NA Beer--Reverse osmosis?

We have a group of us who have been enjoying brewing various kits from Northern Brewer. Now one of our members has decided he needs to cut back on his alcohol consumption. What we are hoping to do is take part of our batch and take out the alcohol and make some NA that he can enjoy with us. I know we can drive off the alcohol at 173 degrees, but even that heat will change the flavor. I read that one can separate the water and alcohol away from the beer with a reverse osmosis filter, then boil off the alcohol and return the water to the beer. Anybody done this? The cost of a filter is not an issue if this will work. We really want to do this for our friend. Thanks

I did a quick search and found this old article from 1995 not sure if it will work for you.

nevermind looks like its only heating option

I can’t imagine why that would work. Makes no sense.

I’m not the expert that Denny is- by a long shot. But let’s think about your plan: The average beer is maybe 5% ABV. Then yeast, a few unfermentable sugars, some hop oils, a few other flavor compounds. And probably 90% water. If a R.O. unit would remove all the water and alcohol, what would you have left? Some yeast, and a small amount of flavorful sludge. You boil off the alcohol and add the sludge back to the cooled water. I’m guessing it won’t taste very good.
I do have some experience at neutering beer for a friend of mine. I heat it to 180 on the stove, then put it in the oven and maintain the temp at 175-180 for 30 minutes. I have done this for at least 6 partial batches over the past two years. I have not detected a flavor difference, but these were malty types- Irish Reds, Scottish ales, Porters, an Altbier, and one Graf. If I were to do a batch that had significant hop flavor and especially aroma components, I would add back some dryhopping before bottling.

What I do for my wife is make a 2.5 gallon batch of a beer. I calculate the recipe as usual for a 60 minuet boil but then only do a 45 minuet boil then I ferment. After fermentation is complete I finish the “boil” at 190 deg.for about 20 minuets. If you put a thermometer in the pot you will notice it starts boiling well below the temp for boiling water, hold it in that zone till it stops. I’ve tried three different recipes so far and she seems to like the saison the best. After I’m done with the boil I keg and carbonate then bottle. It makes a flavorful drink that is different from the usual na beer you can buy in the store and it shows some respect for your friend or wife.

Cat have you had the alcohol tested in this by any chance? I would love to see if this works, as for some reason, my father in law is allowed to have wine, but he can’t have beer (blood thinners?). It frankly sounds like nonsense 1980’s medicine to me.

He does buy the nonsense Beck’s and OM N.A. so I’d love to brew him something. I know even the commercial N.A.'s have some residual alcohol in them.

I don’t know how to test it but I can definitely smell the etoh boiling off. My wife doesn’t drink any alcohol and it has no effect on her. There is probably a little in the beverage but probably not much. I’m not recommending my procedure to anyone who should not have alcohol at all, just something I do for the wife.

yeah, I mean I think you’d need to send it to a lab to get tested as I seem to have forgotten how to conduct that test from sophomore year high school chem!

I may try this with a gallon or so of my next batch to give it a shot. I suppose you could add some water back to make up the volume. I would guess the saison works the best because the esters/phenols don’t boil off (while hop compounds likely do, or at least denature)

White labs has an alcohol test kit that NB used to carry, although I didn’t see it when I checked just now. Unfortunately, it’s pricey($25-30). You send a sample to them and they test it. I did check the 1st batch I ever did before I fine-tuned my process and was able to get it down to 2% from 6%. Have not spent the $ since then.
And you are correct in that any time you bottle prime to carbonate you are adding back about 0.5% ABV. But commercial NA are allowed to be in that range.
Of course I’ve wondered- if you take an SG before neutering and an SG after, it should rise because alcohol lowers the SG. I wonder if it’s accurate to just do the math.

So, if you boil at 190, shouldn’t that kill any yeast left in the brew? I haven’t done a pasteurization yet, but will need to for a future brew. I think you couldn’t prime as usual, so force carb is what has to be done to get it bubbly. Sneezles61 :roll:

The first one I did bottle but added a little slurry to the bottling bucket. I was wondering about the home breast milk testers they sell to check for etoh

This may be a bit too much of a simplistic approach. I saw a video from Basic Brewing Radio where they froze a beer. Since water freezes faster than alcohol, could you freeze a brew, drain the alcohol, thaw out the brew and add only a portion of the alcohol back?

I never made an eisbock but I believe you freeze the beer and take out the ice crystals but the alcoholic part retains much of the flavor. With boiling off the alcohol the flavor remains in the liquid portion which we want. Of course you mustn’t collect the boiled off vapors which is illegal.

I believe it’s called angels wings which is also the name of a fine bourbon.

Yes it does. So after heating I would add back 1/4 packet of Munton’s cheapo yeast before bottling. Could use 1 tsp or so of yeast slurry if you have any hanging around.

AH, I see Jim. Thanks. Hey brew cat, isn’t distilled beer called scotch? Its what i’ve read but could be wrong… Sneezles61 :cheers:

Distilled beer can become Scotch. Back in the hills of Kentucky we called it “shine”.

If you boil off the alcohol, you must be very careful not to heat the beer in a sealed container with the vapor exiting to a cooling coil (such as an immersion chiller) which is cooled with running creek water and with the end of the coil dripping into a jug. I’ve seen such arrangements occur (by accident, of course) and the results were very exciting - I mean, unfortunate - especially when the wrong people discovered them.

Hey oldawg I see you aint saying something, er , meaning to give a recollection of something… :cheers:

If the hills I’m remembering could talk they’d be slurring their words pretty badly.