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Poll: your ideal ABV

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by draheim, Jan 20, 2014.


If nothing else was affected, what would you choose as the ideal ABV for your beer?

  1. 0%

    14 vote(s)
  2. 1-3%

    23 vote(s)
  3. 4-6%

    179 vote(s)
  4. 7-9%

    299 vote(s)
  5. 10-12%

    54 vote(s)
  6. 13-15%

    11 vote(s)
  7. 16-18%

    2 vote(s)
  8. 19% or higher

    6 vote(s)
  9. I wouldn't change a thing, even if I could

    20 vote(s)
  10. Other/depends on the situation (explain)

    19 vote(s)
  1. draheim

    draheim Poobah (1,120) Washington Sep 18, 2010 Verified

    This one is just for fun. Let's suspend reality for a moment and propose a hypothetical: All your favorite beers taste exactly the same as they do now, but you can select their ABV. Would you want your beers to be stronger or weaker? No change? Why?

    For me, I think about 6% is perfect most of the time. Strong enough to feel it, but not so strong that I have to really think about what I might be doing for the next few hours before cracking a 750mL barleywine or imperial stout. (Then again, in my perfect world I'd rather just see all beers packaged in 12oz cans so that would be another way around this conundrum.) Occasionally I like to settle in with a really big beer and savor it, especially on a chilly winter night; but I have to admit, it would be nice to get all that wonderful beer flavor without having to manage all the side effects that high alcohol content brings to the party.*


    * I am an old fart and way past the age when getting really, really drunk was considered a super great time.
  2. APBT91

    APBT91 Savant (375) North Carolina Apr 12, 2013

    I used to want my beer as strong as I could get it. But now, I still like to feel it without having to drink a bunch but at the same time I want to be able to drink a bunch ( without getting wasted) because I love the taste of beer.
    johnsonni, spartan1979 and gshak like this.
  3. Bartos

    Bartos Advocate (700) Florida Mar 8, 2013 Verified


    Cause ten fidy is probably the most perfect beer I can pick up of the shelves and drink everyday.

    I am a big fan of stouts and barrel aged beers and most of my favorites fall in the 10-12% range (with the exceptions of BCBCS)
  4. ChrisMyhre

    ChrisMyhre Advocate (545) Massachusetts Sep 15, 2013 Verified

    seakayak, raffels and markgugs like this.
  5. markgugs

    markgugs Poobah (1,205) New Jersey Dec 20, 2006 Verified

    I voted 7-9% but ideally would love 6.5%
  6. jayrutgers

    jayrutgers Savant (355) New Jersey Oct 29, 2011


    I like something sessionable. Used to be all about big ABV monsters but as I've gotten more into beer I've come to appreciate things that put flavor and drinkability above all else, not just flavor. Also really tests your palate sometimes, there's something to be said for picking out all the flavors out of a lower ABV lager or ale than say some big bourbon barrel stout. It's a little more refined in a way.

    But it basically boils down to:

    If something is good, I want a lot of it, and high ABV beers can't give me that.
  7. draheim

    draheim Poobah (1,120) Washington Sep 18, 2010 Verified

    So even if you could have Ten Fidy and all of your other favorite big stouts at whatever ABV level works best for you, and they'd still taste exactly the same and not be different in any way, you'd still want them at 10-12%? I ask this because the premise of the poll is not "what's the average ABV of your favorite beers?" but rather "if you could pick ABV independent of all other factors, what would that number be?"

    Just clarifying the question in case people aren't understanding the point of the thread...
  8. jayrutgers

    jayrutgers Savant (355) New Jersey Oct 29, 2011

    This GUY just wants us to admit that we're all alcoholics and wouldn't drink our great tasting beers if they didn't have any alcohol!

    For SHAME sir! For........shame............
  9. Bartos

    Bartos Advocate (700) Florida Mar 8, 2013 Verified

    Probably yes, because most of the time I prefer to drink only 2-3 beers in a night.
  10. PaulyB83

    PaulyB83 Advocate (620) Michigan Sep 1, 2013 Verified

    Around 8% for IPAs and around 10% for stouts/barleywines. 6% or below for just about everything else.
    Lipsntoes and Robert_Baratheon like this.
  11. Crusader

    Crusader Savant (430) Sweden Feb 4, 2011

    In the perfect world the beers I drink would be around 4.5% abv. Low enough to be sessionable, but still servicable for those occasions when you want some help with your sociability.
    tarawho likes this.
  12. draheim

    draheim Poobah (1,120) Washington Sep 18, 2010 Verified

    Nah... not me. I know better. I started a similar thread quite a while ago asking if people would still drink beer if it didn't contain any alcohol, but still tasted and smelled exactly the same. The almost unanimous answer was HELL NO; only a few people said they drink beer purely for the taste.
  13. ChrisMyhre

    ChrisMyhre Advocate (545) Massachusetts Sep 15, 2013 Verified

    I misunderstood then. 6.5 seems to be the perfect balance of flavor but not too much alcohol. Honestly sometimes i would probably be around that and sometimes it would be 0.0 ABV. If I could have all of the taste and none of the calories I would be very happy.
  14. The beers I drink on a normal bases are usually around the 6.7% range but my favorite beers can range up to around 9-10%. A good beer with dinner shouldn't be too high but having that special one and done beer can be a real nice treat.
  15. AHeaston8

    AHeaston8 Savant (365) Ohio Dec 9, 2013

    I wish there was a choice for 6-9%. I like to taste the hops, malt, and everything else before I want to taste the alcohol. But, I like beer with a little kick to it. 7% is my sweet spot. One example of beer I didn't like was Sierra Nevada Narwhal, simply because the alcohol taste was so prominent. That's just me though. Lagunitas tends to brew all their beers with 6-9% ABV. I have yet to have a bad beer by them
  16. Immortale25

    Immortale25 Champion (855) North Carolina May 13, 2011 Verified

    1-3% If I could drink as much beer as I wanted without hardly getting a buzz, I'd be in heaven. Just imagine walking into a 5-star beer bar with tons of options on tap and in bottles and being able to say, "I'm gonna drink 10+ awesome beers tonight and still be able to drive home." This is, of course, given that all these beers still taste the same as when they had alcohol in them. Now, if they still contained the same amount of calories, that's a different story.
  17. draheim

    draheim Poobah (1,120) Washington Sep 18, 2010 Verified

    Yeah, I considered including calories in the discussion but decided against it. That's kind of a no-brainer, as I doubt anyone is thrilled about consuming empty calories. The point here (if there is one) is to get a sampling of what people consider the ideal ABV for beer, independent of everything else.
  18. SerialTicker

    SerialTicker Champion (905) Michigan Jun 18, 2012 Verified

    I'd gladly drink beer if it were 0% if it happened to have the same exact flavor. A buzz is nice, but I don't need it, and there'd be fewer calories.

    My second/realistic choice would be 7-9%
  19. I voted (other) my "ABV needs" fluctuate on: time of day, day of the week, season, beer style. 6-6.5% is a sweet spot for a lot of styles, but sometimes I want a 3.5-4% and sometimes its 8-11%. I can be all over the map and drink 5-6 styles in a night or just stick to a Pils for a week.
  20. PSU_Mike

    PSU_Mike Advocate (645) Pennsylvania Sep 6, 2013 Verified

    4-6 is sufficient.
  21. Jirin

    Jirin Savant (430) Massachusetts Apr 28, 2013

    7-9%. Usually I want to drink about 2-3 beers and that creates just the right amount of buzz to feel good but still be functional.
    cavedave, Icarus and Redneckwine like this.
  22. 6.5 to 7.5. More than that it makes it hard to enjoy more than two in certain situation.
    A_Frayed_Knot likes this.
  23. I like booze, have a good palate, but hate liquor, makes sense I'm in the 10-12% range.
  24. This is exactly the same camp I'm in.
    Jsteez, johnsonni and Newbiebeer like this.
  25. t420o

    t420o Advocate (605) California Jul 16, 2009

    For me...

    During the day = 4-6%

    Evening/night-cap = 10-12%
    Jsteez likes this.
  26. Icarus

    Icarus Savant (270) Minnesota Oct 6, 2012

    7-9% is right in my wheelhouse.
  27. Before I saw your poll selections I was going to select 6-7 percent, but I'll go with the 7-9 percent. I'm also in your 'old fart's' club, and I agree with your sentiment. Whatever the alcohol level might be, I can handle it, but I just won't want to have more beers if the ABV is too high. (And my evenings sometimes last longer than one beer.)
    Thankin_Hank and cavedave like this.
  28. beercanman

    beercanman Savant (485) Ohio Dec 17, 2012

    6-9 during the day
    18+ for the end of the night
  29. RickS95

    RickS95 Advocate (520) Indiana Mar 19, 2004

    10-12 for me because I generally drink bombers and the larger European bottles and I try to get in about 20% ABV in an evening, so one larger bottle at 10ish% allows me to enjoy the flavor and still get just to the point of tipsy without feeling all bloated and wanting to take a leak every five minutes.
  30. CASK1

    CASK1 Savant (465) Florida Jan 7, 2010 Verified

    Wish the poll had 5-7, instead of 4-6 and 7-9. I'd go for 7% as ideal, but would not want a steady diet of 9%.
  31. 5-8 is idea for me most days. Not an option though.
  32. Chief005

    Chief005 Aficionado (165) Florida Dec 15, 2013 Verified

    For 0%, sometimes it would be cool to have my favorite beers for breakfast, lunch, at work, at school, driving home, etc without having to worry about the consequences of drinking alcohol. It would be pretty bad ass to sit at my desk and sip some FBS or two hearted ale whenever I wanted.

    On the other hand, it would suck to have 0% beer all the time.....so I suppose I'll have to stick to drinking at socially acceptable hours and places. So I'll answer 6%.
    afksports and MooseBoose like this.
  33. LambicPentameter

    LambicPentameter Champion (940) Michigan Aug 29, 2012 Verified

    Well, I came here to be all "but but but if the ABV is different, then the beer will taste different so I can't answer!!!"

    And then I read draheim's initial post and I can't really disagree with anything he said, hence my vote for 4-6%. I think for me, it all boils down to a desire to feel a buzz, but not get plastered. And if you get much lower than 5-6%, the volume of liquid you have to drink can be an impediment to your gut (at least mine).

    So my ideal would honestly be right on the line between the 4-6% and the 7-9% choices. If I was going to pick a range out of thin air, it would be 6-7%.
  34. jdaddy

    jdaddy Savant (410) Pennsylvania Nov 19, 2010 Verified

    Absolutely lower end of 4-6. 4% Double Jack with 130ish calories? YES PLEASE.
    afksports, j47paco, gshak and 2 others like this.
  35. Das_Reh

    Das_Reh Savant (490) Florida Mar 25, 2013

    0% ideally, so that I could drink all of my favorite beers anywhere, anytime, with no negative consequences (calories aside of course). It'd be great to have a beer with my family without being shunned and stigmatized for drinking alcohol...

    On the other hand, for those moments when I just want to get a nice buzz and hang out with my brother and cousin and play Xbox, anything in the 5% - 8% range is just perfect for me.
    afksports likes this.
  36. nihiloexnihil

    nihiloexnihil Savant (330) Maryland Jan 2, 2011 Verified

    My favorite beers of all time have generally been around 8-10%, I think, but I also love BCBS (and its variants) all the way up there at 14%. I think once a beer breaches around 15% it starts to take on a bit of novelty that even if it is fantastic (Chocolate Rain, for example) it has a very similar quality that all those other 16-18% brews have as well. But I've never really been a fan of "session" beers either, not sure why.
  37. blivingston1985

    blivingston1985 Savant (430) North Carolina Jan 7, 2010 Verified

    I really like this poll
    afksports likes this.
  38. It depends how drunk I want to get and how much I want to drink.
  39. beergoot

    beergoot Advocate (720) Colorado Oct 11, 2010 Verified

    I go along with this line of thinking. Jumpin' Jesus on a pogo stick: I love high ABV beers, yet if in some sort of dream world all beers had to be in one range of ABV, this would do it for me. It would enable more consumption of some of those tasty high octane brews without hammering my liver in the long run or brain pan in the morning.

    Still, it's hard to imagine a fine doppelbock or any of the myriad of double/extreme styles of beer tasting the same if their ABV were tamed by a 6% limit...
  40. SaCkErZ9

    SaCkErZ9 Champion (895) Florida Feb 27, 2005 Verified

    Whatever Torpedo is and slightly less, so 6.7% to 7.2% ish.
    Roguer, ChrisMyhre and seakayak like this.