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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Anyone ever try to make a <1% alcohol beer?
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Old 11-09-2010, 08:11 PM   #1
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Default Anyone ever try to make a <1% alcohol beer?

I for one love beer but I don't particularly care for the effects of alcohol. anyone ever try to make a sub 1% session beer that still has flavor? and if i may ask how did you do it?

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Old 11-09-2010, 08:48 PM   #2
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Well, there's always malta, a soft drink popular in Latin-American/Hispanic/Carribean communities, brewed with beer ingredients (caramel malt, tiny bits of hops, and water, but apparently without yeast, hence no alcohol or way under 1%) and some corn syrup.

I'm mad for the stuff myself, but I really love sweet stuff. If I could brew a malta with alcohol, I'd be thrilled. It looks, when poured, like a gorgeous stout, but it's sweet, not unlike a soda. The body and carbonation are closer to beer than soda--not overly carbonated or fizzy--and it smells beery enough. I've been known to pour one into my snifter and thistle glasses and just enjoy it. Great on ice, too. No kidding.

There's an all-grain recipe for it here, but the guy's not forthcoming with replies via email, sadly:
http://askthebeerguy.com/beer-recipe...-latin-america

You can read about it here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malta_(soft_drink)

I'd say to go for it, seriously. Many supermarkets carry it in the international aisle, and many corner stores/bodegas in cities stock it. Common brands are Malta Goya and Malta India, but there are a great many "brewed" worldwide. Bring some of that to your next party and watch people's reactions! It looks the business when in a glass; definitely pour it into a glass, 'cause it smells GREAT and looks like a lovely dark beer.

I hope you like it.

As for brewing a <1% beer, my guess is that it wouldn't/couldn't have enough malt (or hops) in it to really taste like much at such a low gravity, and the body'd be all water.

Malta may be your best bet if you enjoy things on the sweet side. Better yet, don't think of it as beery and just enjoy the stuff.

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Old 11-09-2010, 08:55 PM   #3
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Well, you could get a regular beer recipe, reduce the base grain down to what'd give you 1% (keep the specialty grains the same) and then adjust with maltodextrin and malt extract when it's done to make it taste right.

Basically, during fermentation the yeast are turning the simple sugars (most of which come from the base malt) into alcohol and co2. The base grains also contribute complex sugars which give beer body and that "malt backbone" you hear about. Reducing the base malt reduces simple sugar, thus lowering alcohol, but you'll need to compensate for the reduced complex sugars and residual simple sugars by adding maltodextrin and malt extract after fermentation.

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Old 11-09-2010, 08:59 PM   #4
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Pretty sure it was BierMuncher that had success a couple years back at making an n/a beer. Basically made himself a good session beer and boiled off the alcohol. Might go looking for that thread.

EDIT: Here.

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Old 11-09-2010, 09:00 PM   #5
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You could always cold *ehem* distill it - but for the purposes of removing the alcohol. Basically - brew your favorite beer - ferment as normal, then freeze the heck out of it... remove the ice, leave the unfrozen liquid (*ehem*) - let the ice melt to liquid -- then carbonate... Note, you would need to either add yeast and sugar to carb into bottles or keg and force carb.

Oh and save the portion of liquid (*ehem*) that didn't freeze and send to me for proper disposal.

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Old 11-09-2010, 09:12 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ericd View Post
Well, you could get a regular beer recipe, reduce the base grain down to what'd give you 1% (keep the specialty grains the same) and then adjust with maltodextrin and malt extract when it's done to make it taste right.

Basically, during fermentation the yeast are turning the simple sugars (most of which come from the base malt) into alcohol and co2. The base grains also contribute complex sugars which give beer body and that "malt backbone" you hear about. Reducing the base malt reduces simple sugar, thus lowering alcohol, but you'll need to compensate for the reduced complex sugars and residual simple sugars by adding maltodextrin and malt extract after fermentation.
so basically provide less fermentable sugar and more fermentable sugar?
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Old 11-09-2010, 10:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nigel31 View Post
Well, there's always malta, a soft drink popular in Latin-American/Hispanic/Carribean communities, brewed with beer ingredients (caramel malt, tiny bits of hops, and water, but apparently without yeast, hence no alcohol or way under 1%) and some corn syrup.
I tried Malta India when I was Puerto Rico this past summer. Interesting taste, somewhat beer-like with a peanut/nutty aftertaste.

My non drinking buddy thought it was the worst tasting beverage he'd ever had.
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Old 11-09-2010, 10:33 PM   #8
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mash at 165

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Old 11-09-2010, 11:54 PM   #9
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mash at 165
+1 that! As I was reading the thread I was thinking that exact same thing. And there it was in the last post!
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Old 11-10-2010, 12:05 AM   #10
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I think you have few options to brew a low alcohol beer
1) start with a low OG and some good amount of unfermentable sugars, so the yeast doesn't have much to convert to alcohol. You will get a thin and watery beer.
2) start with higher OG and with a huge amount of unfermentable sugars. That will end with a very sweet beer.
3) start with normal OG, let it ferment at low temp for a while to get the alcohol you want, then pasteurize the beer.

I tried process #2 for a malzbier and it worked fine.

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