Beer Tasting for Iron

Dark beers have more iron than pale and non-alcoholic beers

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Beer is not the most nutritious beverage available, but there is at least one advantage dark beer has over light beer and non-alcoholic beer – more iron. But why should one cares about iron?

Iron is an essential nutrient needed to sustain life as a human. It’s involved in getting oxygen to all parts of the body as well as the stability and flavor of your favorite beer. Who knew iron could be so important?

"Consider adding dark beer to your diet if you are lacking iron."

Co-author, Carlos Blanco, professor of Food Technology at the University of Valladolid, Spain, and team studied 40 types of beers from all over the world to determine the iron content in each.

The researchers found that dark beers on average had 121 parts per billion free iron content, while pale beer had 92 parts per billion and non-alcoholic beers had 63 parts per billion.

The differences in iron content could be due to production processes or raw materials used during manufacturing, Blanco explains.

The process to remove alcohol from non-alcoholic beers also removes iron. Pale beers go through a process that uses a filter to lighten the beer, while also filtering iron.

Determining iron content and other metals in beer are important for multiple reasons: 1) some of the metals that are found in beers are essential to the human diet, and 2) the variety and amount of metals affects the taste, quality and stability of the beer.

The research is published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.

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Review Date: 
August 12, 2011
Last Updated:
August 14, 2011