Foods and beverages that are acidic can cause acid reflux, GERD, and heartburn. Acidity is lower in beers with a higher pH, so they cause fewer symptoms.
Acid reflux occurs when the valve relaxes and permits the contents of the stomach to come back up the esophagus. This causes heartburn or the burning sensation just beneath the breastbone after meals or when you lie down.
Consuming alcohol, even in small quantities, can relax the esophageal sphincter causing heartburn and reflux issues.
Alcohols in general are weak acids. Ethanol or pure alcohol (like Everclear) is neither acidic nor alkaline unless it’s mixed with something else.
Distilled water has a pH of around 7, so it is essentially neutral. Municipally-supplied water tends to be a bit more alkaline. Unlike darker malt, lighter malt is only slightly acidic, so lighter beers need to be manipulated to bring the pH down to 5.2-5.6.
Barley malt lagers are the least acidic beer. Malted barley contains phosphates, which are acidic buffers. Making a mash of barley malt mixed with water will cause the phosphate buffers to achieve a natural pH of around 5.2-5.4.
The best beer styles to drink if you have acid reflux, GERD, or heartburn are: – Barley malt lagers – Barleywine
– Lambic/sours – Berliner Weisse – Stouts/porters – Hard Seltzers
Limiting yourself to one 12-ounce serving of alcohol, including beer, per day can lower your chances of experiencing symptoms related to acid reflux, GERD, or heartburn. You should also avoid drinking for 2-3 hours before bed to limit the risk for acid reflux at night.