How easy to brew n-a beer?
November 7, 2011 6:59 AM   Subscribe

How easy is it to brew non-alcoholic beer at home?
posted by parmanparman to Food & Drink (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The internets suggest it's not that much harder than normal homebrew if you're OK with some small amount of alcohol from carbonating the beer using the normal yeast and priming sugar method. Otherwise you'd have to have some method of carbonating your beverage which probably requires some specialty equipment.
posted by ghharr at 7:13 AM on November 7, 2011

Perfectly non-alcoholic brewed beer is not feasible, however so long as you are alright with negligible amounts of alcohol there are plenty of root/birch/ginger beer recipes out there that keep the booze to a minimum. The alternative is to mix and artificially carbonate your beer.

Let us know which option your looking for and we should be able to provide some good advice.
posted by Blasdelb at 7:29 AM on November 7, 2011

You know who you should ask? If you have a local home brew store, go and chat up the proprietor. Here's why - an experienced store owner has seen damn near everything and can probably answer the dozen or so follow-up questions you might have and will have what you need either in stock or will be able to get it for you.

Example - as an experienced home brewer, I wanted to make gluten-free beer for a friend of mine with Celiac disease. I dutifully did internet research and found that sorghum is the go-to grain for that. In talking with them, they said that sorghum beer works, but totally lacks body, so we settled on using a recipe for a preprohibition style ale and added roasted buckwheat to it to give it more body. All this in a short, very satisfying interaction.
posted by plinth at 7:53 AM on November 7, 2011

ghharr's link is good and it's what I would probably try. I'm pretty sure you'll never boil off ALL the alcohol, but you could always keg and force carbonate to further reduce what little alcohol remains in the end-product.

Charlie Papazian talks in The Complete Joy of Homebrewing about freeze-distillation as a method of removing alcohol from finished beer. It's worth noting that home distillation is illegal.

Either way, you still want to ferment the wort because it's going to be supersweet and not beer-like at all before the yeasties do their business. In both cases of heat or cold, I'd dry-hop the beer before bottling or kegging, just to restore any hoppiness and aroma that may be lost by the process.
posted by Perthuz at 8:50 AM on November 7, 2011

You're basically describing Malta, which is unfermented wort that has been carbonated. There are recipes available via a Google search. It's not much different than regular homebrewing, minus the fermentation step. Just note that despite containing hops, most maltas are on the sweet side (like soda pop) although if you make your own you can play around with the bitter/sweet balance all you want.

I use a 5 gallon soda keg for my homebrew and you can use them to force-carbonate almost any liquid. It's more precise than adding sugar to the bottle before filling and does not require yeast activity (and resulting alcohol).
posted by tommasz at 8:53 AM on November 7, 2011

Yeasts will always produce alcohol wont' they? Which is the 'brewing' process. So wouldn't it just be a 'mix' of beer flavour and water? with something for Carbonation.
posted by mary8nne at 9:25 AM on November 7, 2011

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