IPA, or India Pale Ale, is one of the most popular beer styles, known for its hoppy, bitter flavor and higher alcohol content. But with all that hoppy goodness comes a downside: calories. So, how many calories are in an IPA? Let’s dive in and find out…
Understanding Beer and Calories
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of IPA calories, let’s talk about beer and calories in general. Beer is made using four basic ingredients: water, hops, barley, and yeast. Hops give beer its bitter flavor, while barley provides the sugar the yeast ferments into alcohol. The sugar is the most significant contributor to the calorie count in beer. Alcohol itself is also high in calories, with 7 calories per gram.
So, when it comes to beer, the more alcohol and sugar it contains, the more calories it will have. This is why beers with higher alcohol content, like IPAs, tend to have more calories than lighter beers, like lagers or pilsners.
How Many Calories in an IPA?
So, how many calories are in an IPA? The answer is: it depends. The calorie count in IPAs can vary widely depending on the brand, the alcohol content, and even the serving size. On average, an IPA with 6% alcohol by volume (ABV) will have around 170-190 calories per 12-ounce serving.
But some IPAs can have as few as 140 calories per serving, while others can have over 200 calories. Again, it all comes down to the specific recipe and ingredients used. For example, an IPA with a higher alcohol content will have more calories than one that uses more malt or has a sweeter flavor profile.
Factors That Affect IPA Calories
So, what factors affect the calorie count in an IPA? Here are a few of the most significant contributors:
Alcohol Content: As we mentioned, alcohol is high in calories, and the higher the alcohol content, the more calories in the beer. IPAs tend to have a higher alcohol content than other beer styles, with an average of 6-7% ABV.
Sugar: Sugar is the primary source of calories in beer; the more sugar, the more calories. IPAs can have 10-15 grams of sugar per serving, depending on the recipe and ingredients.
Malt: Malt is a type of barley that has been sprouted and then dried. The more malt is used in the brewing process; the sweeter and higher the calorie count in the beer will be. IPAs use more malt than lighter beers, contributing to their higher calorie count.
Serving Size: It might seem obvious, but the size of your serving can make a big difference in the calorie count of your IPA. For example, a 12-ounce serving of IPA will have fewer calories than a 16-ounce serving.
Choosing a Lower-Calorie IPA
So, what can you do if you’re looking to drink IPA but don’t want to blow your diet? There are a few things you can look for to choose a lower-calorie IPA. Here are a few tips:
Look for IPAs with a lower alcohol content, as they will have fewer calories. Look for brands that advertise their ABV, or alcohol by volume, on the label.
Choose IPAs with fewer ingredients. Some IPAs use more sugar or malt than others, which can increase the calorie count. Instead, look for brands that use minimal ingredients or alternative sweeteners like honey or fruit juice, which can add flavor without adding as many calories.
Opt for a smaller serving size. As discussed, the serving size can greatly affect the calorie count. Consider opting for a smaller serving size, like a 12-ounce bottle or can, instead of a 16-ounce pint.
Try a light or low-carb IPA. Some brands now offer light or low-carb options designed to have fewer calories. These beers are brewed with fewer ingredients and often have a lower alcohol content, making them a good choice for those watching their calorie intake.
So, in conclusion, the answer to the question “how many calories in an IPA?” is that it can vary greatly. Still, on average, an IPA with 6% alcohol by volume will have around 170-190 calories per 12-ounce serving. To choose a lower-calorie IPA, look for one with lower alcohol content and fewer ingredients or a smaller serving size. With these tips, you can enjoy your favorite IPA without worrying about breaking your diet.
P.S. Be sure to pick up your gift of Big Robb’s top 5 favorite beer recipes from his brew pub; details are on the side of the blog or at the bottom if you are on your phone. Cheers!