Budweiser Zero 0.0% Beer Review. King or peasant?


Beer brands don’t come much bigger than Budweiser and their owner Anheuser-Busch InBev, is a colossus. To say they dominate the beer world is an understatement. They generated $52billion in 2019 and commanded a 30% global market share. So what does this beer taste like? This is my Budweiser Zero review.

What type of beer is Budweiser Zero?

Does Non Alcoholic Beer Taste The S...
Does Non Alcoholic Beer Taste The Same

Budweiser is a self styled American style lager. They tell us it is brewed with the best barley malt and a blend of premium hop varieties.

Lagers in general are more malty than hoppy and easy drinking. American lagers are known for having light bodies with little to no bitterness (from hops). They would usually have a modest alcohol content.

Lagers are brewed with with bottom-fermenting yeast at low temperatures, usually around (35˚–50˚F).

Personally speaking, i prefer a more European pilsner styled lager which are a bit more hop forward and can be a touch sweeter, but not too much. Think something like San Miguel 0.0 or Carlsberg 0.0.

How is Budweiser Zero made?

Budweiser don’t elaborate much on the brewing process. They tell us it is brewed with all the ingredients to deliver the finished product.

However, you cant brew a 0.0% beer. Ive written an article about why some beers are 0.0% ABV and others are 0.5%. You can deliberately brew a 0.5% beer but to get down to 0.0% you need to dealcoholise using some of the methods i discuss here.

I would guess AB InDev (the brewers of Budweiser Zero), use the same process as Heineken Zero and that is vacuum distillation.

The alcohol needs evaporated off but when you heat the beer, you start to lose some of the aromatic taste compounds.

The vacuum part means that the beer is put in a vacuum so as less heat needs applied, to a lower top temperature, to evaporate off the beer, keeping more of the aromatic compounds for the final beer.

Budweiser Zero Ingredients

You can tell so much about a beer buy the list of ingredients. For my money, less is definitely more, especially in the light beer and lager section.

I think the Germans have it perfectly. They have a purity law, hundreds of years old, which only allows the 4 basic beer ingredients: water, barley, hops and yeast. You rarely get a poor German beer and this is why.

With big brand, mass produced beer, there is a tendency to start to add ingredients or use stranger ones, often to stabilise the beer and provide uniformity across millions of brews.

Budweiser Zero includes…

  • Water
  • Barley malt
  • Rice
  • Hops
  • Natural Flavours

Budweiser Zero is providing a classic case in point here. There are a couple of red flags to my taste buds.

As a brewing adjunct, rice has a very neutral flavour and aroma, and when properly converted in the brewhouse, it yields a light clean-tasting beer. What is doesn’t add is an abundance of flavour and that is what i am after in a beer.

The main worry is the inclusion of “natural flavours”. Many of the big brands like Heineken 0.0 add something along these lines, usually to try and put back some flavour lost by the vacuum distillation. This issue is, as soon as i read this, i imaging a synthetic chemically taste despite the evocative use of the term “natural”.

Budweiser Zero Nutrition

Just like the ingredients, the nutritional data on a non alcoholic beer and point you towards how it will taste.

There is a big push to have lower calorie and carb beers, but after tasting about 150, higher carb beers definitely taste beer on average, they just come with a calorie price.

Similarly sugar content, especially in a light coloured beer, can be telling. Anything over about 2g per 100ml or about 7.2g per 12fl oz, i find can taste too sweet unless there is great flavour to back it up.

How will Budweiser Zero compose theirs?

Values per 100mlValues per 12fl oz
Alcohol0.0%0.0%
Calories 14kcal50kcal
Carbohydrate3.3g11.5g
Sugars0.1g0.355g
Budweiser Zero Nutrition Data

A very respectable set of numbers from Budweiser Zero. They have a very low amount of carbs and sugar meaning the overall calorie count is much lower than the average non alcoholic or alcohol free beer.

One anomaly is that they can clearly advertises it has 0g of sugar on the can. It is not 0.0g like the alcohol content so they are sounding to 0 decimal places which i think is a bit naughty.

You can read all about the calories, carbs or sugar in non alcoholic and alcohol free beers by clicking on the links to my articles. I have analysed just about everything you will want to know from my data set of over 100 beers.

The Look

Budweiser have went for a new colourway of white for this alcohol free Zero beer. It is quite striking and you can clearly read the writing so I think it is a success.

The beer itself is quite a pale but overall standard lager colour. I have seen more golden and darker lagers but I don’t think that matters much

There really isn’t any foamy head and it disappears almost immediately making it seem a touch flat.

My glass here is actually a Riedel Highball glass, but it works nicely with the smaller can. If you would like to check out the live Amazon price then you can click on this link.

You will also note, this is a UK can, 330ml not 12fl oz, so the displayed calories is 46 and not 50 like in the US.

The Aroma

I’m not sure if im disappointed by the aroma or it is exactly what I was expecting. The good point is there is an aroma meaning there should be taste. The bad news is it smells a bit stale like a squelchy pub carpet.

I also pick up quite a strong wort type aroma, which is strange as wort would be sweet and this has hardly any sugar in it at all.

The Taste

It starts off tasting like it might build into a half decent lager. You get a nice malty flavour, some bubbles and a reasonable mouthfeel. Like an American lager, there isn’t really any bitterness or hops to pick up so you are relying on the malt to bring home all the flavour, which is difficult.

After the first few seconds, it just fades away to blandness. It is as if the rice takes over from the malt and just neutralises the flavour and leaves it a bit watery and pathetic.

Look, it is easy drinking, it isn’t hugely offensive, there are no nasty or weird flavours to turn people off, it is very much a lager of the masses. It just isn’t one I would pay money for unless other options were even worse.

The Verdict

This is not far off all the big brand alcohol free equivalents and in fact is better than many. For my money, Heineken 0.0 is a bit better but the likes of Carlsberg 0.0 are miles ahead on flavour and are very skinny too. 

Although given the choice between this and Bavaria 0.0, I choose Budweiser Zero every time.

I have reviewed Budweiser Zero alongside the normal Budweiser. If you would like to read that review, you can click here.

The Score

5.5/10

It has a more than decent nutrition profile and certainly no glaring horrible flavours, it just lacks any really good ones. 

Find out where this beer ranks compared to all the beers i have reviewed on my updated “Best Non Alcoholic Beers” page

Where to buy Budweiser Zero?

Budweiser Zero is available absolutely everywhere and i doubt you need my affiliate links to be able to find and buy it if you wish.

You can find it in most supermarkets and off sales shops not to mention bars and restaurants.

What to drink Budweiser Zero in.

If you want to classy up your beer drinking and drink like a king, i can certainly recommend “Riedel Veritas” crystal beer glass. You can click through here to see the live price on Amazon. 

I think a really nice beer glass make the beer taste even better!

Is Budweiser Zero gluten free? 

No, Budweiser Zero contains barley which is gluten containing and therefore not gluten free.

I have an entire article on non alcoholic beers and gluten if you want more information.

Is Budweiser Zero vegan?

Yes, Budweiser Zero is vegan friendly as is alcoholic Budweiser.

For more on vegan beers see my article on the matter. Why beers may or may not be and how to check.

Is Budweiser Zero really alcohol free?

Yes, Budweiser Zero really is alcohol free. It can not have more than 0.05% alcohol by volume.

Now, i know most readers will only see these ABV percentage figures on alcohol, so 0.05% might still sound like some alcohol. To put it into context, it is good to look at it along side some other foods you would never consider alcoholic or needing to avoid.

Fruit juices like orange juice can have more than 0.5% ABV, which is x10 that of Budweiser Zero. Even most breads and yogurts will have more alcohol.

If you would like to know more about the surprising alcohol in common foods, you can read my article here. I guarantee you will be surprised.

You can safely drink Budweiser Zero on antibiotics, if you are breastfeeding or even if you are pregnant.

Can Budweiser Zero get you drunk?

To get drunk, you need to drink x400 12fl oz cans of alcohol free beer in less than 2 hrs.

This equals 4800fl oz of alcohol free beer, 35 gallons of alcohol free beer or 142 litres of beer in 2hours. 

Another way to look at it is you will have to drink x10 12fl oz cans of alcohol free beer every 3mins, for 2 hours, to get drunk.

It is impossible to drink this amount of fluid in 2 hours so it is impossible to get drunk on alcohol free beer

You can follow all my calculations on just how many Budweiser Zeros or any alcohol free beers it would take to get drunk here

Can you drink Budweiser Zero and drive?

The legal limit to drive is the same blood alcohol concentration to be legally drunk. That means you would need to drink upwards of 400 cans of Budweiser Zero over a short period of time before you would not be legally allowed to drive.

Drinking a normal amount of Budweiser Zero will have no impact on you driving and no risk of a DUI.

Review Overview
Score
SUMMARY

It has a more than decent nutrition profile and certainly no glaring horrible flavours, it just lacks any really good ones.

2.8

philmcclelland

Hi im Phil. Im the sole writer on this site. For more info look at my about page https://www.openingthebottle.com/about-us/

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