Apr 23

Difference Between Malt Liquor and Beer

A lot of people find beer and malt liquor similar, barring their price tag. They are not completely wrong when they say malt liquor resembles beer, ’cause after all, malt liquor is a type of beer, especially a lager, and it is produced in a similar fashion, with a few different ingredients.

Beer is the world’s most widely consumed alcoholic beverage with 4% – 6% alcohol content. It is produced by saccharification of starch, derived from malted barley and wheat, and fermentation of the resulting sugar. Most beer is seasoned with hops to add bitterness, and acts as a natural preservative. Various other herbs or fruits may be added to create different flavors.

Malt liquor is a North American term referring to a type of beer, with a high alcohol content. The term is often used for describing an alcoholic drink that’s not less than 5% alcohol by volume and made with malted barley. These drinks tend to be mildly hopped, and so are not very bitter.

Malt Liquor Vs. Beer


– Malt Liquor
Malt liquor may be created from the same key ingredients as beer barley, hops, and water, but the recipe includes some additional, inexpensive ingredients such as corn, dextrose, and rice.
– Beer
The main ingredients of beer include barley, hops, Brewer’s yeast, and just plain water.


– Malt Liquor
When it comes to taste, malt liquor is known for its sweet taste, ’cause of sweetened flavors like corn and dextrose. It has a hint of spice, with a strong alcoholic flavor.
– Beer
Beer has a distinctive bitter taste owing to hops, and has a smoother flavor.

Alcohol Percentage

– Malt Liquor
Malt liquor’s alcohol content is higher than that of beer. It ranges between 6% to 8% by volume. It is considered to be a type of lager.
– Beer
The alcohol content in a mild beer is less than 4%. Beer comes in a lot of variety, right from lagers and ales to pilsner and stout.

Fermentation Process

– Malt Liquor
Malt liquor is only bottom fermented for trapping the sugar content in the Brewer’s yeast to give a sweetened end product.
– Beer
Beer is either top or bottom fermented.


– Malt Liquor
Malt liquor is packaged in bottles that are typically 40 oz., and less expensive than beer. It is highly consumed by lower socioeconomic segments of the population, owing to its price.
– Beer
Beer is manufactured in bottles that are usually 12 oz. in size and a little expensive, comparatively.

Bottoms Up!

Despite distinctive differences between the two, it is important to understand that these alcoholic beverages have a mutual base, considering their similar ingredients, so they are not all that different from one another.

In the battle of malt liquor vs. beer, some prefer malt liquor for its much cheaper price tag, but most consider malt liquor to be the inferior cousin of beer. We have given you the differences beyond the sticker price, so grab the drink of your choice, settle down, relax, and cheers!


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