Beer School

Malt Liquor vs Beer – What’s the Difference?

What’s the difference between malt liquor and your average beer? Is malt liquor a type of beer? Find out the main differences between beer and malt liquor.

Malt Liquor vs Beer – What’s the Difference?

Malt liquor is a alcoholic beverage that is typically associated with college kids. It’s high alcohol content and low price point is guaranteed to just get the job done. But is malt liquor a type of beer? It’s quite stronger, but contains most of the same ingredients.

Keep reading to find out the main differences between beer and malt liquor.



What’s the difference between malt liquor and beer?


What is Malt Liquor?

Malt liquor is a type of adjunct beer that is made with rice, corn and sugars added to malted barely to increase the alcohol concentration.

How is Malt Liquor Made?

The process of making malt liquor is pretty similar to the way beer is made– however the main differences are:

  1. Malt liquor is only bottom fermented, while beer can be either top or bottom fermented.
  2. Malt liquor doesn’t contain hops and beer typically does
  3. Brewers add adjuncts to Malt Liquor like corn, sugar and rice to increase the abv of Malt Liquor.

What is the Difference Between Beer & Malt Liquor?


Malt Liquor vs. Beer: Ingredients

Malt liquor contains slightly different ingredients than beer. Malt Liquor typically contains additional ingredients to increase the alcohol content such as rice, sugars and corn.



Beer vs. Cider: Flavour

What does Malt Liquor taste like? Does Malt Liquor taste like beer?


One of the main differences between the taste of malt liquor and beer is the bitterness. Beer is known for its hoppy, bitter taste that comes from the hops in its ingredients. Malt liquor, on the other hand, doesn’t possess this same bitter, hoppy flavour– because malt liquor doesn’t contain hops. Malt liquor is usually sweetened or spiced and has a less ‘smooth’ flavour and mouthfeel than beer.


Malt Liquor vs. Beer: Alcohol Content


Malt Liquor typically contains more alcohol than beer. The average beer has an abv of about 5%, whereas the average Malt Liquor has an average of 12% alcohol or more.


Malt Liquor vs Beer: Price Point

Why is malt liquor so cheap?

Malt liquor is typically cheaper than beer and sold in larger volume than beer. The price per volume of malt liquor is typically less than the price per volume of beer. This is because malt liquor is often considered to be a ‘cheap’ alcohol.


Now that you know the differences between beer and cider, learn more about beer and other alcoholic drinks with these links:

The Original Moscow Mule Cocktail with Ginger Beer
How to Make Beer Jell-O Shooters for any Party
10 Beer Cocktails Every Beer Lover Needs to Try
Why Beer is Better Than Wine

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