Is there a visual criterion to roughly estimate the order of calories a beer contains?

Specifically, I wonder if "the darker the beer, the more energetic value it has" holds [1]. Please, prove or disprove.

[1] (What lead to this belief: When I drink a trappist or a Guinness Extra Stout, both dark, I somehow identify the density with calories. But is that true?)

  • 2
    So, yeah, explaining a downwote specially in this phase, is highly healthy.
    – c.p.
    Commented Jan 25, 2014 at 9:14

4 Answers 4


No. Color has little to do with calories, and possibly surprisingly, mouthfeel can have little influence also.

You can have a Belgian Tripel that is medium light bodied, that has many more calories than a pint of Guinness, simply because the alcohol level in the Tripel contributes more calories than the sugars from Guinness. Also Guinness is served on Nitrogen which creates the sensation of a thicker beer, as if there were more carbs and protein giving a fuller body.

The calorific load from a beer comes from both carbohydrates and alcohol, which are present in both dark and light beers regardless of beer color.


Color does not effect calories it has. There is a guide at Beer Data for calculating home-brewed beer, but I'd guess it might help you too.

cal per 12 oz beer = [(6.9 × ABW) + 4.0 × (RE - 0.1)] × FG × 3.55

The first item in brackets gives the caloric contribution of ethanol, which is determined from the ABW and the known value of 6.9 cal/g of ethanol. The second item in brackets gives the caloric contribution of carbohydrates, which is determined from the RE (Real Extract) and the known value of 4.0 cal/g for carbohydrates. An empirically-derived constant (0.1) accounts for the ash portion of the extract. Together, these terms give the calories per 100 g beer. This is easily converted to calories per 100 ml beer by accounting for the final gravity (FG, in (g beer)/(ml beer)). In turn, 100 ml is converted to 12 oz by a scalar (3.55, in (100ml/12 oz))

Also, there is a list of Complete Beer Calories which lists the calorie content of 250+ beers with calorie and ABV values.


Considering that ethanol is the highest contributor to calorie count of a beer, and that the amount of remaining ingredients only vary to a degree, while variance in ethanol is very high, the odd modern beers with extreme extreme alcohol content will be the most calorical.

It appears currently Brewmeister Snake Venom is the top alcohol content beer, at 67,5%, with 2025kcal in 12 fl.oz serving. The alcohol content runners-up don't top that by means of excessive sugar levels, therefore we can safely assume this is the most calorical beer.

Of course the competition in topping that is sharp, and we're soon to expect other beers with even more alcohol - and more calories as result.

There is no plain visual criterion to what beer has most calories, but you can safely correlate stated alcohol content with that.

...also note: Alcohol is empty calories - calories that are not absorbable - storable by human organism. A good mild caramel beer of 1.5% alc. content might be more fattening than the top alcohol content beers, simply because it contains more sugar.

  • I bought my dad a bottle of that for his 50th a few years ago. I can guarantee that the serving size is not 12 fl. oz! The yellow warning label on the neck actually says that the serving size is 35ml and you should not have any more in one sitting. (not that you'd want it, it's horrific). Either way, good answer!
    – Gamora
    Commented Jul 10, 2019 at 15:20

People usually forget to take into account the calories in beer and then criticism about increasing weight. However, with Alcohol By Volume, you will have the understanding of beer alcohol content and carbohydrates in beer so that you can know just what you drinking so you could limit it in a manner which doesn't have any harmful effect on your health and fitness.

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