So you enjoy drinking, whether it be by yourself or with friends. You want to drink beer but have trouble with GERD or acid reflux.
Maybe your journey in the world of beer has only begun, and you are worried about the acid levels in beer. Either way, you are still looking for a safe way to enjoy your drink!
So you ask yourself, “How acidic is beer?”. The short answer is: Though there are varying acidity levels, and anything with alcohol will be acidic, it still depends on the type of beer!
And that’s where this article comes in, where we explain acidity and different kinds of beers as easily as possible!
What does acidity mean for beer?
Literally, acidity is the acid level within a certain substance. For beer, it is a measure of how sharp the taste of said beer is.
When dissolved in beer, many organic acids and carbonic acid (carbon dioxide gas) show how acidic the beer is. Acidity is essential to consumers as they can detect this by taste, affecting their experience positively or negatively.
Is Beer Actually Acidic?
Beer is acidic. No matter if you drink beer because of its color, smell, bitterness, mouthfeel, or taste. Fermentation turns sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide, making beer more acidic.
Most popular beers made in the United States have a pH between 4.0 and 5.0, which is in the middle of the range of acidity. Sour beers are, as you might expect, a little bit more acidic.
Their pH ranges from 3.2 to 3.5, but some lambics have much less acid. Ales can range between 3.0-6.0 pH. Most IPAs have a pH between 5.3 and 5.4.
Sometimes the color of beer shows how acidic it will be. For example, a darkly roasted malt will make more acid, raising the pH of the beer as a whole.
Some types of bacteria or yeast used in beer, like lactobacillus, will also make the beer more acidic.
Some beers have low acid levels, but this is not considered normal. A low acidity level is usually caused by contamination or a mistake made during the brewing process.
What Kind of PH Is Non-alcoholic Beer? Alkaline or Acidic?
Reducing the alcohol in the beer does not make it less acidic. The beer’s acidity is made during the fermentation process.
Still, some organic acids produced during the process are not removed. Be advised that many brands of non-alcoholic beer remove the alcohol after the beer has been made, so the acids remain.
Also, non-alcoholic beers have added ingredients that make them more acidic.
A Quick Understanding of the pH Scale
The pH scale, which can range anywhere from 0 to 14, will help you understand how acidic beer can be. Most things people eat are considered neutral, meaning their pH is around 7.0.
The pH of the white vinegar you use to clean and cook is 2.4. The pH of household ammonia, on the other hand, is 11.
Alkaline substances include bleach, ammonia, and egg whites. On the other side of the scale, materials with a pH below 7.0 are called acids.
In chemistry, you could call acids “proton donors” because their hydrogen atoms give their nuclei to other atoms. Acids can break down some minerals or stop minerals from forming.
So, beer is a bit acidic, and lager beers made with 100% barley malt have a pH between 4.00 and 5.00. Ales are slightly different, with a pH range of 3.00–6.00.
Sour beer styles like the Belgian lambic and Berliner Weisse can go as low as pH 3.30. Even though organic acids are a big part of what makes these beer styles acidic, the level of carbonation also plays a huge role.
Beer has a lot of acids because it can have a 3.0 or a 6.0. Many brewers use the pH scale to determine how active their brew’s enzymes or chemicals are. But where do they get those acids?
Why Does Beer Have Acid?
The acidity of beer comes from the fermentation process. During fermentation, the yeast eats the sugars in the wort and turns them into carbon dioxide and alcohol.
Still, the fermentation process also makes a few other things, like the organic acids succinic acid and acetic acid. Both of these acids can raise the pH of beer, making it crisper and more refreshing.
In other words, when people say that alcohol is “refreshing” or “drinkable,” it’s usually because the acidity balances out any sweetness.
Can I Still Drink Beer if I Have Acid Reflux?
Most kinds of alcohol are acidic, which can cause acid reflux or GERD symptoms. Beer can definitely worsen your symptoms, especially if you drink too much of it.
Also, beer has a lot of calories; this can cause your stomach to make more acid, which can cause even more acid to rise into your esophagus. Because of this, you will have to be careful about how much beer you drink at once.
If you want to try beer, pay attention to how it makes your body feel. Try choosing a beer with less acid, and take an antacid beforehand.
This may allow you to finish a bottle or can of beer without getting sick. But you should always talk to a doctor or nurse beforehand about your options and worries.
Which Beer Helps When You Have Acid Reflux?
You might think beer without alcohol is the best choice for people with acid reflux or GERD. Not all of that is true.
Remember that the acids in non-alcoholic beers are often the same ones that make your stomach make too much acid. Even options that don’t have acid can still cause stomach problems.
One good thing about beer without alcohol is that it makes far less gas than beer with alcohol.
If you don’t want to stay away from alcohol, your best choices are:
Barley Malt Lagers
Barley is naturally low in acid, so most beers made with barley malts are also low in acid. The pH of these well-balanced beers is between 4.0 and 5.0.
Barley malt lagers include pilsners (like Pilsner Urquell), Helles, and Vienna styles. You can drink pale lagers, too.
When fermented, barley is one of the grains that doesn’t make a lot of acids. Because of this, barleywine, also called pinot noir or brewer’s brandy, is an excellent choice for people who are cautious about acid.
Barleywine has a high alcohol by volume (ABV), but its pH is between 5.3 and 5.8, which is close to neutral.
Which Has More Acid Between Wine or Beer?
Regular beers have pH levels between 4.0 and 6.0, while wine has pH levels of 3.0 or less. Wine has many organic acids, and white wine is much more acidic than red.
This does not make wine any worse for GERD and heartburn, though. It turns out that both beer and wine cause acid reflux in the body either way.
Since their pH levels aren’t too different from each other, this makes sense.
Acidity Between Beer and Whiskey
In terms of acidity, whiskey and beer are similar. Before it’s aged, the pH of whiskey is between 4.0 and 5.0.
After a few years, that number reaches between 4.0 and 4.45 pH. Most beers have a pH between 4.0 and 6.0, making them a little less acidic.
Still, there is a big difference in how acidic beer and whiskey are from wine. Either way, if you don’t want too much acid, you’ll have to moderate the amount of alcohol you consume.
Drinking too much of any alcoholic beverage will still make your acid reflux worse.
Beer And Soda, Which is More Acidic?
Soda is usually more acidic than beer. But it also depends on what brand you’re drinking. Most ales and lagers have a pH between 3 and 5, while most sodas have a pH between 2.5 and 4.5. For example, Coke and Pepsi have a pH of 2.5, which means they are very acidic.
What Alcohols Are Least Acidic?
Barley malt lager beers, gin, grain, alcohol, rum, and tequila are six of the least acidic alcoholic drinks. Gin has a pH of 7.4, which makes it the best choice for people who want to drink alcohol without getting heartburn.
What Kind of PH Is Beer? Acidic or Alkaline?
Beer is still acidic, though only slightly. Lagers have a pH between 4.0 and 5.0. The pH range for ales is 3.0-5.0.
Related Reading: What’s The Best Water For Brewing Beer? – Check Them out Here
Most alcoholic drinks are acidic, and beer is no different. Even though there are so many different kinds of beer, it’s generally hard to say how acidic it is.
However, the most popular brands and styles tend to be in the pH 3.0-6.0 range. Since beer is somewhat acidic, it is not a good idea for people with GERD to drink it.
If you have problems with your teeth or stomach, the acid could also make those problems worse. If you must drink beer, choose one with more body, like a barley malt lager like Pilsner Urquell or Samuel Adams Boston Lager.
Even if you have acid reflux, just bring antacids, and drink responsibly!