Often with spirits people say that different spirits have different effects, eg bourbon makes people angry or trouble making, gin makes people emotional, tequilla makes people crazy, etc.

Though this might be just psychological.

Is there anything similar with beer?

Do some beers suit socialising more while others suit a quiet drink?


The answer is "probably" although it is hard to know with liquors how much of the difference is social or psychological. There are some important things to keep in mind with alcohol effects and beer though:

  1. Hops are mildly sedative. It isn't unreasonable to think that very hoppy beers may have a different effect than less hoppy beers.

  2. Gruit beers (unusual but there are some on the market!) often have other psychoactive ingredients in them too. With historical brewing becoming a bit of an industry, it may only be a matter of time before we see commercially available henbane beer too....

  3. Alcohol absorption will be retarded by carbohydrate content in the beer. You will absorb alcohol more slowly from a heavy beer than a light beer.

  4. Carbonation works the other way. Lightly (or rarely available uncarbonated) beers will affect one more slowly than highly carbonated beers. For most commercial beers this is not a significant factor but for home-brewed beers or specialty beers it may be.

With this being said, it isn't clear that there is a single objective answer as to what beers will effect who in what way. The purpose of this answer is to go over some factors which may impact how a given individual is affected.

This being said, I don't condone a general pursuit of drunkenness....

  • "This being said, I don't condone a general pursuit of drunkenness...." - Yeah I've tagged it as inebriation, but what I really mean, is just the general effect the beer has.
    – dwjohnston
    Jan 22 '14 at 6:42
  • Good answer, but I would add that, in general, any major differences are going to come from ABV and hop content. According to my Untappd profile I've checked in 150 unique beers over the past several years, and the only ones I really recall standing out are very heavy IPAs and very strong beers. And even then it's mostly ABV that provides a difference. For instance, a beer at 11% is a much different beer than one at 5% Jul 24 '18 at 16:00
  • Keep in mind that alcohol content affects absorption of other things too... Jul 26 '18 at 19:12

I drink an average of 1.5 litres of beer daily and I get a significantly different effect from different beers. Some give me an agressive feeling and only a select few give me a clean feel. This being said I now believe that most people including you so called experts actually have little sensitivity to this and simply overlook the differences as pure nerdiness or what ever. I do assure you however that after drinking 100s of beers and of different brands only a select few are acceptable. Do you you even have a remote clue what these ones are because I assure you I will not tell you but only that extremely few are from North America or Mexico.

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