The Corona brand is one of the biggest worldwide. They have multiple impressive beer offerings, and two of these are Corona Extra and Corona Light. Both beers are different, causing many to debate which of the two is the better option. Let’s start with a quick answer.
Corona Extra is a premium American lager, while Corona Light is a light American lager. Corona Light is a light lager with a lower alcohol content, bitterness profile, calorie count, and even price. Although both beers are refreshing, Corona Light is lighter and more thirst-quenching.
Now that we have the quick answer, let’s explore more information about both beers. We will compare the beer’s history, classification, and brewing process. Also, we will consider beer characteristics, like flavor, mouthfeel, smell, calories, alcohol content, and appearance. All of these will inform the ultimate decision of which beer is better. Let’s begin!
Corona Extra is the older of the two beers. Cervecería Modelo first brewed Corona Extra in 1927 in Mexico City to mark the company’s tenth anniversary. The beer quickly gained fans across Mexico and was a significant factor in the Mexican beer industry, toppling Pulque, an indigenous beer very popular at the time.
Corona Extra made its way into the United States in 1979 and quickly became a favorite because of its beach-themed appearance, especially in the summer.
There was a light-beer craze in the 70s and 80s, with many beer brands dropping light offerings of their flagship products. After the success of the original Corona beer, the company diversified its beer style into light beer. For Corona, the result was Corona Light, introduced into the US in 1989.
Corona Extra and Corona Light are both lagers. This is because both beers are brewed using bottom-fermenting yeast at cold temperatures. However, they have different subclasses.
In line with the requirements of the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP), Corona Extra is classified as a premium American lager. The requirements are as follows: an International Bitterness Units (IBU) value between 15 and 25, Standard Reference Method (SRM) between 2 and 6, and alcohol by volume (ABV) between 4.6% and 6%. Also, it meets gravity requirements for premium American lagers.
Similarly, Corona Light is an American light lager, as it meets the BJCP’s standard requirements. These include an IBU between 8 and 12, SRM between 2 and 3, and ABV between 2.8% and 4.2%.
Now, let’s consider the characteristics of both beers.
The flavor is one of the most distinguishable features of beer. Both Corona Extra and Corona Light are very flavorful drinks. However, the former is slightly more bitter than the latter.
This doesn’t come as a shock as Corona Extra is a premium American lager while Corona Light is an American light lager. Light beers are often far more watered down than their regular lager counterparts, meaning they are less bitter.
Interestingly, many don’t regard Corona Extra as bitter. In fact, the beer tends to be sweet for many. This may be because of the lime often added when drinking the beer. Regarding drinkability, both beers are good and have crisp finishes. However, Corona Light is slightly smoother than Corona Extra.
Now, to the aftertaste of the beer. Both beers do not leave a long lingering bitter aftertaste after you drink. However, Corona Extra may have some skunkiness when drinking. You may not notice it, though, because the beer is typically served with lime, which balances out any lingering bitterness.
Both beers are pretty carbonated and may leave a slight carbonic bite on the tongue. However, Corona Light is the more carbonated beer. This makes sense, too, as it is the more refreshing of the two beers.
Overall, the two beers are mild on the tongue and are not heavy-character beers. They both have relatively low bitterness, and the carbonization levels are not too high. Nonetheless, Corona Light seems softer in the mouth than Corona Extra. In terms of if that makes Corona Light better, there’s no straightforward answer, and it all depends on preferences.
Some people prefer their beers to have a high character. In that case, Corona Extra would be the better option. On the other hand, people that like beers with low character may relate more to Corona Light. Whatever the case, you can be sure you will get a decent mouthfeel from the beers.
Let’s talk a bit about the smell of `the beers or lack thereof, I should say. There is nothing spectacular about the aroma of Corona Extra and Corona Light, and that’s not in any way a bad thing. They both have mild fruity aromas. Because many serve Corona Extra with lime or lemon, it may have that citrus smell.
In terms of how both beers smell, there’s little to no difference.
For a long time, people largely ignored the number of calories in beer. However, all of that changed in the 70s, with a growing trend towards lighter-calorie beers. Since then, many have paid a lot of attention to the calories of a beer before buying it. Let’s compare the calories in Corona Extra and Corona Light.
Corona Extra has 148 calories per can, while Corona Light has 99 calories per can. Obviously, you will get more calories from a can of Corona Extra. This is typical when comparing regular beers to light beers.
This is the same trend when you compare the carbs the beers contain. Corona Extra has 13.9 grams of carbohydrates in a 12 fl. oz. serving, while Corona Light has 4.8g.
Comparing the two beers to the average industry standard will show that they are both relatively medium-calorie beers. What do we mean? The average calorie count of a can of regular beer is 154 calories, while a can of light beer typically has 104 calories. Therefore, Corona Extra and Corona Light are lower than their respective industry averages.
The alcohol content of beer is the amount of pure alcohol in the beer. It is measured in alcohol by volume (ABV). Like the calorie count, light lagers have a lower alcohol content than regular lagers. The beers in consideration also follow this trend.
Corona Extra has an ABV of 4.6%, while Corona Light has an ABV of 4%. Therefore, Corona Extra is a stronger beer than Corona Light.
How a beer appears is another essential factor that can affect buying decisions. Unfortunately, appearance is not going to be much help when it comes to choosing between Corona Light and Corona Extra. Both beers look almost the same. In fact, it is nearly impossible to tell the difference between the two if they are not side-by-side.
The two beers have a straw yellow color; however, Corona Light is slightly more vivid than Corona Extra. Again, it will be tough to tell which is which in a clear glass cup unless both beers are placed together.
Moreover, both beers have transparent glass bottles, although they come in cans too. The use of transparent bottles dates back to the infancy period of Corona Extra. Then, the company was so proud of their beer’s appearance that they wanted it to be glaring to anyone who saw it.
Summarily, the only very noticeable difference between the two beers as far as appearance goes is the different labels on their bottles. Also, Corona Light bottles have a yellow cap; in comparison, Corona Extra bottles have a silver cap.
Brewing Process And Ingredients
Corona Extra and Corona Light are both lagers, meaning they employ the same fermentation technique: bottom-fermentation.
Also, they have the same basic ingredients: water, malted barley, corn, hop, and yeast. Since Corona Extra is the more alcoholic beer despite both beers having the same basic ingredients, brewers must have made manufacturing alterations. This is most likely a reduction in the number of sugars they use in manufacturing the beer.
Both products are vegan-friendly. Considering the use of malted barley in Corona beers, expect both Corona Extra and Corona Light to contain gluten. While the fermentation process reduces its amount, you should be wary if you’re gluten-sensitive.
The Corona brand is hugely successful, including Corona Extra and Corona Light. In terms of sales and reputation, Corona Extra is the clear winner. It is the most sold Mexican beer on the planet and one of the top-selling beers of any kind in the United States.
Grupo Modelo distributes both beers to about 150 countries, although production is exclusively in Mexico. In 2017, 8.7 million barrels of Corona Extra were shipped. In comparison, 1.2 million barrels of Corona Light were shipped that year. That’s quite a gulf and tells you all you need to know about the reputation of the two beers.
Speaking of marketing, commercials for both beers are often beach-themed. One common marketing tagline is “Miles Away From Ordinary,” which was later replaced with “Find Your Beach.”
What Do People Think About Both Beers?
Before we give our final opinions of both beers, let’s examine what other people have to say about these beers. To do this, we will compare the rating of these beers on some of the most reputable beer forums and review platforms.
|Platform||Corona Extra||Corona Light|
As you can see, Corona Extra is the better rated of the two beers. The ratings of the first four platforms are pretty significant, considering they’re the most reputable in the industry. And while the difference isn’t too much, most experienced drinkers think Corona Extra is better.
The last platform doesn’t compare in terms of reputation to the preceding two, giving both beers the same rating. We can infer from that that most novice or average beer drinkers wouldn’t notice any gulf in quality between the two beers.
Corona Extra and Corona Light are both fantastic beers. It is usually tricky to compare beers of different styles considering expectations are different, and the field is not level. But we are inclined towards Corona Extra as the better of the two. This beer seems more refined than its light counterpart.