ABV preferences

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Ceddd99, Sep 12, 2018.

  1. Ceddd99

    Ceddd99 Initiate (63) May 14, 2018 Michigan

    I'm curious what sort of alcohol by volume you guys prefer. I know it can vary tremendously depending on the occasion, but in general I tend to prefer lower alcohol by volumes. All the beers I drink are 7% or below and the majority are in the range of 4-6%.

    I suspect part of the reason for this is because back when I first started drinking beer I tended to think of the lower abv as one of the features that separated it from wine and liquor and that was one of the things which attracted me to it. Flavor wise I've never enjoyed beers that have a significant alcoholic flavor as much as their lower abv counterparts, and these days I limit my alcohol consumption to about one standard drink per day most days so high abv means I feel restricted in the quantity I can drink as one 12 oz beer at 12% is already more alcohol than I'd like a lot of the time.

    I remember when I first discovered beer advocate I was shocked that nearly all the top rated beers had such high abv. I am sure I could learn to appreciate these beers if I tried but for the time being I am content with what I am used to.
    sharpski, TongoRad, Ranbot and 3 others like this.
  2. Obsidian81

    Obsidian81 Initiate (28) Mar 3, 2016 Illinois

    Below 7%. I find most pale beers over 7% too sweet for my tastes. I like big stouts and BA beers in the higher ranges, but most of the beers I drink are in the 5.5-6.5% range
    sharpski and 2ellas like this.
  3. Mothergoose03

    Mothergoose03 Poo-Bah (2,252) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    I'm pretty much in line with you. Typically the best flavored beers that hit the Wow! factor are also high abv, but many brewers nowadays do a great job getting a good level of flavor into their beers with a modest alcohol level. Probably the 5-6 percent level is where most beers have that I drink.
    dcotom and jzeilinger like this.
  4. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (1,947) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Premium Trader

    4.5 to 5.5 suits me fine. If you can't make a good beer in that range then include me out.
  5. ESHBG

    ESHBG Aspirant (215) Jul 30, 2011 Pennsylvania

    I go through phases and lately have been on a higher ABV kick, 8%+...but feeling the pull to go lower again. If you ask my ideal ABV it would be 4-6%, beers in that range just seem to strike an all around nice balance to me.
    HorseheadsHophead and seakayak like this.
  6. Premo88

    Premo88 Poo-Bah (1,707) Jun 6, 2010 Texas
    Premium Trader

    As close to 4% or below is my favorite range.

    I honestly might drink nothing but cask bitter if I could, stuff in the range as low as 3.3% to about 4.1%.
  7. donspublic

    donspublic Poo-Bah (1,554) Aug 4, 2014 Texas
    Premium Trader

    4 to 5.5 if I am out on the town. 7 below if I have peps over and I am not driving. If I am watching tv on the couch after walking the dog, the sky's the limit
    ZebulonXZogg likes this.
  8. Lahey

    Lahey Disciple (315) Nov 12, 2016 Michigan

    I went through a phase of big beers, but I've backed down to 3-7% as of late. I've found that drinkability and a clean finish are more enjoyable than syrupy high abv beers, especially IIPAs. With that said, I still drink some big beers, but not as often as I used to.
    jcos, ESHBG, TongoRad and 1 other person like this.
  9. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,416) Mar 12, 2009 New York

    I probably shouldn't reply since I don't have a preference, per se. I don't usually enjoy a beer under 3% or over 17% is my only take.

    Came mostly to say I previously never really gave much thought to if I have a sweet spot for ABV, or not, or whether others do.
  10. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Champion (817) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey

    5.5 - 6,5
    sharpski likes this.
  11. shadyside

    shadyside Aspirant (291) Feb 27, 2011 Georgia

    6.0 +, because I prefer the Belgian styles and their ABVs are usually higher.
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  12. papposilenus

    papposilenus Savant (904) Jun 21, 2014 New Hampshire

    My sweet spot is probably about 7%, maybe up to 10% for stouts as long as they're not sweet and syrupy. I have seldom enjoyed an IIPA or IIIPA over 9% or really much of anything under 4.5%.

    But, like @cavedave, I haven't invested a lot of time in overthinking it.
  13. dcotom

    dcotom Poo-Bah (1,947) Aug 4, 2014 Iowa
    Premium Trader

    ABV rarely enters the equation for me I enjoy beers of many different styles, and I rarely drink more than a couple of beers in a week. If it's a particularly big beer, I'll usually save it for a share.
  14. hopsputin

    hopsputin Meyvn (1,267) Apr 1, 2012 New Jersey

    4-6 is the sweetspot for me. except Stouts, those i prefer in the 7-10 depending on my mood. 12oz of a nice 10% Stout on a Friday night after a long week c'mon son!
    Lahey and dennis3951 like this.
  15. Donco

    Donco Devotee (431) Aug 12, 2013 Pennsylvania

    Nothing under 11%. I drink one beer a day maximum.
  16. rudiecantfail

    rudiecantfail Disciple (383) Aug 9, 2011 Pennsylvania

    My sweet spot seems to be around 7.0%. All things being equal, I'd take a higher ABV beer because I won't deny enjoying a nice warm fuzzy buzz. But what really matters is the beer being good, not the ABV.
  17. readyski

    readyski Aspirant (222) Jun 4, 2005 California

    It all depends on the style. Might be a 4.8% lager, a 7.2% IPA or a 11.4% stout.
    Mothergoose03 and Patrick_OKC like this.
  18. guinness77

    guinness77 Champion (880) Jan 6, 2014 New York

    My wheelhouse is 8%. I generally don’t bother with anything below 6% unless I’m drinking a refreshing pilsner. I’ll usually go for the 10+% stuff as a nitecapper.
    mkh012 likes this.
  19. cser

    cser Initiate (49) Feb 12, 2015 Pennsylvania

    8%. If I'm drinking I'm at least getting buzzed.
  20. Roadkizzle

    Roadkizzle Initiate (170) Nov 6, 2007 Texas

    I definitely generally go with the 4-5.5 range. I happily go lower but there's only a couple of beers that I've found outside of England lower and now Jester Kings low ABV beers are much to expensive for me.

    The beers I've been loving to make at home are generally 3-4%.

    That said now that it's Oktoberfest season and one of my favorite beer styles my average ABV consumption is around 6.

    Whenever it's bock season (either Maibock or Dunkler Bock) I love those and they're around 7%.
    TongoRad likes this.
  21. Alefflicted

    Alefflicted Initiate (63) Dec 2, 2017 Minnesota

    Honestly ABV isn't really a factor in my drinking decisions.
  22. matthewp

    matthewp Initiate (153) Feb 27, 2015 Massachusetts

    I wouldn't say I have a general preference but my choice in beers for specific situations are affected by the ABV. I will say for IPA's I generally pick a lower ABV because there's really no benefit taste wise for a high ABV IPA. Most of the time I even find IPA's with 6-7.5% ABV tasting best. With quads or BA stouts the high ABV is pretty much intrinsic. I don't really care what the ABV is as long as its good. Its not like you pound a beer like that even if the ABV is low.

    I think the ABV inflation of IPA's is weird to be honest, there's no good reason for it other than it being who's junk is biggest? Do people really think a high ABV IPA tastes better? I can't say I've ever drank a 9 or 10% IPA and said "Wow that's one of the best I've ever had". Usually its more along the lines of "Wow it hides the ABV well". Its not that they are worse per se, they just aren't any better. I don't have an aversion to getting drunk but I do have an aversion to passing out. If I was 250 lbs I might drink higher ABV beers more often but I'm not.
  23. BeanBump

    BeanBump Aspirant (230) Dec 14, 2016 California

    Depends on what type of beer it is. If I'm going barrel-aged then Id prefer 10+. If its an IPA, then ID say around 7% and if its a sour then in the 5% neighborhood.
  24. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Meyvn (1,296) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Premium Trader

    Depends on the beer, but my usual range is 5-8% The higher ABV is ok when you just want a single or on a special occasion.
    matcris likes this.
  25. Fox82791

    Fox82791 Devotee (446) Jun 20, 2014 New York

    for IPAs 8-10% seems to be the sweet spot, as i like them slightly sweeter and more intense hop flavors, but not overly boozy. For stouts and barleywines, they can vary. The higher end ones (12-15%) seem to have more sweetness and flavor, but I've had super flavorful ones in the 10-12% range
  26. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,228) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado

    Under 7% across the board for me. I occasionally like something with a lot of kick (like just about anything from the Bruery), but it's unusual.
    Most of the time I drink normal table lagers and IPA's.
  27. Jlabs

    Jlabs Champion (807) Nov 11, 2013 New York

    I don't have a preferred range, but I do more often than not seem to be drinking beers in the 6-8% range for IPA's, and 9-14% for Stouts
  28. marquis

    marquis Crusader (744) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    I tend to plump for low ABV for a variety of reasons. One is that many of my favourite pubs require driving to. Another is that these are the beers I grew up with and came to love.And I enjoy the taste and like to drink for extended periods
    Taste is like the other senses, they adapt to intensity. A low strength beer, over time, does not offer much less flavour sensation than stronger ones. The former enhance sensitivity and the latter deaden it.
    Think in terms of listening to a single human voice or a full band. Your ears adjust and you can enjoy either without making any concessions.
  29. Dan411

    Dan411 Initiate (88) Mar 20, 2017 Missouri

    Well, as many have said previously, it truly depends on the style. Lagers for me are best in the 4.5% - 6% range. Anything higher, and that alcohol becomes very detectable for that style. IPA's are best anywhere from 5%-7%. With stouts/old ales/quads/barley wines, I like them bigger 10% - 14%. That's where those beers shine in terms of mouthfeel (typically).
  30. SudsDoctor

    SudsDoctor Devotee (496) Nov 23, 2008 New York

    Depends on style (I like variety) and season. Most of the year the stuff I buy is in the 4.5%-8.5% range, the median being ~6%. But come late Fall and Winter, stouts, barleywines and other strong styles enter the rotation, bumping the average ABV upward.
  31. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Crusader (780) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    I'm usually around the 8% ABV range if I'm drinking hoppy beers.

    However, since I've been drinking more lagers lately, I'm probably more in the 5 - 6% range with an occasional dip below that.

    That said, I really don't pay attention to ABV. I drink what looks interesting to me, whether that be a 3.5 - 4% Mild or Helles or a 14% Imperial Stout or Barleywine.
    Amendm likes this.
  32. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (2,000) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota

    Most of the beers I gravitate to are "robust" dark ales that tend to be high ABV, though it would be great if they were lower ABV/calories. My theory is that the beers with robust flavor tend to be high-ABV for two reasons; high-ABV can contribute to robustness - and also helps justify the high cost. Yes, I know that more grain is required to brew high-ABV beers, but the price is disproportionate with the cost of those additional grains. Also I realize that they sell less of those monster beers due to the cost and strength, so they need to make more profit per beer. I would prefer cheaper and lower-ABV robust dark ales, then I could enjoy more of them.
    Amendm and Steve_Studnuts like this.
  33. thesherrybomber

    thesherrybomber Initiate (44) Jun 13, 2017 California

    Aren't most beers around the ~5% mark? Or that's the average. Not sure a % or two is going to make a world of difference to me.

    When you get into the double digits, it usually means spending more, so those are more "special occasion" types, treated more like a fine wine or a spirit.
  34. Casterbridge

    Casterbridge Disciple (335) Mar 26, 2010 Connecticut

  35. sportscrazed2

    sportscrazed2 Aspirant (206) Mar 29, 2010 Indiana

    I prefer 5-6% then I can have 2 without feeling too guilty.
  36. Patrick_OKC

    Patrick_OKC Initiate (115) Apr 26, 2017 Texas

    I tend to enjoy 6% and above, really the end result of the variety of ales that I typically enjoy. 5.5% is probably the basement.
  37. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,570) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    Obviously it depends on the style but 4-8 abv fits most of the styles I normally drink. If I could get Heady as it is at 6% all the better, but that's not the case, but I drink AALs and Pils which mainly float around that 5.3 line, I'm really good there.
    Premo88 likes this.
  38. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (2,000) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota

    Most macro/BMC are 5 or so. I expect craft averages 6-7.
    thesherrybomber likes this.
  39. AllOfTheCats

    AllOfTheCats Initiate (103) Mar 27, 2018 California

    About 90% of the hundreds of beers that I own are between 10-20%. I usually prefer around 12%+
    Premo88 likes this.
  40. Ceddd99

    Ceddd99 Initiate (63) May 14, 2018 Michigan

    I would love to be able to buy beers like that where I live. It seems that one thing the American craft brewing movement has overlooked is low abv beers, bitters being an excellent example. I know there are some out there but they are so few and far between compared to the vast amount of high abv beers in my region. The lowest abv I can find, aside from Heinekin Ligtht is a 3.8% lager.
    seakayak and Premo88 like this.