Burping or belching is a means for your body to release the excess gas trapped in your digestive system. Like farting, burping is a natural body process, and in the wrong place, it can be rude. As a beer enthusiast, you may have noticed that you burp a lot while drinking beer.
Why is it so; why does beer make you burp?
Beer is a carbonated drink. While sitting in your stomach, it releases carbon dioxide. The gas fills your stomach, bloating you in the process. The high pressure in the gut forces CO2 out of the mouth through your esophagus.
This article seeks to understand how and why beer makes you burp. You’ll also learn some effective tips on reducing burping while drinking beer. But first, how does beer make you burp?
Why Do We Burp When Drinking Beer?
Before you can understand why beer makes you burp, you need to understand the physiological processes that make us burp.
How Burping Works
Burping is a way for the body to release the extra gas in your body. As a natural part of eating, you swallow air along with food. Usually, this air doesn’t make it down to your stomach. Instead, it builds a small bubble in your esophagus.
Eating fast can increase the amount of gas lodged in your esophagus. We breathe in and swallow a lot more air when eating fast. Chewing gum and smoking can have a similar effect.
When babies are breastfeeding, they swallow air because they are sucking while breathing. The gas accumulation can induce colic, a pain in the abdomen caused by trapped air. To prevent colic, mothers burp their babies after every feeding session.
But for us much bigger babies (or adults), we burp because of one key characteristic of beer; carbonation.
What is Carbonation?
The process of infusing carbon dioxide into beverages is called carbonation. Carbonated water, soda, and beer owe their fizziness to beer. You might ask, “Carbon dioxide is gas; how does it get into beer?”
During brewing, yeast is added to the wort to induce fermentation. Yeast processes the sugar in the malt to alcohol, carbon dioxide, and energy. After this initial fermentation, the beer is conditioned in airtight casks or bottles where fermentation continues.
The release of carbon dioxide while the beer is in the cask creates a high-pressure environment. The high pressure dissolves carbon dioxide in the beer.
Pouring beer into a low-pressure environment, like a glass, causes the beer to release dissolved carbon dioxide. The gas bubble from the beer and foams along the neck of your glass.
Why You Burp After Sipping Beer
After sipping a cold one, the beer streams down your esophagus and settles in your stomach. While in the gut, the beer continues to release carbon dioxide. As more and more gas is emitted, your stomach fills, and pressure builds.
Carbon dioxide release makes you feel bloated and gassy. Eventually, your stomach can’t take the pressure anymore, and it ejects the gas. The carbon dioxide squeezes through the esophagus and out through the mouth. All your friends hear at the bar is the rude and unpleasant sound of a burp.
Carbon dioxide accumulation is the main reason you burp after a few sips of beer. Drinking fast also causes burping as you swallow a lot of air while chugging a beer.
Beers That Make You Burp the Most
We’ve established that beer makes you burp because of carbonation. However, different beers have different levels of carbonation. High-carbonation beers make you burp more than low-carbonation beers.
But which beers make you burp the most? Motivated by the same question, Vouchercloud set out to find the most and least gassy beers in the market.
In their study, Vouchercloud researchers purchased 31 popular brews and stored them under the same conditions for 48 hours. They then plugged special gauges to monitor the cans’ pressure.
At the end of the study, researchers noticed that lagers have higher carbonation levels than ales and stouts. For example, Budweiser (a lager) had a carbonation level of 2.71 pints of carbon dioxide. To elaborate, every pint of Budweiser contains 2.71 pints of carbon dioxide.
Hobglobin (an ale) has 1.74 pints of carbon dioxide in every pint of beer. Carbonation results from yeast acting on sugar to produce alcohol, carbon dioxide, and energy. The more sugar in the wort, the higher the carbonation.
Below is a table comparing the amount of corn syrup used in the manufacture of popular beer styles:
|Corn Syrup (Ounces Per Gallon)||Beer Style|
Among the beers Vouchercloud tested, the brands below have the highest carbonation:
|Rank||Beer Brand||Carbonation (Pints of CO2 Per Pint of Beer)|
|6.||John Smith Bitter||2.44|
|10.||Cobra Indian Lager||2.27|
Can You Reduce Buping When Drinking Beer?
Burping is a natural part of the beer experience, and you cannot stop it. However, you can reduce the frequency and intensity of your burps. Below are useful tips to help you reduce burping when drinking beer:
Avoid the Bottle, and Drink From a Glass
Drinking directly from bottles and cans can increase your chances of bloating. When beer comes from a high-pressure bottle to a low-pressure glass, it releases carbon dioxide. The gas manifests as the foam on the neck of your beer glass.
An open glass is better ventilated than a beer bottle. Therefore, more carbon is released in a glass than in an open can or bottle. Drinking directly from the bottle or can forces you to drink highly-carbonated beer.
Pro Tip: Use a chilled glass to reduce carbonation further.
Employ Better Beer Pouring Techniques
The way you pour beer can also reduce gassiness and burping. To correctly fill your glass, tip it at a 45° angle. Start by pouring the beer about an inch from the rim of the glass. Pour the beer against the side of the glass.
When the glass is almost three-quarters full, tilt it upright and aim for the center. This technique gives your beer a nice frothy head.
Avoid Chewing Gum and Hard Candy Before Drinking Beer
Chewing gum is like eating, except you chew gum for longer. As you chew gum, you’re unintentionally swallowing small amounts of air. And after chewing for a couple of minutes, the gas does accumulate. Add the carbon dioxide from the beer you plan to take later, and you are a ticking time bomb.
Sucking on hard candy can have the same effect. Avoid chewing gum or sucking on hard candy before drinking to reduce burping.
Smoking cigarettes fill your gut with air in the same way gum does. As you inhale the smoke, you’re swallowing small amounts of air. Adding beer to this equation can have unpleasant results.
Switch Beer Styles
Different beer styles are brewed differently. The ingredients may be similar, but the quantities vary. One ingredient that’s used in different amounts is corn syrup. Lagers require more corn syrup than stouts and porters. As a result, lagers have higher carbonation levels than ales, porters, and stouts.
To reduce burping, try stitching your beer styles. Ditch the German wheat beer for some Guinness.
Below is a table comparing the carbonation levels of different beer styles:
|Porters and Stouts||1.7-2.3|
|American Ales and Lagers||2.2-2.7|
|German Wheat Beer||3.3-4.5|
Replace Worn Dentures
Loosely fitting dentures can cause irregular chewing patterns. To avoid pain or discomfort, you choose to chew softly. In the end, you end up swallowing a lot of air. Even without beer, worn-out dentures put you at a disadvantage. Add a cold lager, and you’ll be burping all night.
Beer is synonymous with burping because of one major characteristic of beer; carbonation. Carbon dioxide in beer fizzes out when you crack open a bottle or pour it into a glass. Even after drinking beer, the fizzing continues in the stomach. Eventually, the gas fills the gut, exerting pressure against the stomach walls.
When you’re bloated, the gas has only one place to go; out your mouth through the esophagus. When it’s time to expel the gas, you release it as a violent and gross burp.
Burping comes with beer; that’s the harsh reality. However, you can reduce the intensity and frequency of your burping. Pour your beer properly, drink it slowly, and avoid cigarettes, gum, and hard candy.
Switching beer styles can also help reduce burping. Switching from highly carbonated lagers to stouts is an excellent place to start.
Now that you have all the information you need, do you have any embarrassing burping stories? Share your experiences in the comment section below.
As a homebrewer, Michael would get frustrated about the lack of brewing information on the internet. After hundreds of gallons of spoilt batches, Micheal had enough. And he founded Unknown Brewing as a resource for homebrewers.