Did you know Miller Lite and Miller High Life were two different types of beers? Both Miller Lite and Miller Higher Life are popular light lagers, but not everyone knows they are their own independent beer. Mille Lite and Miller High Life are actually in two different subcategories of beer, but we will go into that later on.
Both Miller Lite and Miller High Life have made their own distinct marks in the beer industry. Both Miller Lite and Coors Light started in the American market, and both still have a strong foothold there. Both Miller Lite and Miller High Life have expanded beyond the shores of North America and are now sold worldwide. Let’s look at what Miller Lite and Miller High Life have in common and what sets them apart from each other.
Miller Lite and Miller High Life are both owned and brewed by the Miller Brewing Company. Miller Lite is an American Light Lager, while Miller High Life is strictly an American Lager. Both Miller Light and Miller High Life have similar tastes and colors and are easily drinkable; they do not have much else in common.
We will take a deep dive into what characteristics Miller Lite and Miller High Life have in common and what sets them apart. Please continue reading to learn more about their flavor, mouthfeel, smell, and appearance. We’ll also look at their history and any unique qualities they may have.
Let’s first look back at both Miller Lite and Miller High Life histories.
Miller Lite was created in 1975 by the Miller Brewing Company. Miller Lite has the distinction of being the original light beer. To this day, Miller Lite was developed using the same strain of yeast that Fredrick Miller used in 1855.
Founder Frederick Miller created Miller High Life in 1903. He wanted the opportunity to allow every person the chance to live and taste the good life. He believed the “High Life” should be available to the masses, not just to higher society.
First, let’s talk about the brewing and classification process of Miller Lite and Miller High Life. Both beers are fermented in colder temperatures (35˚–50˚F). The yeast is not seen during the fermentation process and is thus called bottom-fermenting yeast. Both beers have a low IBU (International Bitterness Units). Miller Lite at 12 and Miller High Life 7-8.
Both Miller Lite and Miller High Life have an SRM (Standard Reference Method) of 2-3. This scale represents the intensity of color for beer. Miller Lite has an ABV (alcohol by volume) of 4.2%. Miller High Life has an ABV of 4.6%. Their low IBU, low SRM, and ABV all determine the classification of Miller Lite and Miller High Life as American Lagers.
Miller Lite is in a subcategory of American Lagers known as the American Light Lager category. Later on, we will dive deeper into the specifics of why in the flavor and mouthfeel categories.
Miller Lite and Miller High Life are both classified as Pilsners beers. The addition of extra hops in the brewing process leads to a hoppier, spicey, and overall robust taste compared to other American Lager beers.
Next, let’s discuss flavor. Miller Lite and Miller High Life both have distinct fundamental flavor profiles. Both invoke a crisp, light, and refreshing feel for the tongue.
Miller Lite is specifically designed for its taste. Miller Lite offers drinkers a very defined yet incredibly light flavor. This is primarily thanks to the careful selection of ingredients used in its brewing process.
Miller High Life is specifically brewed to provide drinkers with a high-quality end taste. It offers a light to medium hoppy flavor, which can be described as spicy or floral. Miller High Life leaves drinkers with a crisp and carbonated finish. Miller High Life is stronger and more flavorful compared to Miller Lite.
Next, let’s discuss Miller Lite and Miller High Life’s mouthfeel. Miller Lite and Miller High Life have similarities in this category, as well as big differences.
Both beers offer a smooth, pleasant, and easy mouthfeel. Neither Miller Lite nor Miller High Life will leave drinkers with a strong texture or powerful aftertaste.
While Miller Lite is in no way a harsh beer, the drinker will notice a slight tingle in their mouth compared to other light beers. This is due to the subtly spicy flavor of the additional hops in the brewing process. The light hoppy texture and ease of drinkability may be why Miller Lite is an excellent choice for those looking to kick back for a few beers and new or lightweight drinkers.
Miller High Life has an advantage over Miller Lite in the mouthfeel category. Miller High Life has the unique distinction of being the “Champagne of Beers”. It received this nickname based on the high carbonation present in the final products. Thus making Miller High Life an extremely bubbly beverage for its drinkers.
Next, let’s move on to Smell. Miller Lite and Miller High Life are distinctly different in this category.
Miller Lite believes aroma is the first step in enjoying a genuinely great beverage. Smell and flavor are why Miller Lite is incredibly selective when choosing ingredients for the Miller Lite brew. Miller Lite offers a medium body malt and hops aroma. This is what distinctly separates Miller Lite from other light beers.
Miller High Life purposely offers little to no aroma. This is due to the malted barley used in Miller High Life’s brewing process. A light hint of sweet grain or corn may be identified once the beer is poured. Some notes of floral or citrus may also be detected.
Miller High Life has a distinct aroma advantage over many clear bottled beers. When UV rays from the sun penetrate clear glass, molecules inside the glass get disheveled. When this happens, the smell of the beer changes. This is known as being “skunked”. Have you ever wondered why so many bottled beers are in brown glass instead of clear or other colors? This is the exact reason why.
Finally, let’s look at Miller Lite and Miller High Life’s appearances. The intensity of the color of the beer is based on a beer’s SRM. The SRM scale ranges from 2 to 80 and is measured by passing a beam of light through .39 (1cm) of beer and measuring the attenuation of the light. Miller Lite comes in at a 2-3 on the SRM scale. At the same time, Miller High Life comes in at a solid 3. This accounts for the transparency and light yellow color of both beers. Miller High Life has a tad more of a golden color but not by much.
What Do Other People Think About Both Beers?
Another thing we definitely can’t forget about is to properly take into account the opinion of the general public when it comes to both beers. For this, we gathered data from several beer websites that allow people to review beers. The scores of each beer and each website are shown below (on a scale of 0 – 10).
|Platform||Miller Lite||Miller High Life|
What becomes clear here immediately is the fact that Miller High Life definitely has a more likable taste than Miller Lite. However, what’s interesting to see is that this is mainly because the beer is higher rated than Miller Lite on serious beer review platforms (the top three websites).
Therefore, it seems that Miller High Life is better at pleasing a more experienced beer-tasting crowd. One review on Beeradvocate describes the experience of Miller High Life for this crowd:
Probably the best of the cheap macro beers. Perfect for mowing the lawn, or if you’re hosting a BBQ and want to offer an unassuming and inoffensive beer to the guests. It has a sweetness to it, but without the gross corn syrupy cheapness associated with many other budget brands.
It boasts a very light head that disappears quickly. It’s light as a feather, with no discernible aftertaste. I reach for one of these if I just want “a beer” without having to stop and appreciate it to feel like I got my money’s worth.
On the other hand, both Miller High Life and Miller Lite are rated similarly on a more mainstream platform like Influenster. This is most likely because inexperienced drinkers aren’t offended by both beers and feel their tastes are quite similar compared to other alternatives such as Bud Light or Coors Light, which leads to similar ratings overall.
Miller Lite vs. Miller High Life
Miller Lite and Miller High Life are both popular American Lagers. Both beers are also classified as Pilsners. Both are easy to drink with a crisp, slightly spicy, refreshing taste. Personally, I like Miller High Life better. This opinion is strictly based on the presence of Miller High Life’s high amount of carbonization. When comparing taste, smell, and mouthfeel, I believe both beers are even keel.