Zero yeast beer

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brandonring

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Now that I have your attention...

I'm looking to brew a non alcoholic "beer". I'm not looking to debate semantics or definitions of beer. Just go with it.

Pregnant wife, curiosity, desire to drink good "beer" and be productive at work (self employed), driving through the country with a cold one sounds nice too. Don't overthink it.

My initial plan was to just not pitch yeast. Go through a regular brew day and go straight to keg after chilling with ice or more time on the plate chiller. Then quick carb (Blichman) and drink up. Tell me what I'm missing. I imagine any flavors imparted during fermentation would get wrecked by an alcohol boil off anyway.

Anybody want to talk me out of it before I waste a few hours on a weekend?

Wife wants a NA Pacifico clone. So I'm basically working with a barley/corn grain bill. Intending to do something more creative after this batch. I may brew an "IPA" day 1 as well.

Again I know beer must have yeast to be defined as beer. I'm just interested in taste notes and advice. Call it a barley fizzy tea if you'd like.
 

lumpher

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I wouldn't just brew, then keg and carb. Extremely sweet hoppy water doesn't sound good to me. I would suggest maybe a Tafelbier instead. It would still have alcohol, but very low levels of it. You can get some flavor in by specialty grains. You can make anything from 2% Trappist Singles to lagers.
 

Protos

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The drink won't be sweet and alcohol free. It gonna be awfully sour and still pretty alcoholic, fermented by the wild yeasts and bacteria. It gonna be definitely fizzy, but also fuzzy (as in bacterial pellicle on top).
 

RM-MN

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I've tasted wort (which is what you are describing) once. Once was enough. Either brew a very low alcohol beer, heat beer to "boil off" the alcohol, or buy commercially produced low alcohol or no alcohol beer.
 

day_trippr

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The drink won't be sweet and alcohol free. It gonna be awfully sour and still pretty alcoholic, fermented by the wild yeasts and bacteria. It gonna be definitely fizzy, but also fuzzy (as in bacterial pellicle on top).

Well, that's one side of a coin-flip, isn't it? If boiled wort is treated with [rather extreme] care to prevent spoilage (as opposed to your scenario, where presumably lactobacillus survived the boil) it will indeed be a sappy sweet concoction - one that I bet would be a "one and done" deal for most, because I've tasted post-boil/pre-pitch hydro samples and that's not something I enjoy in significant amounts...

Cheers!
 

Nate R

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I'm with the others here...better off buying...hop water is a great sub for the pregnant peoples.
Yeah. Laguaintas hop water... sierra nevada has one, too.
Maybe try a home "brew" hop tea? Super duper weak hop tea... maybe add a dash of salt/lime? Drop some light seasoning in there too? That yummy Mexican candy (tamarind?) and/or the tahin (?) seasoning?

I would not mess with grains for all the above reasons.
 

DBhomebrew

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Some conversation and imbedded links...

 

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Well, that's one side of a coin-flip, isn't it? If boiled wort is treated with [rather extreme] care to prevent spoilage (as opposed to your scenario, where presumably lactobacillus survived the boil) it will indeed be a sappy sweet concoction
With no pasteurization (which the original post doesn't mention of) infection is inevitable. Not from lactobacillus surviving the boil but from airborne bacteria getting into the wort during chilling and kegging. Sterile chamber wasn't mentioned either.
 

Cameronl

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My initial plan was to just not pitch yeast. Go through a regular brew day and go straight to keg after chilling with ice or more time on the plate chiller. Then quick carb (Blichman) and drink up. Tell me what I'm missing. I imagine any flavors imparted during fermentation would get wrecked by an alcohol boil off anyway.
Sounds like Malta. Unfermented wort soda. Very sweet, very delicious.
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mashpaddled

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You might be able to find Malta Goya at a grocery store that sells Latin ingredients (sometimes supermarkets have it) which is basically carbonated wort. Maybe let her try that before you commit to brewing a larger volume. If she doesn't like it you can use the other bottles for starters.

If she wants something like Pacifico you'll have a tough time getting there. Mexican lagers are dry and crisp which is going to be tough even with a low gravity, all pilsner base. You might get close making a small batch of tea out of pilsner and a little corn, boil some hops in a small amount of water, blend both with a lot of water in a keg and carbonate it. Give it the taste of grain with some bitterness but not as much sweetness. The hops will help keep bacteria at bay but you still risk wild yeast infections. Keep the keg cold at all times and plan for her to drink through it fairly quickly. Half keg batches might help with that. Ultimately, you might be better off just buying an NA lager.
 

Drewch

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use a kombucha scooby to ferment it?

as far as i know scoby ferment both sugar AND alcohol, but not into vinegar? into some ester of vinegar?

From what I've read, most SCOBYs aren't going to do well with wort ... at least not if you don't spend time retraining them from simple/fruit sugars to maltose & more complex sugars.
 

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If you’ve ever tried sweet wort prior to yeast pitch, you should have an idea of the flavor you’re going to get with your current plan.

What you’ve described will taste nothing like beer. I’m certainly not crapping on your plan, just saying it’ll taste nothing like the Pacifico your wife is asking for. I wouldn’t say you can’t or shouldn’t do it, I’d simply encourage a realistic expectation.
 

bracconiere

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If you’ve ever tried sweet wort prior to yeast pitch, you should have an idea of the flavor you’re going to get with your current plan.

What you’ve described will taste nothing like beer. I’m certainly not crapping on your plan, just saying it’ll taste nothing like the Pacifico your wife is asking for. I wouldn’t say you can’t or shouldn’t do it, I’d simply encourage a realistic expectation.


you know your comment gave me an idea....is it possible to freeze distill SUGAR out of unfermented wort? instead of concentrating alcohol, just removing the sugar? (which could then be saved and used even!)
 

Drewch

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But to the OP's original question, I think if you want to go this route, just use some specialty malts (biscuit or chocolate) and make a tea of sorts with them and some hops.

I'd expect anything involving an actual mash with conversion to be unpleasantly sweet.
 

hamachi

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Here's a thought:
  1. Start with a cold mash, as used to make low-alcohol beers.
  2. To avoid too much of a grainy taste, let the starch settle to the bottom for a few hours; then drain off the supernatant.
  3. Boil and chill some hop tea, and add to the cool "wort".
  4. Keg and carbonate.
The result should be less sickly sweet than hopped converted wort would be. And with the low sugar content, perhaps the antibacterial properties of the hops will be enough to keep it from going off.
 

DrKnow

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I have experience and can help here. First choose a yeast that stops at a consistent known gravity for you. For example US05 consistently stops at 1.010, 34/70 at 1.008 (with my process/system, your results may vary). Target your typical mash ph with salts/acid. Acidify ALL sparge water to 5.2 to avoid extracting tannins in the sparge.
A .003 drop in SG points comes out to an abv of about 3.9% (by law, .5% abv and lower is considered non alcoholic beer). With the knowledge that US05 stops like clockwork for me at 1.010, I would target an SG of 1.013 (1.013-1.010=.003=.39% abv). Adjust accordingly for yeast strain of your choice.

A few other tips:
1. Keep the BU:GU ratio around .5 to .6, using your brewing software to calculate this. With such a low gravity beer, bitterness goes a long way.
2. Mash warm. Nothing crazy but say high 150s F.
3. Super important about watching your PH (see above). This will be a shockingly small mash with an alarming amount of sparge water. Relax and trust the process.
4. Keg, force carb and keep cold. Serve on freshly cleaned tap/lines. I know NA beers are prone to infection/spoilage. That is why you rarely find them on tap. I have had them last for months with this process without any issues whatsoever.
5. I have done side by side comparisons with other NA yeasts with a panel of tasters. Nothing super scientific, no triangle tests or anything. But real brewers yeast and a slight bit of fermentation seemed to produce the best results. I’m guessing the yeast produces the fermentation byproducts, lowers the ph, and adds a tiny amount of alcohol so that it tastes more like regular beer. It will still taste just the slightest bit like wort. But this gave me much better results than the LA-01 yeast mentioned above. Yes there will be .39% abv, but as long as your wife doesn’t down the whole keg in one sitting, I’m pretty sure it will be fine.
6. If anyone has any further questions, I’ll try to help. Good luck.
 

bracconiere

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A .003 drop in SG points comes out to an abv of about 3.9% (by law, .5% abv and lower is considered non alcoholic beer). With the knowledge that US05 stops like clockwork for me at 1.010, I would target an SG of 1.013 (1.013-1.010=.003=.39% abv). Adjust accordingly for yeast strain of your choice.


not to critize, but what's keeping the FG at ~1.010?
 
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brandonring

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I have experience and can help here. First choose a yeast that stops at a consistent known gravity for you. For example US05 consistently stops at 1.010, 34/70 at 1.008 (with my process/system, your results may vary). Target your typical mash ph with salts/acid. Acidify ALL sparge water to 5.2 to avoid extracting tannins in the sparge.
A .003 drop in SG points comes out to an abv of about 3.9% (by law, .5% abv and lower is considered non alcoholic beer). With the knowledge that US05 stops like clockwork for me at 1.010, I would target an SG of 1.013 (1.013-1.010=.003=.39% abv). Adjust accordingly for yeast strain of your choice.

A few other tips:
1. Keep the BU:GU ratio around .5 to .6, using your brewing software to calculate this. With such a low gravity beer, bitterness goes a long way.
2. Mash warm. Nothing crazy but say high 150s F.
3. Super important about watching your PH (see above). This will be a shockingly small mash with an alarming amount of sparge water. Relax and trust the process.
4. Keg, force carb and keep cold. Serve on freshly cleaned tap/lines. I know NA beers are prone to infection/spoilage. That is why you rarely find them on tap. I have had them last for months with this process without any issues whatsoever.
5. I have done side by side comparisons with other NA yeasts with a panel of tasters. Nothing super scientific, no triangle tests or anything. But real brewers yeast and a slight bit of fermentation seemed to produce the best results. I’m guessing the yeast produces the fermentation byproducts, lowers the ph, and adds a tiny amount of alcohol so that it tastes more like regular beer. It will still taste just the slightest bit like wort. But this gave me much better results than the LA-01 yeast mentioned above. Yes there will be .39% abv, but as long as your wife doesn’t down the whole keg in one sitting, I’m pretty sure it will be fine.
6. If anyone has any further questions, I’ll try to help. Good luck.
Great advice. Thanks. I'll try this method as well.

I really don't get the spoilage concerns. I would still be doing a boil. In theory I have less possibilities for contaminants. Unless the argument is that 5% alcohol is enough to kill bacteria. Which the existence of "sours" disproves.

To clarify I'm going from a boil to adding the cleanest ice possible to get down to a final gravity similar to my target beer. This should alleviate concerns about it being "too sweet".

Also.... You guys don't taste your wort? I literally do on every batch. It's always good imo.

Anyways I'll post results around the 13th.

Thanks for replying.
 

DrKnow

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not to critize, but what's keeping the FG at ~1.010?
@bracconiere If you read closely I explained that I was using yeasts that I am VERY familiar with that seem to stop like clockwork at specific FGs. I have brewed probably thousands of both commercial and homebrew batches over the years, and this has been my experience under most normal circumstances. Outliers like mashing at 140 for 5 hours etc, could produce different results (as would different strains of yeast). But most standard mashes from say 148F to 158F produce these FGs for me. Adding enzymes/cross contamination/broken thermometer, etc could potentially affect the outcome.
@brandonring
Check out episode 048 of the Brü Lab podcast. That is a whole episode about spoilage of low alcohol/NA beers from draft dispense equipment. Low or no alcohol and lower hop loads tend to make them more susceptible to spoilage organisms. That’s the gist of it. Seems to make sense to me. Like I said, I’ve had no problems. But I figure it’s simple enough to clean the line as cheap insurance. I am by no means the end all be all of making NA beers. I just figured I would share what I have found makes a great end product that actually tastes like “beer” and not “wort.”
 

bracconiere

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@bracconiere If you read closely I explained that I was using yeasts that I am VERY familiar with that seem to stop like clockwork at specific FGs. I have brewed probably thousands of both commercial and homebrew batches over the years, and this has been my experience under most normal circumstances. Outliers like mashing at 140 for 5 hours etc, could produce different results (as would different strains of yeast). But most standard mashes from say 148F to 158F produce these FGs for me. Adding enzymes/cross contamination/broken thermometer, etc could potentially affect the outcome.


huh, if you say so...i would have thought you'd still have to have a higher OG then 1.013 to get a FG of 1.010...because just because the yeast don't handle dextrins or what not, you'd still have to have them present, for a FG like that....
 

Andres Falconer

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So… we’re back to adding yeast, despite the OP’s plan. That’s sounds like the reasonable thing to do. Yes, the sweet wort may taste good, if that’s what you’re after. Most fermentable liquids - apple or grape juice, honey water, milk… - are delicious. But nothing like their fermented cousins. We know that yeast does a lot more than eat sugars and make alcohol.
 

CascadesBrewer

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I really don't get the spoilage concerns. I would still be doing a boil. In theory I have less possibilities for contaminants. Unless the argument is that 5% alcohol is enough to kill bacteria. Which the existence of "sours" disproves.

There are several things in a beer that help to keep it safe. One is the alcohol that will kill off many microbes. Another is the drop in pH that occurs during fermentation. Also, the yeast has consumed all of the simple sugars. These are factors that are very important with making NA beers. There are very few toxins that can survive in fermented beer, but there are toxins that can live in sugary water.

If you read closely I explained that I was using yeasts that I am VERY familiar with that seem to stop like clockwork at specific FGs. I have brewed probably thousands of both commercial and homebrew batches over the years, and this has been my experience under most normal circumstances.

Yeah, that is not how yeast works. You probably get a similar attenuation level with a yeast like US-05. So if you are getting 80% attenuation, then your 1.050 wort will finish at 1.010, but if you start at 1.025 or 1.100, I would not expect the yeast to just stop at 1.010.
 

mashpaddled

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@bracconiere If you read closely I explained that I was using yeasts that I am VERY familiar with that seem to stop like clockwork at specific FGs. I have brewed probably thousands of both commercial and homebrew batches over the years, and this has been my experience under most normal circumstances. Outliers like mashing at 140 for 5 hours etc, could produce different results (as would different strains of yeast). But most standard mashes from say 148F to 158F produce these FGs for me. Adding enzymes/cross contamination/broken thermometer, etc could potentially affect the outcome.

Yeah that's just not how yeast work. They don't hit a specific gravity and clock out because there's a certain amount of sugar left behind. You hit FG because you've maxed out their attenuation. If you put US05 into a 1.013 OG wort it's not stopping at 1.010 unless you arrest fermentation or that's all the fermentable sugar available.

All you've proven is that when you follow a repeatable process repeatedly, you repeat the same results.
 

bwible

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There were some big articles about cold mashing recently. Basically extracts flavors with no or very little enzyme activity and produces low alcohol. Though most people who do it are doing it with the specialty grains for increased flavors. Might make an experiment, if somebody hasn’t done it already.

I agree you need to ferment to some degree with yeast. This says you can make a cold mash beer that is 1 to 1.5%

 
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DrKnow

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There are several things in a beer that help to keep it safe. One is the alcohol that will kill off many microbes. Another is the drop in pH that occurs during fermentation. Also, the yeast has consumed all of the simple sugars. These are factors that are very important with making NA beers. There are very few toxins that can survive in fermented beer, but there are toxins that can live in sugary water.



Yeah, that is not how yeast works. You probably get a similar attenuation level with a yeast like US-05. So if you are getting 80% attenuation, then your 1.050 wort will finish at 1.010, but if you start at 1.025 or 1.100, I would not expect the yeast to just stop at 1.010.
 

DrKnow

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@CascadesBrewer
I am well aware how yeast works. I wouldn’t be shooting for 1.100 and expecting US05 to reach 1.010. I also would not target an OG of 1.100 for a non alcoholic beer. As I outlined in my process, we are targeting specific parameters to reach a specific goal: a non alcoholic beer that tastes like beer. Just trying to help the OP and anyone else with a method that has worked repeatedly for me. If you want to lecture me on yeast behavior under these circumstances, I’d urge you to follow the process outlined and report your results before trying to “educate” me on how yeast works.
@mashpaddled
Repeating a process repeatedly that works is usually good practice. In all the NA batches that I brewed, there was no need to arrest fermentation. It’s done in a day or two, but I let them sit for a week or two and kegged as normal. The process was designed to only produce a few points of gravity for the yeast to consume. That’s kind of the whole point. Once again, if this NA thing interests you, try this method out. I’ll bet you $5 the process works.
 
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If we use @DrKnow's process, then the beer will come out below the .5% threshold, but that does not seem to be enough alcohol to limit infection, correct?

1. Could this be brewed in the keg itself (assuming one could manage fermentation temp) so that there is less chance of infection? It wouldn't be too much pressure as to mess with the yeast performance, would it, because that's about how much fermentable sugars we use to carbonate bottles and kegs, correct?
2. Couldn't pH be lowered enough through acid additions to make for a hostile environment for infections? Not entirely to sour level, but perhaps more sour than the standard mash low-end threshold of 5.2?
3. Since hops are shown to limit bacteria as whirlpool and dry hop additions, could these beers be hopped enough to limit infection?
 

Gilbert Spinning Horse

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I know you can buy a thing that goes on top of the grainfather for distilling. Presumably this allows the alcohol to boil off and presumably this would leave you with non-alcoholic beer on one side.
 

Hoppy2bmerry

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Now that I have your attention...

I'm looking to brew a non alcoholic "beer". I'm not looking to debate semantics or definitions of beer. Just go with it.

Pregnant wife, curiosity, desire to drink good "beer" and be productive at work (self employed), driving through the country with a cold one sounds nice too. Don't overthink it.

My initial plan was to just not pitch yeast. Go through a regular brew day and go straight to keg after chilling with ice or more time on the plate chiller. Then quick carb (Blichman) and drink up. Tell me what I'm missing. I imagine any flavors imparted during fermentation would get wrecked by an alcohol boil off anyway.

Anybody want to talk me out of it before I waste a few hours on a weekend?

Wife wants a NA Pacifico clone. So I'm basically working with a barley/corn grain bill. Intending to do something more creative after this batch. I may brew an "IPA" day 1 as well.

Again I know beer must have yeast to be defined as beer. I'm just interested in taste notes and advice. Call it a barley fizzy tea if you'd like.
Have you tasted wort before it’s been fermented? Tastes nothing like beer unless you are comparing it to an overly sweet pastry stout- maybe.
Perhaps some carbonated “hop tea” would be a suitable substitution. 🤷‍♀️
 
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It doesn't affect us home-brewers, but here is an article about industry thoughts on the NA issue.

 

bracconiere

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If you want to lecture me on yeast behavior under these circumstances, I’d urge you to follow the process outlined and report your results

duel accepted! i will see who gets to maintain their honor! i am going into this 1 gallon brew, shooting for 1.013...damn the pack of us-05 set me back $6!

my guess, "i'll get something around FG .998, and a ABV of 1.5-2% ABV"


(yes i included the quotes, so if i lose this bet you can have bragging rights!)
 

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@CascadesBrewer
I am well aware how yeast works. I wouldn’t be shooting for 1.100 and expecting US05 to reach 1.010. I also would not target an OG of 1.100 for a non alcoholic beer. As I outlined in my process, we are targeting specific parameters to reach a specific goal: a non alcoholic beer that tastes like beer. Just trying to help the OP and anyone else with a method that has worked repeatedly for me. If you want to lecture me on yeast behavior under these circumstances, I’d urge you to follow the process outlined and report your results before trying to “educate” me on how yeast works.
@mashpaddled
Repeating a process repeatedly that works is usually good practice. In all the NA batches that I brewed, there was no need to arrest fermentation. It’s done in a day or two, but I let them sit for a week or two and kegged as normal. The process was designed to only produce a few points of gravity for the yeast to consume. That’s kind of the whole point. Once again, if this NA thing interests you, try this method out. I’ll bet you $5 the process works.

It doesn't and there's no scientific support for what you describe.
 

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shooting for 1.013
It'll be interesting to see what happens, for sure. Stating the obvious maybe consider basically making a large yeast starter? You could fairly predictably hit an OG with a known amount of water and DME. You could still boil it and add a little hops to it.

On topic - I wondered if you could make a semi-normal beer, but for hops only use boil hops. Then heat just enough to drive off the alcohol. Then basically add some hops to it on the cool-down cycle to bring it back to some flavors you would be expecting?
 
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