Heineken 0.0 Alcohol Free Beer Review. Brilliant or boring?


Heineken is a colossus. It is the 2nd biggest beer brand in the world, worth an estimated $12.9 billion. As a huge global player they have of course developed and marketed an alcohol free beer. In fact their Heineken 0.0 is just about the biggest player in the world and the most widely available.

The chances are, if a bar or restaurant only has one alcohol free beer, it will be Heineken 0.0. This will hopefully shine some light as i undertake a Heineken 0.0 review.

What type of beer is Heineken 0.0?

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

Heineken 0.0 is a lager, as such it will be light, mild, crisp, not too hoppy and not too bitter. They are still the most mass produced beer but the craft ales and IPAs are awaking the beer drinkers to a more hoppy flavour.

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

How is Heineken 0.0 made?

Heineken 0.o starts is life as basically a normal alcoholic Heineken. It is brewed and fermented with their patented “A-yeast” but do use some subtly different ingredients and recognise their 0.0 does taste differently than the normal alcoholic Heineken.

Once the beer is brewed, the alcohol needs removed and they do this via a process called 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.

Heineken 0.0 Ingredients

You can tell so much about a beer from it’s ingredients. I am a huge fan of purity. The Germans have a purity law whereby all lagers must only have 4 ingredients : water, barley, hops and yeast. You never have a bad German beer tho.

Usually the bigger brands and the mass produced beers have the odd extra ingredient thrown in for whatever reason and it usually detracts from the flavour.

Heineken 0.0 includes…

  • Water
  • Malted barley
  • Hop extract
  • Natural flavourings

So, from this list the 2 red flags are to a lesser degree hop extract but a large degree, natural flavourings.

I’m not sure why they can’t just use hops and not the extract, no doubt it saves money or increasing brewing or some such but i’ll be it doesn’t produce better flavour. The major turn off it the “natural flavourings”.

Heineken state they add this once the alcohol is vacuum distilled off as some of the aromatic flavour compounds still leave and this is to add something back. I get that but I’ve never had a beer with “natural flavourings” and not thought it was overly chemically in taste.

Heineken 0.0 Nutrition

I’m a real beer geek so i get unduly excited about the nutrition profile and trying to decide how it was made or what it will taste like.

The big beer brands are especially interesting. Sometimes they go ultra skinny, low calorie, low carbs like a Budweiser Zero. Clausthaler Original on the other hand, have quite a high carb and sugar level.

Where will Heineken 0.0 sit?

Values per 100mlValues per 12fl oz
Alcohol0.0%0.0%
Calories 21kcal74.6kcal
Carbohydrate4.8g17g
Sugars1.3g4.6g
Heineken 0.0 Nutrition data

Heineken 0.0’s figures are pretty much middle of the road. At around 75kcal per 12fl oz, it comes in about 5kcal under the entire non alcoholic beer average.

The non alcoholic beer average of total carbs per 12fl oz is 16.85g so at 17g, it is again, pretty much slap bang in the middle.

Lastly, the added sugar component of the total carbs is 7.2g per 12fl oz on average in non alcoholic beers, so here at least, Heineken 0.0 is nicely down at 4.6g of sugar.

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

Heineken have certainly nailed their can design. It has all the hallmarks of their regular green alcoholic Heineken but with the eye catching blue flashings to indicated it’s the 0.0% version.

The beer itself looks like a classic lager. It is a pale golden yellow colour with plenty of bubbles. The head doesn’t last as long as a regular beer and it is mostly gone by the time I come to drink it.

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.

The Aroma

This is a strange one on the nose. On first whiff I was getting everything you would expect, toasted cereal, a mild malt and a hint of sweetness. 

Then, a transformation occurs and not altogether for the good. I start to smell lighter and more fragrant tones, even floral or perfumed. Not how you expect your lager to smell and having sampled some 150+ non alcoholic beers, this is somewhat unique. 

The Taste

The Jekyll and Hyde continues into the tasting. Have you ever seen one of those pictures where half the people see a rabbit and half see an old woman? This is the beer equivalent of that picture.

If you have in your head you are trying a normal Heineken lager, you taste mild but warming malt, an earth sweetness and just a hint of bitterness. To be honest, it is kind of like your standard big brand lager where to onus is on not annoying anyone rather than packing a flavourful punch.

However if you let your mind remember the floral smell then that taste whooshes to the fore. It tastes to me like there are a few drops of elderflower or something in it. Unfortunately, this is a direct manifestation of adding the dreaded chemically tasting “natural flavourings”. 

I have never tasted a German beer, like Bitburger Drive, with only the 4 main ingredients and felt it had a weird chemically floral taste, this is a bit of a miss by Heineken.

The Verdict

It is hard to be too down on this as it is the most widely available non alcoholic or alcohol free beer and the image of it is doing wonders for the sector.

However, you can easily get both better big brand alcohol free versions and infinitely better craft non alcoholic beers, with a little looking.

I would Heineken 0.0 is marginally better than Budweiser Zero but a long way behind Carlsberg 0.0 or even Stella Artois Liberte. The closest big band alcohol free equivalent is probably Peroni Libera

The Score

3 out of 5

This is not the worst beer out there, by a long shot, in fact it is probably much like it’s nutrition, middle of the road. It is just I had such high hopes for this industry titan. 

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

I have also reviewed Heineken 0.0, side by side with the normal alcoholic version, you can read that review here.

Where to buy Heineken 0.0?

I dont think there is any point with an affiliate links here. You can buy Heineken 0.0 everywhere, it is the most widely available non alcoholic or alcohol free beer.

What glass to drink Heineken 0.0 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 Heineken 0.0 gluten free? 

No, Heineken 0.0 is not gluten free. Their state gluten parts per million is just over the 20 level which is the benchmark for gluten free

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

Is Heineken 0.0 vegan?

Heineken 0.0 is vegan as confirmed on www.barnivore.com

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

Is Heineken 0.0 really alcohol free?

Yes! It contains less the 0.05% alcohol by volume.

You can drink as much as you want of it if you are pregnant, on medication or breastfeeding. I calculated you would need to drink 400 cans of Heineken 0.0 over 1-2 hours to get drunk, which just isn’t happening.

If you would like to see just how much alcohol is in common foods for a comparison then you can read my article here. You will be very surprised at the hidden alcohol in your food.

Review Overview
Rating
SUMMARY

This is not the worst beer out there, by a long shot, in fact it is probably much like it’s nutrition, middle of the road. It is just I had such high hopes for this industry titan. 

3.0

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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