Why alcohol free beer doesn't taste like beer

You won’t be in the minority if you believe that alcohol free beer doesn’t taste anything like normal beer. There are a few reasons why this sort of beer isn’t as tasty as ordinary beer. We’ll run through that for you without getting too scientific.

Brief history

Non-alcohol beer began life in America during Prohibition. In those days the law allowed for a 0.5 percent alcohol by volume amount. Today that percentage remains the target amount for all non-alcoholic beers. When Prohibition stopped beer makers kept producing the stuff but they left a little more of the alcohol in which resulted in the creation of lighter, blander beers like Millers, Coors and Bud (in fact all the brands that dominate the market today).

How it’s made

This type of beer starts life as a normal beer so why doesn’t it taste the same? It goes through pretty much the same process as other beers but when it’s made the alcohol is removed. The most common way for alcohol to be removed is for the beer to be heated up to a temperature higher than the boiling point of alcohol. As water has a higher boiling point, the alcohol is boiled out of the beer.

Another process

Beer can also be made using reverse-osmosis. With this process beer is passed through pores so small that only alcohol and water can get through. The alcohol is then distilled out of the alcohol-water mix and then the result of this process is mixed back with the stuff that was filtered out.

Then what?

After this process, the beer tastes a bit like beer but it’s flat. Most beers carbonate themselves as they finish the fermentation process but with non-alcoholic beers CO2 is injected during the bottling process to add carbonation.

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