Alcohol Content in Draft Vs. Bottled Beer

Updated February 21, 2017

As a responsible drinker, it is important to know the alcohol content of the beer you are drinking. Higher alcohol content brews will impair you must faster than standard and lower alcohol beers. However, once you know the alcohol content of the beer you are drinking, you may begin wondering how, and whether the method of serving, draft or bottles, affects the alcohol content of the beer.

Alcohol by Volume

The amount of alcohol in a beer is measured by using the overall percentage of alcohol content in the liquid itself. This measurement is known as alcohol by volume (ABV). A specific type of beer has the same alcohol by volume measurement no matter how it is served, meaning that a 354ml. bottle of Heineken has the same amount of alcohol as a 354ml. Heineken draft beer. Different beers, however, have different alcohol by volume measurements. Some beers actually have alcohol contents, greater than 20 per cent by volume -- that is more alcohol than is in most wine.

Serving Size

Despite the fact that a specific type of beer will have the same amount of alcohol in it no matter how it is served, you still may get drunk quicker on draft beers than on bottled beers or vice versa. It all depends on the serving size. The more beer you get at once, the more alcohol you get. In general, bottles contain 12 (sometimes 650ml. of beer, but draft beer size can vary greatly depending on the size of the serving vessel. Bars often serve beers in pint glasses, which hold 473ml. of beer.

Alcohol Content

The alcohol content of stronger beers is generally written somewhere on the label of the beer bottle. If it is not, the beer will almost always be below 6 per cent ABV. Most breweries list the ABV of their beers on their websites. Occasionally, American beers will be measured in alcohol by weight (ABW). Multiply the ABW by 1.25 to convert it to ABV.

Draft Versus Bottled Beer

Even though alcohol content is the same in specific kinds of bottled beer and draft beer, there are advantages to serving beer both ways. Most beer enthusiasts prefer draft beer because draft beers tend to hold flavour and aroma better than bottled beers and because light (which can negatively impact the flavour of beer) cannot penetrate a keg. The major advantage of bottled beer is its portability. It is much easier to take a six-pack to a party than a keg.

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About the Author

Michael Black has been a freelance writer based in South Central Pennsylvania since 2010. He graduated from York College of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts degree in professional writing. He has written music- and writing-related articles for various websites.