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Michelob Light vs Ultra: Light Beer Showdown (2024)

Michelob Light vs Ultra

When it comes to choosing refreshing beers, options abound. Among the various choices, Michelob Light and Michelob Ultra have emerged as popular picks for those seeking a lighter beer option.

If you’re having second thoughts about which of these light beers is worth your sip, you’re at the right place.

I’ve been enjoying both beers ever since, so I’m here to convey a side-by-side comparison of Michelob Light vs Ultra to help you decide which one might be your perfect brew.

Which is Better, Michelob Ultra or Light?

Bottle and Can of Michelob Ultra and Light

Michelob Ultra is better because while it may not deliver a strong punch because of its lower alcohol content, it brings forth lighter flavors that make it perfect for a casual, everyday drink.

While these two beers share the same heritage, under the Michelob brand, there are indeed some significant differences to consider.

Michelob Light provides the classic beer experience, like other traditional beers. It has a well-balanced flavor profile, moderate smoothness, and a hint of sweetness that’ll surely appeal to traditional beer enthusiasts.

“When it’s Michelob, it’s more than just a beer; it’s an experience.” – Liquor Laboratory

Meanwhile, Michelob Ultra offers an ultra-light flavor profile, perfect for health-conscious consumers. It has fewer calories and carb content, with a crisp taste and a refreshing mouthfeel.

While these two beers share a refreshing taste, the major difference lies in their flavor profiles, mouthfeel, and nutritional content.

So, the choice ultimately depends on your preference for a classic beer taste or a lighter, healthier option.

Michelob Ultra vs Light Beer Cheat Sheet

AspectMichelob LightMichelob Ultra
Calories122 kcal95 kcal
Alcohol Content4.3% ABV4.2% ABV
Marketing FocusLightUltra
Packaging & BrandingClassicSporty 
Popular VarietiesLight & AmberOriginal & Lime
Market Sales & DemandSteady SalesSoaring Sales 
Perceived AudienceClassic Beer drinkersHealth-conscious consumers (especially on Atkins Diet)
Star Rating★★★★☆ ★★★★★

Main Differences

Origin & History

Michelob Light beer line, with its classic appeal, has been around for quite some time, tracing its roots back to the mid-20th century.

On the other hand, Michelob Ultra was introduced in 2002, targeting those who prefer a lighter, healthier lifestyle.

Beer Classification

Hand Holding Bottle of Michelob Ultra

While Michelob Light and Michelob Ultra are classified as light beers, Michelob Ultra places a stronger emphasis on being ultra-light.

It boasts lower calorie and low-carb content than Michelob Light, catering to consumers who want to reduce their beer-related calorie intake.

Flavor

Michelob Light delivers a well-balanced, traditional flavor with a hint of sweetness, making it a solid choice for classic malt enthusiasts. It’s the best pick if you prefer a lighter beer with a more prominent flavor.

Michelob Ultra, in contrast, leans towards a crisper and lighter taste profile, appealing to those who enjoy a refreshing, less-beery taste, explicitly targeting consumers with active lifestyles [1].

Mouthfeel

Michelob Light presents a moderately smooth and creamy mouthfeel, while Michelob Ultra provides a lighter, more effervescent sensation, making it particularly refreshing on a hot day.

Aroma

These two beers, Michelob Ultra and Michelob Light exhibit a mild, pleasant aroma with subtle hop and barley malt notes.

However, Michelob Light’s scent leans more towards traditional maltiness, while Michelob Ultra boasts a faint citrusy and floral aroma.

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Appearance

When poured into the glass, both beers display a similar medium yellow straw color. However, I find Michelob Light slightly darker due to its maltier composition.

Nutritional Content

Hand Holding Glass of Beer

Carbs

Michelob Ultra takes the lead in this category with a low-carb content of 2.6 grams per serving compared to Michelob Light with 3.2 grams per serving.

In short, Michelob Ultra is the favored choice for those closely monitoring their carb intake.

Calories

I can say that Michelob Ultra and Michelob Light are low-calorie beers when compared to other beer brands, like Bud Light.

However, if you want the best low-calorie beer you can get, I recommend Michelob Ultra. It has 95 kcal, making it one of the go-to light and diet beers.

While we can also consider Michelob Light a low-calorie beer, it has 122 calories (compared to the average 150 calories of other beers), which is slightly higher than the Michelob Ultra.

Alcohol Content

Michelob Ultra and Michelob Light do not have the same alcohol content, but the difference is minimal.

Michelob Light has a slightly higher alcohol content with 4.3% alcohol by volume, while Michelob Ultra has 4.2% (ABV) alcohol by volume (same as Bud Light).

Main Ingredients

Michelob Light and Michelob Ultra share the core beer ingredients of water, malted barley, hops, and yeast. But Michelob Ultra is a light lager brewed with corn in its ingredients.

The specific strains and proportions vary to create their distinct flavors.

Availability

Man Holding Bottle of Michelob Light

Both beers enjoy wide availability within the light beer market, making them accessible to beer enthusiasts across the United States and international markets.

You’ll likely find them at your local grocery store, liquor shop, or even tap at your favorite bar.

“Michelob Ultra is obviously a top priority for us.” – Kyle Norrington, US Chief Commercial Officer

Fun Fact: Michelob Ultra is now in the top spot, from its previous fourth position, in the beer sales chart. It’s one of the fastest-growing beers since Bud Light and the brand’s primary focus [2].

FAQs Related to Michelob Light vs Ultra

Is Michelob Light now Michelob Ultra? 

No, Michelob Light and Michelob Ultra are distinct light beer varieties Anheuser-Busch produces. While they share the same parent company, they are separate beers with different taste profiles and marketing focuses.

Which is smoother, Michelob Light or Ultra? 

Michelob Light tends to be smoother than Michelob Ultra if you prefer the traditional smoothness. But smoothness can be subjective and can vary depending on personal preference.
You may also find the Michelob Ultra [2] smoother with its lighter and crisper profile.

Which beer has fewer calories: Michelob Light or Michelob Ultra?

Michelob Ultra generally has fewer calories than Michelob Light. Michelob Ultra is known for its low-calorie content, typically containing around 95 calories per 12-ounce serving, while Michelob Light may have slightly more calories, usually around 120 calories per serving.

Is there a difference in taste between Michelob Light and Michelob Ultra?

Both Michelob Light and Michelob Ultra are light-bodied beers, but some consumers may notice subtle differences in taste. Michelob Ultra is often described as having a crisper, lighter flavor profile, while Michelob Light may have a slightly fuller taste.

Are there differences in the alcohol content of Michelob Light and Michelob Ultra?

Both Michelob Light and Michelob Ultra have similar alcohol by volume (ABV) percentages, typically around 4.2% to 4.3%. The alcohol content is generally consistent between the two beers.

Which beer is lower in carbohydrates: Michelob Light or Michelob Ultra?

Michelob Ultra is marketed as a low-carb beer and typically contains fewer carbohydrates compared to Michelob Light. Michelob Ultra often has around 2.6 grams of carbohydrates per 12-ounce serving, while Michelob Light may have slightly more carbs.

Can you describe the target audience for Michelob Light and Michelob Ultra?

Michelob Light and Michelob Ultra both target health-conscious consumers looking for lower-calorie and lower-carb options. Michelob Ultra, in particular, appeals to individuals seeking a beer that aligns with an active and balanced lifestyle.

In Summary

If you were to ask which is the better beer, I prefer Michelob Ultra. It’s one of the best light beers I’ve tried, leveling with Coors Light and Bud Light.

Although it doesn’t have the kick due to its lower alcohol content, it packs lighter flavors suitable as an everyday drink.

Besides, it’s diet-friendly, catering to the health-conscious crowd with its ultra-light profile and lower calorie and carb content.

Ultimately, choosing between Michelob Light and Michelob Ultra hinges on personal preferences.

Your choice depends on whether you prefer the classic beer taste and moderate smoothness of Michelob Light or the crisp, lighter, and healthier appeal of Michelob Ultra.

References:

  1. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/michelob-ultra-celebrates-the-greatest-comeback-in-sports-history-with-superstar-athletes-and-a-trip-on-a-private-jet-to-championship-games-301306787.html
  2. https://www.reuters.com/business/retail-consumer/brewer-ab-inbev-signals-new-focus-michelob-ultra-amid-light-beer-rivalry-2023-09-19/
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