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Brewing Near Beers?

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angry_gopher

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How would one go about this? Seems tempting to just do a low gravity wort but how would I get a super low ABV without sacrificing the taste & body?
 

Chris Walker

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I believe you just brew a standard batch, then when fermentation is complete heat it to >175F which will "boil" off the alcohol. No idea how long you have to hold it at that temp (depends on OG) and never done it before myself. Since there will be little to no active yeast left you will have to force CO2 carb.

As to not sacrificing taste....I don't think that is possible. You "may" end up with a drinkable beverage but it will be different and certainly not as good in flavour.
 

Lefou

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Another option would be brewing a lighter ale with a low to moderately attenuative yeast, and estimating a desired ABV by adjusting your starting gravity. You chance a drier, thin, hoppy beer when using high alpha bittering hops so it's better to consider noble hops to keep the IBUs toward the low side.
In my opinion, anything with a gravity of 1.045 or lower is a "near beer". :D
The beer I'm drinking now is considered a "light" beer and had an observed gravity measured with a hydrometer near 1.040-42. Not quite a Leichtbier and not quite a Kolsch by BJCP standards even though I used a Kolsch yeast to ferment.
It's very light and dry, well-carbed but has a good toasted Vienna flavor with very little residual sweetness. One 22oz bomber is very tolerable and the alcohol content is barely noticeable, leaving behind a noble Saaz hop essence on the tongue that isn't too bitter.
 
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Lefou

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"Near beer" or low gravity beers caught my interest, too.
Although my dad is pushing 74 and is diabetic, he's been cleared by his doctor to drink beers like Michelob Light, which is a low calorie, low ABV beer. He knows I brew my own, so to speak, so I got involved with experimenting with highly fermentable, low gravity wort recipes that could be bottle carbed.
Having a respect and liking for German-style beers led me to their lighter types and got me to thinking about how to balance flavors and body without overly compromising the style too much. I'm looking for clarity, low perceived bitterness, and low ABV without losing too much flavor. My next attempt will probably include a portion of rye and slightly higher mash temp to help with the slight lack of body a dry beer experiences, but experimenting is half the fun.
 
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