A Can Of Coors Light With The Caption 'What Type Of Beer is Coors Light?'

Coors Light has been advertised as the “world’s most refreshing beer,” and, trust us, it certainly lives up to that lofty tagline. First introduced in the 1940s, and then later reintroduced in 1978, Coors Light has established itself as one of the top beers in the world. However, despite its popularity, many still don’t know what type of beer Coors Light is – let’s change that!

Coors Light is classified as an American light lager, with this choice informed by its low to moderate bitterness (IBU of 10-12), high carbonization, light gold color (SRM of 2), alcohol content of 4.2%, the use of corn in the brewing process as an adjunct, and Coors Light being bottom-fermented rather than top-fermented.

While this offers a relevant snapshot of the type of beer Coors Light is, there’s more to it. Here, we will overview why Coors Light is classified as a lager and not an ale. Furthermore, we will examine the criteria that have been considered before placing Coors Light under the American light lager category. Also, we will discuss the use of corn in brewing and how it affects beer categorization, and if Coors Light has always been an American Light Lager.

Let’s get started!

Yes, we do buy and taste the beer we talk about. This one was bought in Aruba for an incredible $5 per bottle.

Is Coors Light A Lager Or Ale?

Before we answer that, it just makes sense first to examine the two terms involved – lager and ale.

There was a time when beer was just beer, but long gone are those days. Now, there are several categories and sub-categories of beer. However, all beers still fall under two broad categories: lager and ale.

The fermentation technique employed in the brewing process determines whether a beer is an ale or a lager. The two main techniques are top-fermenting and bottom-fermenting.

Ales are fermented with top-fermenting yeast at warm temperatures (60˚–70˚F), while lagers are fermented with bottom-fermenting yeast at colder temperatures (35˚–50˚F).

Now to the topic question, Coors Light is classified as lager because it is made using the bottom-fermenting technique at cold temperature.

What Kind Of Lager Is Coors Light?

As earlier pointed out, there are several categories and sub-categories of beers. Calling Coors Light lager does not do it enough justice when categorizing it. For proper classification, we will use the Beer Judge Certification Program guidelines, which consider many factors.

According to the Organization, Coors Light is an American light lager, a sub-category of the overall category of standard American beers.

Below, we will examine the set of criteria Coors Light has met to be classified as an American light lager.

If you enjoy what Coors Light tastes like, here are 10 more beers to try!

Why Is Coors Light An American Light Lager?

Five major properties are analyzed when classifying beers. They are bitterness (measured in IBU), color intensity (measured in SRM), original gravity, final gravity, and alcohol by volume of the beer.

For starters, the International Bitterness Units (IBU) is a scale that measures the actual bitterness of a beer. American light lagers have an IBU between 8 and 12. Since Coors Light has an IBU of 10-12, it passes that criterion for classification as an American light lager.

The next property we will consider is the Standard Reference Method (SRM) of the beer, which is used for measuring the color intensity of beer. The higher the SRM of a beer, the darker it is. American light lagers typically have a low SRM between 2 and 3, giving them a very light, golden color. Coors Light has an SRM of 2, aligning with American light lagers SRM specifications.

Additionally, with 102 calories per 12 fl oz, this beer falls right in line with other light beers.

We poured a Coors Light to give you more of a reference of what the colour looks like.

Furthermore, the gravity of the beer is essential when classifying it. There are two relevant forms of beer gravity – original and final.

Original gravity (OG) measures the sugar content in the wort before alcoholic fermentation has started to produce beer. The OG of a beer indicates the beer’s potency, suggesting how much alcohol will be present after the fermentation process. American light lagers have an OG of 1.028 – 1.040.

Final gravity (FG) measures how many unfermentable sugars are present in the beer after the end of the fermentation process. American light lagers have an FG of 0.998 – 1.008.

Considering the ABV of Coors Light and using an online gravity calculator, Coors Light has Bud Light has an original gravity of 1.030 – 1.040 and final gravity of 0.998 – 1.008. This falls under the original and final gravity scope for American light lagers.

The final and most straightforward property to consider is the alcohol by volume (ABV) of the beer, which indicates the amount of alcohol in a beer. American light lagers have an ABV of 2.8 – 4.2%. Coors Light has an ABV of 4.2%, which, although borderline, fits the bill for American light lagers.

With an ABV like this, it takes a while to get you drunk. Read how much you need to drink to feel the effects of this beer, in this blog.

Considering all of these factors, it is clear why Coors Light is regarded as an American light lager.

Does The Use Of Corn Change How The Beer Is Classified?

When comparing American light lagers to other types of lagers, particularly European lagers, one distinctive feature is the use of rice or corn (up to 40%) as an adjunct.

Using corn in the brewing process impacts the taste and color of the beer. While none of it ends up in the final product as the yeast uses up the sweetener during fermentation, the corn syrup used in Coors Light lightens the beer’s overall body and delivers a more refreshing beer. Unlike many other American light lagers, like Bud Light, Coors Light uses corn rather than rice.

When corn is used (like rice) in American light lagers, the brew becomes clearer and lighter than European lagers. This explains why European lagers have higher SRM (2 – 6) than American light lagers (SRM of 2 – 4).

Has Coors Light Always Been A Light Lager?

The origin of Coors Light can be traced to the 1940s when the Coors Brewing Company introduced a beer that was “lighter in body and calories,” compared to the company’s premium lager option.

However, beer production stopped when the Second World War started. Years later, in 1978, Coors Light was reintroduced to the market, following the footsteps of Miller Lite, launched five years earlier. The reintroduction of the beer as “Coors Light” is the official launch of Coors Light as we know it.

After its reintroduction, Coors Light was only available in the western parts of the United States. This gradually changed over time, with the beer becoming nationally available since 1991.

Coors Light has always been a light lager, even when it was first introduced into the market in the early 1940s. Although the beer’s properties have changed since then, it was always introduced to be a much lighter alternative to regular premium lager.


  1. https://blacktailnyc.com/what-type-of-beer-is-coors-light/
  2. https://www.coorslight.com/en-US/our-beer
  3. https://theinstituteofbeer.com/beer/what-kind-of-beer-is-coors-light.html
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coors_Light