Coors Light is a popular light beer from Golden, Colorado. It is known around the world, but what does it taste like?
Coors Light is a simple American adjunct lager with a 4.2% ABV. The beer’s malted grains create a slightly sweet flavor with a hint of bitterness, with a similar mouthfeel to carbonated mineral water. Coors Light is not as dry as many other light beers and leaves no lingering aftertaste. It has a subtle grain aroma and high carbonation.
Whether you’ve had Coors Light before or not, read on for a comprehensive breakdown of the beer, including ingredients, the best way to serve it, and how to brew a comparable beer at home.
Tasting notes and flavors for Coors Light
Despite its simplicity, you can still get a lot out of a Coors Light.
This beer is slightly sweet with a hint of bitterness. Its taste is enhanced by the subtle aroma of grains as well as its refreshing carbonated mouthfeel. Even before drinking, it is visually pleasing. The clear golden appearance promises refreshment.
Each of these aspects will be further explored below from physical sensations such as taste and mouthfeel to other senses such as aroma and appearance.
Every feature of Coors Light is important to the whole, but it is its mouthfeel and appearance that makes this beer worth its fame.
It is the crisp refreshing nature that promotes this beer from a simple lager to one of the best light beers out there. Coors Light is a great choice for bringing to the lake, on a hike, or camping trip.
Overall, Coors Light has simple flavors and tastes.
It leads with a slightly malty flavor with hints of mineral water. It isn’t as dry as other light beers with its slight sweetness contrasted by mild bitterness. This beer goes down easy with almost no lingering aftertaste.
Some drinkers from outside the United States have reported some “grassy” tones in the beer that are still pleasant enough.
Other reported flavors from within the US include unbuttered popcorn, corn, and metallic (though the last is likely from the can).
Does Coors Light taste like water?
Compared to other beers, it is very easy to describe Coors Light as weak or basic. Its flavors are not as bold or complex as an IPA or an Imperial Stout.
Upon first tasting it, it’s clear that it is not water. With that said, Coors Light is brewed to be a simple lager. This is achieved by a light taste and watery mouthfeel.
It is refreshing on a hot day and endlessly drinkable.
Whether or not you’ll notice the smell depends on how you’re drinking Coors light. It’s likely that if you’re drinking from a can you won’t notice the aroma at all.
Similar to its taste, this beer’s aroma is very unobtrusive. It smells mostly of grains and more subtly of corn. Other reported aromas range from wet hay or wet grass to sweet fruit.
The appearance of this beer is one of its most attractive features.
Coors Light is a beautiful pale yellow lager often described as clear straw in color. It is nearly completely transparent. When poured, it forms a bit of a white foamy head that quickly disappears. As you drink it, it leaves little to no lacing.
Additionally, the high levels of carbonation will be visible in the form of bubbles rising.
It is this carbonation that will be the main mouthfeel with Coors Light.
The overall mouthfeel is similar to carbonated mineral water. Some drinkers claim that it is, in fact, nearly indistinguishable. The carbonation combined with the clean taste also brings a refreshing crispness that is easily enjoyed.
Because of this mouthfeel, Coors Light is relaxing at the end of any day.
Coors Light recipe and ingredients
While the exact recipe is a secret, Molson-Coors does share the basic ingredients. The most specific information they provide is that they use “American-grown high country Moravian barley.”
Coors Light ingredients include:
- Barley malt
- Hop extract
- Lager yeast
- Corn syrup
They also want to be clear that the corn syrup they use is not high-fructose corn syrup. The only other ingredient of note is the water they use, most of which comes from the Rocky Mountains.
Using this information and their taste buds as a starting point, homebrewers have come up with clones of this iconic beer. Below is one such clone.
- 1 lb. Rice Syrup Solids
- 3 lbs. Dry Malt Extract – Extra Light – US
- 1 lb. Corn Sugar (Dextrose) – US
- 1 oz. Saaz Hops
- Fermentis Saflager S-23
- 1 tsp. Irish Moss
- Bring 2.75 gallons of water to boil.
- Add solids and syrup at 60 minutes (left of boil).
- Add 1 oz Saaz Hops at 48 minutes.
- Add dextrose at 20 minutes.
- Add Irish Moss (0.066 oz) at 15 minutes.
- At flame-out, chill with wort chiller until it reaches 60°F.
- Add water to the wort to bring to 5.25 gallons.
- Aerate for 10 minutes then pitch yeast.
- Ferment at 50-55°F for 2-3 weeks.
- Transfer to a carboy and let it rest at 65°F for 1 day.
- Lager at 50°F for 8 days.
- Lager at 45°F for 20 days.
- Rack in keg and carbonate with CO2.
Keep in mind that, when brewing a Coors Light clone, every mistake or misstep will be very apparent since there aren’t any strong flavors to mask them.
Coors Light Style
Coors Light is classified as an American adjunct lager. It is brewed using lager yeast at lager temperatures. The adjunct label comes from the use of non-malt fermentables.
Throughout the entire brewing and packaging process (where appropriate), Coors Light is kept cold for that light, crisp taste it is known for. This also ensures that it appears bright, clear, and stays fresh.
Coors Light ABV
This light beer has a 4.2% ABV in the United States.
In some countries, such as Australia, it is considered full strength at that ABV.
In other countries, Coors Light is even brewed with a slightly higher ABV though usually no higher than 4.5%.
Coors Light calories and nutritional information
Light beer is considered “light” if it contains fewer calories than the primary brew of the same brand, it is also typically has a lower ABV.
Here is the nutritional information for a 12 oz serving:
- ABV: 4.2%
- Calories: 102
- Carbs: 5g
- Fat: 0g
For context, the same amount of Coors Banquet has 147 calories and is 5.0% ABV.
How to drink Coors Light for the best flavor
Everything has some preferred method of preparation. Sure, you can eat cold pizza straight out of the box from last night and it will taste good, but it’s better when fresh and hot. Beer is the same way.
Temperature, serving method, even type of glass can influence your drinking experience. Different beers will be better with different factors. So what about Coors Light?
Coors Light is famous for its use of the color-changing mountains on its packaging. When the mountains turn blue, it’s at the right temperature to drink. Of course, this doesn’t help if you’re drinking it on draft.
The ideal temperature to drink Coors Light is around 40-44°F. This will enhance the crispness of the beer and make it even more refreshing on a hot day.
While it can be drunk at higher temperatures, Coors Light will be much worse if it is too hot.
Bottle, can, or draft?
Each serving method has its pros and cons.
The closest to an objective “best” would be a bottle. It has the transportability of a can without the chance for metallic tastes.
Cans are highly mobile and usually the cheapest option, but can add a metallic flavor to the beer. Additionally, it is harder to detect the aroma when drinking from a can. The aroma issue can be easily solved by pouring it into a glass, but the metallic taste may remain.
Bottles are also highly mobile. However, when accidents happen, the bottle could break and send glass everywhere which is more dangerous than dropping a can. On the other hand, glass bottles won’t affect the flavor.
Coors Light on tap at a bar will be kept at the ideal temperature, and you can be sure that it’s fresh. On tap from a keg is a little less standardized, but can still achieve the same result.
The drawback of this option is certainly the mobility. Kegs can be transported, but are not as simple as bottles or cans
Type of glass
Coors Light is not a beer that should be served in a particular glass, unlike some beers, but some types can improve the experience.
You can’t go wrong with a good old pint glass. Two great pint glass options are the American (shaker) and the nonic pint. Both of these styles will provide a nice aroma generation while keeping the beer cold.
Alternatively, you can use a pilsner glass. This glass will present the beer with a focus on its strongest features. It will highlight the golden color, carbonation, and clearness.
What kind of foods pair best with Coors Light
With its light flavor profile and refreshing crispness, Coors Light goes well with a variety of foods.
You may want to enjoy your Coors Light with:
- Burgers – Enjoy a great burger with a refreshing beer.
- Fries – If you’re in the mood for a light snack, fries and beer are the way to go.
- Lemon Pastries – The carbonation of the beer will balance with the sweetness of the pastry.
- Pizza – Coors Light washes down this college favorite without overpowering the taste.
- Salad – Beer may not be the healthiest, but everybody needs a cheat day now and then.
- Wings – Pair this beer with hot wings to put out the fires they inevitably create.
Is Coors Light a good beer to drink?
Coors Light may not be complex or high in alcohol, but it will cool you down while you grill in the middle of summer, will be refreshing after a hard day, and will be a great beer for hanging out with friends.
Even though light beers get a lot of hate and are often looked down on, they’re still enjoyable. Coors Light, properly chilled and served in a glass, will still taste good. Not to mention that taste aside, it still has an alcohol content.
Just remember that preparation is key with Coors Light. Let it sit out in the sun too long and it won’t be very good. Just make sure it’s cool and stays carbonated and you’re gold, Ponyboy.
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