How many O’Doul’s equal one beer?

In this brief guide, we will answer ‘how many O’Doul’s equal one beer?’  Also, we will see the difference between an alcoholic and a non-alcoholic drink.

How many O’Doul’s equal one beer?

A standard 12-ounce beer contains 5% of alcohol. While O’Doul’s have an alcohol content level of 0.4%. So keeping this in mind it will take about 12 and a half O’Doul’s to equal one beer.

What are O’Doul’s?

O’Doul’s is a malt beverage that has a rich taste and aroma just like normal beer and is often referred to as ‘near beer’. O’Doul’s have an alcohol content of 0.4% and according to the US and UK law that states that any beverage with an alcohol level of 0.5% or less than 0.5% ABV (alcohol by volume) is considered a non-alcoholic drink. Due to this very reason, O’Doul’s are marketed as non-alcoholic beer. In most of the EU countries beers with low alcohol content are divided into alcohol free beers containing 0.5% or less alcohol by volume (ABV), and to low-alcohol beers with no more than 1.2% ABV. In the United States alcohol-free beer means that there is no alcohol present, while the upper limit of 0.5% ABV corresponds to so-called non-alcoholic beer or ‘‘near-beer’’. In countries that enforce religious prohibition, the alcohol content in beverages must not exceed 0.05% by volume, called de-alcoholized beer (1).

O’Doul’s replicates the look and taste of real beer, which makes it easier for people who are trying to limit their alcohol consumption and let them enjoy beer without actually having to make big efforts.

Can you get drunk on a non-alcoholic beverage?

Like before mentioned, a 12-ounce beer bottle has 5% ABV in it, so it will take up to 10 or 0.5% of non-alcoholic beverages that will equal a beer. But most people will start to feel minor alcohol effects when their Blood alcohol content (BAC) reaches a 0.4% level, like feeling relaxed and a minor impairment of reasoning and memory.

In a study, 67 people restricted themselves from drinking alcohol for 5 days then drank about 1.5 liters of 0.4% ABV of beer in an hour.  The research monitored their blood alcohol content that was measured to be 0.0056%. This is lower than 14 times the drink driving limit of 0.08% in England and 9 times lower than the drink driving limit of 0.05% in Scotland. The results suggest that even after consumption of unrealistically high amounts of non-alcoholic beer negative forensic implications are not to be expected  (2).

Why can’t you get drunk on low-alcohol beer?

The only reason why your blood alcohol content can’t reach a level that might make you feel drunk is that your body processes the alcohol quickly as you drink it. For instance, a pint of beer with 0.5% alcohol contains about 0.28 units or 2.2 gm of alcohol. An average person’s body will process this in 16 minutes compared to almost 3 hours of a pint of beer with 5% alcohol.

Even if you manage to drink more pints of 0.5% beer quickly, your body will soon process the alcohol. The same phenomenon happens with foods that naturally contain small amounts of alcohol, like rye bread, apple juice or bananas. An exception can occur for elderly people. Because their body has a lower water concentration, this could decrease the alcohol processing and cause a higher alcohol peak (2).

What is the difference between an alcoholic and a non-alcoholic beverage?

The main difference between an alcoholic and a non-alcoholic beverage is that alcoholic beverages have a higher alcohol content while non-alcoholic beverages have no to very little alcohol in them.

The amount of alcohol is often labeled as a percentage of the whole drink. The labels on all alcoholic drinks show the alcohol as alcohol by volume ABV. Beer containing 5% of ABV on its label contains 5% pure alcohol, while a beverage with 0.5% ABV on its label is considered to be non-alcoholic. 

What is alcohol labeling?

Beer falls under four types of categories based on their labels;

  • Alcohol-free beer less than 0.05% ABV
  • De-alcoholised beer less than 0.05% ABV
  • Low alcohol beer less than 1.2% ABV
  • Alcohol beer more than 1.2% ABV

Why do alcohol-free beers still contain some alcohol?

Alcohol free beer can be produced by further elimination of alcohol of normal beer or by limiting the production of alcohol during fermentation of the beer. By these two possibilities, a minimum of 0.05% ABV still stays in the beer (1).  Alcohol-free beer contains a small amount of alcohol (up to 0.5% ABV). This alcohol forms naturally as a part of its brewing process.

How is alcohol-free and low alcohol beer made?

Manufacturers have two ways to reduce alcohol levels. They either remove the alcohol from the final product or make sure that alcohol doesn’t form during the brewing process.

One of the most common practices to reduce alcohol levels is to either boil away the alcohol from beer or the beer is passed through a series of filters that filters the alcohol out.

The strategies to produce alcohol free beers can be divided into two main groups (physical and biological processes). The technologies applied for complete or partial ethanol removal from regular beers can be classified into two groups based on the principle of the separation process such as thermal and membrane processes. Besides the industrially applied methods of beer dealcoholization (vacuum rectification and evaporation, dialysis, and reverse osmosis) there have been several other methods studied under laboratory conditions such as membrane extraction, supercritical CO2 extraction, pervaporation, adsorption on hydrophobic zeolites and freeze concentration The technic used to remove alcohol from the beer to produce alcohol free beer critically determines the sensorial quality of the beer (1).

Is alcoholic beer less calorific than O’Doul’s?

The energy content of beer is primarily due to the alcohol content (29 kJ per gram; 7 calories per gram) and carbohydrate. Because of the lesser alcohol content in the free beer, it it less caloric than regular beer, but still contains bioactive compounds naturally occurring from hops and fermentation, and secondary metabolites from yeast and lactic acid bacteria (3).

Yes, O’Doul’s does contain fewer calories than alcoholic beers. Drinks labeled as ‘light’ have even less alcohol and have fewer calories.

So opting O’Doul’s or any other non-alcoholic beer surely will help you to maintain a healthy weight or lose weight, alongside if you are following a balanced diet and exercising regularly.

Other FAQs about Beer that you may be interested in.

Does beer have salt?

How big is a pint of beer?

 How big is a case of beer?


In this brief guide, we answered ‘how many O’Doul’s equal one beer?’  Also, we saw the difference between an alcoholic and a non alcoholic drink.

Hopefully, you find this guide useful. If you have any questions or comments please do let us know.


  1. Brányik, Tomáš, et al. A review of methods of low alcohol and alcohol-free beer production. J Food Eng, 2012, 108, 493-506.
  2. Thierauf, Annette, Markus Große Perdekamp, and Volker Auwärter. Maximale Blutalkoholkonzentration nach forciertem Konsum von alkoholfreiem Bier. Rechtsmedizin, 2012, 22, 244-247.
  3. Mellor, Duane D., Bishoy Hanna-Khalil, and Raymond Carson. A review of the potential health benefits of low alcohol and alcohol-free beer: Effects of ingredients and craft brewing processes on potentially bioactive metabolites. Beverages, 2020, 6, 25.