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Is DIY Beer Alcoholic?

DIY beer is often alcoholic, but it doesn’t always have to be. If you’re craving a non-alcoholic brew made in your own home, it’s possible with an extra step or two. What about a kit for nonalcoholic beer? While options for a specific non-alcoholic beer-making kit are limited, there are ways to use a standard kit for non-alcoholic brews. In this blog, we show you how.

Does DIY Beer Have Alcohol?

By default, most DIY beer will contain alcohol. That’s because homebrew recipes often require both grains and yeast. During fermentation, the yeast transforms sugar from the grain into alcohol. Typically, home-brewed beers contain between 4% and 8% alcohol by volume (ABV).

Ready to experiment with different levels of ABV? Try out these tasty recipes:

Each recipe has a range of ABVs, which you can control during the brewing process. We’ll cover tips and tricks for doing so in the next section.

How Can You Tell How Much Alcohol Is in Homemade Beer?

There are two main tools that you can use to measure how much alcohol is in your homemade beer: hydrometers and refractometers. Hydrometers work by measuring the density of your brew before and after fermentation. Based on the difference between the two readings, you can calculate the ABV of your beer. To get a hydrometer reading, you need to fill a jar with your brew to dip the instrument in.

Refractometers work by using light to determine how much a concentrated substance has dissolved in the liquid. By analyzing how a path of light changes direction after passing through the liquid, home brewers can calculate the ABV of that liquid.

At Great Fermentations, we recommend that home brewers use hydrometers because they’re more accurate. 

How Does 0 Alcohol Beer Work?

Zero-alcohol beer, often called “alcohol-free,” contains 0.0% ABV. Non-alcoholic beer, on the other hand, can contain up to 0.5% ABV. While major beer manufacturers have been providing more and more options for truly alcohol-free beer, home brewers are limited to non-alcoholic beer. That’s because the technology required to remove all of the alcohol from beer is too expensive for home brewers to have access to.

Can I Make Nonalcoholic Beer at Home?

With a few extra steps, you can make non-alcoholic beer at home. Remember, non-alcoholic beer isn’t truly free of alcohol, and it can have an ABV of up to 0.5%. Still, you can make home-brewed beer that tastes great without putting you under the influence. 

To make non-alcoholic beer, you’ll first brew your beer like normal. After fermentation, you can use one of several methods to remove most of the alcohol from your brew. These methods are:

  • Boiling out Alcohol: By heating your brew to 173ºF, you can burn off the majority of the alcohol in your beer.
  • Vacuum Distillation: By creating a vacuum in the container that you boil your brew in, you can reduce the boiling point of alcohol down to 120ºF. When using a lower temperature to burn off alcohol, you can preserve more of the original flavors in your beer.
  • Reverse Osmosis Filtration: In this method, brewers filter out alcohol from non-alcoholic fermentable sugars. While reverse osmosis filtration reduces alcohol content without the stress of boiling, it does require expensive equipment.

You can also use arrested fermentation to reduce the amount of alcohol produced during brewing. However, we don’t recommend this method to beginners, as it opens your brew up to a higher possibility of contamination if not done correctly. 

How To Make Non-Alcoholic Beer at Home

Fortunately, making non-alcoholic beer doesn’t require a massive change from a typical beer recipe. That means the instructions included in your beer-making kit will still be very helpful. For each of the above methods (boiling, vacuum distillation, and reverse osmosis filtration), you can remove alcohol after fermentation and before bottling. This is the same way major companies brew non-alcoholic beer—although they have access to much more sophisticated equipment.

While there aren’t many non-alcoholic beer brewing kit options available, you don’t necessarily need a special kit. This is pretty good news since it means you can brew the best non-alcoholic beer by using your favorite beer ingredient kits!

Great Fermentations: Your Source for Beer Making Supplies for However, You Love To Brew

Ready to dive into the world of non-alcoholic brewing? It starts with your favorite beer recipes! With Great Fermentations, you can find beer ingredient kits for delicious brews that come with pre-portioned ingredients and helpful instructions. Think of it like a meal delivery kit—but for beer! We don’t think it can get any better, either. Visit our online shop or swing by our Indianapolis location to explore our variety of beer ingredient kits.

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