Beer drinkers are more and more health-conscious today, and that’s a good thing. However, this also means we want to know what is in our beer and why. Therefore, this blog is explicitly dedicated to answering the question of how many calories are in a Heineken. Here’s the short answer:
There are 142 calories in a 12fl. Oz of Heineken Original, 99 calories in 12fl. Oz of Heineken Light, and 69 calories in 12fl. Oz of Heineken Zero.
However, that certainly doesn’t answer the question entirely. Below, we’ll look at how many calories are in Heineken Original, Light, and Zero in more detail. We’ll also discuss the carbohydrates, proteins, fat, and alcohol in them. Furthermore, we’ll discuss the ingredients and compare the beers to other alternatives to see what’s best. Read on!
Heineken Original (5%)
Heineken Original has 142 calories in a 12fl. Oz (355ml) bottle, which consists of 11 grams of carbohydrates and two grams of protein. A 16fl. Oz (473ml) bottle of Heineken has 189.2 calories and 14.7 grams of carbohydrates with 2.7 grams of protein.
Heineken prides itself on only using three natural ingredients: purified water, malted barley, and hop extract. The water Heineken uses is local river water from the Netherlands (where Heineken is made) purified by dunes.
The malted barley Heineken uses is mainly sourced from countries in Europe and the hops used in the beer. 67% of the barley used and 97% of the hops come from sustainable sources. To make their international pale lager, which is the type of beer Heineken is, they use hop extract.
Hop extract is still a completely natural ingredient. Many brewers use hop extract instead of complete hops. This is because hop extract contains the soft resins and essential oils within the hop and delivers a more exciting bitterness. This bitterness is also something I noticed when I reviewed Heineken Original.
How Many Calories Compared To Other Original Beers?
Finally, I feel it’s also good to see how many calories Heineken has compared to other beers with a comparable alcohol level (4.6% – 5%). What you can see in the table below is that International lagers/American lagers all have a similar amount of calories and that there’s not one significantly better option.
If you want a beer with lower calorie content, it’s best to have a look at Heineken Light, which we’ll discuss next. If you want to know more about how Heineken stacks up against other beers, read our review where we compare it to Stella Artois.
How Many Calories Are In A Heineken Original Mini-Keg?
In this blog, we already had a look at the Heineken Original mini-keg and how many beers you can get out of these novelty kegs. We learned that mini-kegs contain a total of 14.09 12fl. Oz glasses of Original which means there are 2000 calories in a Heineken mini-keg.
Heineken Light (3.3%)
Heineken Light has 99 calories in a 12fl. Oz (355ml) bottle, which consists of seven grams of carbohydrates and one grams of protein. A 16fl. Oz (473ml) bottle of Heineken has 131.9 calories and 9.3 grams of carbohydrates with 1.3 grams of protein.
Unlike Heineken Original, which is made with only three ingredients, Heineken has altered the recipe for the Light version of their beer to include glucose and actual hops (although hop extract is also still part of the recipe).
Yes, Heineken Light has fewer calories and less sugar than Heineken Original. However, it’s interesting to note that Heineken did have to add glucose. Why Heineken does this is not explained by themselves.
However, adding glucose is a way to balance out the lost flavors because this beer has less alcohol than the original. Since it still has fewer carbohydrates than the original, I don’t think that’s a problem.
Furthermore, actual hops are added instead of only hop extract. Again, this is most likely done to add back flavor lost by using less alcohol.
How Many Calories Compared To Other Light Beers?
Let’s compare Heineken Light to other light beers on the American market when it comes down to calories. In this category, we see that Heineken Light is similar to practically all light beers (instead of Bud Light which is the highest in calories).
However, we also have to note that most other light beers have an alcohol percentage of 4.2 – 4.3%, whereas Heineken Light has an alcohol percentage of 3.3%. This is surprising because one would think that the lower alcohol percentage would result in fewer calories. However, it seems Heineken had to make up somehow, and they most likely did this to add glucose.
Heineken Zero (0.01 – 0.03%)
Heineken Zero has 69 calories in a 12fl. Oz (355ml) bottle, which consists of 16 grams of carbohydrates and zero grams of protein. A 16fl. Oz (473ml) bottle of Heineken has 91.9 calories and 21.3 grams of carbohydrates with zero grams of protein.
One of the interesting things about the ingredients list of Heineken Zero is that it only uses filtered water, malted barley, and hop extract as its ingredients. However, it is higher in carbs than Heineken Light which has added glucose. How can this be?
Heineken Zero, which doesn’t taste that good, has more calories than other Heineken products because of the way it’s produced, not because Heineken adds any sugar to their recipe. Heineken Zero is an alcohol-free beer. This means the natural sugars that are in the barley don’t ferment.
Fermentation is the process of natural sugars transforming into alcohol because of the addition of yeast. Since this (almost) doesn’t happen with alcohol-free beer, the natural sugars in the beer don’t turn into alcohol and therefore stay in the beer as sugar. This is the reason drinking a hundred of these Zero beers wouldn’t even get you tipsy.
How Many Calories Compared To Other Alcohol-Free Beers?
Is Heineken Zero the best alcohol-free beer option in terms of calories? The answer is a simple ‘no’. In the North American market, other options have fewer calories, as seen in the table below. This is most likely because Heineken Zero still has quite some sugars in it, whereas other beers have fewer of this ingredient. If Heineken Zero tastes better than the other beers is a different discussion.