Ales are a hugely diverse group of beers. They include amber, golden, cask, IPA, American pale, pale, brown etc. They are distinct from the lager group in that they are top fermenting at warm temperatures with an ale yeast.
I have creamed off the IPAs as a separate group as they are very popular on their own these days, you can read that calorie review here
The question is, are non alcoholic ales lower in calories than alcoholic ale or a generic alcoholic beer? Are they higher or lower in calories compared to the rest of the non alcoholic beer market?
For a complete review of the calories in all types of non alcoholic beers versus alcoholic beers you can read my full article on it here.
Are non alcoholic ales lower in calories than alcoholic ales?
From my sample of 26 non alcoholic ales i have tried and personally reviewed, the average calories per 100ml was 21.1kcal and 75.1kcal per 12fl oz serving.
I undertook a sample of 13 alcoholic ales of various types and ABVs. I found that on average they contained 42.1kcal per 100ml and 149.5kcal per 12fl oz serving.
This would mean that a non alcoholic ale has 74.4kcal less per 12fl oz serving and contains only 50% of the calories of an average alcoholic ale.
That represents a huge calorie reduction. A pound of fat is calculated to be roughly 3500kcal, so if you switch from drinking alcoholic to non alcoholic ales, you would be 1 pound lighter after 47 non alcoholic ales than if you drank alcoholic ales.
Are non alcoholic ales lower in calories than alcoholic beers in general?
Alcoholic ales are slightly lower in calories than a standard alcoholic beer.
The USDA state on their website that the average alcoholic beer has 43kcal per 100ml and 153kcal in a 12fl oz serving. I undertook my own study which contained a sample of 35 alcohol beers. From this i found an average of 43.2kcal per 100ml and 153.3 in a 12fl oz serving.
Using the USDA figures and comparing with that, a non alcoholic ale has 77.9kcal fewer per 12fl oz and only 49% of the calories.
Why are alcoholic ales lower in calories than general alcoholic beers?
Alcoholic ales are, on average, 2% lower in calories than an average alcoholic beer. It isn’t a big amount but it exists.
The reason i took out the IPAs was as well as being the most popular subgroup, they are also the highest in calories. All the other ale members tend to have moderate to low alcohol by volumes.
The average IPA will have around 6% ABV versus about 4.5% of a lager or an ale. Ales can have a bit of extra sugar and sweetness but without the higher alcohol types dragging its average up, it still comes in under the calorie of the overall average beer.
How do non alcoholic ales calories compare to a general non alcoholic beers?
Non alcoholic ales have less calories than nearly all alcoholic beer but how do they compare to the rest of the non alcoholic beer market?
From my study of well 100 non alcoholic beers, i calculated the average calories per 100ml was 22.6kcal and 80.1kcal per 12fl oz.
This means that that a non alcoholic ale has on average about 7% less calories than a general non alcoholic beer.
|Type of Beer||Kcal per 100ml||Kcal per 12fl oz|
|Non alcoholic ale||21.1||75.1|
|Non alcoholic beer||22.6||80.1|
Why are non alcoholic ales lower in calories?
5% difference between non alcoholic ales and the rest of the alcoholic market is not a massive difference but there are reasons for it.
A lot of the non alcoholic ales have very strong flavours of malt or hops. As such they don’t need quite as much body to make them feel beer like and can have fewer carbs.
The main reason they are on average lower in calories is the general non alcoholic beer score has to include fruit, sour and heavy stouts. These types of non alcoholic beer have far higher sugar levels and therefore calorie totals.
Table of non alcoholic and alcoholic beers and calories used in calculations
The table below shows all the ales that i have included in my calculations and i have reviewed all the non alcoholic ales myself. You can see where the fit into my overall ranking on my “The Best Non Alcoholic Beers” page.
|Non Alcoholic Beer||Type||kcal/100ml||kcal/12fl oz||Alcoholic beer||Calories (kcal) per 100ml||kcal/12flz oz|
|Partake Pale||Pale ale||2.8||10||Banks amber bitter||30||106.5|
|Nanny State||Ale||6||21.3||Whitstable Bay Pale Ale||34||120.7|
|Drop Bear Yuzu Pale Ale||Pale Ale||8||28.4||Doom Bar||36||127.8|
|Nirvanan Hoppy Pale Ale||Pale Ale||9||31.95||Spitefire Premium ale||37||131.35|
|Infinite Session Best||Best Bitter||10||35.5||Fullers London pride||39||138.45|
|Infinite Session Pale||America Pale Ale||11||39.05||Newcastle Brown ale||40||142|
|Fieldhopper||Golden Ale||12.4||44.02||Zunft Kolsch||40.5||143.775|
|Doom Bar Zero||Ale||13||46.15||Fruh Kolsch||40.5||143.775|
|Southwold Pale Ale||Pale Ale||13||46.15||Bishops finger strong ale||45.1||160.105|
|Upside Dawn||Golden Ale||14||49.7||Shipyard APA||45.2||160.46|
|Fruh||Kolsch||16||56.8||Old Speckled Hen||52||184.6|
|Pine Trail||Pale Ale||18.5||65.675||Leffe||61||216.55|
|Sam's Brown Ale||Brown Ale||21||74.55||Average||42.1||149.455|
|Old Speckled Hen Low alcohol||Ale||22||78.1|
|Zunft Kolsch 0.5%||Kolsch||23||81.65|
|Ghost Ship 0.5%||Pale Ale||23||81.65|
|Lidl IPA||Pale Ale||23||81.65|
|Venture point five 0.5%||Ale||25||88.75|
|St Peters Without||Ale||26||92.3|
|Incel Swimmers||Saison Ale||32||113.6|
|Incel "Surfers"||Summer Ale||32||113.6|
|Leffe Blond 0.0||Belgian Abbey Ale||40||142|
|Henry And His Science||Ale||89||315.95|