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Is Beer Acidic? (Good or Bad for GERD?)

Going out and drinking can be challenging when you’re experiencing acid reflux or GERD symptoms. After all, everybody wants to enjoy an occasional drink with friends or during a celebratory occasion, but heartburn and other issues might be too much to deal with.

Luckily, if you do some research, you can find some types of alcohol and drinks that won’t worsen your symptoms as long as you consume them in moderation. To do that, you have to be aware of the acidity of your drink of choice. For example, is beer acidic?

Is beer acidic?

Due to the fermentation process that creates the alcohol and the bitter taste of beer, it’s a slightly acidic alcoholic beverage. Because of that, it may cause bad symptoms of acid reflux and GERD and lead to stomach acid refluxing up your esophagus.

Many experts also say that beer is particularly bad for heartburn due to its bitter taste that can irritate your esophagus and stomach lining. It’s also not particularly healthy, so it’s best to consume it relatively rarely and not in large quantities.

What is the pH level of beer?

The pH of beer varies greatly depending on the variety and type, so it ranges between 3.00-6.00. More fermented, sour beers — especially those with added flavorings — tend to have a lower pH level than ales and malts, so it might be a good idea to keep that in mind when choosing a beer type when experiencing the symptoms of acid reflux.

Furthermore, it contains less alcohol than vodka, tequila, and other hard liquors, which means that it’s also less likely to cause bad hangovers (provided you don’t overdo it).

Generally, commercial beer brands have a pH level of 4.00-5.00. Higher and lower values than that are reserved for craft beers and other specialty types.

However, it’s important to remember that all beer types may aggravate your acid reflux symptoms regardless of the pH level due to the alcohol content and fermentation. As a result, it’s essential to limit your consumption of such drinks if your symptoms are particularly bad.

Can beer be good for you?

Regardless of the brand, beer is one of the most caloric alcoholic beverages (excluding sugary drinks). One standard, small can of beer contains around 150 calories, all of which come from carbohydrates and alcohol. As a result, beer can cause weight gain and the so-called ‘beer belly’ if consumed in large quantities.

Rapid weight gain can then lead to many health issues, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and an increase in ‘bad’ cholesterol levels.

Beer also contains less alcohol than other kinds of alcohol, so it’s healthier in terms of how you might feel the next day. Sometimes people overdo it at a party or when celebrating, and beer can make the hangover a little more bearable than if you indulged in shots of vodka or tequila.

This doesn’t mean that it doesn’t contain any alcohol (unless you choose alcohol-free options), so remember that since it may still have a negative effect on your digestion and overall health.

On the bright side, there are some good things about beer. Firstly, it’s a good source of a variety of B vitamins (due to the grains it’s made of), which can lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. 

These vitamins also help you stay healthy, boost your immune system, and reduce the risk of stroke and cardiac conditions.

Moderate alcohol intake, including beer, can also help dilute your blood, leading to lower blood pressure, which is beneficial. But it’s important to remember that you’ll only reap these benefits if you drink beer every once in a while and not regularly.

Low and moderate beer intake has been linked to a higher bone density in bone and postmenopausal women. Scientists and researchers believe it may have something to do with the compounds and substances produced during the fermentation process and the wide variety of B vitamins present.

Beer is also rich in many grain byproducts, which have health benefits, so it might be a better alternative to other, stronger alcohols, such as rum or whiskey, that only supply empty calories.

Can you drink beer while suffering from acid reflux?

Just like all alcohol, beer has acid-forming properties, so it can worsen your acid reflux and GERD, making your symptoms worse. It’s also rather calorie-dense, so it can cause an increase in stomach acid production, provoking your stomach contents to reflux up your esophagus and lead to heartburn.

Because of that, you should be careful about consuming too much beer if you suffer from acid reflux or GERD. This is a general rule though since some people can enjoy beer without any adverse side effects, so always listen to what your body is telling you.

Don’t know what to drink? We made a list of more than 20 most and least acidic juices and 20+ alcoholic drinks ranked by acidity levels.

Is alcohol-free beer better for people with acid reflux?

These days, most beer brands offer alcohol-free options, so everyone can enjoy a pint even if they don’t drink. Many people believe that this alternative is healthier than the traditional beer that contains alcohol, but that’s not entirely true.

Alcohol-free beer doesn’t contain alcohol, so it won’t harm your esophagus and stomach lining with this substance, but it’s still caloric and fermented. On the bright side, when it comes to causing gastrointestinal problems, research shows that alcohol-free beer doesn’t contain as much gas as the alcoholic variety, which means that it might be a better choice for people with acid reflux.

In the end, which version you choose depends greatly on the severity of your symptom and whether you drink alcohol.

Beer is a slightly acidic alcoholic beverage, which means that if you drink it in moderation, it shouldn’t cause you any uncomfortable symptoms. Because of that, it might be a good choice for people with acid reflux and GERD as long as they tolerate its moderate acidity and bitterness.

On the other hand, beer is one of the most caloric alcoholic beverages, so it can cause excess stomach acid production and weight gain if drank too often and in large amounts. So make sure to enjoy an occasional pint or six-pack of beers responsibly.

Don’t know what to drink? We made a list of more than 20 most and least acidic juices and 20+ alcoholic drinks ranked by acidity levels.