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Is Japanese beer sweet? To provide context to the question I asked, the sentence was extracted from 2 characters talking to each other. Both of them went into a bar. One of them has low alcohol tolerance so the other character teases them about it. The teased character retorted back with a "飲める!甘いのだけ!" I would like to ask about the meaning of "甘いのだけ". Is this a slang, or does it mean "I can drink! It's just too sweet for me!" which brings me to my question above if Japanese beer is sweet, because normally beer is bitter right? So why would he say that it is sweet? Does "甘いのだけ" have another meaning here, for instance, "I can drink!I'm just trying to go slow"?

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This 甘いの means "sweet ones" where の corresponds to a pronoun "one(s)" in English. For example, 高いの means "the more expensive one". The sentences mean 甘いのだけは飲める or "I can drink (at least) sweet ones."

I'm a bit confused what exactly is happening in this situation, but are they really talking specifically about beers? Japanese beers are not fundamentally different from foreign beers. To me, it sounds like this person is saying "I can drink (not-so-hard) sweet alcoholic drinks", such as Cassis orange. Can you double check the context?

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  • oops, sorry! The situation only said they entered into a bar of some sort, but never state that each individual ordered 'beer'. What you mentioned by 'sweet alcoholic drinks' in this case makes more sense. Thank you for the clarification! – harurookies May 3 at 12:04
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This is another way of saying 甘い酒だけ (just the sweet/mild one)。There are two types of 酒, 甘口 and 辛口. Here's a good guide.

Now, let's consider the grammar. It's some sort of an elliptical expression. Since the conversation topic (酒) is unambiguous, one can simply drop it, with の takes the place of 酒.

Here's another sample sentence:

A:「この本は、山田さんの本ですか?」

B:「いいえ、杉本さんの(本)です。」

Even if you drop (本), it will still be understood.

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    This answer is correct but might benefit from slightly more explanation of why/how の can take the place of 酒 here. This is the most related thing I could find. – Mindful Apr 30 at 22:48
  • Thanks for the comment. I have edited the explanation, but I think it still leaves much to be desired. – rebuuilt May 1 at 2:45

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