Whether you like them or not, hard seltzer is here to stay. White Claw may have started this trend, but more and more brands like Truly and now even Bud Light have entered the seltzer game. Craft beer purists and Bud Light drinkers alike are wondering, what’s the deal with Bud Light Hard Seltzer?
The classic case of Bud Light Seltzer comes in four primary flavors: Lemon Lime, Black Cherry, Strawberry, and Mango. Each comes in a slim 12oz can and are crisp, refreshing, and made with natural ingredients.
Even a drink as deceptively simple as hard seltzer has a complexity of flavor. If you enjoy hard seltzers, you may even be wondering if you could brew one yourself at home, or perhaps plan a 3-course meal around it. Read on to find out more about Bud Light Hard Seltzer, its classic flavors, ingredients, recipes, menu pairings, and more.
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Tasting notes and flavors for Bud Light Hard Seltzer
Unlike beer, the primary flavor of each Bud Light Seltzer is right there in the name. Like beer, however, one can still distinguish certain notes of the drinking experience, including taste, aroma, appearance, and mouthfeel.
Taste and Aroma
The classic 12-pack case of Bud Light Seltzer comes with four original flavors:
- Lemon Lime
- Flavor – Light citrus notes, refreshing like a can of Sprite
- Aroma – Barely perceptible lime and lemon notes
- Black Cherry
- Flavor – Sweet cherry with a tart kick, well-balanced
- Aroma – Slight cherry aroma
- Flavor – Unique flavor like a real strawberry
- Aroma – Mild sweet berry fragrance
- Flavor – Strong tropical mango flavor
- Aroma – Sweet tropical fruit aroma, barely present
The common beer characteristics of color, head, lacing, and opacity don’t really apply to Bud Light Seltzer, or any other hard seltzer.
- Color – All flavors of Bud Light Seltzer are crystal clear, with no coloring additives of any kind.
- Head – Seltzer doesn’t maintain a head like beer does. The head dissipates immediately the same way it does in a glass of soda.
- Lacing – Lacing also doesn’t apply here, as seltzer is almost entirely water and won’t leave residue or foam on a glass.
- Bubbles – The bubbles on Bud Light Seltzer pop quickly and may reach above the rim of the glass. This is because the beverage is so much lighter than beer.
Bud Light Seltzer has an extremely crispy and effervescent mouthfeel. The bubbles are more akin to champagne bubbles than the bubbles in a beer.
Bud Light Hard Seltzer recipe and ingredients
According to Anheuser-Busch, Bud Light Seltzer is made with, “natural carbonation and quality ingredients like sparkling water, real cane sugar, and natural fruit flavor”. The full ingredient list is as follows:
- Cold Fermented Cane Sugar
- Natural Flavors
- Cane Sugar
- Citric Acid
- Sodium Citrate
- Malted Rice
All flavors of Bud Light Seltzer are gluten-free and vegan.
Bud Light Hard Seltzer Clone Recipes
A quick and easy way to make a hard seltzer clone at home is as simple as combining the flavored carbonated water of your choice with a clear spirit like vodka. You can even use all-natural ingredients by flavoring plain carbonated water with real fruit and fruit juice. This method is more like a cocktail than a clone recipe since no brewing is involved.
Brewing hard seltzer, on the other hand, is possible! It is different from homebrewing beer in the following key ways:
How Homebrewing Hard Seltzer is Different From Homebrewing Beer
- Distilled or reverse osmosis water must be used – This is because the minerals in tap water can greatly affect the taste of the finished product. Since water is such a large portion of hard seltzer, the water must be pure.
- Hard seltzer is brewed with 100% sugar – Unlike beer, hard seltzer is brewed exclusively with cane sugar or dextrose.
- Yeast nutrients are necessary – Because of the lack of malts and grains, some nutrients found in these ingredients should be added to the seltzer recipe to maintain healthy yeast
Bud Light Hard Seltzer Clone Recipe
There are a lot of hard seltzer clone recipes available, but all of them essentially contain the same types of ingredients. Try this one to get started:
- 5 gallons R/O or distilled water
- 4 lbs Corn Sugar (Dextrose)
- Yeast Nutrient
- 1 pack Lalvin EC-1118
- DualFine Fining Agent
- 2 cases of bottles or kegging equipment
- Priming Sugar (if bottling vs kegging)
- Brew Kettle (at least 3.5 gallons capacity)
- Fermenting Bucket with Lid
- Optional: Flavoring
- Fill your brew pot with approximately 2.5 gallons of water, bring to boil, then turn off.
- Add 4 lb bag Dextrose (corn sugar) and Yeast Nutrient to the warm water in the brew pot and stir until dissolved.
- Bring the sugar-water mixture to a boil. Set a timer for 5 minutes.
- When 5 minutes is up, turn off the heat – the boil is now finished.
- Cool the sugar-water mixture with a wort chiller (if you have one) or by putting the covered brew pot in an ice bath until no longer warm to the touch.
- Pour the cooled mixture into a sanitized fermentor and add water to bring the volume up to 5 gallons.
- Carefully cut open the pack of Lalvin EC-1118 Yeast and sprinkle over the surface of the mixture, then seal the fermenter and move to a quiet, dark location that is approximately 70°F.
- The yeast will convert sugars to alcohol and CO2 gas – this will usually start within 24-48 hours and finish in about 3-7 days.
- Once fermentation is complete, add the DualFine clarifier to the fermented seltzer in the fermenter. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for adding the DualFine. Wait 12-48 hours before proceeding to bottling.
- When fermentation is complete, sanitize your bottling equipment, as well as approximately 2 cases of pry-off bottles and enough bottle caps to cap them (if bottling).
- Prepare a priming solution by mixing 5 oz priming sugar with 1 pint of boiling water.
- Mix the priming solution and flavoring of choice with the fermented sugar-water.
- Fill the bottles with primed hard seltzer and cap.
- Store the bottles in a dark place at 70°F for 10-14 days to carbonate.
- Chill the bottles, drink, enjoy!
Bud Light Hard Seltzer ABV
The ABV for all four classic flavors of Bud Light Seltzer is 5% alcohol by volume.
This is relatively low, though slightly higher than Bud Light itself, which has an ABV of 4.2%.
Bud Light Hard Seltzer calories and nutritional information
All four flavors of classic Bud Light Seltzer boast relatively similar nutritional information. Below are some nutritional claims straight from Bud Light themselves:
- Calories: 100 Calories per 12 fl oz
- Sugar: Less than 1g of Sugar per 12 fl oz
- Carbs: Only 2g Carbohydrates per 12 fl oz
- Protein: 0g Protein per 12 fl oz (were you really looking for protein in your hard seltzer though?)
How to drink Bud Light Hard Seltzer for the best flavor
On a hot day, there’s basically nothing better than an ice cold hard seltzer. A word of warning, though: even more so than beer, seltzer relies on its fizziness. The longer the can is open, the more flat the seltzer will get.
For the best drinking experience, try not to leave an open can of Bud Light Seltzer sitting around for too long to avoid it going flat or getting warm.
Garnish or mixes
When it comes to garnishes, you can never go wrong garnishing Bud Light Seltzer with more fruit! Simply adding a twist of real fruit to match what’s in the can is a great way to take it to the next level.
You can also use Bud Light Seltzer as an ingredient in cocktails like margaritas. Try the Iceberg Strawberry Margarita, which incorporates Strawberry Bud Light Seltzer as well as lime and strawberry garnishes.
Bud Light Seltzer is best enjoyed ice cold. But what if you just picked up a case off the shelf at the liquor store? Can you serve it on ice?
Bud Light Seltzer can be poured over ice! Ideally, you’ll want to drink it rather quickly to avoid the ice watering it down too much.
Bottle, can, or draft?
At this point, far and away the most common format to find Bud Light Seltzer in is a 12oz can. With hard seltzer continuing to grow in popularity, though, expect to find it on tap at more and more bars near you.
Much like beer, hard seltzer on tap is usually the freshest and fizziest, assuming the bar has maintained the cleanliness and functionality of its keg system well.
If you can’t find it on tap, it’s still delicious to drink straight from the can, or poured in a glass.
Type of glass
With the recent rise of hard seltzers, many bars are scrambling to establish a standard glass in which to serve them.
The best type of glass to drink hard seltzer out of is one that mimics the size and shape of the can: tall and skinny. For this reason, a Tom Collins glass is best.
Tom Collins glasses are tall and slender, which gives the much-desired fizziness of hard seltzer less surface area to escape from. They are also commonly known as Highball glasses and are a must-have on any home bar cart.
What kind of foods pair best with Bud Light Hard Seltzer
Bud Light Seltzer’s fruit flavors pair very well with a variety of foods and can be a good counterbalance to spicy or fried dishes. Try the suggestions below for the ultimate feast to go with a case of Bud Light Seltzer:
- Nachos – Lemon Lime Bud Light Seltzer is particularly great for washing down fully loaded nachos, with or without meat! The citrus flavor is a good counterbalance to the spicy, fatty nachos.
- Charcuterie Boards – Pile up the meats, cheeses, and pickles, and wash it down with a Bud Light Seltzer. The Black Cherry flavor goes particularly well with smoky, salty cured meats.
- Chicken Tikka Masala – Mango is a crucial ingredient in lots of Indian dishes, so pairing Mango Bud Light Seltzer with Tikka Masala, or many other spicy curries is always a good move.
- Steak – There’s something magic that happens when strawberries and steak come together. It’s a weird combo, but it works! Treat yourself to a decent cut of meat and wash it down with a Strawberry Bud Light Seltzer.
- Ice Cream – Baskin Robbins and Bud Light teamed up to suggest some fun ways to pair frozen desserts with Bud Light Seltzer flavors. What could be more refreshing than that?
Is Bud Light Hard Seltzer a good hard seltzer?
Bud Light Hard Seltzer is made with quality ingredients and boasts many of the qualities that hard seltzer fans look for: low in calories, big in taste, and super refreshing. In terms of flavor, Bud Light Hard Seltzer leans more toward the “fruit-forward” taste of Truly, and is ever so slightly less crisp than the mighty White Claw.
All that said, if a hard seltzer is what you crave, Bud Light Hard Seltzer is a reliable one to turn to.
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