How do you make non-alcoholic beer?
Not everyone wants or can drink alcoholic beer. Nonetheless, we all want a great tasting beer now and again. So, the question becomes how can you make this happen? The process for making a non-alcoholic beer is very easy, anyone can do it. The brewing process is the same as standard home brewing and uses the same Equipment (boil, primary fermentation, secondary fermentation, etc). However, as we all know at the end of the process you end up with a beer with alcohol. In order to get rid of the alcohol, the beer will need to be heated to 175 Degrees F.
The Process of Making Non-Alcoholic Beer
- Brew beer like normal. You can review the full beer making process here.
- When you are ready to bottle, you will need to heat the beer to 175 degrees F for 15 - 20 minutes.
- Alcohol evaporates at a lower temperature than the rest of your beer. So by heating it to 175 degrees F the alcohol will evaporate and leave behind all of the delicious beery goodness you spent so much time making.
- When heating it is important to stay as close as you can to the 175 degrees F to prevent off flavors forming.
- You will need to add additional yeast prior to bottling a non-alcoholic beer since the process of heating and driving off the alcohol kills any yeast added during fermentation.
- One way to avoid this step it to use a Home Brew Keg System and force carbonation to carbonate
An Important Note on Making Non-Alcoholic Beer
While it can be very easy to do, but there is one major drawback. When the beer is heated to release the alcohol, the beer will become very bitter. We aren't talking "Very Hoppy IPA" bitter, we're talking "beer that you might swear was made out of nothing but hops" bitter. To address this, all you have to do is cut down on the Brewing Hops during the initial brewing process, and the the bitterness problem should be resolved.
- Example: Your recipe calls for 2 ounces of hops, only use 1 ounce. Trust us; the beer will be plenty bitter.
Because the alcohol removal process alters the bitterness of a beer, styles like Pale Ales and IPA are not recommended for a non-alcohol beer as they are way too hoppy. A better choice would be a Wheat Beer or maybe a Brown Ale instead. You want the beer to be lacking a lot of hop bitterness before begin to drive off the alcohol. Additionally, it isn't a bad idea to use hops with low alpha acid content as this is the primary contributor to hop bitterness. This way you get a nice hop flavor, but it isn't over powering to drink.
We can't stress enough how bitter the beer will be once you burn off the alcohol. Plan accordingly.