Friday, May 15, 2015

Homeade alcohol-free stout beer

We continue to enjoy drinking homemade alcohol-free beer whenever one of us can't drink (most recently while my broken pelvis heals). My friend Emily was intrigued (we were discussing it when she was pregnant) but prefers stouts, and we hadn't done anything beyond the one kind we've made (which is sort of like a session IPA).

But always up for a challenge, here are the tweaks to make stout. First, rather than making the hops extract one batch at a time I've switched to making a big container of it, and then using about 1/2 cup of that plus sweetener and club soda. So for stout, I took the 1/2 cup of cold hops tea / extract, heated it up in the microwave until it was almost boiling, and then put in a fake coffee teabag (Teecino Vanilla Nut flavor). I put it back in the fridge again right away and let it steep and cool for about 4 hours. For sweetener I used Yacon syrup which is a new thing we just bought; it's a tangy and lightly sweet dark brown syrup made from some Peruvian root. I thought of molasses but didn't want that heavy iron flavor molasses has.

Here is the final result being enjoyed, it came out pretty good! It definitely has the roasty malty stout flavor, without any alcohol and with very few calories.
Emily, Steve, and baby Lev with alcohol-free stout
My next step is to figure out two things:
1. If I can soak some additional hops in the extract to add back in the aroma and more complex flavor lost when I boil down the extract.
2. I want to try proofing maybe 1/16 tsp of yeast when the beer is being put together to drink to add in a bit of yeasty flavor, without giving the yeast time to make any actual alcohol.

3 comments:

Goathouse said...

Thanks so much for your alcohol-free beer ideas! I recently quit drinking but have really been craving a stout. I'll be trying your stout recipe tomorrow. As far as the hoppy flavor being lost when you boil your extract down...in home beermaking you use hops twice. First when you boil the hops with malt in water - that produces a lot of the hops bitterness which is desirable but not very much flavor or aroma. Then more fresh hops are added to the hot malt but not boiled. This draws out the more subtle flavor and aroma components of the hops. Makes sense? Thanks again.

Jon Fisher said...

Thanks Goathouse, that extra step is exactly what I'm hoping to try next. If you beat me to it please let me know how it goes! I also want to try other options for the "stout" aspect; my wife didn't like the vanilla flavor so I was thinking either the "plain" teecino or maybe something like postum might be good.

Goathouse said...

I've been doing a ton of online research on home-brew NA or AF beer. There is a really good homebrew store pretty close to me. The best plan I have so far is:

Boil some non-fermentables like roasted barley for color and flavor, add some small amount of chocolate or black patent malt (either whole grain or syrup), and also some hops for bittering. Then let it cool a bit and add more fresh hops for the flavor and aroma. So now you have a super-dark-roasty-toasty-hoppy flavor/color concentrate. You could add whatever flavors you wanted right here - vanilla, coffee, spices...really anything. I think it would prolly be a good idea to strain it really, really well through cheesecloth.

THEN - and this is the brilliant part that I found online - you buy a case of your favorite NA beer. I like Bitburger Drive myself. You open each bottle, pour a few ounces out, pour in the same volume of the concentrate, and then you recap the bottles. If the beer and tea are both really cold, and you move fast, very little carbonation will be lost. And now you have a case of stout-style NA beer.

Holy smokes, it just might work! When I get back from vacation I'm going to try it. I figure everything I need, including the capper, will run maybe about $50.