“This Carlton Zero non-alcoholic beer review has been coming for what feels like forever! The Carlton Zero is the alcohol-free take on one of the most traditionally Australian beers available. I’m almost certain it is more easily available than water in a drought! I’ve had my fair share of standard Carlton over the years, so let’s get into exactly what this non-alc option tastes like.

The Carlton Zero non-alcoholic beer scores a 4.75/10 due to its malty profile being built upon a substantial amount of residual sweetness that is present in the taste profile from beginning to end. You will find the sweetness is strong and overrides any presence of fresh hops and bitterness throughout each mouthful.

Key Takeaways

Alcohol By Volume: 0.0%
Style Beer: Lager
Calories: 106 calories per serve (330ml)
Main Notes: Sweet Malts. Light Bitterness
Cost: $10 – $12 / 6-pack
Rating: 4.75 / 10
Drink Again? No
Where to Buy AU | USA | UK

 READ THE FULL REVIEW DOWN BELOW

Is There Any Alcohol In Carlton Zero?

A question I get a lot is whether or not there is any alcohol in the non-alcoholic beer somebody is drinking. Some are marketed as 0.0% alcohol by volume (ABV), some 0.5% ABV or in the case of new brews by Bricklane 1.1% ABV, which still is technically non-alcoholic.

The Carlton Zero beer is entirely non-alcoholic, which means it contains no alcohol at all. This has been intentionally achieved by Carlton & United Breweries through their specific brewing process that leaves you, the end drinker with a completely alcohol-free non-alcoholic beer.

That means you can drive after drinking Carlton Zero for an afternoon, evening or all day long at the cricket!

What does Carlton Zero Taste Like?

When I reached for my first Carlton Zero back in November 2020, I was just coming into non-alcoholic drinks so after reviewing over 100 non-alcoholic drinks across YouTube, the Non-Alcoholic Drinks Podcast and right here on TippleZero.com it is the perfect time to get into the Carlton Zero review, so let’s talk taste!

Carlton Zero is modelled on the flavour profile of Carlton Draught, however, the vast majority of drinkers (even those who enjoy Carlton Draught) are going to find this beer unusually sweet, worty and, as one reader I shared it with recently put it, “cardboard-y”.

Carlton Zero Non Alcoholic Beer in glass next to bottle close up

Carlton Zero Taste Profile

I’m afraid this brew is going to struggle even if you take the step of pouring it into a glass (FYI my favourite set come from the Spiegelau Craft Tasting Kit. Notwithstanding that, you’re going to find taste and body that presents with:

  • An initial level of extremely sweet malts.
  • A light, yet still sweet, Carlton Draught styled lager profile (without that metallic sheen you expect from Carlton Draught).
  • Light hops in the body that, while they try to break through the sweetness are ultimately overpowered by it.
  • A mid-level of body that is notably lighter than the traditional Carlton Draught.
  • A good balancing level of carbonation.
  • Lingering finish of light bitterness and continuing sweetness.

When poured into your glass, the it will present as crisp, clear and deep golden in colour with small fast-moving bubbles and a silky head that reduces to a skim film within 90 seconds.

Overall, I found the flavour profile disappointingly sweet and without the metallic sheen that Carlton is known for and what Carlton Draught drinkers enjoy.

What I Like

Things to Consider

The light bitterness is trying to poke through at the end of the mouthful. The sweetness is intense and likely to overpower all other flavours.
The bodyweight replicates a mid-strength beer. There is a high level of calories and carbohydrates compared to other alternatives (i.e., 106 calories).

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Carlton Zero bottle showing front of bottle in front of retail packaging

Who Should Drink Carlton Zero?

The Carlton Zero is a non-alcoholic beer that is for lager drinkers who enjoy the traditional alcoholic Carlton Draught. However, it is important to take note of the shortcomings above as the beer fundamentally differs from the traditional Carlton Draught.

Whilst I have never been a fan of alcoholic Carlton, I feel the flavour in the original alcoholic version far outweighs the non-alcoholic alternative and on the back of that:

  • Drinkers who enjoy a sweeter lager and don’t mind malty sweetness being present at each stage of the mouthful; and
  • Are wanting to try the zero alcohol version of Carlton Draught

should try this beer.

Comparing this beer to other non-alcoholic lager alternatives, this, unfortunately, comes in towards the bottom end. If you’re after other alternatives look into the huge non-alcoholic lager post that I wrote up here or jump straight to the following reviews I have written:

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Carlton Zero Stockists.

The Carlton Zero lager is available in a wide array of supermarkets (Coles & Woolworths), traditional bottle shops (Liquorland, Dan Murphy’s) and specialty non-alcoholic drink retailers (Craft Zero, Brunswick Aces).

Whether you are looking to try it on its own or next to a few other non-alcoholic lager options listed above, you can find stores to pick up a 6-pack down below.

Country

Retailer

Australia

Amazon (Slab)
Craft Zero
Brunswick Aces
Dan Murphy’s

United Kingdom

Will keep adding retailers as I find them

United States

Will keep adding retailers as I find them

It is important to note that in Australia under 18’s cannot buy Carlton Zero, or any other non-alcoholic beer and ID may be required when purchasing.

I’m 33 at the time of pulling this review together and I got asked for ID last week, so I’d recommend you take ID with you in-store or when you collect your delivery and enjoy the compliment if you’re asked for ID!

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How Many Calories Are In Carlton Zero

In each 330ml bottle of Carlton Zero, there are 106 calories, 2 grams of sugar and 23 grams of total carbohydrate. Looking at a standard comparison of 100ml, the Carlton Zero contains 32 calories, 0.6 grams of sugar and 7 grams of total carbohydrate.

The calories and carbohydrates listed above, make the Carlton Zero a non-alcoholic beer that contains some of the highest total carbohydrates and in turn total calories when compared to other non-alcoholic lager alternatives.

Beer

Carbs per 100ml

Calories per 100ml

Carlton Zero

7 g

32 cals

Heineken Zero

4.8 g 21 cals

James Squire

4.5 g

20 cals

Weihenstephaner

0.5 g

14 cals

You can find the full information on the Carlton Zero nutritional profile in the table down below.

Avg Quantity
Per Serving (330ml)

Avg Quantity
Per 100ml

Energy

442 kJ
106 Cal

134 kJ
32 Cal

Protein

0.7 g

0.2 g

Fat, total

0.3 g

0.1 g

— saturated

0.3 g

0.1 g

Carbohydrate

23.1 g

7 g

— sugars

2.0 g

0.6 g

Sodium

10 mg

3 mg

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Carlton Zero Sugar and Calories - Nutritional label

Rating Criteria

In ranking the Carlton Zero non-alcoholic beer, I have looked at the key issues of

  • flavour and taste (that carries a weight of 40% of the total);
  • body and mouthfeel (again carrying 40% of the total score);
  • the nutritional profile (which carries 10% of the total score); and
  • Drinkability (i.e. do you want to reach for a second or third) (this makes up the last 10% of total score).

As we spoke about above, the taste profile, nutrition and drinkability all leave room for improvement which significantly impact the overall score of the beer.

You can find the full detail of the score down below and I’d love to hear your thoughts and rating down in the comments below.

 

Flavour/Taste (40%)

Body (40%)

Nutrition (10%)

Drinkability (10%)

Total (100%)

RAW464.5317.5/40
ADJUSTED1.62.4.45.34.75/10

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Carlton Zero beer in a glass held in hand showing colour is deep golden

The Round-Up: Final Thoughts

While I have never been the biggest drinker of Carlton Draught, I’ve tried to take the objective view of comparing this to the original alcoholic brew.

Whilst there are some underpinning similarities that shine through in the zero alcohol version, the overly sweet and somewhat wort and cardboard-like profile make it quite different to the traditional option which (like it, love it or loathe it) is round and malted with a metallic sheen finish.

The taste differential between the two Carlton variants is in stark difference to the Heineken Zero which almost perfectly aligns to the flavour profile of the traditional alcoholic Heineken.

If you’re looking to try the Carlton Zero out, I have listed the links down below to the locations where this can be found!

Country

Retailer

Australia

Amazon (Slab)
Craft Zero
Brunswick Aces
Dan Murphy’s

United Kingdom

Will keep adding retailers as I find them

United States

Will keep adding retailers as I find them

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by Jonathan Lambrianidis

Non-alcoholic drinks writer and podcaster, beer brewing and winemaking side-kick, lawyer and cyclist. Owner of Tipplezero.com and the Non-Alcoholic Drinks Podcast.