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5 November 2021

Best low alcohol and alcohol-free beer

Find out how low- and no-alcohol lagers including Heineken, Budweiser and Stella Artois were rated in our blind taste test, and whether cheaper options from Aldi and Lidl are any match for the big brands
Rebecca Marcus
Pouring beer into a glass

Brands such as Heineken, Budweiser and Stella Artois all now offer alcohol-free or low-alcohol versions of their beers - as do supermarkets - so there's never been a better selection if you're looking to cut down on your alcohol consumption.

But do the low alcohol versions actually taste any good, and which are the best alternatives to alcoholic beer? In September 2021, we asked a panel of consumers to rate 12 low-alcohol and alcohol-free beers in a blind taste test, including branded beers and cheaper own labels from Aldi and Lidl, to find out.

We uncovered some brilliant beers that make an ideal alternative for those looking to ditch the alcohol without compromising on taste - but not all of them hit the mark, with some losing marks for their disappointing flavour.

Best low-alcohol and alcohol-free beer

Only logged-in Which? members can view our test results and tasting notes below.

If you're not yet a member, you'll see an alphabetically ordered list of the beer on test. To get instant access, join Which? now.

Price based on packs of 4 where available, otherwise prices based on packs of 6. M&S and Erdinger are only available as single bottles. Price excludes special offers. All prices are correct as of October 2021.

Aldi Rheinbacher Premium Pilsner 0% Alcohol Free 

42p per 330ml bottle (13p per 100ml)

Aldi Rheinbacher Premium Pilsner 0% Alcohol Free

Aldi's alcohol-free beer has an appealing price, but is it any match for the big brands when it comes to taste?

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results.  Want to buy without reading our results? Available from Aldi.

Bavaria 0.0% Beer

56p per 330ml bottle (17p per 100ml) 

Bavaria 0.0% Beer

Bavaria is one of the cheapest brands we tested. Is it worth trying if you're after a budget-friendly beer?

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results. Want to buy without reading our results? Available from Asda, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury's and Tesco.

Beck's Blue Alcohol Free

55p per 275ml bottle (20p per 100ml)

Becks Blue Alcohol Free beer

Beck's Blue says it's alcohol-free beer is 'light, crisp and refreshing'. Did it impress our panel of tasters?

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results. Want to buy without reading our results? Available from Asda, Iceland, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury's and Tesco.

Birra Moretti Zero Alcohol Free Beer

£1 per 330ml bottle (30p per 100ml)

Birra Moretti Zero Alcohol Free Beer

Described as 'gentle, smooth and fragrant', does Birra Moretti's alcohol-free beer make an ideal substitute for the real thing?

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results. Want to buy without reading our results? Available from Asda, Co-op, Morrisons, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Waitrose.

Budweiser Zero Alcohol Free Beer

75p per 330ml bottle (23p per 100ml) 

Budweiser Zero Alcohol Free Beer

Budweiser is one of the least calorific beers we tested with just 14 calories per 100ml. Is it one to consider if you're cutting back on calories?

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results. Want to buy without reading our results? Available from Asda, Co-op, Morrisons, Sainsbury's and Tesco.

Erdinger Alkoholfrei

£1.30 per 500ml bottle (26p per 100ml) 

Erdinger Alkoholfrei

Erdinger says it's beer contains 'spicy malt notes with caramel-sweet nuances'. Did it win over panellists in our blind taste test?

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results. Want to buy without reading our results? Available from Asda, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Waitrose.

Free Damm Lager

£1 per 330ml bottle (30p per 100ml)

Free Damm Lager

How did our panel rate the taste, aroma, mouthfeel and appearance of Free Damm's alcohol free beer?

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results. Want to buy without reading our results? Available from Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Waitrose.

Heineken 0.0 Alcohol Free Beer

88p per 330ml bottle (27p per 100ml)

Heineken 0.0 Alcohol Free Beer

Heineken describes it's alcohol-free beer as having 'fruity and fresh malt notes'. Should shoppers favour it over other popular brands?

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results. Want to buy without reading our results? Available from Asda, Co-op, Iceland, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Waitrose.

Lidl Perlenbacher 0.0 

42p per 330ml bottle (13p per 100ml)

Lidl Perlenbacher 0.0

Lidl's beer is one of the cheapest we tested. Can it compete with pricier brands such as Heineken and Peroni?

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results. Want to buy without reading our results? Available from Lidl.

M&S Low Alcohol Czech Lager

£1.50 per 500ml bottle (30p per 100ml)

M&S Low Alcohol Czech Lager

M&S low alcohol lager contains a small amount of alcohol (0.5% ABV). Is it one of our top picks?

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results. Want to buy without reading our results? Available from Ocado.

Peroni Libera Alcohol Free Beer

£1.13 per 330ml bottle (34p per 100ml)

Peroni Alcohol Free Beer

At more than double the price of the cheapest beer we tested, is Peroni worth paying more for?

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results. Want to buy without reading our results? Available from Asda, Co-op, Ocado, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Waitrose.

Stella Artois Premium Alcohol Free Lager

88p per 330ml bottle (27p per 100ml)

Stella Artois Premium Alcohol Free Lager

Stella Artois says its alcohol-free lager has a 'pronounced hoppy bitterness and a crisp, clean and refreshing finish'. Is it the perfect choice for a booze-free beverage?

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results. Want to buy without reading our results? Available from Asda, Co-op, Ocado, Sainsbury's and Tesco.

What’s the difference between alcohol-free and low-alcohol beer?

Person drinking bottle of beer

The Alcohol by Volume (ABV) label indicates the percentage of alcohol in a drink. For example, a 4% ABV beer contains 4% alcohol.

Beers labelled as ‘alcohol-free’ can still contain a very small amount of alcohol, but no more than 0.05% ABV. Most of the beers we tested are alcohol-free.

Low-alcohol beer can contain up to 1.2% ABV. Of the beers we tested, M&S and Erdinger are the only ones classed as low alcohol, both containing 0.5% ABV.

How is alcohol-free beer made? 

Bottles of beer on production line

There are several different techniques brewers use to produce alcohol-free beer. 

One method is to brew the beer as usual, then remove the alcohol afterwards. The alcohol can be removed through evaporation, or by filtering out alcohol molecules using high-tech permeable membranes. 

Alcohol-free beer can also be made by modifying the brewing process. For example, brewers may use grains that naturally contain less sugar, or use special yeast that produces only a small amount of alcohol. 

Is alcohol-free beer healthier than alcoholic beer?

Person buying beer in a shop

Alcohol free beer typically contains fewer calories than alcoholic beer. 

Most of the beers we tested contain around half the calories per 100ml compared with their nearest alcoholic equivalent. For example, a 330ml bottle of Heineken beer contains 139 calories, whereas a bottle of Heineken alcohol-free beer contains just 69 calories.

Cutting down on alcohol may also have other health benefits such as better sleep quality, improved mood and reduced risk of illnesses such as cancer and heart disease.

How we tested

The products were assessed by a large panel of consumers who regularly buy and consume low-alcohol and alcohol-free beer. 

The make-up of the panel broadly represents the demographic profile of adults in the UK. 

Each beer was assessed by 64 people.

The panellists rated the taste, texture, aroma and appearance of each product and told us what they liked and disliked about each one. We also asked them how happy they would be to drink it as an alternative to alcoholic beer.

The taste test was blind, so the panellists didn’t know which brand they were trying. The order they sampled the beers was fully rotated to avoid any bias. 

Each panellist had a private booth so they couldn’t discuss what they were tasting or be influenced by others.

The overall score is based on:

  • 50% taste
  • 20% aroma
  • 20% appearance
  • 10% mouthfeel

These weightings are based on consumer rankings of the importance of different beer attributes.

How to recycle beer bottles and cans

Recycling beer bottles

Glass bottles can usually go in your household recycling bin. If your council doesn’t accept them, you can take them to a local bottle bank. Make sure to empty out all the liquid, give the bottle a quick rinse and put the lid back on to reduce the chance of it getting lost during the sorting process. 

Metal drinks cans can usually go in your household recycling bin. Make sure to give the tin a quick rinse and pop the lid inside. Labels are removed as part of the recycling process, so you don’t need to take them off beforehand. If you buy a multipack, you can usually recycle the plastic ring joiners and wrappers at supermarket plastic collection points.