Alcohol free beers??????? : Hi all, well... - British Liver Trust

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Alcohol free beers???????

Blossom0410 profile image

Hi all, well I think I know what the answer will be/should be.. So my husband with Alcoholic decompensated cirrhosis who has been dry now well over a month (well done him x) But has now been getting the Heineken 0.0 beers which are actually 0.05 ABV. Sooooooo not completely ethanol free are they! He was being good and only having one of an evening topped up with lemonade, not bad I thought? Do you think he should be having these at all ? as he's also on the drug Acamprosate to help stop the desire to drink.. But this week its crept up to 3 to 4 mostly without the lemonade, then this morning I woke up to him sitting down stairs at 8.30 with a can & had drunk at least another 6 cans!!! that's not ok, I'm so sad as I knew this may lead to the slippery slope of making it the way he use to be with sitting up all night drinking as cant sleep and going back to his old ways! I definitely wont be buying him anymore, but that doesn't matter dose it because he will get it anyway himself!

Thanks all. xx Blossom

49 Replies

This amount of alcohol would not worse his liver condition. But if he drank let's say 10 bottles of this beer this can be dangerous especially to an alcoholic. Not a good idea. Any real 0.0 free beer on the market?

Blossom0410 profile image
Blossom0410 in reply to MINTVCX

Thank you... Yes non of its a good idea, hence being an alcoholic he chooses these because there is a slight ABV% in them... We have the completely NO alcohol gin, but that hasn't been touched... I wonder why!!! Hay-ho lets see what comes next as always.🙄

Becks Blue is zero I’m pretty sure xc

Melw123333 profile image
Melw123333 in reply to MINTVCX

The Budweiser zero is completely alcohol free

I think medically they wont do him much harm BUT my partner was advised by his Dr to keep well away as the step from non alcoholic to re-starting to drink again is smaller . I was also told that if he needs a transplant they may ask if he is drinking non alcoholic beer. We are buying lots of lovely lemonades and healthy drinks so my partner always has a nice choice in the house of something to drink in the evening. We are keeping away from anything with any alcohol in it, white wine vinegar, mouthwash, everything

Blossom0410 profile image
Blossom0410 in reply to Rshc

Thank you...

Will need a transplant but wont be reviewed for 5 months at least.. I would guess even the smallest amount will show up once on the testing period on the run up to being accepted.. hadn't thought about the white wine vinegar ect.. so thank you again :)

Cat-B profile image
Cat-B in reply to Blossom0410

Does he understand that if he is drinking any alcohol he will not be allowed a transplant? He needs to be totally abstinent for at least 6 months. I refused the offer to go on the transplant list, so it’s different for me. If he wants a transplant is the question ( if he doesn’t then let him have the zero %) I know this is much harder on you then him, so my best wishes to you.

Blossom0410 profile image
Blossom0410 in reply to Cat-B

Well I would like to think so! but if not then he might as well crack open a bottle of vodka as I've had enough.. 😥

Cat-B profile image
Cat-B in reply to Blossom0410

Alcohol like so many addictions is very self isolating and it’s so much harder on partners and family than it is on the person who is addicted. Lots of addicts feel guilty about the affect they are having on those around them which makes them feel bad, so they drink to feel better but as alcohol is a depressant they feel worse so drink more and the deadly spiral is established. It’s a self fulfilling nightmare, you feel bad( you drink which makes you feel better for a short time, you then feel bad and so it continues). Sadly the only person who can break the cycle is the addict themselves and without out side help your in a never ending catch 22. It’s you I feel for as you have no control over the situation and it must be incredibly frustrating to watch this self destructive cycle. My advice would be to step back, it won’t achieve anything by worrying so much that you make yourself ill. When you have alcohol addiction you have to decide ( for yourself) if you want to fight ( it’s a long and hard fight make no mistake! I’m still fighting now 7 years on! I’m very conscious of the fact that the day I stop fighting is the day I sign my own death sentence). I know this is hard and painful to hear and it’s just my personal experience, but I really hope it will help you even just a little. I’m here if you want me to try to answer any questions ok x

I would like to add that if your husband was later in need of a liver transplant, then drinking alcohol-free drinks such as wine, beers and spirits is regarded the same as drinking alcohol it's self and would be excluded from going on a liver transplant waiting list.

The mental aspect of drinking is that of the taste. If a person is still drawn to the taste then it is deemed that they still have issues so a tranplant wouldn't be offered.

Total abstanance is the only way.

Thank you Richard..

That's what I figured, I'm just worried now as you say he's treating these beers I would say as drinking normally which I think is bad and where will it end up!

Inclusion people came last week and apparently they said its ok, not sure I believe that!!

He is in a shitty mood today so I'm keeping quite for now!


Alcohol-related liver disease is considered to be a mental condition as well as a being a physical one. some people are driven by an addiction, they are therefore drinking because they have to. The taste is very much a trigger for some people. If a person was to continue to drink so called alcohol free drinks, then it is assumed that they are still drawn to the taste. The chances of someone slipping and having a full alcohol drink is considered a too higher risk.

Please have a look at page six of this publication. This document has been put together by many of the Psychiatry Nurses based at the six national liver transplant centres. This is to ensure that everyone is in agreement and all transplant centres operate and accept the same concerns and procedures:

I am so sorry for you. It must be like living with a ticking time bomb, waiting for it to explode. Hang on in there l hope things will get better soon.

If ever you feel low or in need of some support, please feel free to send me a private message if you prefer.

Good luck


Thank you Richard... very much appreciated :)

Rshc profile image
Rshc in reply to Richard-Allen

thanks for linking that booklet, I found it a very interesting read as well.

Hi richard, long time since we spoke last. Im interested in the non alcoholic drinks and transplant consideration. Ive been sober 5 years now and will categorically never touch another drink however on a hot summers day i enjoy a non alcoholic cider and i also love the sparkling non alcoholic wine from sainsburys. I am "touch wood" a long way off a transplant but i would be upset to know i couldnt be listed because i enjoy the taste of the drinks, not the relationship with alcohol

Take care


Spot on Richard 👍

Hi, as has already been said above the drinking of non alcoholic wines and beers will still be considerred like alcohol if he comes up to be reviewed for a transplant. For his livers sake I suggest he steers well clear of anything with even a hint of alcohol in it including anything cooked in wine, chocolates containing liquers, even alcoholic handrub etc.

I would not recommend them. Especially since he has drank several. Not to mention what Richard said. They would refuse a liver in the USA for the same reason. You have to commit to a lifetime of No alcohol. I don’t even use mouth wash with alcohol in it.

Hello, your husband need to quit now. The liver can repair to a extent. But carrying on with destroy it completely. I've turned mine around by stopping not drank for over 3 years. After a while u begin to think as drink as the devil drink, and enjoy a sober life. It's so much better that life . Wish u well x

It’s a slippery slope sadly. He’s gone from some with lemonade, then a small number now a much larger number, next it will be the real thing. I stopped drinking after a health scare over a year now. I never drunk alcohol free, I stuck to milk and soft drinks. Strangely I found milk really refreshing at the start and as I’d lost a lot of weight and muscle it was a good thing. As time has gone on I’ve not really felt the need to drink anything in the evening at all. Except the odd glass of water. I’ve even got a case of unopened beer in my garage which were left over from some family coming around. At the start I wouldn’t have been confident about it being in my house. These days it’s lost it’s appeal. I think he has to come away from anything remotely alcoholic...alcohol free included. If he sticks with abstinence it will become a habit, but best not to tempt it so early on with stuff that tastes like alcohol.

My husband followed the same path and began drinking alcohol again shortly after. Unfortunately, his primary care doctor told him they were fine to consume. I could tell where it was headed and knew it was a matter of time before it the real stuff replaced the non-alcoholic drinks.

Think it depends on the person. I’m a recovering alcoholic (11 months) and I well remember trying my first non alcoholic beer. I was abroad in the sun and found after having one I wanted another right away, guess it was my subconscious holding out some hope that it was just about to feel the alcohol kick in. But the long and the short of it is that the Novelty wore off, I now only drink them when I fancy the taste of beer - as I know there is no alcohol in them I drink that at any time of day, sometimes mornings! No different to ginger beer in my eyes. Try the ‘Bavaria’ beer as this has none in at all. It’s some how gave me a bit of normality. Kind of the same sensation as ex smokers having to do things with their hands.

Unfortunately I made that mistake and tried the non alcoholic drinks when I quit before they are pretty good but the trouble is they give you the taste and once you have the taste you will soon need the real thing this time I didn't use them and stuck to water and squash ( although coke has been a huge help maybe it's the sugar ? ) but I've not had alcohol for nearly a year now and very slowly feeling better but I must admit I feel abit forgotten at the moment as all I was told was border line for a liver transplant and my " score is B-9" my first 6 month check up with liver specialist has been cancelled and they are rebooting it I was told I cannot have pain killers ( ibuprofen ect ) but can have one paracetamol which does nothing so they keep giving me oramorph which doc said is safest option til I see specialist I mainly suffer from tiredness and bad muscle aches anyway hope you gey the help you need bit I would recommend not having the "non" alcoholic drinks and try to get him to keep very busy which in turn will knacker him out and hopefully help him sleep as for water depending if he has ascites I would say little and often and as I said I know coke is bad for you but it has helped me along with chocolate but obviously after awhile turn to healthier options for snacks hope this helps and don't forget to take care of yourself !! Can't stress that enough !!!

That is the problem with no/low alcohol substitutes, they won't kill but they perpetuate old patterns and behaviour. My rehab advises against but I do drink substitutes on social occasions just to join in and hide my problem

I’ve cracked the joining in, it’s more other people’s problem than mine actually, but I got fed up with the ‘go on, it’s only one’, or ‘why aren’t you drinking?’ Three different drinks. In a tall glass lemonade, ice and lemon. In a champagne flute, drop of apple juice and sparkling water. In a wine glass, ribena. Everyone leaves me alone now! Says a lot about our society and alcohol though.

Indeed!!! 🙄 Good for you 👍

They only put the 'no more than 0.05 per cent' to cover themselves for any naturally ocurring alcohol that may be present or cross-contamination. They don't add 0.05% alcohol to each bottle. As with food allergies they legally have to add a warning if processed in the same place. 0.05% in a 440ml can is about 0.2 ml alcohol. Such a small amount would be udetectable even if it was present . There are some low alcohol beers with 0.5% abv but these can't be called-alcohol free.Having said that It doesn’t seem healthy to consume this amount every night as it is just feeding his compulsion to drink and also consuming any fluids in large amounts is not recommended for people with liver disease. So generally I think the advice is it's best to steer clear of these. Suggest a whole milk milkshake instead. It will fill him up and he'll be less likely to want more to drink x

It's the psychological effect that they have, the association of still drinking of there. The desire to crack a can open. I know they won't give a liver transplant to someone who's drinking the no alcohol beers as the chance of relapse will be significantly higher...

I thought they were 0.0. .I've got chirrosis to the liver from drinking but not had a drop in 17 years since been out of hospital,I've had a few of the Heineken packs and I'm sure they where 0.00 ,wishing you and your husband all the best x

Blossom0410 profile image
Blossom0410 in reply to Miles7

Hi Miles,

They do say 0.05 but as someone commented on this I guess like for alleges they have to say there is some in it somewhere as brewed/packaged I guess in the same way as normal beer??

I just think its far too early for my husband to even be thinking of drinking even these seeing as he nearly died from alcohol, if it wasn't for me he wouldn't be here right now!! and it still is a very long road where anything medically could still happen as he is still very poorly, It just makes me sad to see him like this and that I may still lose him to drink.


Miles7 profile image
Miles7 in reply to Blossom0410

That's sad,it's hard the first say 3 years where hard I thought I'd never do it but changed antidepressants changed life style,it does get easier tell him I promise,I've been soba 17 years not I was in hospital for a month with 5% chance pulling through,like I said tell him to stick in there it will get better xx

Blossom0410 profile image
Blossom0410 in reply to Miles7

Thank you, and well done you.. xx keep it up xx

Miles7 profile image
Miles7 in reply to Blossom0410

No problem good luck,tell him if he ever needs a chat to someone who's been there tell him drop me a message xx

Blossom0410 profile image
Blossom0410 in reply to Miles7

Ahh thank you xx

Ewife profile image
Ewife in reply to Blossom0410

I'm so sorry for you going through this. It's an awful illness for both sufferer and carer. I watched my friends husband lose the battle with it, and my heart goes out to you. My husband is also waiting on the Liver transplant list, and even though he has never battled with addiction he has to do SO many random blood alcohol tests. He got called for transplant the other week (which unfortunately turned out to be a dummy run ) and they tested his blood for alcohol whilst prepping for surgery and it occurred to me how terrible it would be for someone to get that far and have it turned down because of a slip up!Life on the transplant list is a marathon on the mental health, so look after yourself and keep up your good work encouraging your partner to address possible mental health issues that led him to drink in the first place- try and find new hobbies that you both enjoy and relax with, because believe me, you'll need it!

Wishing you all the best


Blossom0410 profile image
Blossom0410 in reply to Ewife

Thank you Ewife,

Wow dummy runs, do they do that?

We're not even on the list yet as have 5 months to see if maybe his liver may be stable and ok without the constant drinking which its had for many many years.. but the Ascites isn't seeming to be getting any better.. been 3 weeks now waiting for an appointment to get him drained.. nothing! cant even get through to the hospital! he's getting bigger & bigger so possible a trans in the future will be needed because of this I've read..


Ewife profile image
Ewife in reply to Blossom0410

Haha...not officially, we just call them dummy runs. It's happened 3 x to us so far. The first time we were nearly at the hospital when we got turned back because the donor liver arrived and was too fatty, 2nd time we hadn't actually left home before they called and cancelled it, 3rd time I really thought was going to be third time lucky - he was all gowned up and canula in ready to go to theatre and they decided the liver just wasn't fit for use. It really is tough going, I tell you!! Makes me cringe when folks comment on here as if it's the quick fix to all problems. If folks can put the hard work in now and improve their health before it's too late - I STRONGLY reccomend it!!!Stay strong - and please pass my encouragement on to your partner if he's in the frame of mind to hear it


Blossom0410 profile image
Blossom0410 in reply to Ewife

Oh gosh... I had no idea, that must be awfully frustrating for you both.. being so close but so far each time!! And yes you are completely right if you look after it as much as you can now rather than have to go down this route would be a far better option.

Keep strong both of you xx

Ewife profile image
Ewife in reply to Blossom0410

Yes, and don't get me wrong - we're very thankful that he is getting the chance of transplant - and we're in fantastic hands under the transplant unit. It's just not an easy ride that's all.

The zero alcohol doesn’t help every one, but it really helps me. I had end stage cirrhosis and 7 years on my liver function is normal ( I was detoxed in hospital) it’s not safe to have any alcohol, even mouth wash if he’s taking antibuse medication!

The problem will be the sugar!

God... don't talk to me about sugar.. 🙄

He also eats packs of biscuits, sweets, ice-cream, deserts like anything... when he first came out of hospital i was managing to get proper food small and often in to him.. meat, eggs, veg.. now he lives on fruit & yogurts and the above!!

🙄 I said his liver cant cope with it & he will probably end up with diabetes on top of everything else!!

Hello, I will offer another opinion than the obvious. As its known that nobody can actually help an alcoholic other than another alcoholic. This has been known for a long time. AA is the only effective treatment, sponsors and regular meetings, surrounding yourself with others in the struggle that you can relate to is the only viable true answer. I myself enjoy a cold fizzy drink in the morning, noon, and nights period. The fact that mine had alcohol in it was the only downfall and I actually didn't want to have the alcoholic effects most of the time, I just don't like sugary soda drinks/juices, coffee, and sparkling waters only go so far fast. In my long and hard experience, I just needed to have something similar that didn't have alcohol in it, and found a delicious slightly sweet brewed NA that sells 11.99 by the case (called Penns Best na), obviously for people like me. I allow myself as many as it takes to quench my needs as long as its NA. After 3 years my liver has completely healed, I have an incredible success story, I feel its been the only thing that has practically solved all my urges and along with a strong AA group and program, structured life, its completely a safe and viable solution to a problem that has confounded experts for ages. Remember as long as its not alcohol its OK, its up to the person who wants to quit to not make the switch back to real booze, not the taste of a said beverage, people have many likes and dislikes in flavors, whose to say a brewed flavor without alcohol is a bad thing at all. As far as the 0.05% in NA, if you do any research you'll find that there are trace amounts of alcohol like this in many foods and fruit juices recommended for abstinence and health, this is not a dangerous amount and will not affect your healing process. However strict rules about transplants means you cannot tell the doctors or they will assume your still a risk of relapse. In fact every alcoholic is a true high risk of relapse forever, its hardwired into the brain and no amount of anything will change that one, but the doctors had to draw a line somewhere, and with so many chronic relapse's its easy to understand their logic. Again my rule is do whatever it takes to live a happy sustainable life as long as its not drinking alcoholic beverages, period. It can be done very successfully and I'm living proof. Remember the only thing that can help an alcoholic is another alcoholic. Not going to proofread this hope not too many mistakes. A peace

Interesting... there was no way on earth my husband would have gone to AA meetings, he would have needed 6 ciders just to walk in a room full of people and say "My name is Andy and l'm an alcoholic."He couldn't even say he was an alcoholic but could cope with saying he was alcohol dependant. In fact he was seriously ill before he could even admit he " May have a drink problem. "

The only way he managed to quit for the last 3 months of his life was by having a 1 to 1 councellor visit him at home.

Aotea2012 profile image
Aotea2012 in reply to firepaint

It’s great to read your story and I’m pleased AA worked for you. It scared the living daylights out of me! We are all different. I had a lot of help from professionals, which I have to say were remarkable. My consultant has mellowed with first he basically said, ‘if you don’t stop, you will die’. Of course he was right, but I’d actually already made my mind up in hospital that I’d stop. So it was a bit brutal. I’ve spoken to him since and he smiled and said ‘I just thought I’d tell you, but I had a hunch you’d already shifted your thinking. I just wanted to reinforce it’. My alcohol support worker was about half my age but was worldly wise. He was brilliant...and just allowed me to talk it through. There was a lot going on in my life at the time of partner of 12 years on hearing my diagnosis decided to end the relationship and then made life very difficult around the separation. I suppose my support worker was worried that the pressure of a forced house sale and a relationship ending in a very unpleasant way would send me back to the bottle. In fact he helped me unpack why I drank which then helped me process the relationship and it’s ending. A lightbulb went on.... the relationship itself was a big factor in my drinking. My GP was superb, he’d known me a long time and was incredibly helpful explaining the clinical stuff. He helped me understand what I could do and should not do. I posted something on here a few weeks ago about the term alcoholic and about alcohol in general. The responses were really interesting. Terminology and labels for me are unhelpful, it’s what we do with our lives and how we respond to help that’s important I think. Whatever helps, grab it with both hands. I’m pleased to say I’m very well now. I have normal bloods, ultrasound scan showing no signs of anything cancerous, take no medication, work- albeit in a less stressful role than I had before, run and ride and now live in new house which I’m making home. Lots of painting and gardening! Cirrhosis isn’t a life sentence as long as you are careful. Alcohol abstinence for me ain’t been that hard...I know it’s much more difficult for some...the key for me was finding out why I drank.

Much better than real beer also 1664 has no booze and it’s delish

Everyone’s different I quit using alcohol free bubbly when in stressful situations and now have it on occasion alcohol free a year and a half no cravings

As long as its not to hide from you that his breath smells of real beer!WE alcoholics are crafty and do lie at times.

I was diagnosed in Jan22 and after drinking 53 of my 59 years, I'd say I'm in the camp of liking alcohol! but haven't touched it in any form since. My friend turned me onto which is a nice alternative for me because I'm still associating those particular events/times/times of day with the feeling of wanting alcohol and trying to learn to relax without it. The Stop your wineing has been a fun experiment for me but am researching if the active herbs that help you relax might be hard on liver. Will let you know. It sounds like if he woke up drinking cans of "beer" he is having a hard time letting go of that habit. Maybe an early morning walk?

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