Budweiser is one of the biggest American beer brands, and Bud Light is one of its best-selling offerings. Bud Light Platinum is a further variation on the Bud brand, with a higher ABV. Is Bud Light or Bud Light Platinum the better beer? You’ve come to the right place. Read on to find out.
Bud Light is a simple American light lager, while Bud Light Platinum is probably best classified as a fortified pale lager. Bud Light has a characteristically light, slightly malty flavor, while Bud Light Platinum is a little sweeter, with a touch more kick at the end. Neither beer is particularly bitter or heavily carbonized, and both are very smooth, highly drinkable, and easy to enjoy.
Is this the whole story? Of course not! In this article, we’ll take a close look at several distinct features of both varieties of Bud Light. The key considerations are appearance, smell, history, flavor, mouthfeel, calories, brewing process, and alcohol content. By the end of this article, you’ll be a Bud expert.
Strength and flavor are two significant differences between Bud Light and Bud Light Platinum.
Considering that Bud Light is a light American lager, you might be forgiven for thinking that a fortified Bud Light is an oxymoron. The difference between Bud and Bud Light is quite noticeable, even more so than between Bud Light and the standard-issue Budweiser.
Bud Light already has an exceptionally soft, light flavor profile typical of most American light lagers. Bud Light is designed for easy drinking and low alcohol by volume. Bud Light has a crisper, delicate flavor with just a hint of malty grains. It’s not overly sweet nor particularly bitter. Bud Light has virtually no aftertaste. It’s about as close to drinking water as you can get while still drinking a beer.
Bud Light Platinum, on the other hand, is a little bolder. Not by much, but enough to notice the difference. With some pleasantly malty sweetness on the palate and even a little kick of bittersweet hops on the tail end, it’s a noticeably more flavorsome beer. Bud Light Platinum might be the best-tasting Budweiser beer of all.
Neither Bud Light nor Platinum is particularly fruity or yeasty in flavor, making them very easy to drink. Platinum has a little more flavor and will appeal more to beer drinkers accustomed to bolder, more assertively characterized beers.
Bud Light and Bud Light platinum have remarkably similar mouthfeels. The mouthfeel of Budweiser and Bud Light is very similar, and they are similarly carbonized, with minimal fizz and tingle on the tongue. The easy drinkability of Bud Light has not been conceded to make Bud Light Platinum a welcome surprise for this stronger beer.
Bud Light’s minimal mouthfeel is vital to the beer’s identity. Bud Light has not lost this light, watery character at all.
Bud Light doesn’t have much smell, to begin with. Its aroma is primarily that of faint grains and malt. It smells like a freshly opened box of dry cereal or the first cut into a loaf of whole grain bread. It’s classic American light lager through and through.
Bud Light Platinum has a pleasantly surprising addition to this character. The malt and grain notes are there, sure, but there’s a pleasant touch of green apple – think the faintest Granny Smith smell – on the nose here. Just like the taste, it has everything about Bud Light with a little extra on top.
Considering that Bud Light has always been marketed as a low-calorie, low-alcohol alternative to the standard Budweiser, you might be surprised that Bud Light Platinum still has fewer calories than Budweiser while boosting its ABV.
Bud Light has 110 calories per 12 fl. oz. (one can) of beer and 3.1 grams of carbs per serving.
Bud Light Platinum is more calorific, with 139 per 12oz bottle and 5.1g of carbs.
Bud Light has an ABV of 4.2%, while Bud Light Platinum weighs in at a whopping 6% ABV. This is more than even the normal full-strength Budweiser, acknowledged by Bud Light Platinum’s slogan: “time to kick off your night the right way”.
This lower alcohol level made Bud Light such a popular beer, but for those who want a more robust beer that is still lower in calories than Budweiser, Platinum is a good option.
These are very similar-looking beers. Considering that Platinum is mostly just a variation on Bud Light, that’s to be expected.
In a glass, both beers have a pale, clear, golden straw color with a thin, quickly disappearing white head.
Pouring these beers into a glass, you’ll see a pale golden straw color, topped with a thin white head that quickly dissipates.
However, Bud Light Platinum comes in a very different package than Bud Light. While Bud Light is built on the all-American branding foundation of the Budweiser band, Bud Light Platinum comes in a beautiful cobalt blue bottle. This metallic blue bottle stands out on the shelf and gives Bud Light Platinum a premium feel.
What Do Other People Think About Both Beers?
Considering the Budweiser brand’s identity as a beer for the American people, we’ve gone to the people for a few reviews. Is Bud Light or Bud Light Platinum the preferred beer? The scores are rated on a scale of 1-5.
Bud Light and Bud Light Platinum are very closely scored across the board. Some reviewers narrowly preferred one over the other, but the broad consensus favored Bud Light Platinum.
User reviews emphasize that Bud Light Platinum offers a Bud Light with more Bud Light.
One Beeradvocate reviewer had this to say about Bud Light Platinum:
‘This is a beautiful beer to sit down a get a nice buzz off of. As far as looks go, I drink out of the bottle and the bottle of this bad boy is a beautiful dark blue. This smells like your average American lager but I will say it has a bit more of a bold taste than your regular Miller or Coors Light.
This is quite a grainy beer but a smooth and easy-to-drink one, nonetheless. Finally, the feel is one of the best for an American lager. With the 6% ABV, as I said, you get an incredible buzz off a few while barely noticing you are finishing them off!’Source
Brewing Process & Ingredients
Bud Light and Bud Light Platinum are bottom-fermented, meaning that the yeast used in the brewing process sinks to the bottom instead of rising to the top. If you want to know more about Budweiser’s detailed brewing process, we’ve done a deep dive here.
Overall, the ingredients used in these beers are similar, if not identical. The significant difference is in the ratios used to produce the beer.
Bud Light is a classic all-American light lager for the average American. Even the craft brewing boom couldn’t dent Bud’s enthusiasm for their core market, and Anheuser-Busch refused to bow to the trend.
Bud Light, first introduced a market in the 1980s, did follow a very different trend. As Americans began counting their carbs and calories, Anheuser-Busch saw an opportunity. As Americans became more health-conscious, Bud Light entered the market, offering fewer calories and carbs, a relatively healthy alternative offered to loyal Bud drinkers.
Bud Light Platinum’s target market is a little unclear. Its (admittedly beautiful) cobalt-blue bottle and higher ABV are more reminiscent of the vodka-based drinks of a trendy nightclub than a classic American dive bar. It certainly isn’t aimed at craft beer drinkers, and those who prefer Bud Light largely do so, thanks to its lower calories, carbs, and alcohol content. Bud Light Platinum’s branding, which focuses on “kicking off your night,” certainly reinforces the notion that this is a beer for those looking for a big night out rather than at home watching sports.
Bud Light vs. Bud Light Platinum
These beers are very similar, but their critical points of difference indicate that they may be aimed at two very different drinkers. Bud Light has fewer calories and alcohol than Bud Light Platinum, and Platinum’s higher ABV comes with a broader flavor, which might appeal to beer drinkers who want more from Bud Light.
The critical difference between these beers seems primarily to be whether the drinker wants a buzz from drinking or not. Bud Light Platinum could be the beer for you if you want more bang for your buck. If not, and you want something to drink at the baseball before you drive home, stick to Bud Light.