We hear a lot about beer, misconceptions, pseudo-science and counter-truths. Here are some answers to common questions about beer that can be answered by experts once and for all.

How many units in a pint of beer?

One unit is the equivalent to 10ml or 8g of pure alcohol. Alcoholic drinks vary in strengths and sizes; therefore, a standard measure or “unit” is a universal way to determine how strong a drink is.

How many units in a pint of lager?

There are 2.3 units in a pint (568ml) of 4% beer 1.6 units in a bottle (330ml) of 5% beer.

In other words, 6 pints of 4% beer equals 14 units. 6 glasses of wine also equates to 14 units. The percentage is higher (avg 13%) but the volume is lower (175ml).

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Pints to a litre?

In short, 1 litre = 1.8 pints but if you want to know more, then read "How many pints in a litre? for a full explainer. 

What is craft beer?

Funnily enough, there’s no official or clear definition for ‘craft beer’ although there is one for ‘craft brewer’, even though we don’t say that ‘craft beer is brewed by craft brewers’. A craft brewer is ‘small, traditional and independent'.  But even Heineken started out that way.

Perhaps a definition isn’t necessary: craft beers are immediately recognisable by their taste and appearance. The craft beer revolution lives in the heart of the beer drinker and that is where the battle has long been fought!

Read more about the craft beer revolution 

Can I drink a beer that has been frozen?

If a beer freezes all the way through the bottle or can, it may well also be damaged. If this happens it could become unsealed, then it will lose carbonation and end up being flat. If the can has burst (which is quite likely), your beer might even explode. This is because liquids expand when frozen, the added pressure can cause a rupture.

“Chill haze” will also make your beer look very unappealing. Put simply, "Chill haze" is due to the haze-producing proteins residing in beer that bind to each other. When they get cold, they become visible enough to reflect light, this can appear to look anything like an opaque sheen to chunky floating bits. 

In other words, beer with chill haze? It may look bad but sure, drink it.

Can we freeze a beer?

No! Do not freeze your beer. As mentioned above, this can ruin it. 

However, if you want to make an Ice Bock, then the answer is yes! You can do this through freeze-distilling, this is how Snake Venom is made. To put it simple: put beer in a plastic bottle. Freeze it. Open the bottle, put it above a glass and defrost. The first thing that melts is alcohol (and taste), so the result is a liquor like “beer”.

When was beer invented?

Beer is one of the oldest alcoholic beverages. The traces of its existence date back to around 4000 or 5th millennium B.C. in Mesopotamia, at the dawn of cereal agriculture.  Spontaneous fermentation can take place with wild yeasts found in the air and the sugars found in most cereals. Therefore, it is reported that drinks resembling beer were independently developed globally after the domestication of cereal.

Does beer go off?

In short, yes, can you drink beer that has passed its best before date. It will not make you ill; because of the boiling during the brewing process and thanks to the alcohol and hops, a beer does not contain any bacteria or germs. That being said, with most beers, the closer you drink it to the expiry date the better. It will just taste fresher. Read more about storing beer here

Who invented beer? 

At the time it was called ‘liquid bread’. Recent new discoveries show that it would even date back 13,000 years! Traces of a fermented cereal-based beverage have recently been discovered in Israel in the Raqefet cave south of Haifa.

Plato is famously recorded to say, "he was a wise man who invented beer." It is therefore poignant to mention that; it was women who invented the ‘liquid bread’. Men were destined for hunting, or war if necessary. Not only that, but the contributions of women throughout brewing history has been pivotal to informing and shaping many processes we still use to brew today.  

Best beer glasses?

The tulip glass, type INAO is the glass that will suit all styles. The TEKU glass also is the best glass for beer tasting all kinds of beers, with the exception of Pils.

We have a detailed article about which beer glass to use for which beer style. You can find it HERE.  

Strongest beer? What is the world's strongest beer?

"Snake Venom" by Scottish brewery, Brewmeister is 67.5% alcohol! For comparison, Vodka is typically 80 proof, or 40% alcohol.

This is achieved through several successive rounds of freezing and defrosting during the fermentation process.

Where in the world do they drink the most beer (per capita)?

World consumption of beer is 200 billion litres, about 30 litres per year, per capita on land. Brits get a bad reputation for drinking, but actually the UK is 25th in the world, with a consumption rate of 67.7 litres per capita.

The world champions are the Czechs with 145 litres per year per capita. The next country down is Namibia with 108 per capita. The Czech Republic has been at the top of the per capita beer drinking table for 24 consecutive years now! 

Most beers per capita

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There are dark white beers? How do you explain that?

White beers are actually wheat beers, the name of the style comes from the confusion in German between the word wheat: Weizen and the white colour: Weiss. A German white beer is a beer made in part (50% minimum) with wheat: wheat malt. For the rest, we can use barley malts of different colours, so we can find amber or brown and white beers in Germany.

Interested in German beers? Also, read about Witbier and Weizens

How to store beer?

Vertically, this will reduce the aging due from oxidation. Also, storing beer on its side can cause a “yeast ring”, where sediment clings to the bottle. This will make your beer look very unappealing, and you don't want that! However, some say you should lie down bottles with a cork (like some geuze) in order to keep the cork moisten, like with wine.

In terms of temperature, a general rule of thumb: the lighter the flavour of the beer, the colder it can be served.  As beers go up in alcohol, they are generally drunk at a warmer temperature. Stronger beers are often cherished for the complexity of flavour and aroma, therefore sip them more slowly. Weaker beers are often consumed for their refreshing characteristics. A Cask Ale can be be drunk anywhere between 11 – 13°C, whereas Lagers and kegs should generally be dispensed between 5 – 8°C. There are even some that flourish most at 14°C!

Read our articles on How should beer be stored? and Beer serving temperatures.

How to make gluten-free beer?

There are two ways to do it, either by using a portion of naturally gluten-free cereals and thus lowering the allowed level of molecules under 20 ppm (parts per million). The alternative technique called deglutenisation works by breaking down the gluten molecules with natural enzymes to go below the threshold of 20 ppm.

Read this article: Gluten free beer

Canned beer vs bottles?

Cans are the best way to protect beer against the inevitable decrease of flavour over time.
Beer is a product made from natural ingredients, and therefore, sadly, does not have an eternal life. The taste reduces rapidly when beer is exposed to light, air and high temperature. Light, especially UV-rays, react with hops and cause nasty sulphur compounds - but tin is 100% light-tight, and thus beats every bottle. Oxygen reacts with beer and causes it to oxidize, making the beer smell like a wet newspaper - but tin is also 100% airtight.

Cans also have countless environmental benefits over bottles. Read more about canned vs bottles beer.

What is root beer?

Root beer is not particularly common in the UK. It is most commonly carbonated and non-alcoholic, although not exclusively. It usually has a thick and foamy head and generally tastes quite sweet. The most distinct flavour is sassafras, the closest parallel is Dandelion & Burdock.

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