Are Non Alcoholic Ales Lower In Calories?

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 BeerKcal per 100mlKcal per 12fl oz
Non alcoholic ale21.175.1
Non alcoholic beer22.680.1
Alcoholic ale42.1149.5
Alcoholic beer43153
Calories in ales comparison

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 BeerType kcal/100mlkcal/12fl ozAlcoholic beerCalories (kcal) per 100mlkcal/12flz oz
Partake PalePale ale2.810Banks amber bitter30106.5
Nanny StateAle621.3Whitstable Bay Pale Ale 34120.7
Drop Bear Yuzu Pale AlePale Ale828.4Doom Bar36127.8
Nirvanan Hoppy Pale AlePale Ale931.95Spitefire Premium ale37131.35
Infinite Session BestBest Bitter1035.5Fullers London pride39138.45
Infinite Session PaleAmerica Pale Ale1139.05Newcastle Brown ale40142
FieldhopperGolden Ale12.444.02Zunft Kolsch40.5143.775
Doom Bar ZeroAle1346.15Fruh Kolsch40.5143.775
Southwold Pale AlePale Ale1346.15Bishops finger strong ale45.1160.105
Upside DawnGolden Ale1449.7Shipyard APA45.2160.46
WildtrackAPA1656.8St Peters47166.85
FruhKolsch1656.8Old Speckled Hen52184.6
Pine TrailPale Ale18.565.675Leffe61216.55
Sam's Brown AleBrown Ale2174.55Average42.1149.455
Old Speckled Hen Low alcoholAle2278.1
GrainwaveBelgian White2278.1
WoodcutterBrown Ale2278.1
Zunft Kolsch 0.5%Kolsch2381.65
Ghost Ship 0.5%Pale Ale2381.65
Lidl IPAPale Ale2381.65
Venture point five 0.5%Ale2588.75
St Peters WithoutAle2692.3
Incel SwimmersSaison Ale32113.6
Incel "Surfers"Summer Ale32113.6
Leffe Blond 0.0Belgian Abbey Ale40142
Henry And His ScienceAle89315.95

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