a lower ABV, you may feel the effects of alcohol more rapidly.

It’s also important to consider other factors that can affect intoxication, such as food intake, hydration levels, and individual metabolism. Consuming alcohol on an empty stomach, for example, can lead to faster absorption and increased intoxication.

Why does wine make me feel different than beer?

Wine and beer contain different ingredients and can have varying alcohol contents, which can contribute to differences in how they make you feel.

Wine typically contains more natural compounds such as tannins and congeners, which can affect the body differently than those found in beer. These compounds, along with other factors such as sugar content and acidity, can influence the taste, aroma, and overall drinking experience of wine.

Additionally, individual preferences and sensitivities may play a role in how different types of alcohol affect you. Some people may find that certain types of alcohol, such as wine, elicit specific reactions or feelings that differ from those experienced when consuming other types of alcohol, such as beer.

What is the alcohol content in beer and wine?

The alcohol content of beer and wine can vary widely depending on factors such as the brewing or winemaking process, the ingredients used, and the specific product. Generally, beer typically ranges from around 3% to 12% ABV, with most beers falling between 4% and 6% ABV. Wine typically ranges from around 9% to 16% ABV, with most wines falling between 11% and 14% ABV.

However, there are exceptions, and some beers and wines may have higher or lower alcohol contents. It’s essential to check the label or consult product information for specific alcohol content details.

How does alcohol content in beer vs wine compare in terms of strength?

Wine is generally stronger than beer due to its higher alcohol content. This means you might feel the effects of wine more quickly than you would with beer.

Why does wine have a higher alcohol content?

Wine has a higher alcohol content because it’s made through the fermentation of grapes, which naturally contain sugars that can produce higher levels of alcohol compared to the grains used in beer production.

Alcohol Content in Beer vs Wine: Is there a difference in serving sizes?

Yes, there’s typically a difference in serving sizes between beer and wine. A standard serving of beer is usually around 12 ounces, while a standard serving of wine is about 5 ounces.

Can the alcohol content vary within beer and wine categories?

Yes, both beer and wine come in various styles and types, each with its own alcohol content. For example, some beers, like light beers, have lower alcohol content, while certain wines, like fortified wines or high-alcohol reds, can have significantly higher alcohol levels.

Alcohol Content in Beer vs Wine: Is one safer to consume than the other?

Both beer and wine can be enjoyed responsibly. However, it’s essential to be mindful of the alcohol content and drink in moderation to avoid any adverse effects on health or safety.

Key Takeaways

Wines typically have higher concentrations of alcohol compared to beer. It is also because grapes naturally contain more sugars than the ingredients in beer.

A glass of wine has almost the same amount of alcohol as a can of beer.

Therefore, less volume of wine should be consumed than beer to get the same intoxicating effect.

A normal person would get drunk with four glasses of wine or four cans of beer, so always remember to drink responsibly. Cheers.


  1. Red Wine: Good or Bad?
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