Is Non Alcoholic Or Alcohol Free Beer Lower In Carbs


If you have bought any type of general non alcoholic beer or even just bought beer in a supermarket recently, you will have seem there is two different alcohol by volume types of non alcoholic beer.

You can buy 0.5% and less ABV beers, which are commonly called “non alcoholic”, or you can buy beers labelled as 0.0%, and commonly called alcohol free.

There are many questions about why these two similar but different categories exist but many want to know… Is non alcoholic or alcohol free beer lower in carbs?

Is non alcoholic or alcohol free beer lower in carbs?

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

For the remainder if this article, you can assume i mean 0.1%-0.5% ABV beers when i refer to “non alcoholic” and 0.0% ABV beers when i say “alcohol free”. I’ll explain why there may be confusions in the next section.

On average non alcoholic beers have less carbs per serving than alcohol free beers. The contain around 17% less carbs per serving. There are a few reasons for this difference which comes down to how the two types of beer are made.

Now we should have a look at the exact numbers and explore why there should be any difference at all.

Can you trust non alcoholic and alcohol free labels?

In a lot of countries around the world, the law states that if you put “alcohol free” on the bottle, it must not contain more than 0.05% ABV. If your beer is in the range of 0.05-0.5% ABV then it should be called ‘non alcoholic”

The issue is that some countries and jurisdictions allow all beers of 0.5% ABV and under, to call their beer “alcohol free”. The EU is one of those regions.

This means that you cant always rely on the words that are used to describe alcohol volume in a beer but instead look for the numbers used, as these cant lie.

For more information on this topic and what the laws are around the world, read my article on it here

How many carbs are in all types of non alcoholic beer?

The combined average of the carbs in all non alcoholic and alcohol free beers is 4.75g of carbs per 100ml and 16.85g of carbs per 12fl oz. These numbers come from my study of 110 non alcoholic beers. You can read the full article on carbs in non alcoholic beers here

Type of Beercarbs per 100mlcarbs per 12fl oz
0.0%5.419.1
<0.5%4.515.8
Non alcoholic beer4.7516.85
Carbs in 0.0% and <0.5% beers

How many carbs are in <0.5% non alcoholic beer?

<0.5% AVB, non alcoholic beers have, on average, 4.5g of carbs per 100ml and 15.8g of carbs per 12fl oz. This is based on 75 beers in my study.

This is slightly lower than the overall non alcoholic and alcohol free beer average of 4.75g of carbs per 100ml and 16.85g per 12fl oz.

It translates into around a 5% carb saving on average.

How many carbs are on 0.0% alcohol free beer?

0.0% AVB, alcohol free beers have, on average, 5.4g of carbs per 100ml and 19.1g of carbs per 12fl oz. This is based on 34 beers in my study.

This is slightly higher than the overall non alcoholic and alcohol free beer average of 4.75g of carbs per 100ml and 16.85g per 12fl oz.

It translates into about a 14% increase in carbs on average, when drinking alcohol free beers specifically.

Non alcoholic beer vs alcohol free beer carbs comparison

0.05-0.5% non alcoholic beers, do indeed, on average, have less carbs than <0.05%, alcohol free beers.

You would save, on average 3.3g of carbs per serving, which is about a 17% saving in carbs.

If you are counting carbs for weigh loss or on various diets like keto (see my article about non alcoholic beers and keto diet here), that carb saving might be a significant factor to choose one type of beer over another.

Type of Beercarbs per 100mlcarbs per 12fl oz
0.0%5.419.1
<0.5%4.515.8
Non alcoholic beer4.7516.85
Carbs in 0.0% and <0.5% beers

Why is there a carb difference in non alcoholic and alcohol free beer?

So why should a tiny difference in alcohol concentration lead to a relatively large difference in carb loads?

The answer is how the two different type of non alcoholic beers are brewed and by whom.

There are 2 very broad categories of how to make non alcoholic or alcohol free beer. You can either 

  1. Remove the alcohol once the beer is brewed – called dealcoholisation
  2. Limit the amount of alcohol produced in the brewing – called limited fermentation

Dealcoholisation

This is mainly carried out by the big breweries who have an alcoholic beer they want to make an alcoholic free equivalent of.

They produce a beer and then use various techniques to remove all the alcohol from it. That means they start with a normal beer with a reasonably high level of carbs.

This method is expensive so you need lots of cash to get the equipment and to get your money back you need to sell at volume. This means most craft breweries cannot use this method.

Limited Fermentation

This is mainly the preserve of the craft breweries.

If you have less sugar in the wort mix then less alcohol is produced. Using grains like rice or maize which naturally contain less sugar is a great way to achieve this.

Directly removing sugar from the wort also achieves this.

Some brewers can use a process called arrested fermentation. Yeasts are inactivated or removed before they can start producing alcohol in any great volume. It is done by rapidly cooling down the fermenting beer to close to zero, putting the yeast to sleep.

The other way to reduce alcohol is to use a specialised yeast which produces little to no alcohol. These yeasts can still have a positive effect on the flavour of the beer but produce little alcohol.

These brewing techniques are much cheaper to deploy than the equipment needed to fully dealcoholise a beer but you can usually only get down to about 0.5% ABV or a bit lower.

For my complete article on the differences in 0.5% and 0.0% beers, you can click here

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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