What has more calories: Beer or wine?
Calorie (cal) or kilocalorie (kcal = 1000 cal) is a unit for measuring energy, especially heat. In principle, the following applies: 1 calorie is the amount of energy required to heat 1 gram of water by 1 degree Celsius under certain specified conditions such as ambient temperature and pressure. Another unit for this is Joule (J) or Kilojoule (kJ), where: 1 cal ≈ 4.1868 J and 1 J ≈ 0.239 cal.
- Beer has an average alcohol content of 5 percent by volume (vol.%) and contains no sugar.
- Wine can have an alcohol content between 8 and over 15 percent by volume and a residual sugar content of almost 0 to over 300 grams per litre. As a representative guide value for a dry wine, an alcohol content of 13 percent by volume and a residual sugar content of 5 grams per litre can be assumed.
Conversion of the alcohol content
First, the alcohol content must be converted from volume percent to grams. This is done using the following equation (g = gram, ml = millilitre):
Alcohol content (in g) = amount of liquid (in ml) x (volume % / 100) x 0.8
Thus the following alcohol values in grams are obtained for beer and wine, based on the same amount of liquid of 300 ml (one glass of beer = 0.3 l):
300 x (5 / 100) x 0.8 = 12 g pure alcohol
300 x (13 / 100) x 0.8 = 31.2 g pure alcohol
If the wine contains 5 grams of residual sugar per litre, 300 ml of that wine will contain 1,5 grams of residual sugar.
Calculation of the calorie content
To calculate the calorie content, these alcohol and residual sugar values for beer and wine are now related to the calorific values of alcohol (7.1 kcal/g) and sugar (4 kcal/g):
(12 g alcohol x 7.1 kcal) + (0 g residual sugar x 4 kcal) = 85.2 kcal + 0 kcal = 85.2 kcal
(31.5 g alcohol x 7.1 kcal) + (1.5 g residual sugar x 4 kcal) = 223.65 kcal + 6 kcal = 229.65 kcal
With increasing alcohol and/or residual sugar content, the calorie content of wine even increases.
The result is therefore clear: Wine has more calories than beer - on average more than two and a half times as many, and particularly high in calories are residual sweet and/or high alcohol wines.