How It’s Made: Non-Alcoholic Beer

Since their inception, non-alcoholic drinks have amazed and even confused some individuals. These individuals can’t understand the why behind non-alcoholic wine or beer. Why would someone choose to drink an alcoholic drink without the alcohol? Non-alcoholic beer in particular has flabbergasted some for years.

However, despite personal opinions against alcohol-free beer, there are even more in favor of the drinks. Perhaps you’re an expectant mother who enjoys the taste, a designated driver who wants to feel included, on medical antibiotics or you simply want to live a healthier, alcohol-free lifestyle, and still want to be involved in the social scene. There are lots of reasons to drink non-alcoholic beer, and with advances in brewing technology, the flavors are more delicious and enjoyable than ever.

Which begs the question: how exactly is alcohol-free beer actually made? Recently, BeClink has begun offering these beverages on our site, and has gained an even deeper insight into the creation and brewing process behind the scenes. So, welcome to today’s session of how it’s made: non-alcoholic beer edition.

Similar to how non-alcoholic wine is made, alcohol-free beer actually starts out as its regular alcoholic counterpart. This means it goes through almost the entirely same process as regular beer, from making a mash, to boiling the wort, to adding hops and even fermenting. Then, the two veer off in separate directions. While regular alcoholic beer might be bottled or canned at this point, non-alcoholic beer proceeds through the dealcoholization process.

Years ago, non-alcoholic beer was primarily made by boiling the ethanol out of the mixture. Today, some breweries still continue to use this process. Because alcohol has a much lower boiling point than water, brewers will heat the beer up to approximately 173 degrees F and keep it there, until the solution is below the legal 0.5% ABV (Gizmodo). However, this process can sometimes have the unfortunate consequence of inhibiting the natural flavors and aromas of the beer, which some consumers dislike.

Instead, as technology has advanced, so has the dealcoholization process. In the last few years, new brewing techniques have made it possible to remove the alcohol from the beer without affecting its taste. Two main techniques include reverse osmosis and vacuum distillation. As Mixer Direct says, “Through the new techniques, breweries can create non-alcoholic beers with different flavors and aromas.” These techniques allow non-alcoholic beers, like those we carry at BeClink, to maintain the same delicious taste without any worry about alcohol.

One popular technique of removing the alcohol from beer involves reverse osmosis. This technique basically uses extreme pressure to push the already-fermented beer through an extremely tight filter. The holes in the filter are so small only water, alcohol and volatile acids can fit through. Once through the filter, the alcohol can then be distilled from the mixture by using a standard distillation process. This process is becoming more popular because it maintains the unique flavors of different beers, while still reducing the alcohol content.

The second technique brewers use for non-alcoholic beer is vacuum distillation. This process uses a vacuum chamber to lower alcohol’s boiling point as much as possible. While alcohol’s original boiling point is approximately 173 degrees F, the vacuum helps to greatly reduce it. So, instead of heating the beer to the point where it might lose its flavor, the beer only reaches a fairly warm temperature. This allows it to keep its taste intact while still evaporating the alcohol out of the mixture.

Once the beer goes through the dealcoholization process, it must be carbonated in order to mimic the texture of alcoholic beer. Most alcoholic beer carbonates itself during the fermentation process inside of the bottle. As yeast metabolizes sugar into alcohol, it produces the byproduct carbon dioxide, which gives beer its bubbles. However, as non-alcoholic beer no longer has yeast and is not fermenting, it has no CO2. Therefore, most brewers will inject the drink with CO2 during the canning or bottling process, similar to what companies do with soda. This finalizes the brewing process, and gives us a flavor-filled, non-alcoholic beer, which mimics its alcoholic counterpart in almost every way.

If you choose to live an alcohol-free lifestyle—whether for a short stage in time or for your entire life—non-alcoholic beer is the perfect choice to try. With recent adaptations in technology, alcohol-free beer mimics its alcoholic counterpart closer than ever before, and provides the same delicious taste, without any concern for alcohol. Give it a try for yourself here with BeClink and see how you enjoy it non-alcoholic beer.