# How many Litres are in a pint of beer Australia?

There is often confusion around how much liquid volume is contained in a pint of beer, especially between countries that use different systems of measurement. In Australia, the pint is a commonly used unit for serving beer, but Australia officially uses the metric system, where volumes are measured in litres and millilitres. So how do these two units relate? How many millilitres are there in a pint of beer in Australia? This article will provide a clear answer on the conversion between pints and litres when it comes to serving beer in Australia. We’ll also look at some history on the pint unit, factors that affect conversion accuracy, and do some sample calculations to see litre and pint volumes of common beer serving sizes.

In Australia, 1 imperial pint of beer contains 568 mL. This converts to 0.568 litres. So if you order a pint of beer at an Australian pub or bar, you will get served beer with a volume of about 568 mL, or roughly 0.5 litres.

## What is an imperial pint?

Historically, a pint was a common unit of volume measurement in the imperial system used in the British Empire and countries of the Commonwealth. It is abbreviated as ‘pt’ or sometimes ‘p’. An imperial pint contains 20 imperial fluid ounces and is ​1⁄8 of an imperial gallon.

The imperial system was standardised in the British Weights and Measures Act of 1824, which defined an imperial pint as having a volume equivalent to 1/8th of an imperial gallon. Using the imperial gallon measurement of 4.54609 litres, a pint is defined as being 0.568261 litres.

This imperial pint measurement is still commonly used today in countries including the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia when measuring beer, cider, and milk volumes, despite these countries officially using the metric system. The imperial pint is formally named the ‘United Kingdom pint’ in Australia following metrication, but it is often still referred to simply as a ‘pint’.

## Why do we use pints for beer?

The pint became commonly associated with beer back in the Middle Ages, where this amount represented a typical single serving size of beer for one person. The imperial pint provided a standardised measure that customers could expect at inns and taverns across England. Landlords were even required by law to serve beer in pints only during certain eras.

So although the pint today is an archaic unit dating back hundreds of years, it has stuck around in many Commonwealth countries as the customary unit for beer servings, especially at pubs. Customers expect beer to come in pint glasses, and still perceive a pint as a suitable single serving. In Australia, you will generally see beers served in glasses of 285 mL (a pot or middy), 425 mL (a schooner), or 568 mL (a pint).

## Metrication in Australia

Australia officially adopted the metric system in the 1970s, beginning a transition process called metrication. This aimed to replace traditional imperial units with the modern metric units of measurement – like replacing inches with centimetres, pounds with kilograms, and pints with litres.

The metric system is now used for most things in Australia – for example, weather is reported in Celsius, road speed limits are set in kilometres per hour, and fuel is sold by the litre. Food and drink packages will generally show metric units like mL and kg.

However, the imperial pint has held on as a popular unit for serving beer, due to the strong cultural attachment to the traditional pint glass and its perception as an ideal single serving size. Most Australians think of beer volumes in terms of pots, schooners and pints rather than the equivalent metric measurements.

An added complexity is that the actual volume of beer served in an imperial pint glass is slightly less than 568 mL, because room is reserved at the top of the glass for the beer head.

The beer head, or foam, is an important part of the presentation of a beer. It arises from gas bubbles released by the beer due to carbonation. Drinkers expect to see a head atop their beer, but it displaces some of the actual beer volume in the glass.

Australian drinking culture considers a beer to only be ‘properly presented’ if it is poured with a head of around 2.5 cm thick. To allow room for this typical head size, only about 550 mL of actual beer is actually poured into an imperial pint glass – the rest is head.

So in practice, you receive slightly less beer than a full 568 mL pint volume due to the head, but the total contents of the ‘pint’ glass remain 568 mL. The buses of beer and foam combine to fill the glass.

## Metric pint vs imperial pint

To add to the confusion between pints and litres, there were two different-sized pints in use at various times:

– Imperial pint – 568 mL (detailed above)
– Metric pint – 500 mL (exactly half a litre)

Under the Metrication Act passed in Australia in 1970, the metric pint was tried for a short period in the 1970s as a transition unit between the imperial pint and litres. It equalled exactly 500 mL – a round metric measurement.

However, the metric pint didn’t gain widespread use and lasted just a few years before Australia reverted to using the imperial pint again in daily use.

The imperial pint (568 mL) remains the standard beer serving pint in Australia today. The smaller 500 mL metric pint was discarded to avoid confusion with the entrenched imperial pint.

## Litres and millilitres

The metric units relevant to beer serving volumes are millilitres (mL) and litres (L):

– 1 litre = 1000 millilitres
– 1 millilitre = 0.001 litre

In the metric system, volumes less than 1 litre are commonly measured in millilitres. Some key points:

– 500 mL = 0.5 litre
– 285 mL = 0.285 litre
– 425 mL = 0.425 litre
– 568 mL = 0.568 litre

So a beer pint of 568 mL is equal to 0.568 litres.

## Imperial vs US Customary pint

Another note of confusion is that the US Customary System, used in the United States, also defines a unit called a ‘pint’. However, the US pint is 16 fluid ounces, which equals 473 millilitres. This is smaller than the imperial pint at 568 mL.

So in summary:

– Australia – imperial pint = 568 mL
– United States – US pint = 473 mL

So if you order a pint of beer in Australia, you’ll get almost 100 mL more beer than a ‘pint’ served in the US!

## Common beer serving sizes

The following table shows the common beer serving sizes in Australia, and their equivalent volumes in litres and millilitres:

Serving name Millilitres Litres
Pot / middy 285 mL 0.285 L
Schooner 425 mL 0.425 L
Pint 568 mL 0.568 L

So a pint is the largest serve, at 568 mL or 0.568 litres.

## Calculating pint and litre volumes

We can use the conversion that 1 imperial pint = 568 mL to calculate between pints and litres:

– If you have 2.5 pints of beer, multiply 2.5 x 568 mL = 1420 mL = 1.42 litres

– If you have 1.6 litres of beer, divide 1.6 by 568 mL per pint = 2.82 pints

Let’s look at some more examples:

Question: If you buy a 4-pack of beer bottles that contains 2000 mL total volume, how many pints is this equivalent to?
Solution:
2000 mL / 568 mL per pint = 3.52 pints

Question: A half keg contains 58.7 litres of beer. How many pints is this?
Solution:
58.7 litres x (1000 mL per litre / 568 mL per pint) = 103.3 pints

Question: A beer cocktail recipe calls for 250 mL of lager. How many fluid ounces is this?
Solution:
250 mL x (1 fl oz / 28.41 mL) = 8.8 fluid ounces

## Summary

– In Australia, one imperial pint of beer is 568 mL in volume
– This converts to 0.568 litres (or 568 millilitres)
– The traditional imperial pint is still used at pubs despite Australia’s official metrication
– You’ll receive slightly less than 568 mL of actual beer, with the rest being head foam
– 1 litre = 1000 millilitres, so 568 mL = 0.568 litres
– The metric pint of 500 mL was temporarily used but is now obsolete
– Serving sizes are 285 mL (pot), 425 mL (schooner) and 568 mL (pint)
– You can convert between pints and litres by multiplying/dividing by 568 mL per pint

So in summary, when you order a pint of beer in Australia, you’ll receive around half a litre of beer – 0.568 litres or 568 mL to be precise! The imperial pint lives on as a cultural tradition.