Do non-alcoholic beers contain alcohol? This question might appear to be silly to anyone who is not familiar with non-alcoholic beers. The fact of the matter is that most beers that are labeled as alcohol-free or non-alcoholic have trace amounts of alcohol by volume (ABV). Non-alcoholic beers are a great option for those looking to cut down their alcohol consumption. The labeling of beers is usually done in the following manner –
Alcohol-free Beer: 0.0% ABV
Non-Alcoholic Beer: 0.5% ABV or less
Low-Alcohol Beer: 1.2% ABV
Traditional Beer: 1.2% ABV or more
Alcoholic Beers vs Non-Alcoholic Beers
The most basic difference between non-alcoholic and alcoholic beers is the amount of alcohol by volume. While alcoholic beers contain varying amounts of alcohol, non-alcoholic beers contain very little to no alcohol. According to the laws in the United States, an alcoholic beer is any beer that contains more than 0.5% of alcohol by volume. The alcohol by volume represents the percentage of alcohol in the whole drink. If a drink says it contains 5% ABV, it will contain 5 percent pure ethanol.
Non-alcoholic beers contain less than 0.5% ABV and are usually made by two different processes. In some beers, alcohol is removed from the finished fully-brewed product. Some other brewers make non-alcoholic beers by making sure that the alcohol is not formed during the brewing process. The most common method is boiling away the alcohol, and another is passing the beer through a membrane to filter out the alcohol.
Nutritional Differences Between Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic Beers
Alcoholic beers and non-alcoholic beers are very much similar in terms of protein, calories, and fat content. However, the alcohol and carb content in these beers is different. Here is an overview of the nutrients present in 350 ml alcoholic and non-alcoholic beers –
- Calories: NA beer contains around 133 calories, while regular alcoholic beer contains 153 calories.
- Alcohol: Non-alcoholic beer contains 1 g of alcohol, while regular alcoholic beer contains 14 g of alcohol.
- Protein: Non-alcoholic beer contains 1 g of protein, while regular alcoholic beer contains 2 g of protein.
- Fat: Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beers contain 0 g of fat.
- Carbs: Non-alcoholic beer contains 29g of carbs, while regular alcoholic beer contains 13 g of carbs.
Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beers contain minerals, vitamins, including magnesium, phosphorus, and B vitamins.
Do Non-Alcoholic Beers Contain Alcohol?: Calculation of Alcohol by Volume (ABV)
Non-alcoholic beer usually contains traces of alcohol in very small amounts, usually around 0.5% ABV or less. This is because the formation of alcohol is a natural part of the brewing process. To understand the classification of beers, it is important to know how alcohol by volume (ABV) is calculated. ABV refers to the amount of alcohol or ethanol contained inside a set amount of alcoholic beverage. To calculate the ABV of a drink, the change in the alcohol solution density during the process of fermentation is measured. This is done using a Hydrometer.
UK Classification for Beers
According to the laws in the United Kingdom, beer is usually classified in the following way –
- Alcohol-free Beer: maximum 0.05% ABV
- Dealcoholized Beer: maximum 0.5% ABV
- Low-alcohol Beer: maximum 1.2% ABV
- Alcoholic Beer: any beer containing more than 1.2% ABV
European Classification for Beers
The European laws are relatively lenient when it comes to labeling beers. According to the European laws, beer is usually classified in the following way –
- Non-Alcoholic and Alcohol-free Beer: maximum 0.5% ABV
- Low-alcohol Beer: ranging from 2.2 percent to 2.8-3.2 percent. It changes in different countries.
- Alcoholic Beer: ranging from 2.8 percent to 3.2 percent. It changes in different countries.
ABV in Common Products
Sometimes, people resist classifying beers containing 0.5% ABV as non-alcoholic beers. This assumption is wrong as there are many common items and products containing the same amount of ABV, which are consumed almost daily. According to a study, here is alcohol by volume percentage in some of the most common household products.
- Yogurt: 0.02% ABV
- Bananas: 0.02% ABV
- Apple Juice: 0.26% ABV
- Orange Juice: 0.2% ABV
- Grape Juice: 0.86% ABV
- American Burger Rolls or Bread: 1.9% ABV
From these figures, it is amply evident that the burgers we often eat contain more ABV than any non-alcoholic beer. Even grape juice contains more ABV than a non-alcoholic beer. As such, the classification of non-alcoholic beer as an alcoholic beverage is out of the question. It is, in fact, a great substitute for alcohol for those who are looking to down their consumption.
Study on the Effects of 0.5 ABV on the body
In a 2016 study, an experiment was conducted on 78 people who were required not to drink alcohol for five days. At the end of these five days, there were required to consume non-alcoholic beer (1.5 liters) containing 0.41-0.42% ABV in one hour. After the completion of the study, the results indicated that the max blood ethanol concentration level remained at 0.0056%. The effects of alcohol are only experienced when this is multiplied by seven times, at 0.04%. It is also significantly lower than the drinking and driving limit (0.08%) in the United Kingdom. So, it can be safely concluded that a non-alcoholic beer, containing 0.5% ABV, would not get you drunk.
Health Benefits of Non-Alcoholic Beers
Since non-alcoholic and low-alcohol beers contain lesser alcohol units, you can easily stay under the drinking limits. It has been observed that drinking less than 14 units in a week is usually considered safe. Drinking more than the recommended limit could lead to health problems in the long run. Besides this, non-alcoholic beers also contain lesser calories than regular beer. If you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle, you can choose from any from the Better Rhodes collection of non-alcoholic beers.
With this, we have hopefully given a satisfactory answer to your question - Do Non-Alcoholic Beers Contain Alcohol? When you decide to replace your regular beers with the Better Rhodes non-alcoholic beers, you can think of it as an investment in your health. Many experts feel that non-alcoholic beers are a great alternative if you want to cut down your alcohol intake.