Everything You Know About Dark Beer is Wrong

Everything you know about most beer is wrong, too. I’m just focusing on dark beer in this post. We’ve all done it. You hear somebody at a party stating a fact about beer with an authoritative tone, and you don’t even bother to question it. You accept it as gospel and then perpetuate the lies. It’s okay, I’m sure you believed your girlfriend when she told you it happens to every guy sometimes. Sorry buddy, it doesn’t. You’re fraternity brother doesn’t know what he’s talking about either. Maybe you shouldn’t accept something at face value from a guy that had to take Freshman Algebra three times before he passed.

Guinness aka dark beer

Dark beer is “heavy”, and has more calories than lighter beer

I can’t count how many times I’ve heard “Guinness is so heavy. It’s like a meal in a glass.” Would it rock your world to learn the Guinness Draught has only 125 calories? Which is actually a mere 15 calories more than a Bud Light, and 20 calories less than Budweiser. A beer being dark has absolutely nothing to do with it’s calorie content. Dark beer gets it color and flavor from the same place as dark coffee. The grains, like the beans, are merely roasted for longer, giving them a deeper color and more flavor. Any feeling of heaviness, is a trick of the mind. Dark beers are usually mashed at higher temps, which create a more full bodied beer. They’re often brewed with adjunct ingredients that contain a lot of unfermentable sugar which can sit heavy on your gut. Some dark beers are definitely higher in calories, but this is far from always being the case.

Dark beer has more alcohol

Negative Ghost Rider. Even though that is usually the case most of the time, it’s not the rule by any means. Dark beers have lots of complexity and flavors going on, so they can handle higher alcohol content and smooth out the burn. Their “yo mama” jokes are a bit more high brow, if you will. There are plenty of low ABV stouts and porters on the market though. Loads even under 5% ABV, which puts them firmly in the session category. Not to pick on Guinness and Bud light for the entire post, but they have 4.0 and 4.2 ABV, respectively. Bud Light, higher in alcohol than Guinness, who’d have thunk?

Dark beers aren’t very hoppy

International Bitterness Units, or IBUs, is the standard for measuring the bitterness of a given beer. The higher the number, the more bitter the beer. The average American IPA ranges from about 40-70 IBUs. So Stouts with their bold chocolate forward notes and roasted, smokey characteristics must be much lower, right? Except that the average range of and American stout is 35-75 IBUs. Yeahbuhwha?! Technically a stout could rank even higher in IBUs than an IPA. Everything you know in the world is a lie.

512 Pecan Porter

You think all dark beers are Guinness

I know I’ve picked on Guinness and Bud light a lot in this post. I’ll freely admit that I used to think I didn’t like dark beers because I’d sampled very few of them. Then one day I tried a sample of 512 Pecan Porter in Austin and it changed my life. Not only are not all dark beers Guinness, but you don’t even know what a dark beer really is. If you consider anything darker than BMC a dark beer, then 99% of all beer styles fit into that category. Blonde Ales to Imperial Stouts are off limits to you. Kind of like the guy that only prefers redheaded cheerleaders that weigh less than 105 pounds. You enjoy yourself bud. I’ll be more than happy to handle all the rest of the squad.

“Dark Beer” is a misnomer, because everything is relative. Yes there are styles and guidelines, but that really doesn’t matter to the casual beer drinker. You like what you like, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The point is, you haven’t tried very much. Expand your horizons. Don’t be scared. Like that time you got drunk at your frat house, it’s all about experimentation.

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