Is there caffeine in beer? The answer is no. Traditional beer does not contain caffeine.
Beer is brewed using four main ingredients, grains, yeast, hops, and water. These ingredients are mixed together and allowed to ferment. During fermentation, the yeast converts the sugars in the mixture into alcohol (beer) and CO2.
Caffeine is not found in any of the ingredients used to make beer and it is not produced during fermentation. Caffeine is a natural substance that is found in 60 plants around the world but, is most commonly harvested from the cacao plant.
For there to be caffeine in beer it must be added separately and in some styles of beer it is indeed added to give that style a certain flavor, the most well-known style of beer that contains caffeine is coffee stout.
Coffee Flavored Beer Does Contain Caffeine
Like any flavored beer, a coffee-flavored beer has the actual coffee added to it somewhere during the brewing process, usually after fermentation has occurred. As a result of the coffee being added the beer ends up containing some caffeine.
The amount of caffeine present in the beer depends on how it was added to the beer. Some recipes will add cold-brewed coffee directly to the beer before it is packaged into kegs, bottles, or cans; while others will grind up roasted coffee beans and add them directly to the fermenter after active fermentation is completed, allowing the flavor from the beans to infuse into the beer.
How the coffee flavor is added to the beer will determine how much caffeine the beer will contain…
How Much Caffeine is in Coffee Beer?
If you are wondering if a beer infused with caffeine will keep you up at night, you can rest assured that there is very little chance of that happening. This is because the caffeine content in the hardiest of coffee beers is quite negligible. So much so that you will very rarely see the amount of caffeine even indicated on the beer by the brewery.
The average 12 oz cup of coffee can have anywhere from 120 mg to 255 mg of caffeine, whereas the strongest coffee beer might have up to 50 mg in a 12 oz serving and in most cases far less.
It would take 3 – 4 pints to reach the equivalent amount of caffeine that you would get from 1 cup of coffee and by that time you will be feeling the effects of the alcohol long before the caffeine.
Will Coffee Beer Keep You Awake
It is actually not caffeine that will keep you from having a restful sleep, it is actually the alcohol in the beer. The caffeine level is much too low in a coffee beer to affect your sleep, however, there are many studies now showing how alcohol consumed before going to sleep has a negative impact on the quality of the sleep you get.
Commercial Examples of Coffee Beers
Some claim that beers with caffeine in them like coffee beers are a fad that will not last, however they have now been with us for quite a while and there seems to be a large enough fan base for this style of beer to keep them around.
The most well-known and easiest-to-find version of this style is Guinness Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Stout.
Outside of that beer it will depend on where you are located but some of the more popular beers to keep your eye open for are:
- Goose Island Coubon County Brand Coffee Stout
- Cigar City Cubano-Style Espresso
- Great Rivers Brewery Redband Stout
- Flying Dog Kujo Imperial Coffee Stout
- Harpoon Dunkin Coffee Porter
Is There Caffeine in Beer Video
Other Beer Styles that Contain Caffeine
At the outset of this article, we explained that caffeine can be found in 60 plants around the world, thanks to the ever-changing craft beer movement you can expect to find different beers brewed using some ingredients from these plants and as a result, the beer will contain some caffeine, although the amount is usually negligible.
Tea and chocolate are two of the more popular examples of other caffeine-containing substances that are added to beer, however, some of the other examples are guarana berries, yerba mate, and guayusa.
Tea beers are quickly becoming a very popular trend and have a real chance of surpassing coffee beers in popularity, due in no small part to their ability to blend nicely with lighter style beers such as pale ales, wheat beers, and even lagers; whereas coffee beers tend to work better with darker beers like stouts and porters.
Tea beers are infused with raw tea, tea blend, or tea leaves during the brewing process. Although the caffeine content will depend on the amount of tea used as well as the method used to infuse the beer with it, life coffee beers the caffeine amount will also be negligible.
Most people do not realize that when they order a chocolate-flavored beer in the majority of cases it actually does not contain any chocolate. The chocolate taste comes from the darker grains that are used in the brewing process, as a result, the majority of these beers do not have any caffeine in them. Having said that, some beers advertised as chocolate beers will contain some chocolate, but the amount used will be minimal, and as such, the caffeine amount will be pretty much non-existent.
Is it Safe to Mix Alcohol and Caffeine?
CABs or Caffeinated Alcoholic Beverages were quite popular back in the early 2000s, they were premixed drinks that typically were either malt liquor or distilled spirits mixed with caffeine or other stimulates.
In 2010 the FDA advised companies producing these sorts of beverages that they would no longer be able to do so.
The CDC reports that combining alcohol with larger quantities of caffeine results in the person feeling like they are more alert as the caffeine can mask the depressing effects of alcohol, which results in people consuming more than they typically would and as a result becoming more impaired than they usually would be and not even realizing it, which results in an increase in harms caused by alcohol overconsumption.
As such drinking alcoholic beverages with large amounts of caffeine is not considered safe, however, the beers with the lower levels of caffeine as a result of the addition of coffee, tea, or chocolate that we have discussed in this post are as safe as consuming any other alcoholic beverage.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can beer keep you awake?
If your goal is to stay awake it is not recommended that you use beer to do so. Beer has somewhat of a split personality in regards to how it affects people. When you drink one or two it will relax you and make you tired, however as you drink more of them it can cause the opposite effect and bring you very much to life but as you continue to consume more over time you are going to feel the effects of being intoxicated and you are going to become tired, but at the same time will not permit you to have restful nights sleep.
Why can’t I fall asleep when I’m drunk?
This is because alcohol actually has a negative effect on our sleep patterns. It negatively affects our biological clocks and also limits the production of our body’s natural sleep hormone i.e. melatonin.
Most people will find that they fall asleep quickly when drinking as it has a sedative effect on our bodies, however as the body metabolizes the alcohol we actually experience somewhat of a rebound effect where we are now no longer sleeping deeply and move into the light sleeping stage where we are easily awoken and this is why most people find themselves not sleeping well throughout the night after consuming alcohol a large quantity of alcohol.
Is there caffeine in alcohol?
Just like with beer if there is caffeine in alcohol it has been added separately. Take rum and coke, for example, there is no caffeine in the actual rum, but when mixed with coke the drink now contains a mixture of alcohol and caffeine.
The Final Word
As we have discussed traditionally there is no caffeine in beer, however, it can be added to it when a beer is infused with a caffeine-containing substance such as coffee, tea, or chocolate however the amount of caffeine as a result is quite low, and in most cases negligible.
Cheers, Big Robb is Out!
P.S. If you make your own beer or want to start I recommend you take me up on my offer to get the recipes to my top 5 best selling beers from my brewpub. Details are on the side of the blog or at the bottom if you are on your smart device.