In most countries, the strength of a beer refers the percentage of alcohol by volume or ABV. In Slovakia, and other parts of central Europe, the beer’s strength is thought to be the amount of fermentable material used to make the beer. If you look at a bottle of beer in Slovakia you’ll often see a large number with a percent sign after it (usually between 10 and 12%). Many of the beers even incorporate the number in their names (Steiger 10% Classic, Topvar 12% Premium). This often leads to people thinking that the beers are 12% alcohol but in reality they are probably 3-5% ABV. The number simply means that 12% of the ingredients’ density is made up of fermentable materials.
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