Dismiss Notice
Microbrew Invitational
Join us June 3 + 4 in Boston and help us drink 300+ beers, ciders, kombuchas, meads, sakes and more!

TICKETS: beeradvocate.com/micro/

Boiling alcohol out of beer?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by fritts211, Dec 14, 2012.

  1. fritts211

    fritts211 Savant (380) Tennessee Feb 19, 2011 Beer Trader

    Hey BA,

    Just wondering if there was a way to completely remove alcohol from beer with a long enough boil? I know, sacrilege, but I was thinking of using Boddington's as a base for a drink recipe to bring my college class (dry campus). I'd get extra points for creating my own recipe instead of hijacking another one online (recipe is for Butterbeer from Harry Potter, class is English Lit with an emphasis in Fantasy Literature). I'm pretty sure you can't get all of it out, but something at roughly 1% would probably be acceptable. Thanks!
  2. Boddington's isn't good for anything else.
    homebrewer88 and luwak like this.
  3. dhannes

    dhannes Savant (425) Wisconsin Feb 14, 2010

    Boiling point of grain alcohol is 172.4 degrees F, so it may work...why not just buy non-alcoholic beer and cut it with some butterscotch syrup?
  4. fritts211

    fritts211 Savant (380) Tennessee Feb 19, 2011 Beer Trader

    I'm already using Butterscotch syrup, as well as a small dash of Cream Soda. To me, Boddington's is smooth (if bland) enough to get the flavor and texture that I was wanting, something closer to a real English Pub Ale (obviously, without the alcohol, and hopefully all of the positives wouldn't be destroyed in the boil).
  5. Sludgeman

    Sludgeman Champion (790) District of Columbia Aug 17, 2012 Beer Trader

    Water and alcohol form an azeotropic solution. You can't boil all of the alcohol out of the water. I believe you can only get down to about 4 percentalcohol using a simple boil distillation. Look it up on the web.
  6. omnigrits

    omnigrits Savant (345) Texas Jun 1, 2006

    According to the USDA (via Good Eats): "The amount of ethyl alcohol that remains in food depends on when it is added and how long the food cooks. For instance, when added to a boiling liquid and simply removed from the heat, 85 percent of the alcohol remains in the final dish. If the alcohol is flamed, then 75 percent remains. Continued cooking results in significant reductions as you can clearly see from this chart. Fifteen minutes brings the alcohol down to 40 percent of the original dosage. By 2.5 hours, only five percent remains. But rest assured, no matter how long you cook it, some alcohol will remain."
    (Scene 13, at the bottom, with a handy little table).
  7. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poobah (1,475) California Mar 18, 2010 Verified

    I am not sure this idea would go over well even on a dry campus.
  8. Dry campus and fantasy literature class with Harry Potter butterbeer as a project. This is different from my collage experience. Where do you go to school?
  9. Lutter

    Lutter Advocate (660) Texas Jun 30, 2010

    Dry campus?

    I'd be all like "next school, mom". Our school actually had a homebrewing club (which I was in) and wine/beer studies courses as well (which I should've taken, but never was able to get into :) )
    franklinn likes this.
  10. Sounds like a fun class!
  11. My campus has a pub on campus. Even has stone on tap. Still kinda a sucky school.
    VonZipper likes this.
  12. cmmcdonn

    cmmcdonn Savant (400) Virginia Jun 21, 2009

    Makes me wonder what they're huffing on weekends instead of drinking. My guess is furniture polish.

    This would make a great LIF question. :D
    jdmandel likes this.
  13. Stevedore

    Stevedore Poobah (1,065) Wisconsin Nov 16, 2012 Beer Trader

    Could you just use O'Douls or something like that?
  14. The only way to effectively boil out all of the alcohol would be to cook the beer down until it was nearly entirely evaporated and started turning into like beer caramel. At that point, if any alcohol was left, it would be negligible.

    Keep in mind, though, beer contains hops, which grow increasingly bitter as they're cooked and reduced. It could have a pretty serious bitter punch by the time you're done. I'm not sure, though, I've never tried it with Boddingtons.
  15. Lukie

    Lukie Savant (460) Australia Jun 16, 2007

    Not true at all. Alcohol has a much lower boiling point. You can actually remove alcohol from beer with the vacuum evaporation method, it might just take about 12 hours. Just put it on a very low heat, get it to about 35 degrees C, and leave it for.... 12 hours.
  16. Hotmetal1

    Hotmetal1 Advocate (665) Mississippi Feb 28, 2012 Beer Trader

    Why not freeze it and pour off what doesn't freeze (the alcohol), then thaw the leftovers and use that?
  17. Optifron

    Optifron Aficionado (235) Minnesota Aug 17, 2012

    Close, but backwards. The azeotrope is at ~4% water/96% ethanol.

    You will continue to reduce the relative alcohol content the longer you heat it, but without some kind of distillation column or vacuum system like Lukie mentioned, you're not going to get rid of all the alcohol without significantly reducing the water as well, and concentrating the sugars/hops as PangaeBeerFood mentioned.

    In order to remove the alcohol without damaging your base product, you pretty much need a vacuum distillation, or a reverse osmosis setup. I doubt either one is worth it for a class.
  18. Right. I know it's physically possible to evaporate just the alcohol, but I don't think you can practically do that in your home kitchen. I don't know anything that'll hold a constant temperature that low for that long.
  19. hopsbreath

    hopsbreath Savant (485) Oregon Aug 28, 2009

    Not related to this thread but worth sharing; I used to work as a security guard at a nursing home that served O'Douls to the residents on New Years Eve. I got calls all night to different parts of the home due to disorderly conduct. The best part was when I had to write up a patient for driving his Hoverround into a glass door and breaking it. Moral to the story is that if you have zero alcohol tolerance that 0.5% ABV mixed with muscle relaxers, anxiety meds, and pain pills will FUCK YOU UP.
  20. My campus during undergrad was dry as well. It encouraged getting smashed off campus and then driving back to campus. Genius idea!

    Anyway, my suggestion is just use the beer and play dumb. "This is a dry campus? Oh, my bad.....well, since it's here, we may as well all try it....and since we're all drinking beer, anyone mind if I blow a couple of lines?"
  21. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think boiling the alcohol out of beer is how they make scotch. Whatever is left over would probably be what you're looking for.

    So if that's correct, then set up a still in the middle of the woods and make some moonshine
    kojevergas likes this.
  22. kojevergas

    kojevergas Poobah (1,190) Colorado Aug 15, 2010 Beer Trader

    I got a real kick out of this. Props on the dry delivery.
  23. PuFtonLyfe

    PuFtonLyfe Savant (285) North Carolina Jun 2, 2011 Beer Trader

    Collage experience? Like this?

  24. PuFtonLyfe

    PuFtonLyfe Savant (285) North Carolina Jun 2, 2011 Beer Trader