Brewing alcohol free

Share your experiences of using brewing yeast.
Post Reply
Kingfisher4
Piss Artist
Posts: 294
Joined: Tue Jun 27, 2017 11:03 pm
Location: Derbyshire, UK

Re: Brewing alcohol free

Post by Kingfisher4 » Mon May 27, 2019 12:06 am

Robwalkeragain wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 5:01 pm
Jim wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 1:06 pm
Well I never thought when I started this forum that there'd ever be a thread on it about no-alcohol brewing! :lol:

It's a good move though - I can't remember how many times I've avoided drinking beer because I had to drive later or had something important to do early the next morning. Plus there's the health benefits, especially for the more ...er... mature of us. :)
Honestly with the better options available like Big Drop it’s feeling less and less like you’re missing out drinking alcohol free beer, there’s certainly a growing demographic that enjoy the social side of drinking without the after effects!
Big Drop looks very interesting, will try to source a couple of their beers, especially the stout and brown to start.

Their grain bills also include either rye or wheat, but all their beers use lactose for unfermentable "mouthfeel", from their own publicity. Never yet used lactose so tips on how, at what stage and how much to try in this low ABV context would be another useful avenue to explore. Early tasting of my 2 initial attempts unsurprisingly seem to lack body and mouthfeel but are a good starting point otherwise. Happy to try a low ABV stout if that would be it's best initial application but Big Drop appear to use it as their main difference to other attempts at commercial low ABV beer.

User avatar
PeeBee
Lost in an Alcoholic Haze
Posts: 588
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 2:50 pm
Location: North Wales

Re: Brewing alcohol free

Post by PeeBee » Mon May 27, 2019 8:58 am

Kingfisher4 wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 12:06 am
Big Drop looks very interesting, will try to source a couple of their beers, especially the stout and brown to start.

Their grain bills also include either rye or wheat, but all their beers use lactose for unfermentable "mouthfeel", from their own publicity. Never yet used lactose so tips on how, at what stage and how much to try in this low ABV context would be another useful avenue to explore. Early tasting of my 2 initial attempts unsurprisingly seem to lack body and mouthfeel but are a good starting point otherwise. Happy to try a low ABV stout if that would be it's best initial application but Big Drop appear to use it as their main difference to other attempts at commercial low ABV beer.
Choice of "Big Drop" beers may not inspire you. In my opinion (and many others) the stout is very so-so. The Pale Ale which you haven't included 'to start' is by far the best and quite impressive too. Big Drop Pale Ale is what inspired me to experiment with low-alcohol brewing! Brewdog "Nanny State" was originally the spark of inspiration (!), but it has fallen off the radar now in the face of much better competition (like Big Drop).

Lactose I found to be a bit of a dead end, but might work in a "milk stout" type? I got some maltodextrin to try instead of lactose but haven't used it yet because you can do so much more with the high temperature mashing. Lactose can be added late in the boil or boiled in a solution and added at kegging/bottling time (doesn't skew your gravity reading during the making that way). Lactose doesn't bring any flavour, just sweetness (a good bit less than sucrose), and I think you'll find the "unfermentable mouthfeel" a bit underwhelming too.

An unexpected solution for mouthfeel I found was "maturation". I never expected such weak beer would need maturing. But what starts as "flavoured water" matures in a few weeks to something that pulls the flavours together, becomes more "rounded" and has substantially more "mouthfeel".

Kingfisher4
Piss Artist
Posts: 294
Joined: Tue Jun 27, 2017 11:03 pm
Location: Derbyshire, UK

Re: Brewing alcohol free

Post by Kingfisher4 » Mon May 27, 2019 11:32 am

Great to have someone so far ahead in this to help guide us and reduce the blind alleys, thanks again PeeBee. I had bypassed the Pale ale as I prefer English hops to the citrus American ones generally but will certainly give that a go too.

I wouldn't have expected the maturation effect either so look forward to that potential and will try to remember to note any changes over time (which I know I'm not very diligent about with most of my brews).

User avatar
PeeBee
Lost in an Alcoholic Haze
Posts: 588
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 2:50 pm
Location: North Wales

Re: Brewing alcohol free

Post by PeeBee » Sun Jul 21, 2019 3:24 pm

domejunky wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 5:25 pm
… I've just started playing with overnight 10°C mash after reading this:

http://blog.brewingwithbriess.com/cold- ... lications/

First turned out OKish - 0.8% - amazing head and mouth feel, bit dry though. I shall be nicking a few tips from above
I was a bit sceptical about this, especially when you were proposing to combine the technique with some of what I was suggesting. I initially got the impression that both techniques (cold and very hot mashing) were mutually exclusive.

But after a bit of studying (two months!) they are not mutually exclusive at all. I think I just needed to read that Briess article a little more carefully. From the Briess article:
Conversion: Contrary to traditional brewing the conversion process happens after the solid portion has been removed from the liquid.
The conversion is necessary to reduce unconverted starch to soluble carbohydrates.
Conversion can be accomplish with cold extracted wort alone or in the presence of additional malts/grains, in which case this secondary mash will need to be lautered.
It wasn't clear to me from this that it did mean raising the cold mash to normal mashing temperatures. Everyone else seemed to get it, but not me. It was only after reading the same "fantasy" in this article http://hornbrewing.com/blog/2019/02/10/ ... bv-saison/ that it began to click.

So I'll shortly be kicking off a new low-alcohol brew (I'm running very low, I'll end up drinking the "four-star leaded" stuff every day) and will use this "hybridised" method. Initially just to steep the caramel/crystal malts at the elevated temperature (I know they steep almost as well in the cold mash, but … ), the grain will help clear some of the junk washed through from the cold mash. The elevated mash will be at 74C so any starch conversion will go to dextrins and any existing dextrins (not many 'cos cold mashing doesn't encourage them) won't readily convert to highly fermentable maltose. I might play more with this extra "hot" step at a later date, but I've enough mucking about for an initial evaluation.

I'll use four times the base malts I would have used in such beer during the cold mash (2kg each Munich and wheat malts in 18L). I'm planning to quickly repeat the recipe hot mashed with "normal" amounts of malt (500g each) so as to have a side-by-side comparison.

User avatar
domejunky
Steady Drinker
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Oct 11, 2011 7:58 pm
Location: I can smell France...

Re: Brewing alcohol free

Post by domejunky » Tue Jul 23, 2019 12:44 pm

PeeBee wrote:
domejunky wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 5:25 pm
… I've just started playing with overnight 10°C mash after reading this:

http://blog.brewingwithbriess.com/cold- ... lications/

First turned out OKish - 0.8% - amazing head and mouth feel, bit dry though. I shall be nicking a few tips from above
I was a bit sceptical about this, especially when you were proposing to combine the technique with some of what I was suggesting. I initially got the impression that both techniques (cold and very hot mashing) were mutually exclusive.

But after a bit of studying (two months!) they are not mutually exclusive at all. I think I just needed to read that Briess article a little more carefully. From the Briess article:
Conversion: Contrary to traditional brewing the conversion process happens after the solid portion has been removed from the liquid.
The conversion is necessary to reduce unconverted starch to soluble carbohydrates.
Conversion can be accomplish with cold extracted wort alone or in the presence of additional malts/grains, in which case this secondary mash will need to be lautered.
It wasn't clear to me from this that it did mean raising the cold mash to normal mashing temperatures. Everyone else seemed to get it, but not me. It was only after reading the same "fantasy" in this article http://hornbrewing.com/blog/2019/02/10/ ... bv-saison/ that it began to click.

So I'll shortly be kicking off a new low-alcohol brew (I'm running very low, I'll end up drinking the "four-star leaded" stuff every day) and will use this "hybridised" method. Initially just to steep the caramel/crystal malts at the elevated temperature (I know they steep almost as well in the cold mash, but … ), the grain will help clear some of the junk washed through from the cold mash. The elevated mash will be at 74C so any starch conversion will go to dextrins and any existing dextrins (not many 'cos cold mashing doesn't encourage them) won't readily convert to highly fermentable maltose. I might play more with this extra "hot" step at a later date, but I've enough mucking about for an initial evaluation.

I'll use four times the base malts I would have used in such beer during the cold mash (2kg each Munich and wheat malts in 18L). I'm planning to quickly repeat the recipe hot mashed with "normal" amounts of malt (500g each) so as to have a side-by-side comparison.
Keep us posted - particularly on how well the lautering aspect works. Been a bit wary after losing an element to my first batch

User avatar
PeeBee
Lost in an Alcoholic Haze
Posts: 588
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 2:50 pm
Location: North Wales

Re: Brewing alcohol free

Post by PeeBee » Tue Jul 23, 2019 7:27 pm

domejunky wrote:
Tue Jul 23, 2019 12:44 pm
Keep us posted - particularly on how well the lautering aspect works. Been a bit wary after losing an element to my first batch
I'm ready to give it a go tomorrow. I'd underestimated the work involved getting things ready - preparing the water and weighing and grinding the grain was what I'm used to, but it needed chilling for the cold mash (extraction). Finding suitable containers and making room in the modified chest freezer (aka beer store - I'll get around to converting it to a "kegerator" in time) was a struggle. I'm sure it'll get easier with familiarity … if it is successful enough for me to want to make it familiar.

I'll heed your warning about the element, but only the finest debris might cause me an issue because both the cold and hot mashes will be continuously recirculated (Grainfather).

I'll also be playing about with my OG "normalisation" ideas this time around too. OGs for these low alcohol beers are not normal! I'm blaming this for still having over-hopping issues despite using the IBU/OG ratio idea and getting some success. I'm using "Cobb Goldings" pellets (one of the reappearing UK varieties that have just been lumped under "Goldings" until just recently). This brew is calculating 3.4 IBU (when I started playing with these recipes I was hopping for ten times that).

User avatar
PeeBee
Lost in an Alcoholic Haze
Posts: 588
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 2:50 pm
Location: North Wales

Re: Brewing alcohol free

Post by PeeBee » Wed Jul 24, 2019 4:41 pm

9AM start. Chilled (and measured) water and cold extraction grains out of fridge. Mix together in prepared Grainfather, temperature bang on 10C (all luck, not much judgement). All going swimmingly. Not quite, pH was estimated as 5.4 and its 5.7, but who knows what's going on at these temperatures. Mixing the grain is easy 'cos at these temperatures it doesn't seem to "ball".
20190724_100354_WEB.jpg
The GF "top-plate" is fixed for these "full-boil-volume-mashes" hence it looks a bit high. After 1 hour measuring 2.4BRIX and temperature crept up to 12C (that's 1.009 in SG). Turbid wort but nothing like as turbid as the Briess article, and not green! Disappointed about latter so Kermit goes back in cupboard having missed the photo opportunity. At 1-3/4 hours 1.9BRIX (1.011). Oddly the grain bed is getting less porous so the "top-plate" disappears …
20190724_104630_WEB.jpg
20 minutes later no change to refractometer reading so lift grain basket and start ramping temperature up to 72C.
20190724_111831_WEB.jpg
Clean out grain basket and put back in GF. Add remaining grain for 30 minute hot mash, remove (didn't drain easy, loads of protein matter), ramp up to boil for 30 minutes. Cool and hold at 80C and add steep hops. Cool and "keg". Add dry hops in a "hop basket" (there's no point waiting until the barely existent ferment ends). The keg's gone in the fridge for an hour or two 'cos it was still a bit warm (28C).

OG 1.020. Yikes, I wasn't expecting that! I wouldn't say the wort tastes sweet, but it certainly tastes (very, very) grainy. Should be interesting? I'll go add yeast now and dig out the regulator I use as a "spunding" valve.

User avatar
PeeBee
Lost in an Alcoholic Haze
Posts: 588
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 2:50 pm
Location: North Wales

Re: Brewing alcohol free

Post by PeeBee » Wed Jul 24, 2019 5:39 pm

domejunky wrote:
Tue Jul 23, 2019 12:44 pm
Keep us posted - particularly on how well the lautering aspect works. Been a bit wary after losing an element to my first batch
I was so sure I'd be safe from "element burn" because of the constant recirculation and filtering through grain bed. But look at this!
20190724_170713_WEB.jpg
I didn't have to worry from debris, this is grain "omelette", protein matter cooked on the element but fortunately flaked off again. You are right to be very wary about this process!

The brew day lasted six hours, and there's a bit of clearing up to do still (say seven hours). That's the same as one of my full-on brew days. So it had better work very well to make it worth it.

Where did all that "protein matter" come from? This is the grain basket after the "hot mash". Sorry, I've been digging about in it! But there's a hell of a lot more "protein matter" than I'm used to.
20190724_173034_WEB.jpg

ingo
Steady Drinker
Posts: 51
Joined: Wed May 30, 2018 1:15 pm
Location: Netherlands

Re: Brewing alcohol free

Post by ingo » Mon Sep 02, 2019 10:19 pm

PeeBee wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 3:24 pm
But after a bit of studying (two months!) they are not mutually exclusive at all. I think I just needed to read that Briess article a little more carefully. From the Briess article:
Conversion: Contrary to traditional brewing the conversion process happens after the solid portion has been removed from the liquid.
The conversion is necessary to reduce unconverted starch to soluble carbohydrates.
How much starch is there? Starch has to gelatinised before it can be attacked by enzymes and in cold water it can't unfold it's 'tentacles'. So it's still in granule form and not dissolved or hydrolysed. As I understood, during malting it isn't long enough at a high enough temperature to stay gelatinised so it returns to its granule state.Then again, when going to a boil from 20°C if there's something to convert it will along the way up in temperature.
Cold mashing is something I do for 'difficult brews' to create an enzyme booster as they are easily dissolved in the cold water. Usefull especially for big rye beers and big stouts, add the booster at the end of mashing or even to the copper when the temperature is about 70°C.
For low alcohol beers for me the process delivers rather thin beers, I haven't tried an addition of dextrin malts to get some body. Munton's mild seems a good candidate.

Ingo

User avatar
PeeBee
Lost in an Alcoholic Haze
Posts: 588
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 2:50 pm
Location: North Wales

Re: Brewing alcohol free

Post by PeeBee » Tue Sep 03, 2019 1:09 am

ingo wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 10:19 pm
How much starch is there? …
So you reckon not much starch can be made available for conversion? Welcome to low alcohol brewing!

ingo
Steady Drinker
Posts: 51
Joined: Wed May 30, 2018 1:15 pm
Location: Netherlands

Re: Brewing alcohol free

Post by ingo » Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:11 am

Not being a native speaker and being aware of British understatement, I'm not sure what you men here. Do you mean "there's more than you think"?
I think there is only a little amount of starch (compared to a full mashing scheme) after mashing cold (<20°C), but never measured it. It could be deduced from the cold mash SG and the post boil SG. The wort has some sugar, and is taste full especially when using Muenchner or aromatic malts. Don't use the crystal malts as you'll get too much sugar. Brown and black work well, I use the latter in the boil @ 15 min.

During the gelatinisation process the starch in the granule unfolds, water molecules get in between the 'tentacles'. This also happens to a degree during malting. When kilning the malt water evaporates and the starch crystallises again. To unfold it has to be in a watery environment at a certain temperature range (different per grain), barley malt ~62-68°C.
To prevent recristallisation you have to increase the temperature even more, boil for a longer period of time 15+ minutes. Now the starch is hydrolysed, partley broken down and goes into solution. This is what the Americans do with their cereal cookers for adjuncts.

Edit: Forgot to mention, yeast choice. To get some body and sweetness in the beer look for yeasts that produce glycerol, some 'wilder' yeasts produce quite a bit of it (Belle Saison) and there are a few usable wine yeasts out there that do it.


Ingo

User avatar
PeeBee
Lost in an Alcoholic Haze
Posts: 588
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 2:50 pm
Location: North Wales

Re: Brewing alcohol free

Post by PeeBee » Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:53 am

What I meant:

Brewing "low-alcohol" (thread title is "Brewing alcohol free") requires getting out as much flavour and "body" and minimal fermentable material. "Cold extraction" might do this, but my initial trials got too much. I was aiming for SG1.014 and got 1.020. I also extracted more protein than anticipated - this is dangerous in that too much may destroy your heating element by burning on it!

I think a lot of fermentable extract from "cold extraction" was due to high levels of starch "emulsion" extraction which was then converted in the "conversion" stage which was done at 72C (lower than my usual "low alcohol" mashing, at 74-75C, reducing that temperature was a mistake).

But the result of this trial could not be described as "thin beer". Crystal malt is very useful in low-alcohol brewing - loads of flavour and mainly unfermentable (dextrin) when mashed at such high temperature.

I consider "low alcohol" to be <0.5% ABV (that's "no-alcohol" according to countries other than the UK).

ingo
Steady Drinker
Posts: 51
Joined: Wed May 30, 2018 1:15 pm
Location: Netherlands

Re: Brewing alcohol free

Post by ingo » Tue Sep 03, 2019 11:34 am

Yes, you extract most of the proteins, but as all the enzymes are also extracted they should be reduced if you heat up slowly for the boil. I boil on gas, so no problem like that burning. How fast do you go to the boil, as conversion only takes 10-15 min? You have an overdose of enzymes with regard of the available starch. Conversion starts already at low temperatures, higher temperatures just speed the process up until the enzymes denaturate. Next time I brew one I'll take an SG reading every 5°C / x minutes to see what happens exactly.

Regarding Crystal malt, it normally has not very much influence on fermentability. Have a look at pages 38, 39 (PDF) a presentation on attenuation by Greg Doss. Now the question is what of a Crystal malt gets dissolved at low temperatures? The solubility of dextrins is very good in water, that can good for body.

Lots to figure out,

Ingo

User avatar
PeeBee
Lost in an Alcoholic Haze
Posts: 588
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 2:50 pm
Location: North Wales

Re: Brewing alcohol free

Post by PeeBee » Tue Sep 03, 2019 3:00 pm

Do I care how much crystal dissolves at low temperature? Do I ever put crystal in cold water? Please study my brewing process on cold extraction, it is all recorded above. I'm all in favour of critical review of what I do, but I'm not in favour of critical review of what I do not do!

I was so sure I was immune to debris burning in these "cold extraction" formulation too. Being so sure is just the same as showing a lack of caution.

ingo
Steady Drinker
Posts: 51
Joined: Wed May 30, 2018 1:15 pm
Location: Netherlands

Re: Brewing alcohol free

Post by ingo » Tue Sep 03, 2019 3:48 pm

PeeBee wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 3:00 pm
I'm all in favour of critical review of what I do, but I'm not in favour of critical review of what I do not do!
That was certainly not my intention, sorry.

Regardless of hot or cold steep of crystal malts, you go from 1.011 pre boil to 1.020 post boil. From purely evaporation, assume 10% evaporation (probably less as you boiled 30 min) you'd arrive at 1.012. Does the remaining difference come from only crystal malt from conversion or, probably, both?

In my last brew of this kind (100% Golden Promise) the cold mash SG was 1.012, the post boil gravity was 1.015 where 1.014 was expected based on evaporation. This is what I generally see 1 to 3 points more (given the measurement uncertainty of my tools).

During normal mashing the proteins already start to coagulate and get stuck in the grain bed, with a cold mash they are run off freely.

Ingo

Post Reply