Coffee and alcohol are two very popular things all over the world. They both have significance in a lot of cultures, and there are similarities between these two chemicals.
However, both are produced in different ways.
Generally, beer is brewed from hops, yeast, water, and grain. All of these ingredients don’t contain any caffeine.
Also, the fermentation process, which is what actually makes the beer become alcohol, does not produce any coffee either.
Therefore, the majority of beer does not contain any caffeine, however there are flavored beers that do contain small amounts of caffeine.
Therefore, in this article, we will be understanding and discussing whether beer has caffeine in it and the surrounding science.
Is There Any Caffeine In Beer?
As we have mentioned above, beer is traditionally made with only 4 ingredients.
This includes yeast, grain, water, and hops. None of these ingredients actually contain any caffeine in them.
However, if the beer is flavored with chocolate or coffee, then the beer will contain small amounts of caffeine.
The process that the ingredients go through to create beer is a series of chemical reactions.
This is due to the fermentation process with the living yeast reacting with all the other ingredients.
It is the yeast in the mixture which changes the hops, water, and grain into beer full of flavor and aromas.
However, caffeine is very different to alcohol. This is because caffeine is an alkaloid that is the product of fungi and plants.
As a result, yeast can’t produce any traces of caffeine through its fermentation process.
Also, hops and grains don’t contain any caffeine content either, so the only way a beer can contain caffeine is if it is added through an additive or flavoring.
It is important to note that since 2010, the United States government has considered adding large volumes of caffeine into alcoholic drinks and beverages.
That being said, you can still find and purchase caffeinated coffee stouts, yet you won’t come across any caffeinated malt drinks.
Coffee Content In Alcohol
Caffeine and ethanol are two very different compounds that are produced in two different ways. They also both affect your bodies and brains differently.
We have established that there is no caffeine present in ethanol. It is also not produced during any fermentation processes, either.
Generally, alcohol is produced using the yeast’s metabolic process, which is also referred to as fermentation.
During this process, the yeast breaks down all the sugars as energy. This in turn releases waste products of ethanol and carbon dioxide.
It is known that most alcohols, ethanol, are soluble in water. It will also act like a depressant by stopping brain functions once it has been consumed.
In comparison with caffeine, which is an alkaloid that is built up in fungi and living plants. Also seen as a pesticide.
Caffeine is produced by the combination of small compounds that produce a complex chemical. It also acts as a stimulant by releasing adrenaline and dopamine to the brain once consumed.
When comparing alcohol and caffeine, they are complete opposites to each other.
Alcohol is produced by breaking down large compounds, while caffeine is produced by combining small compounds together.
Obviously, you can combine these two compounds together after they have been protected.
There are a couple of examples of beverages that showcase alcohol and caffeine joined together.
Coffee Beers Do Contain Caffeine
The majority of coffee beers will contain some caffeine. This is due to any beer that is flavored with coffee will have a small amount of caffeine.
This is due very few microorganisms are able to break down caffeine, and none of these microorganisms are found in the fermentation process.
The caffeine content in a coffee beer will vary depending on the amount of coffee that was added and the fermentation process that was carried out.
Some recipes will ask you to mix cold-brewed coffee with your beer.
There are some recipes that ask you to use an infusion using roasted coffee beans. Or to use a mixture of both methods.
However, both methods used a cold infusion. This is because the cold infusion is a method which will release the minimal amount of caffeine.
On average, a cold brewed coffee will only realize 75% of its caffeine than you would expect with a hot cup of coffee.
Hence, this is why any beers that have been flavored with a cold brew, will contain very low amounts of caffeine.
Caffeine Content In A Coffee Beer
A coffee flavored beer will contain a small amount of caffeine. However, the actual caffeine in the beer is very rarely listed on the ingredients.
However, depending on the amount of coffee that is used during the brewing process.
You can estimate that a coffee beer could roughly contain around 50 mg of caffeine per every 12 fl ounce bottle of beer.
That actually isn’t much caffeine, considering you find around 70 to 140 mg of caffeine in a cup of coffee.
Thus, when coffee is added to beer, it is more for the flavor of the coffee than the effects that you typically receive from caffeine.
Does Coffee Beer Keep You Awake?
Now we know how much caffeine a coffee flavored beer may contain, the next question is whether that much caffeine could keep you awake.
Considering, you will get double the amount of coffee from an average cup of coffee than from drinking a coffee flavored beer. You could still struggle to sleep.
There has been a lot of research into caffeine and alcohol intake before going to sleep.
Research has shown that caffeine consumption within 4 hours of going to bed has little effect on the quality of your night’s sleep.
However, the same research also says that instead of alcohol just 4 hours before sleep can cause a bad quality and restless nights sleep.
As a result, when it comes to coffee beers, it is the alcohol that will affect your sleep and not the coffee content.
Examples Of Beers That Contain Caffeine
As we have mentioned above, beer will only contain caffeine due to naturally caffeine flavorings.
Thus, you can be assured that any beer that has been flavored with coffee will contain a small amount of caffeine.
Apart from coffee, there are other ingredients that contain caffeine and will add a small percentage of caffeine to your beer.
These include around 60 plants, including:
- Guarana berries
- Kola Nuts
- Yaupon Holly
- Yerba Maté
The most popular caffeine infused beer will be a coffee flavored beer. This type of beer will also have the highest content of caffeine as well.
Some popular coffee beers you will see on the market right now includes:
- Funky Buddha Maple Bacon Coffee Porter
- Guinness Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Stout
- Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout
- Left-hand Milk Stout
- Harpoon Dunkin’ Coffee Porter
There are lots of beers on the market that claim to be chocolate. However, in reality, a lot of them don’t even contain any chocolate, thus contain no caffeine either.
Commonly, a chocolate beer will be produced with a dark malt that can mimic the same flavor profile of chocolate.
With that being said, some beers will contain real chocolate, and they will have very low caffeine content of less than 1 mg of caffeine.
Some of the most popular beers that do contain chocolate are:
- Dogfish Head Theobroma
- Southern Tier Brewing Choklat Imperial Stout
- Yuengling Hershey’s Chocolate Porter
Can You Mix Caffeine And Alcohol Together Safely?
The FTC and FDA have both issued warnings in 2010 to companies that were adding large amounts of caffeine to their drinks.
Beverages like Max, Joose, Moonshot, FourLoko and Charge were seen as dangerous due to the caffeine and alcohol content.
However, most of these drinks have been reformulated, and all caffeine has been removed from them.
If there is a large amount of caffeine in an alcoholic drink, this can mask the depressive side effect of alcohol. Which in turn can make the drinker feel more alert than they actually are.
This can then lead to dangerous alcohol related accidents.
The effects of the high amounts of caffeine in high amounts are really harmful when very high. It was said to be equivalent to drinking 5 cups of coffee and a 6 pack of beer at once.
However, today coffee beers have much lower caffeine amounts which make them less dangerous.
It is always important to think about what you are drinking and to drink responsibility as well. There is a reason why there was a ban in 2010 on high caffeinated alcoholic beverages.
Caffeine and alcohol are two very different compounds that people have thought would work together, yet in high amounts they are dangerous.
Naturally, there is no caffeine present in alcohol and when you see coffee beer, the caffeine has been added through a flavoring.
We hope this article has helped you to understand whether beer has caffeine. While also getting a deeper understanding of the caffeine content found in coffee bears.