How is alcohol-free beer made?
Ingredients, methods and process
Despite what lots of people believe, the brewing process of an alcohol-free beer is actually the same as of any other beer. There are, however, different methods to reduce the alcohol content. There are two main ways to do this.
1. Reduce the alcohol content during the fermentation process.
The process is very similar to any other beer except that less malt is used (enzymes from the malt turn starch into fermentable sugars, which eventually become alcohol). There are also special malts with as little fermentable sugars as possible. In addition, a special yeast type is used that produces less alcohol. Saccharomyces Ludwigii is a yeast that is suitable for brewing alcohol-free beer. This yeast species produces no or less alcohol because it handles maltose and glucose less well, namely are the sugars that other yeast types easily convert into alcohol. vandeStreek Playground IPA Alcohol-Free, for example, is brewed in this way.
2. Remove the alcohol from the beer after the brewing process.
There are various methods for this, including the so-called 'reverse osmosis' where the alcohol is removed under high pressure. Erdinger Alcohol Free is an example in which the alcohol is removed at a later stage.
The brewing process of an alcohol-free beer is actually the same as of any other beer, except that less malt is used.
Moreover, when it comes to brewing alcohol-free beer, additional measures in terms of hygiene have to be taken. There are a lot of residual sugars in the beer, which means that no other brewing yeast can be added. The filling of the bottles must therefore be done on a completely steamed bottling line in order to prevent another yeast from growing.