Technically, malt liquor is the term for any alcohol that contains more than 5% alcohol content.
Colloquially, it is beer that contains more than 6% alcohol content.
For the purposes of this article, we’re going to stick with the colloquial definition. Because that’s what all the cool kids are doing.
So, with that in mind, malt liquor can be either a high alcohol lager or ale. It is made by adding sugars or corn to malted barley in order to significantly increase the amount of sugars in the wort.
Wort is just a fancy term for the liquid containing fermentable sugars that is extracted during the brewing process. The sugars in the wort are fermented to produce the alcohol.
In simple layman’s terms, all this just means: malt liquor is not bitter.
Or, at least not very bitter.
The next question is: why drink malt liquor?
In other words, what’s so special about it?
Well, malt liquor is a fan favorite because of it’s inexpensive, but boozy nature. If you want to get a nice buzz going, but don’t want to spend a lot, malt liquor is your best bet.
It’s also great for large parties, if you want to serve lots but spend little.
Al in all, it’s the cheaper of the beers, but certainly packs a punch no less.
When talking about different types of malt liquor, most people refer to the different brands or names.
This is probably because malt liquor is already a type of beer/alcohol. So, in keeping with the trends that’s what we’re going to do here.
Especially, since you want to be able to chat properly about it while drinking.
And, here we go with the top malt liquor brands that you’ve got to taste at least once in your lifetime, it you’re a true malt lover:
Mickey’s – Well carbonated with a golden hue, Mickey’s is one of the smoothest malt liquors you’ll find. The 40 oz caps come with a fun puzzle underneath, and one that’s definitely not too hard even if you’re already feeling the buzz. It’s got an ABV (alcohol by volume) of 5.6%, and is produced by Miller Brewing Co.
Pro Pig Brass Monkey – With a name like that, you know you’re bound to be in for a treat. Pro Pig Brass Monkey has a 6.5% ABV and a 10 IBU (international bitterness units). This drink has a fun hint of orange zest and Armarillo hops. Delicious and unique, this drink leaves you with a lingering flavor you want to keep. It is brewed by Prohibition Pig.
Olde English 800 – Despite its title, this is definitely an American style malt liquor. Olde English 800 has a smooth, rich, and fruity flavor that makes it a great go-to drink year round. It’s produced as two versions, each with different ABV content: 5.9% and 7.5%. Be sure to double check which one you’re getting so you don’t end up wondering why your tolerance suddenly got so low. Miller Brewing Co. did a great job on this one.
E40 – Now, if you’re looking for something a little heavier on the alcohol content, E40 is definitely a top candidate. With a high of 10% ABV, this drink pours a light amber color with a fruity, all natural kind of taste- a direct result of its honey flavoring. E40 is put out by City Brewing Company, and is a top-notch option for any malt liquor lover out there.
Ionizer Lager – With an 8.3% ABV, this is a pretty middle ground beer. Ionizer Lager holds a mild taste with low carbonation. Crisp and sweet, it is the perfect drink for any night when you’re looking to kick back and relax a bit. Its brewers are Lightning Brewery.
Zima – Also made by Miller Brewing Co., Zima is a light, medium carbonation beer with hints of citrus. If you’re looking for just a light drink, or a drink you can have more than one of, Zima’s lower alcohol content of 5% makes it a great option. Sweet and nostalgic, Zima is bae.
Most beers are sold in regular 12 ounce bottles. However, standard American malt liquor is sold in 40 oz, also known as “40s.” Rather than a single sized container 40’s hold the same alcohol content as 5 mixed drinks.
Let’s take a look at some 40’s options:
Colt 45 – Brewed by Pabst Brewing, Colt 45 is an 8% ABV malt liquor. This is a classic malt beer if you are looking for something cheap and boozy. It’s light on the hops, heavy on the sweet, and available year round.
Steel Reserve 211 (High Gravity) – Also available year round, Steel Reserve 211 has an ABV of 8.1%, and is crafted by Steel Brewing Company. It’s got a light and fresh aroma with a sweet aftertaste. This malt beer is perfect for drinking hard and drinking much.
Country Club – This malt beer is here to remind you of fond memories and good days past. Made by Pabst Brewing Company, it has a 5.86% ABV, marking it the perfect option for a lighter drinking night. This beer is hard to find, but when you do it’s sure to be worth it. It pours a copper color, and has a strong taste of sweet corn. Though it sometimes gets a bad rep, all malt lovers have to try this at some point.
Big Bear Premium Malt Liquor – This wonderful brew is crafted by Pabst Brewing Company. It’s available year-round, with a 7.5% ABV. It starts of with a sweet grainy taste, moves to a bit of a caramel sweetness, and finishes with a grassy aftertaste. Big Bear Premium Malt Liquor has a fun fizz when you open it, and carries on with a mild carbonation. It’s also got a soft, rich feel to it, making every sip a party.