Can Non-Alcoholic Beer Get You Drunk

Written By Ian

In This Article...

I'll dive into the science behind non-alcoholic beers and explore whether they're truly impervious to causing drunkenness or if there are hidden factors that could still give us a slight buzz.

It’s a question many have pondered and even put to the test as non-alcoholic beers surge in popularity.

Can you really get drunk from something that claims to have no more than 0.5% alcohol?

This is something I’ve been asked a lot since writing about non-alcoholic beers, and I never thought much of it because, well, obviously, getting a buzz from non-alcoholic beer kind of defeats the purpose.

In this article, we’ll dive into the science behind non-alcoholic beers and explore whether they’re truly impervious to causing drunkenness or if there are hidden factors that could still give us a slight buzz.

Quick Answer

Non-alcoholic beers can’t get you drunk purely because your body metabolites the minute alcohol content before you feel any effects at all. No matter how hard you try non-alcoholic beers won’t get you buzzed.

Alcohol Content In Non Alcoholic Beer

In order to be legally considered a non-alcoholic beer, alcohol content has to be (in most cases) lower than 0.5%abv.

And, even though beer may be labeled as non-alcoholic, it still does contain some alcohol. 

It’s a bit of an oxymoron, but ultimately this comes down to the process of creating non-alcoholic beer. In order to be a beer, you still have to be brewed just like a beer.

So, in order to make non-alcoholic beers, brewers either have to find a way to stop the fermentation process before all the sugar is converted to alcohol, or remove the alcohol using a boil-off method. 

Even with the progress made in technology to make beers as close to zero as possible, no matter which method is used, sometimes, a tiny bit of alcohol can remain.

For reference, regular beers often have an average ABV ranging from 4-6%. Therefore, given their low ABV levels, it would take a significant amount of consumed non-alcoholic beer for one to feel any intoxicating effects comparable to consuming standard alcoholic beverages.

What Do We Mean By ‘Being Drunk?

When I mean ‘being drunk’, I’m referring to the loopy, wobbly, lost your wallet in a taxi state caused by consuming alcohol. 

The severity and duration of being drunk can vary depending on factors such as an individual’s body weight, metabolism rate, tolerance levels, and even the amount & type of alcohol consumed.

Everyone’s reaction to alcohol can be different because of various factors like genetics, lifestyle choices, health conditions, or even emotional states at the time of consumption. 

For instance, someone who drinks regularly might develop a higher tolerance level for alcohol compared to another person who rarely consumes it.

So, does that mean if you don’t drink often and have a few non-alcoholic beers it can give you a buzz? No, necessarily, and I’ll show you why later.

What Is Blood Alcohol Content And Why Is It Important?

Imagine a pool filled with water, and as people dive in, the water level rises. The same applies to alcohol in our bloodstream – every sip of an alcoholic beverage adds more alcohol into our system, raising the blood alcohol content (BAC).

BAC is like measuring the depth of water in that pool; it shows us how much alcohol has been consumed relative to one’s body size and weight.

As we continue drinking, this invisible yet potent fluid invades our bodies, weaving its way through membranes and altering brain functions. It can impair judgment, slow down reaction times, and create feelings of euphoria or disorientation.

Blood Alcohol Content plays a vital role in determining intoxication levels because it quantifies this elusive presence within us. Understanding BAC helps establish legal limits for driving under the influence and provides guidelines for responsible consumption practices.

So next time you take a swig from your favorite tipple, remember there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to monitoring alcohol intake – keep track of your own personal pool party!

Can Non-Alcoholic Beer Get You Drunk?

Remember the story of Icarus, who flew too close to the sun and fell into the sea? While his tale serves as a cautionary reminder about hubris and ambition, you might be wondering how it relates to non-alcoholic beer.

Well, there’s a weird theory that if you pound enough non-alcoholic beers in quick succession, you can get a bit of a buzz. 

Theoretically, drinking 10 x 0.5% beers would equal 1 regular 5% beer and you would get a slight buzz. 

And, on average, your body can process one unit of alcohol every hour where one unit of alcohol is equivalent to 8g of pure alcohol. 

So, if a pint of 0.5% beer contains 0.28 units of alcohol. This means that your body can process the entire pint of 0.5% beer every 17 minutes. 

Thankfully we don’t have to try this one ourselves, as the University of Freidburg have already but this to the test in 2012. 

In this 2012 study, 67 people refrained from consuming alcohol for a period of five days and then drank 1.5 litres of 0.4% ABV beer within the span of an hour. 

The blood alcohol content of these individuals never rose higher than 0.0056%. 

This is 7 times lower than the level (0.04%) at which most people begin to feel the minor effects of alcohol consumption.

So, that pretty much settled the debate that 0.5% beers can’t get you drunk, because your body will deal with the traces of alcohol before you start feeling the effects of it.

So, unlike Icarus, there’s no need to worry about flying too high or getting drunk on non-alcoholic beer.

Rest assured that indulging in a few non-alcoholic beers won’t send you spiraling into drunkenness like poor Icarus plummeting from the sky.

Why Does Non-Alcoholic Beer Give Me A Buzz?

Even after all that, you might still wonder why you still feel a buzz after drinking non-alcoholic beer?

You’re not alone. Many people say they experience this, and it kind of defeats the purpose of everything I’ve spoken about in this article if you go and feel buzzed next time you drink a 0.5%.

You’ll never trust me again, right? I’d feel the same way.

But, there’s more to that buzz than meets the eye – or should I say, taste buds.

The flavor and aroma of non-alcoholic beer are similar to those of regular beer, which can trigger a memory or association with drinking alcohol. When your brain recognizes these cues, it releases dopamine as part of its reward system.

This can be attributed to the presence of a neurotransmitter called Glutamate. This release of dopamine can create a feeling of euphoria or pleasure, similar to what someone might experience after drinking alcohol.

Dopamine plays an important role in how we experience pleasure and reward, so even without the presence of alcohol, non-alcoholic beer can stimulate this response.

Interestingly, this sensation can be compared to the phantom limb phenomenon. In both cases, our brains perceive something that isn’t truly there.

Just as amputees may continue to feel an itch or other sensations due to neural connections sending signals to their brains, someone drinking non-alcoholic beers may also experience a ‘buzz’ because their brains associate the taste and smell with past experiences of an alcoholic beer.


Indulging in non-alcoholic beers shouldn’t lead you down the path of losing control or finding yourself in a tipsy state.

So go ahead, raise a glass with confidence, knowing that you’re making responsible choices while still partaking in life’s little pleasures.

And cheers to embracing healthier alternatives and creating memorable moments without any regrets!


How Many Non-Alcoholic Beers Equals To One Beer?

10 x 0.5% beers would equal 1 regular 5% beer. However, as I spoke about earlier this doesn’t mean you have consumed 5% abv as your body would have metabolised most of the alcohol content before you’ve finished them.

Can Heineken 0.0 Get You Drunk?

If you’re wondering whether Heineken 0.0 can get you drunk, the answer is almost certainly not. 

While the alcohol content in Heineken 0.0 is technically no more than 0.02%, that is such a small amount that we can practically call it alcohol-free. And no matter how many you drink, your body will metabolise it before you even get a light buzz.

Can Budweiser Zero Get You Drunk?

No, Budweiser Zero has zero chance to get you drunk. Most non-alcoholic & zero beers will contain some trace amounts of alcohol.

However, Budweiser zero is one of the few that contains absolutely no alcohol and is one of the few true 0.0 beers.

Can Guinness 0.0 Get You Drunk?

Guinness 0.0% is much like Heineken 0.0%. It contains absolute minute amounts of alcohol. No more than a carton of apple juice or soda.

Even though as a stout it might feel a little heavier than your normal zero beer to drink, it contains very minute traces of alcohol so there is no chance you can get drunk from it.

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