Natural ice and natural light are often mistaken for each other, but they are quite different, with distinct tastes and ingredients. So, what’s the difference between Natural Ice and Natural Light?
Natural Ice is an ‘American adjunct’ lager with a mildly sweet taste, whereas Natural Light is an American-style light lager with a slightly vegetal taste. While Natural Light has high carbonation, Natural Ice has much less carbonation, which leaves a bubbly fizz on the tongue.
In this post, we will detail the key differences between Natural Ice and Natural Light in terms of flavor, mouthfeel, ABV, and calories, and try to answer the important question: Which beer is better?
Natural Ice vs Light: Flavor
When it comes to flavor, Natural Ice and Natural Light are quite distinct. As mentioned earlier, Natural Ice is an ‘American adjunct lager.’ For those unfamiliar with the term, ‘adjunct’ refers to using additional ingredients like corn or rice in the brewing process, which can alter the flavor compared to traditional lagers.
Natural Ice contains water, corn, corn syrup, barley malt, rice, and malt extracts. This variety of grains contributes to its mildly sweet taste and smooth finish, which many find refreshing. Compared to many inexpensive beers, which can have unpleasant aftertastes, Natural Ice is often described as having a tolerable, slightly metallic, and dry aftertaste that fades quickly.
On the other hand, Natural Light is made from water, barley malt, yeast, and hops, along with cereal grains like corn syrup, rice, and sorghum. These ingredients also contribute to its smooth finish, though the taste leans more towards the ‘vegetal’ side. Remarkably, Natural Light is often described as lacking a notable aftertaste.
On the International Bitterness Units (IBU) scale, which measures bitterness, Natural Ice has an IBU of 5, making it less bitter than Natural Light, which has an IBU of 10. If you prefer a less bitter, mildly sweet beer, Natural Ice might be your go-to. But if you don’t mind a slightly more bitter, vegetal flavor, Natural Light could be a better fit.
Natural Ice vs Light: Mouthfeel
Let’s talk about mouthfeel, which refers to how the beer feels in your mouth, from carbonation to texture. Natural Ice has lower carbonation than Natural Light, leading to a subtler fizz. This light fizziness tickles your tongue without overwhelming it. Combined with its lower bitterness level (measured at 5 IBU), Natural Ice offers a more ‘drinkable’ experience, making it easier to enjoy for extended periods.
In contrast, Natural Light boasts higher carbonation, giving it a more vibrant mouthfeel. This heightened carbonation, along with its 10 IBU rating, results in a beer that provides more of a ‘kick’ to your taste buds. The experience is more memorable, leaving a lasting impression of its character.
So, to summarize: if you’re looking for a beer with a bold mouthfeel that grabs your attention, Natural Light is the way to go. But if you prefer something lighter and easier to drink, Natural Ice could be your best bet.
Natural Ice vs Light: Smell
Both Natural Ice and Natural Light have fairly mild aromas, especially when compared to more aromatic beers. Natural Light offers a somewhat sweet aroma, which, upon closer inspection, reveals subtle hints of cereal grains.
Natural Ice, by contrast, has a more unique, some might say ‘funky,’ aroma. This scent carries faint notes of corn and corn syrup.
While the aromas of these two beers have similarities, they also exhibit distinct characteristics. Natural Light leans towards a sweeter scent, whereas Natural Ice offers a more peculiar, corn-like aroma.
Natural Ice vs Light: Brewing Process & Ingredients
Natural Ice and Natural Light are both American lagers, but they fall into slightly different subcategories. Natural Ice is an American adjunct lager, while Natural Light is often considered an American light lager. This distinction lies in the ingredients used and some nuances in the brewing process.
Typically, all lagers are brewed at lower temperatures to achieve their characteristic smoothness and clarity. However, the two types of lagers diverge in the later stages. American adjunct lagers like Natural Ice incorporate additional grains like corn and rice, which are evident in the final product. In contrast, American light lagers like Natural Light usually have fewer calories and less alcohol, often achieved through variations in the brewing process rather than simple dilution.
To break it down by ingredients, Natural Light is brewed with water, barley malt, yeast, and hops. Natural Ice, on the other hand, includes a mix of water, corn, corn syrup, barley malt, rice, and malt extracts. These differences in ingredients contribute to the unique tastes, aromas, and mouthfeels of each beer.
Natural Ice vs Light: Alcohol Volume
Natural Ice and Natural Light differ significantly in terms of their Alcohol By Volume (ABV). Natural Ice has a higher ABV of 5.9%, while Natural Light sits at 4.2%. This difference can be quite impactful, especially if you’re planning to have multiple beers. For those who prefer a stronger beer, Natural Ice is the better option. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a lighter beer to enjoy over an extended period, Natural Light is a more suitable choice.
Natural Ice vs Light: Calories
Just like alcohol content, Natural Ice and Natural Light differ significantly when it comes to calories. Natural Ice has 130 calories per 12-ounce serving, whereas Natural Light has just 95 calories. This is largely down to the high alcohol content of Natural Ice. So, if you are watching your calories and want a lower-calorie beer, Natural Light is the one to go for.
Natural Ice Vs Light: Which Is The Better Beer?
When it comes to choosing between Natural Ice and Natural Light, it’s essential to remember that ‘best’ is a highly subjective term, rooted in individual preferences.
If you’re looking for a beer with a higher alcohol content, a bit more sweetness, and a smooth, cereal-based complexity, then Natural Ice is the one for you. On the other hand, if you prefer a lower-calorie option that is more carbonated, with a touch of bitterness and a more streamlined flavor profile, then Natural Light will be more up your alley.
Ultimately, the ‘better’ beer is the one that aligns most closely with your individual tastes and needs. Regardless of your choice, remember to always drink responsibly. Cheers!