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Thread: Alcohol-free beer and wine?

  1. #1 Alcohol-free beer and wine? 
    Forum Bachelors Degree One beer's Avatar
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    Hi,

    The other day I bought some non alcoholic wine to try. The last such I tried was about 10 years ago, and I wondered if any progress had been made. It hasn't - non alcoholic wine (or beer) still tastes different to normal.

    My questions are: Why is this? I thought 'alcohol' itself was a colourless and tasteless chemical? If so, why is it that we can detect whether it is present in a drink or not?

    I wasn't sure if this was the right sub forum in which to post this question, so Mods, please move it if you want.


    OB


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  3. #2  
    Forum Ph.D.
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    ethanol is not that tasteless, try some moonshine or everclear. I would say it is the combination of ethanol and the other ingredients that give the distinctive flavor


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    Bullshit Intolerant PhDemon's Avatar
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    Also the alcohol is most likely removed by distillation (just like making spirits but you throw the wrong bit away ) the heating involved in this probably decomposes (or causes reactions among) some of the organic compounds responsible for the taste of "real" booze... Even if you use vacuum distillation (no heat) you will probably lose some high volatility organics as well as the alcohol which will also affect the flavour.
    Last edited by PhDemon; October 1st, 2014 at 01:45 PM. Reason: brain fart, corrected to high volatility...
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    Even if you use vacuum distillation (no heat) you will probably lose some low volatility organics as well as the alcohol which will also affect the flavour.
    The trick there is to condense the organics out and add them back (all except the ethanol of course.)
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    I am of the opinion that if you are not accustomed to the taste of good wine or beer, you may not find the non-alcoholic offerings as disappointing as if you have a developed palate and preferences.

    The reason I suggest this is that I spent a couple of years wine-tasting as a hobby and really began to discern the many subtle differences, deciding upon what I really enjoyed in a wine. When I tried a non-alcoholic wine, it was completely insipid to my taste. Blehhhhh.....

    Beer is not my beverage of choice save for on a hot day and so I have not defined any true preferences for that brew. I have now tried several 'near-beer' offerings and found each of them to be quite pleasant and this surprised me to no end.
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    Even if you use vacuum distillation (no heat) you will probably lose some low volatility organics as well as the alcohol which will also affect the flavour.
    The trick there is to condense the organics out and add them back (all except the ethanol of course.)
    Good luck with that!

    I'd forget it: drink very good wine, but buy half bottles, so that you can have your one glass, savour it and fly legally and safely the following day.
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    flattened rat 甘肃人's Avatar
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    Alcohol-free alcohol is not a concept I can wrap my head around. Drinking alcohol is rare with me. I don't particularly enjoy it. However, when I do drink I drink to get drunk. And because whiskey and other hard liquors taste to me like something that would be excellent to put on itching bug bites, I drink beer or wine if I want a drink. I am aware that wine connoisseurship is a high art, as is watching sports and drinking beer, but again I just don't get it. Wine is much like vinegar to me and beer taste like pee (Don't ask me how I know that!).

    So alcohol without alcohol? Completely pointless. Get yourself a nice can of 7 Up to have with a big dinner and be happy.
    And what does the Lord require of you but to love justice, to be merciful and to walk humbly with Him?
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    You might as well breathe non-oxiginated air.
    Fixin' shit that ain't broke.
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by One beer View Post
    Hi,

    The other day I bought some non alcoholic wine to try. The last such I tried was about 10 years ago, and I wondered if any progress had been made. It hasn't - non alcoholic wine (or beer) still tastes different to normal.

    My questions are: Why is this? I thought 'alcohol' itself was a colourless and tasteless chemical? If so, why is it that we can detect whether it is present in a drink or not?

    I wasn't sure if this was the right sub forum in which to post this question, so Mods, please move it if you want.


    OB
    I don't know if you can call it entirely tasteless since it does seem to activate a variety of chemo/mechanoreceptors in the mouth including "TRPV-1, a heat-gated ion channel that is responsible for the burning sensation elicited by capsaicin"

    There's also evidence that people taste alcohol differently, with some finding it much more bitter, and others less so, or even slightly sweet.

    I've never tasted non-alcoholic beer, but I always found non-alcoholic wine to be bland or missing that sweet/sour or sweet/bitter mix, although the bubbles in nonalcoholic champagne seemed to help.
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by 甘肃人 View Post
    Drinking alcohol is rare with me. I don't particularly enjoy it. However, when I do drink I drink to get drunk.
    That would seem to be best accomplished by something like Everclear (or vodka, which is frequently cheaper.)
    So alcohol without alcohol? Completely pointless. Get yourself a nice can of 7 Up to have with a big dinner and be happy.
    By that measure, why 7-up? Why not a nice can of water? It serves the same purpose.
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    ........... the heating involved in this probably decomposes (or causes reactions among) some of the organic compounds responsible for the taste of "real" booze... Even if you use vacuum distillation (no heat) you will probably lose some high volatility organics as well as the alcohol which will also affect the flavour.
    This is what I suspected.

    Thanks for the replies folks.


    OB
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    ~ Achem ! My good man, Alcohol without alcohol is cordial. As is beer without alcohol is a fizz. ~ ~
    As my age has matured so has my taste for fine spirits.. I enjoy a good whiskey or be it bourbon with a little ice.. many such drinks I have learned to savoir (saver )? But I see one of us drinks to get drunk.. I find myself a little shocked by that.. It's a wast.
    Some of the 'Hi-end' top shelf drinks are very nice for the simple enjoyment of them.. I would look for Honey mead, Drambuie, Benadictine.. and I find those Scottish Whiskey's , and Canadian Grouse hard to beat.. A list so long and boring is apparent...
    ~ I have had occasion to drink a sparkling grape juice... Vile and sweet rubbish it was.. I once had a 'Clayton's' and it left me wondering why.. I had bothered.. Interesting as it might be.. In moderation most alcohols are a fine pleasure.. to be enjoyed..
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    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by 甘肃人 View Post
    Drinking alcohol is rare with me. I don't particularly enjoy it. However, when I do drink I drink to get drunk.
    That would seem to be best accomplished by something like Everclear (or vodka, which is frequently cheaper.)
    Honestly, they would taste about the same to me. Tequila is rather nice though - a good margartita es bueno!

    So alcohol without alcohol? Completely pointless. Get yourself a nice can of 7 Up to have with a big dinner and be happy.
    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    By that measure, why 7-up? Why not a nice can of water? It serves the same purpose.
    While water is the drink of a wise man, I find 7-up with its lemon-limeyness refreshes the palate; it is especially nice with spicy food. You do have a point. Soda pop is way too sugary. In fact, I almost always do have water with most meals. But enough about me.
    And what does the Lord require of you but to love justice, to be merciful and to walk humbly with Him?
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  15. #14  
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    Quote Originally Posted by 甘肃人 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by 甘肃人 View Post
    Drinking alcohol is rare with me. I don't particularly enjoy it. However, when I do drink I drink to get drunk.
    That would seem to be best accomplished by something like Everclear (or vodka, which is frequently cheaper.)
    Honestly, they would taste about the same to me. Tequila is rather nice though - a good margartita es bueno!

    So alcohol without alcohol? Completely pointless. Get yourself a nice can of 7 Up to have with a big dinner and be happy.
    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    By that measure, why 7-up? Why not a nice can of water? It serves the same purpose.
    While water is the drink of a wise man, I find 7-up with its lemon-limeyness refreshes the palate; it is especially nice with spicy food. You do have a point. Soda pop is way too sugary. In fact, I almost always do have water with most meals. But enough about me.
    Continental Europeans consider drinking soft drinks with food is a barbarous practice and I agree with them. There is also the likelihood that the acclimatisation of the palate to constant levels of sweetness is a principal cause of the obesity epidemic in North America and elsewhere. I think you will find 7 Up has about the same amount of sugar as Coke. If you don't like alcoholic drinks I recommend fizzy water. It also has a palate-cleansing effect, without the disastrous aesthetic and physiological consequences.

    P.S. Drinking to get drunk is also barbarous.
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by 甘肃人 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by 甘肃人 View Post
    Drinking alcohol is rare with me. I don't particularly enjoy it. However, when I do drink I drink to get drunk.
    That would seem to be best accomplished by something like Everclear (or vodka, which is frequently cheaper.)
    Honestly, they would taste about the same to me. Tequila is rather nice though - a good margartita es bueno!

    So alcohol without alcohol? Completely pointless. Get yourself a nice can of 7 Up to have with a big dinner and be happy.
    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    By that measure, why 7-up? Why not a nice can of water? It serves the same purpose.
    While water is the drink of a wise man, I find 7-up with its lemon-limeyness refreshes the palate; it is especially nice with spicy food. You do have a point. Soda pop is way too sugary. In fact, I almost always do have water with most meals. But enough about me.
    Continental Europeans consider drinking soft drinks with food is a barbarous practice and I agree with them. There is also the likelihood that the acclimatisation of the palate to constant levels of sweetness is a principal cause of the obesity epidemic in North America and elsewhere. I think you will find 7 Up has about the same amount of sugar as Coke. If you don't like alcoholic drinks I recommend fizzy water. It also has a palate-cleansing effect, without the disastrous aesthetic and physiological consequences.

    P.S. Drinking to get drunk is also barbarous.
    Thanks, I knew all that. And just yesterday I got a hair cut. I suppose you think that's barberous as well!?
    And what does the Lord require of you but to love justice, to be merciful and to walk humbly with Him?
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  17. #16  
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    Quote Originally Posted by 甘肃人 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by 甘肃人 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by 甘肃人 View Post
    Drinking alcohol is rare with me. I don't particularly enjoy it. However, when I do drink I drink to get drunk.
    That would seem to be best accomplished by something like Everclear (or vodka, which is frequently cheaper.)
    Honestly, they would taste about the same to me. Tequila is rather nice though - a good margartita es bueno!

    So alcohol without alcohol? Completely pointless. Get yourself a nice can of 7 Up to have with a big dinner and be happy.
    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    By that measure, why 7-up? Why not a nice can of water? It serves the same purpose.
    While water is the drink of a wise man, I find 7-up with its lemon-limeyness refreshes the palate; it is especially nice with spicy food. You do have a point. Soda pop is way too sugary. In fact, I almost always do have water with most meals. But enough about me.
    Continental Europeans consider drinking soft drinks with food is a barbarous practice and I agree with them. There is also the likelihood that the acclimatisation of the palate to constant levels of sweetness is a principal cause of the obesity epidemic in North America and elsewhere. I think you will find 7 Up has about the same amount of sugar as Coke. If you don't like alcoholic drinks I recommend fizzy water. It also has a palate-cleansing effect, without the disastrous aesthetic and physiological consequences.

    P.S. Drinking to get drunk is also barbarous.
    Thanks, I knew all that. And just yesterday I got a hair cut. I suppose you think that's barberous as well!?
    You sound very young.
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  18. #17  
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    What's the point??
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  19. #18  
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    odouls is about the best non-alcoholic beer you can get.

    Source: Ex-drunk.
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  20. #19  
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    Alcohol free beer is like making love in a canoe... it's f***ing close to water...(apologies to the Bruce's for nicking the line )
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  21. #20  
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    Quote Originally Posted by WaltBJ View Post
    What's the point??
    It tastes good.
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  22. #21  
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    Nice one, PhDemon.

    ###

    Actually, if American producers of "alcohol-free" beverages are following the same practices as a few decades ago (the last time I looked), then they remove all the alcohol from the alcoholic product, perhaps/probably by vacuum, but then add about 0.5% back to give its taste the "bite" of alcohol that, apparently, cannot be otherwise/easily duplicated. It's really difficult to get any intoxicating effect from 0.5% drinks, which are deemed "non-alcoholic" in the US.
    Grief is the price we pay for love. (CM Parkes) Our postillion has been struck by lightning. (Unknown) War is always the choice of the chosen who will not have to fight. (Bono) The years tell much what the days never knew. (RW Emerson) Reality is not always probable, or likely. (JL Borges)
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrmonroe View Post
    Nice one, PhDemon.

    ###

    Actually, if American producers of "alcohol-free" beverages are following the same practices as a few decades ago (the last time I looked), then they remove all the alcohol from the alcoholic product, perhaps/probably by vacuum, but then add about 0.5% back to give its taste the "bite" of alcohol that, apparently, cannot be otherwise/easily duplicated. It's really difficult to get any intoxicating effect from 0.5% drinks, which are deemed "non-alcoholic" in the US.
    We sell several 'non-alcoholic' beer and wine varieties at our corporate store in Whitehorse. The following image of the label of our house brand illustrates the point made about the 0.5% alcohol content.

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  24. #23  
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    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by 甘肃人 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by 甘肃人 View Post
    Drinking alcohol is rare with me. I don't particularly enjoy it. However, when I do drink I drink to get drunk.
    That would seem to be best accomplished by something like Everclear (or vodka, which is frequently cheaper.)
    Honestly, they would taste about the same to me. Tequila is rather nice though - a good margartita es bueno!

    So alcohol without alcohol? Completely pointless. Get yourself a nice can of 7 Up to have with a big dinner and be happy.
    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    By that measure, why 7-up? Why not a nice can of water? It serves the same purpose.
    While water is the drink of a wise man, I find 7-up with its lemon-limeyness refreshes the palate; it is especially nice with spicy food. You do have a point. Soda pop is way too sugary. In fact, I almost always do have water with most meals. But enough about me.
    Continental Europeans consider drinking soft drinks with food is a barbarous practice and I agree with them. There is also the likelihood that the acclimatisation of the palate to constant levels of sweetness is a principal cause of the obesity epidemic in North America and elsewhere. I think you will find 7 Up has about the same amount of sugar as Coke. If you don't like alcoholic drinks I recommend fizzy water. It also has a palate-cleansing effect, without the disastrous aesthetic and physiological consequences.

    P.S. Drinking to get drunk is also barbarous.
    Hello Mr. Exchemist. I've been thinking a lot about your post-script. Yes, I agree that soda pop is not the best beverage to have with a meal, but I would stop short of calling it barbarous. It has nothing to do with being civilized. It has to do with watching your weight and sugar intake. However, if Europeans think that drinking to get drunk is barbarous; then I have but one question:are they fooling anyone but themselves? Of course one drinks to get drunk, or at least a bit tipsy. It's all very well to be a wine connoisseur and talk about vintages, smacking your lips and saying things like 'a bit too fruity', or be a beer aficionado and talk about football, but let's be honest. If wine drinkers were in it for the taste alone they may as well drink specialized grape juices. Why don't they then? because they're in it for the buzz, and perhaps a little romance afterwards. Don't be putting me on.
    And what does the Lord require of you but to love justice, to be merciful and to walk humbly with Him?
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    I prefer non alcohol beer to the real thing!
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    Weirdo,
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  27. #26  
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    Weirdo,

    I LOVE YOU!!

    chuckle
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  28. #27  
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    Quote Originally Posted by 甘肃人 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by 甘肃人 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by 甘肃人 View Post
    Drinking alcohol is rare with me. I don't particularly enjoy it. However, when I do drink I drink to get drunk.
    That would seem to be best accomplished by something like Everclear (or vodka, which is frequently cheaper.)
    Honestly, they would taste about the same to me. Tequila is rather nice though - a good margartita es bueno!

    So alcohol without alcohol? Completely pointless. Get yourself a nice can of 7 Up to have with a big dinner and be happy.
    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    By that measure, why 7-up? Why not a nice can of water? It serves the same purpose.
    While water is the drink of a wise man, I find 7-up with its lemon-limeyness refreshes the palate; it is especially nice with spicy food. You do have a point. Soda pop is way too sugary. In fact, I almost always do have water with most meals. But enough about me.
    Continental Europeans consider drinking soft drinks with food is a barbarous practice and I agree with them. There is also the likelihood that the acclimatisation of the palate to constant levels of sweetness is a principal cause of the obesity epidemic in North America and elsewhere. I think you will find 7 Up has about the same amount of sugar as Coke. If you don't like alcoholic drinks I recommend fizzy water. It also has a palate-cleansing effect, without the disastrous aesthetic and physiological consequences.

    P.S. Drinking to get drunk is also barbarous.
    Hello Mr. Exchemist. I've been thinking a lot about your post-script. Yes, I agree that soda pop is not the best beverage to have with a meal, but I would stop short of calling it barbarous. It has nothing to do with being civilized. It has to do with watching your weight and sugar intake. However, if Europeans think that drinking to get drunk is barbarous; then I have but one question:are they fooling anyone but themselves? Of course one drinks to get drunk, or at least a bit tipsy. It's all very well to be a wine connoisseur and talk about vintages, smacking your lips and saying things like 'a bit too fruity', or be a beer aficionado and talk about football, but let's be honest. If wine drinkers were in it for the taste alone they may as well drink specialized grape juices. Why don't they then? because they're in it for the buzz, and perhaps a little romance afterwards. Don't be putting me on.
    Maybe it is your understanding of English that lacks a few nuances, then. Nobody sensible denies that the slight reduction of inhibition provided by alcohol acts as a very effective social lubricant and as an aid to relaxation. And that is one of the traditional pleasures of alcoholic drink, certainly. (The reason fizzy drinks are popular as aperitifs is because the bubbles convey alcohol to the brain rapidly, getting your social event going nicely from the start.) But that is not what is meant by "getting drunk".

    Getting drunk means reaching the state in which, by the common consent of most civilised people, you have had TOO MUCH. This is the point at which your judgement, speech and physical reflexes are noticeably impaired. Clearly, in civilised company, such a state is considered undesirable. If somebody tells you "you are drunk", that is almost always an expression of disapproval or even disgust.

    I hope you can see the difference.
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  29. #28  
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    Quote Originally Posted by 甘肃人 View Post
    Of course one drinks to get drunk, or at least a bit tipsy. It's all very well to be a wine connoisseur and talk about vintages, smacking your lips and saying things like 'a bit too fruity', or be a beer aficionado and talk about football, but let's be honest. If wine drinkers were in it for the taste alone they may as well drink specialized grape juices. Why don't they then? because they're in it for the buzz, and perhaps a little romance afterwards. Don't be putting me on.
    I'm not. I make beer, and I often seek out breweries that have the _smallest_ possible flights of beers so I can try several without getting drunk. If there existed nonalcoholic beers (or wines) that were just as good as the ethylated kind then I'd be all over them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    I make beer, and I often seek out breweries that have the _smallest_ possible flights of beers so I can try several without getting drunk.
    Aha! Someone seemingly intimate with the subject. Please help explain "flight", I don't find it here:

    FLIGHT

    1
    a : an act or instance of passing through the air by the use of wings <the flight of a bee>
    b : the ability to fly <flight is natural to birds>

    2
    a : a passing through the air or through space outside the earth's atmosphere
    b : the distance covered in such a flight
    c : swift movement

    3
    a : a trip made by or in an airplane or spacecraft
    b : a scheduled airplane trip

    4
    : a group of similar beings or objects flying through the air together

    5
    : a brilliant, imaginative, or unrestrained exercise or display<a flight of fancy>

    6
    a : a continuous series of stairs from one landing or floor to another
    b : a series (as of terraces or conveyors) resembling a flight of stairs

    7
    : a unit of the United States Air Force below a squadron
    Grief is the price we pay for love. (CM Parkes) Our postillion has been struck by lightning. (Unknown) War is always the choice of the chosen who will not have to fight. (Bono) The years tell much what the days never knew. (RW Emerson) Reality is not always probable, or likely. (JL Borges)
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  31. #30  
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrmonroe View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    I make beer, and I often seek out breweries that have the _smallest_ possible flights of beers so I can try several without getting drunk.
    Aha! Someone seemingly intimate with the subject. Please help explain "flight", I don't find it here:

    FLIGHT

    1
    a : an act or instance of passing through the air by the use of wings <the flight of a bee>
    b : the ability to fly <flight is natural to birds>

    2
    a : a passing through the air or through space outside the earth's atmosphere
    b : the distance covered in such a flight
    c : swift movement

    3
    a : a trip made by or in an airplane or spacecraft
    b : a scheduled airplane trip

    4
    : a group of similar beings or objects flying through the air together

    5
    : a brilliant, imaginative, or unrestrained exercise or display<a flight of fancy>

    6
    a : a continuous series of stairs from one landing or floor to another
    b : a series (as of terraces or conveyors) resembling a flight of stairs

    7
    : a unit of the United States Air Force below a squadron

    See this: What are Wine Flights? (with pictures)
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    Drinking to excess does relieve stress. A SciAm article pointed that out quite a few years ago. Once after an intense military exercise in which we flew around the clock - I flew a dozen long intercept missions, mostly at night. After our last flight our flight surgeon handed out his cheap bourbon. The relaxing effect was very noticeable even before finishing my half and half glass of OldCrow and coca-cola. Booze has its uses. Navy flt surgeons administer same after night carrier ops, which are known to be more stressful than combat. FWIW there's an old saying - "Women cry; men drink."
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  33. #32  
    Forum Ph.D.
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    How soon we digress from the original question--------------------- left turn Clyde
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrmonroe View Post
    Aha! Someone seemingly intimate with the subject. Please help explain "flight", I don't find it here:
    A selection of "tastes" or "tasters" of beers. Often consists of 4-6 different beers, each a 1-3 ounce pour. See below for an example.



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  35. #34  
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    Alcohol free beer and wine? Why bother?
    Its the way nature is!
    If you dont like it, go somewhere else....
    To another universe, where the rules are simpler
    Philosophically more pleasing, more psychologically easy
    Prof Richard Feynman (1979) .....

    Das ist nicht nur nicht richtig, es ist nicht einmal falsch!"
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexG View Post
    Alcohol free beer and wine? Why bother?
    Because they taste good! A good barrel aged stout is so much better than, say, soda.
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  37. #36  
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    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jrmonroe View Post
    Aha! Someone seemingly intimate with the subject. Please help explain "flight", I don't find it here:
    A selection of "tastes" or "tasters" of beers. Often consists of 4-6 different beers, each a 1-3 ounce pour. See below for an example.



    I see that often here!!
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  38. #37  
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexG View Post
    Alcohol free beer and wine? Why bother?

    Billvon is right....made right it is really refreshing!
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