Does beer have added sugar?

In this brief guide, we will discuss the following question, “does beer have added sugar?” and other queries related to this topic.

Does beer have added sugar? 

No, sugar is added during beer production. However, the fermentation of beer needs sugar presence.

Yeast, grains, spices, and water are essential in beer production. However, during the fermentation of the grains by the yeast, sugar is created naturally. However, some manufacturers often add additional components, but no one puts sugar, which makes their products unique.

What is the beer brewing process?

The main ingredients in beer are grains, the most used are barley and wheat, spices such as hops which give a special flavor, yeast, and water.

The brewing process consists of different steps. Here are the stages of lager production:

  • Malting: The grains once harvested go through heating, drying, and cracking, to isolate the enzymes used in beer fermentation. The color of the beer is related to the malt utilized during the process.
  • Mashing: hot water is added to the malt. The malt is kept in hot water for one hour resulting in a sugary liquid which is the wort.
  • Boiling: hops or other spices are added at this step to give a bitter taste to the beer. To enhance the beer aroma, more hops are added after boiling the wort for extra 60 minutes. The liquid is set to cool before yeast addition.
  • Fermentation: after cooling down the wort, yeast is added. The yeast converts the sugar in the grains into alcohol and carbon dioxide. The time of the fermentation depends on the variety of beer produced.
  • Maturation: at this step beer is stored and left to age.

What is beer gravity?

Beer gravity measures the fermentable sugars present during the larger preparation process. If the beer’s gravity is high that means that the yeast did not ferment the sugar to turn it into alcohol.

Usually, beer manufacturers or brewers take the gravity of their product before fermentation and the addition of the yeast. However, they keep checking the beer’s gravity along the process.

Once the fermentation is completed, they measure the beer gravity of the final product and compare it to the original one, the one taken at the beginning before adding the yeast.

What is the sugar content in beer?

One of the major sugars in beer is maltose. Maltose with other simple sugars consists 80% of the fermentable sugars and the oligosaccharides consist of the remaining 20% of the mixture. The yeast doesn’t ferment oligosaccharides. Also, our body can not ferment the oligosaccharides so it is considered a prebiotic for your gut bacteria.

Moreover, some manufacturers add corn syrup or honey to their products but they do not mention the sugar content of their products since it is not required by the labeling regulation in the United States.

The sugar and carbs content of beer depends on its type. For example, low-carb and regular beer does not contain sugar but contains carbs. The low-carb beer has 2.4 grams while the regular one has 12.8 grams. Moreover, when compared to low carb and regular beer both non-alcoholic and light beer contain sugar.

The non-alcoholic beer has 28.5 grams of sugar while the light beer has only 0.3 grams 

What is the relation between beer and blood sugar?

Beer, despite its low content of carbohydrates and sugar but beer, can lower your blood sugar levels, because it inhibits gluconeogenesis thus impairing the sugar metabolism needed to maintain a balanced blood sugar however it may result in hypoglycemia.

Once you plan to drink, make sure to consume it with a meal that contains complex carbs like oats, whole wheat bread, or pasta. Because, usually and in normal people who do not suffer from diabetes or blood sugar irregularities, simple carbs increase your blood sugar levels quickly and thus increase your insulin response, leading to hypoglycemia.

Moreover, for diabetics, it is advised to not drink more than 2 beers a day.

What is the sugar content of light beer?

Light beer is brewed using a low-sugar extract made from grain, which allows for less fermentation and lower production of alcohol. So, the fermentation process of the low-sugar extract used to make light beer may explain why light beer has more sugar than regular beer.

Moreover, light beer has the same effect on blood sugar as regular beer because its alcohol content interferes with gluconeogenesis in the liver leading to hypoglycemia and low blood sugar.


In this brief guide, we discussed the following question, “does beer have added sugar?” and other queries related to this topic.


What was missing from this post which could have made it better?

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.