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Lots of sugar translates to high ABV (12% or higher). Expect a thin body, minimal hop presence, and a walloping white sugar or corn sweetness.

About Malt Liquor

Malt liquor is an American beer style characterized by high alcohol content, thin body, light color, little hop character, and a variety of sweeter flavors. When making malt liquor, brewers want the alcohol by volume to be much higher. To achieve that higher level of alcohol, brewers need to add more sugar (more sugar = more alcohol) so they incorporate ingredients such as pure white sugar or corn.


The result is a beverage with more than 12 percent alcohol, often going as high as 20 percent. Each state has its own regulations related to ABV but normally in order for a beverage to be classified as malt liquor, it must have an ABV greater than 12 percent.