How acidic is beer? (5 kinds of beers)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, ‘How acidic is beer?’. We look at the range of pH and percentages of acid in different beers and the impact of consuming high acidic foods on the body.

How acidic is beer?

 The pH of beer is 4; that is quite acidic. Beer depends on pH to have the desired flavor and taste. 

Even though the human body regulates to adapt all kinds of acidic or basic foods, acidic foods can be hefty on some people. Regular consumption of acidic foods can cause gastrointestinal problems, heartburn, and acid reflux.

What is acidity?

Acidity, when it comes to foods, is known for its distinct sour taste. Acidity is measured using the pH scale that ranges from 1-14, where the ‘7’ is neutral. 7 is the pH of water; foods generally lie toward the acidic end of the pH scale.

All the values below 7 are acidic. The lower the pH value, the more the acid content. The pH of beer lies at around 4, which is sufficiently acidic. The acid content in beer contributes to the distinct taste sharp and tangy taste of beer.

Acidity is measured using a process called titration. In beer, the pH levels have to be monitored closely to ensure beer has a desirably tart flavor.

The acid content of different beer kinds

According to theory, the acid content of beer is 220-500 parts per million. 

Beer brewed with unmalted grains has a low acid level; 0.1% while beer brewed with malted grains has a higher level of acid content that is 0.2%.

If we talk of the acid content of light beers, some have as low as 0.07%. 

The beers with 100% Barley malt lager beers have a pH between 4 and 5. The ales, a kind of beer where yeast is allowed to ferment at warm temperatures, have a pH between 3 to 6. 

Why is beer an acidic beverage?

Beer production is a result of the fermentation process. The main product is ethanol (alcohol). That alone is not the product of this chemical reaction; organic acids are produced, such as succinic acid, acetic acid, and other organic compounds. 

In some cases, the yeast is provided with an acidic environment to encourage growth. 

Although we know beers to have a high amount of organic acid, that alone does not contribute to the pH. As a carbonated beverage, the acidity is caused by the carbonation process.

A series of beer referred to as sour beer styles can go as low as a pH of 3.30. Some popular sour-style beers are Belgian Lambic and Berliner Weisse.

Does beer spoil?

If a beer exhibits unpredictably low pH levels, it is a sign of bacterial contamination. Lab tests help ensure that beer is free of lactobacillus, which would otherwise cause a high acid level.

However, acidic foods tend to have a long shelf-life. The acidic nature of beer discourages pathogens from causing food-spoilage.

How are the acid levels of beer measured?

The pH among similar beers should not vary, as this indicates an inconsistent fermentation process.

A pH meter has replaced the obsolete titration method. Here acid is standardized against a base using an indicator. The pH is measured at different levels of the beer manufacturing process to ensure consistency throughout the process.

A pH meter needs calibration to an accuracy of 0.1 units. Digital pH meters are a handy tool that makes the calibration process easier; otherwise, for regular pH meters, a neutral solution such as water works fine.

The pH measurement starts at the brewing water, then the total titrable acids are measured in beer. The pH measurement follows at the beer wort and the enzymes present while mashing occurs. The beer is degassed, and the pH is measured again at maintained temperature and pressure levels.

Why should you avoid consuming beer frequently?

The acidic pH of beer is known to trigger GERD symptoms in people who drank regularly. Men and women who participated in a study exhibited symptoms associated with GERD. Some people can experience painful Gastrointestinal symptoms if they consume acidic beverages regularly. Even if you do not experience such adverse effects, it is still advisable to adhere to moderate beer consumption.

The GERD can be painful and unpredictable but is manageable if you make the right choices. Some foods and beverages trigger this chronic condition; caffeinated, acidic, and high-fat foods.

By following a balanced diet and lifestyle and moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages such as beer, you can control your GERD symptoms.

In this brief guide, we answered the question, ‘How acidic is beer?’. We looked at the range of pHs and percentages of acid in different beers and the impact of consuming high acidic foods on the body.

Other FAQs about Beer which you may be interested in.

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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.