Non alcoholic beer?

My friend can no longer drink alcoholic beverages. Yet I would like him to be able to sample some of the brews we’ve been making. Could I brew one of my NB kits, then run it through my still, drawing off the majority of the alcohol, then keg it to get the level of carbonation i need. The beer would not have to boil to drive off the alcohol, just get up to around 190 degrees. But if it did boil would that be a problem? Would this idea even work. Just thinking we could make about a 5 gallon batch, treat a bout a gallon for him and all enjoy the taste.

Curiously, why could you not just transfer it from the boiling kettle to the primary fermenter, and just not add they yeast? Let the beer settle, and then bottle it from there? You’d have to force carbonate it with CO2, but wouldn’t that be non-alcoholic beer? You’re not fermenting it with yeast, and therefore, there is no alcohol. Is this too simple, or am I missing something?

Wouldn’t there be a lot of sugar if you didn’t put yeast in to eat it??

I’ve never tried, but what if you brewed a low gravity beer and brought the final product up to whatever temp burns off alcohol, then chilled it again.

Yeah, you’d basically end up with Malta Goya. Which is pretty foul tasting, IMHO.

Your idea will make non-alcoholic wort, not beer. It’s really not the same until the yeasties have done their thing.

My thought is that you could ferment the beer as normal, then boil off the alcohol. For a hoppy style, you may want to add some hops late in the boil or at flameout to replace what would be boiled off during the second boil. I’m too lazy to look up the boiling point of ethanol right now, but you could probably put your fermented beer in the oven a couple of degrees above that and hold it there for a while to evaporate most of the alcohol.

I’m pretty sure commercial N/A beers use a vacuum evaporation process.

Keep in mind that if you boil or heat the beer to drive off alcohol, the taste will change pretty dramatically. And all the alcohol won’t be driven off.

I also have a friend who loves beer but can’t drink alcohol. He’s said he’d love to have an NA IPA (IPNA?) and I’d love to brew one for him. I’m thinking about starting with a 1-gal test batch and going from there if it works. Tell me why this wouldn’t work:

  1. Assuming an all-grain batch, mash at about 156 for body, target OG 1.017-18.
  2. Do a 30 minute boil with bittering hops and some flavour and aroma.
  3. Cool, transfer to bottling bucket. Sprinkle in some yeast and gently mix.
  4. Bottle immediately.

This assumes that for standard priming there is approximately 1 volume of CO2 in the beer, but with the boiling there is nothing. Where 1 point of gravity yields .5 volumes of carbonation, I’d need 5 gravity points to yeild 2.5 vols of CO2. With a higher mash I’m going to assume fermentation would finish around 1.012-13, giving me my 5 point loss for sufficient carbonation and very little alcohol (0.66%). I think most NA beer come in around 0.5% ABV.

Am I missing something important here? Any comments on why this won’t work?

My father-in-law was an alcoholic. I made several beers for him and fully fermented them out, then put them in the oven (tight fight), an warmed them up to 175 degrees for an hour to drive off the alcohol. I added hops when their was 10 minutes left to add some aroma, cold crashed for a day or so, added bottling sugar and yeast, bottled, and made some very good beer. Yes, there was some residual alcohol, but in small amounts that allowed him to enjoy beer, but not go over the edge.

He has since passed away, but occationally I do the above to make a beer in his honor.

To clarify the above post, i transfered the fermented beer back into my boil kettle and put in the oven. Then transfered back into the fermentor (after cleaning and sterilizing) and cold crashed.

a & w?

Just a thanks to those who have replied and offered suggestions.

I ran my idea through some software and it seems there would still be too high of a fermentable/unfermentable ratio and I’d end up around 1.003, which is much more alcohol than I’m looking for. I’m still looking for a solution that doesn’t involve boiling off the alcohol, but I might be biting off more than I can chew.

A little late to the post, but if you put beer in your still the hop oils will foul up your still head and it can be very difficult to clean out.

I’ve never used anything but a pot still, so I don’t know about cleaning a still head on a reflux still. So here is my question: Why would hop oils volatilize at alcohol distillation temperatures? Wouldn’t any hop compounds that could volatilize below 212F already be gone after you boiled the wort and thus not be present in the beer you are distilling?

Depending on the beer style, a lot of the aromas and flavors from late addition hops would still be there at knockout, and then carried through the fermentation process.

So when you heat the beer back up, you’re volatilizing a lot more than just alcohol. You really need to hit 174, IIRC.

I have a partial growler full of red ale that didn’t fit in the keg, so I’ll give it a test in the next day or two. I want to know if there’s a way I can test the gravity after heating, to determining what the residual alcohol is.