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ibwahooka
11-11-2009, 08:33 PM
Hey everyone,
How long should I let 4.5 gallons of brew heat at 175 degrees to boil off all the alcohol?

-Shawn

Xixist
11-11-2009, 11:13 PM
I'm sorry that I don't know the answer to your question but that's probably because I'm always trying to figure out how to get alcohol 'into' my mead.
Lol... g'luck Xixist

akueck
11-12-2009, 01:02 AM
Define "all". You'll be hard-pressed to get rid of identically 100% of the alcohol unless you get rid of all the water too.

I don't have an answer for you, but you could perhaps try and measure it. Things like the SG will change as the alcohol:water ratio goes down. You could try heating it until you notice the SG stop changing, or maybe make a cute little plot of the SG vs time and extrapolate an effective time for "total" removal.

Also you might try looking up an alcohol-water phase diagram. It won't tell you how long, but it will tell you at what temperature would be a good spot to sit to let the alcohol go away.

Hehe, Wikipedia has a diagram labeled VERY INACCURATE (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sample-phase-diag.png). I'll keep looking because now I am curious.

Anyone speak Japanese (http://sciencelinks.jp/j-east/article/200022/000020002200A0738649.php)?

Aha! This one (http://www.biofuelvaportechnologies.com/files/Azeutruic_distillation_of_ethanol.pdf) has some phase diagrams. I can't vouch for their accuracy, but hey the internet is always correct right? ;) Disclaimer: this pdf discusses distillation in the context of fuel manufacture. Distillation of alcohol for consumption is illegal in the US unless you have the proper license(s).

Ok so if we take those diagrams to be correct, and we assume you have a 15% ethanol 85% water solution (let's ignore the other components for now), it tells us this:
You'll start boiling at a roughly 90.5ºC (195 F). Just above this, you'll have--in equilibrium--12.5% ABV liquid and 60% ABV vapor.
You need to reach 96 C (205 F) to get--in equilibrium--a 5% ABV liquid. However, about a third of your original volume will now be vapor.

Now, the million dollar question: what if I open the lid? What should happen is that boiling stops as the ABV of your liquid drops. You'll drive off all the alcohol when your boiling point hits 100 C. This of course is totally unhelpful to you since you want there to be liquid at the end.

Ok, total failure to answer the question. I'll go back to my original suggestion to measure the SG and see what happens. It should go up as the alcohol is removed. Any temperature below 195 F (for your assumed 15% ABV) would be below boiling, but obviously you'll still have vapor being given off and presumably never reach equilibrium. Thermodynamics of open systems was never my thing, sorry.

Oh, I should also mention that the phase diagram makes it very clear that you'll never get rid of all the alcohol. Once it is in there, it is there to stay. You can see from my quick calculations that it is even quite difficult to get rid of most of the alcohol by heating, unless you want to effectively distill it and throw out the concentrated alcohol solution and keep the water-concentrated fraction (I presume this would be legal).

Dan McFeeley
11-12-2009, 01:28 AM
I don't think anyone is going to have a specific answer for you, timewise. With a temperature just barely above the boiling point of alcohol, but below the boiling point of water, it might be an idea to stir gently for about 15 minutes to half an hour. If you put your face above the heated brew you should be able to detect the alcohol rising off of the surface. Try stirring about ten minutes longer after you can't sense the alcohol anymore.

--

akueck
11-12-2009, 01:49 AM
I don't think anyone is going to have a specific answer for you, timewise. With a temperature just barely above the boiling point of alcohol, but below the boiling point of water, it might be an idea to stir gently for about 15 minutes to half an hour. If you put your face above the heated brew you should be able to detect the alcohol rising off of the surface. Try stirring about ten minutes longer after you can't sense the alcohol anymore.

--

Ok, I like that idea. Much simpler than mine. ;D Again, you won't get rid of all the alcohol, but you can probably get rid of enough of it to make a difference. Your nose is a pretty good chemical sensor.

JamesP
11-12-2009, 03:21 AM
If you can apply a (partial?) vacuum then you won't have to heat it as high, and will get less "cooking" of your mead. (No experience, just science)

ibwahooka
11-12-2009, 06:40 AM
Well I let it "boil" for about 45 minutes until the steam wasn't as strong of alcohol smelling as when I started. I know most people have not done this, but I was willing to try. I just thought maybe someone had played around with making any of their brews non-alcoholic. I'm trying this out so my wife can enjoy my homebrews while she is pregnant.

Thanks again everyone. I will let everyone know how it turned out/tastes.

Shawn

afdoty
11-12-2009, 08:50 AM
Where would you do this? I'm thinking 15% alcohol in 4 1/2 gallons gives about .7 gallons of alcohol vapor floating around trying to find an open flame....maybe try freezing it and save the ice?

GeorgiaMead
11-12-2009, 09:14 AM
i dont remember there being an (even*) number involved in that process.
seems like it was 178, or 172. not too sure. either way it is VERY dangerous to consume the "waste alcohol" from such a process. i have heard stories of ppl doing this without the proper testing equipment and ending up very very sick. just an fyi this is dangerous ground.

Medsen Fey
11-12-2009, 10:22 AM
I have calculated alcohol by spirit indication a few times and the rule of thumb for that process is to boil (or simmer it) until the volume has dropped by 50%. With that, vast majority of all the alcohol has been removed. However, what is left in the pot is dark, sometimes scorched, and nasty tasting (at least to me). If you are able to produce something tasty using a process like this, let us know and give us the recipe.

wayneb
11-12-2009, 11:39 AM
I'm thinking that JamesP's suggestion, to subject the liquid to a partial vacuum while heating, has the best chance of success where success is defined as removing the majority of the alcohol while leaving something drinkable behind. This could be difficult for a home experimenter to do safely, though, so proceed with much caution!

akueck
11-12-2009, 04:44 PM
Shawn, do you have SG measurements for pre- and post-treatment? I'm curious to know how much it moved.

Al, I wouldn't be too worried about the alcohol vapor since he is starting with only 15% ABV. A significant portion of the vapor will be water so if the area is ventilated reasonably the concentration of ethanol in the air should be well below the limit for combustion. Still, turn that fume hood on to be safe!

ibwahooka
11-12-2009, 07:27 PM
Well I had the window open last night and there was a very healthly breeze blowing through the kitchen when I was doing this.

*UPDATE!*
I think I did it! I'm going to post my full results over in the beer section since that was what I was making. I did it with some SC wildflower honey.

-Shawn

Jess
11-13-2009, 02:38 AM
This is like a surreal post. "How do I get the alcohol out of an alcoholic beverage?". If you didn't want alcohol, why did you dump yeast into it? Maybe there are extenuating circumstances of which I'm not aware. It still seems quite silly.

Despite whatever beer/wine snobbery BS you hear, we "brew" for one reason and one reason only! Alcohol content. Honey water and grape juice taste just fine without the addition of yeast and yet we still add yeast to the mix and wait for months and years for the final product. We wait for that yeast to finish turning the honey water or grape juice into an ALCOHOLIC beverage. Albeit, a beverage that is palatable enough to get the alcohol past our tongue with as little aversion as possible but we brew and drink BECAUSE of the alcohol.

My recommendation would be to donate the mead/wine to someone else that drinks alcohol and start yourself over with a clean slate.

AToE
11-13-2009, 02:47 AM
This is like a surreal post. "How do I get the alcohol out of an alcoholic beverage?". If you didn't want alcohol, why did you dump yeast into it? Maybe there are extenuating circumstances of which I'm not aware. It still seems quite silly.

Despite whatever beer/wine snobbery BS you hear, we "brew" for one reason and one reason only! Alcohol content. Honey water and grape juice taste just fine without the addition of yeast and yet we still add yeast to the mix and wait for months and years for the final product. We wait for that yeast to finish turning the honey water or grape juice into an ALCOHOLIC beverage. Albeit, a beverage that is palatable enough to get the alcohol past our tongue with as little aversion as possible but we brew and drink BECAUSE of the alcohol.

My recommendation would be to donate the mead/wine to someone else that drinks alcohol and start yourself over with a clean slate.

I'm guessing this was a little tongue in cheek, but I can think of plenty of reasons to de-alcoholize mead or beer or wine. Mead tastes nothing like honey water (mine don't anyways), nor does beer taste like sugary grain juice. I'd love to be able to de-alcoholize some of my mead so that I could share it with a recovered alcoholic I know but am currently unable to share my new passion with (unless I give him mead vinegar... which he'll never use knowing him).

my 2 cents.;)

Dan McFeeley
11-13-2009, 04:02 AM
No, it wasn't tongue in cheek at all. Scroll up through the posts and you'll read in one of the responses that Shawn is being the supportive husband, making non-alcoholic homebrew for his pregnant wife, who had enjoyed his good stuff beforehand.

--

ibwahooka
11-13-2009, 06:20 AM
No, it wasn't tongue in cheek at all. Scroll up through the posts and you'll read in one of the responses that Shawn is being the supportive husband, making non-alcoholic homebrew for his pregnant wife, who had enjoyed his good stuff beforehand.

--

Thanks Dan.

Again the whole reason behind this is for my wife. She is 10 weeks pregnant and loves drinking my homebrews, she has to drink homebrew soda at the moment, and wants to enjoy the beer I make. Believe me I think it's terrible that I have to take away from the flavor of my beer/wine but I am trying to be a good husband.

-Shawn

Smarrikåka
11-13-2009, 08:26 AM
I've done this once for a small volume. The way I did it was just to heat until all alcohol and water was out, and all that was left was the "essence" of the mead (or perhaps the meadpasta?). I then added water back into it. It tasted superb (though not at all like honey water, and not quite like the mead with alcohol in it either). I guess if there was a way to remove only the alcohol and still keep the original water intact that'd be even better. I don't think that would be possible through boiling alone though, and for me the readdition of water gave sufficiently good results for it to be a worthwhile method.

AToE
11-13-2009, 12:48 PM
No, it wasn't tongue in cheek at all. Scroll up through the posts and you'll read in one of the responses that Shawn is being the supportive husband, making non-alcoholic homebrew for his pregnant wife, who had enjoyed his good stuff beforehand.

--

:eek: Oh no, I wasn't referring to Shawn's post being tongue in cheek - I was referring to the post I quoted! I totally understand where Shawn is coming from and was just arguing against what Jess said that brewing is essentially for the alcohol only.

Oskaar
11-13-2009, 02:17 PM
This is like a surreal post. "How do I get the alcohol out of an alcoholic beverage?". If you didn't want alcohol, why did you dump yeast into it? Maybe there are extenuating circumstances of which I'm not aware. It still seems quite silly.

Despite whatever beer/wine snobbery BS you hear, we "brew" for one reason and one reason only! Alcohol content. Honey water and grape juice taste just fine without the addition of yeast and yet we still add yeast to the mix and wait for months and years for the final product. We wait for that yeast to finish turning the honey water or grape juice into an ALCOHOLIC beverage. Albeit, a beverage that is palatable enough to get the alcohol past our tongue with as little aversion as possible but we brew and drink BECAUSE of the alcohol.

My recommendation would be to donate the mead/wine to someone else that drinks alcohol and start yourself over with a clean slate.

Jess, you'll need to speak for yourself without making sweeping generalizations about the rest of the hombrew, meadmaking and winemaking communities. The only factor alcohol content plays in my decision making process is to determine which yeast strain will best suit the must that I'm making, and the residual sugar content at terminal gravity. I enjoy a good buzz as much as the next guy, but is in no way the only reason or main reason I brew.

Please take a moment to reflect on how insensitive your post was and how foolish you look to this community for capping on someone who is asking legitimate questions in order to produce a safe beverage for his pregnant wife. This type of posting style is not Welcome nor encouraged here on Got Mead? and if you continue in this direction you will be moderated. Continue past that and you may end up losing your account on GotMead.Com.

Oskaar

willaien
11-13-2009, 03:20 PM
Well... something to note.

Once you drop below about 10%ABV, you no longer have enough alcohol to keep it relatively sterile. It will go bad eventually.

You can use preservatives, however.

akueck
11-13-2009, 03:38 PM
Sounds like he did this with a honey beer, so the hops should help in that regard for this specific batch. Good point though, once you remove the alcohol and simultaneously pasteurize it you'll have to protect it somehow from spoilage. I would personally recommend sorbates since sterile bottling is out of the realm of possibility in my kitchen. Sulfites should be unnecessary since you just pasteurized it, correct?

Medsen Fey
11-13-2009, 04:21 PM
If you're bottling a solution of dry beer/mead that has very little sugar and very little in the way of nutrients or alcohol left, you probably won't have to worry about spoilage organism too much - you haven't left them anything to eat. So I'd think if you use sanitary conditions, then you wouldn't need sulfite and sorbate.

If you have a sweet batch, then you probably need both to keep some feral yeast from starting or some other spoilage organism from taking over. However, if you didn't want to use them, you could bottle it and pasteurize the bottles - since you've already heated this, a little more heat isn't going to hurt it. In that case you certainly could do without both.

GeorgiaMead
11-13-2009, 04:56 PM
just an idea... have you thought of using a double boiler? it may be a bit more complicated to maintain the magic temperature, but you could prevent a lot of scorching......

ibwahooka
11-13-2009, 06:46 PM
just an idea... have you thought of using a double boiler? it may be a bit more complicated to maintain the magic temperature, but you could prevent a lot of scorching......

Well the beer didn't scorch all that much.

I'm just waiting for the beer to carbonate and then into the refrigerator it goes!

ibwahooka
11-16-2009, 09:25 PM
Well the boil off was only partially successful. There still may be too much alcohol in the brew to safely let my wife drink. I drank a glass on an empty stomach and my head is feeling the effects. Not a lot mind you, but I can still tell.

Thanks for all your help guys. I will continue to try.

-Shawn

AToE
11-17-2009, 12:13 AM
Well the boil off was only partially successful. There still may be too much alcohol in the brew to safely let my wife drink. I drank a glass on an empty stomach and my head is feeling the effects. Not a lot mind you, but I can still tell.

Thanks for all your help guys. I will continue to try.

-Shawn

That would be the scary thing to me, is being sure that it's down to a safe level. I'm sure there is some math/trick to figuring it out though.

Medsen Fey
11-17-2009, 09:38 AM
You can test the alcohol level by spirit indication (http://www.slymail.org/vinocalc.html#spiritindication) to get an accurate measurement of the remaining alcohol (if any). If the goal is to make it close to alcohol free - I would definitely measure it.

ibwahooka
11-17-2009, 11:29 AM
You can test the alcohol level by spirit indication (http://www.slymail.org/vinocalc.html#spiritindication) to get an accurate measurement of the remaining alcohol (if any). If the goal is to make it close to alcohol free - I would definitely measure it.

I'll check it.

Thanks Medsen.

zxcvbob
11-18-2009, 02:05 PM
You can never get rid of all the alcohol unless you get rid of all the water. You can boil off *some* of the alcohol, but it will quickly reach an equilibrium that still has much more of the original alcohol left than you'd expect. (some of the previous posts already said this)

I recommend abandoning this idea, and instead save a bottle or two to toast the new arrival together in a few months :) (congratulations!)

akueck
11-18-2009, 04:37 PM
You can never get rid of all the alcohol unless you get rid of all the water. You can boil off *some* of the alcohol, but it will quickly reach an equilibrium that still has much more of the original alcohol left than you'd expect. (some of the previous posts already said this)

The key word here is "equilibrium". Assuming you don't put a lid on the pot you're heating the beer/mead/etc in, and further assuming that your kitchen air is not 75% ethanol vapor (both good assumptions, I feel), then you can't get the whole story with just an equilibrium phase diagram. By venting the escaping vapor, you should be able to drive off more alcohol.

How much more? I have no idea. Hopefully we'll get an idea soon.

afdoty
11-18-2009, 05:52 PM
Way back when in collage, I remember a series of lab experiments we did to show the phase changes of different materials. The simple experiment was taking a solution of water and alcohol, measuring the temperature at certain time intervals as the solution heated. The solution reached the boiling point of the alcohol…. a temp of something like 170 degrees (F)…. and stayed there for a period of time. This was the phase where the alcohol was going from a liquid to a gas (boiling off the alcohol). The temp didn't rise until the alcohol was gone, at which point the temp began to increase and went to 212 degrees and the water began to boil.

Anyway, if you could heat the solution to the boiling point of the alcohol and monitor the temp accurately, you would be able to tell when the alcohol was "boiled off" by noting when the temp started to raise again.

Medsen Fey
11-18-2009, 07:07 PM
The first batch that I tried the spirit indication method on, I boiled it down by slightly more than 50% then added back water to the original volume and took my readings. I wasn't sure if all the alcohol had been removed so I decided to boil it down a second time to see if the gravity changed more. After boiling it down and again adding liquid to bring it back to the original volume, there was essentially no change in the gravity, and I was satisfied that the process had removed virtually all the alcohol.

There is nothing that stops you from adding back water to the original volume and repeating until you are sure there is no alcohol left. What effect this will have on the flavor of your beer I cannot say. In the case of my mead, it had a scorched flavor but since I was only testing the alcohol level and wasn't planning to drink it, I wasn't too upset.

akueck
11-19-2009, 12:15 AM
Way back when in collage, I remember a series of lab experiments we did to show the phase changes of different materials. The simple experiment was taking a solution of water and alcohol, measuring the temperature at certain time intervals as the solution heated. The solution reached the boiling point of the alcohol…. a temp of something like 170 degrees (F)…. and stayed there for a period of time. This was the phase where the alcohol was going from a liquid to a gas (boiling off the alcohol). The temp didn't rise until the alcohol was gone, at which point the temp began to increase and went to 212 degrees and the water began to boil.

Anyway, if you could heat the solution to the boiling point of the alcohol and monitor the temp accurately, you would be able to tell when the alcohol was "boiled off" by noting when the temp started to raise again.

<materials engineering hat>

Not so. Single component systems (pure compounds, elements, etc) will follow that kind of behavior: an isotherm during a phase change. Two or more component systems do not display this behavior (except for some systems at certain critical points, such as ethanol-water at about 96.5% ethanol or tin-lead at 63% tin). Upon heating, the system will enter a two-phase region where vapor and liquid (in this example) exist in equilibrium over a range of temperatures. The rate of temperature change will be different than it was before entering the two-phase region, but it will not reach zero.

For the ethanol-water system, the composition of liquid and vapor in equilibrium depend on both the overall composition and the temperature. You can't boil one component independently of the other. In a system where equilibrium is possible, you'll never get all the alcohol out. Solution: deny equilibrium.

</materials engineering hat>

wildoates
11-19-2009, 12:25 AM
Way back when in collage, I remember a series of lab experiments we did to show the phase changes of different materials. The simple experiment was taking a solution of water and alcohol, measuring the temperature at certain time intervals as the solution heated. The solution reached the boiling point of the alcohol…. a temp of something like 170 degrees (F)…. and stayed there for a period of time. This was the phase where the alcohol was going from a liquid to a gas (boiling off the alcohol). The temp didn't rise until the alcohol was gone, at which point the temp began to increase and went to 212 degrees and the water began to boil.So, did you decoupage that collage, or what?

(I love your misspellings because they're always perfectly good words, just not the right word!)

I've done this phase change lab too, and it's quite amazing how well it works. Too bad, as Mr. Materials Engineer pointed out, it won't work here--alas!

I'd probably just go with drinking water 'til the baby comes. :) Of course, in my day, we didn't know alcohol was bad for the baby, so we drank (well not me so much, but lots of us). Too bad we don't know how much alcohol is actually bad and when it stops being a danger.

ibwahooka
11-19-2009, 06:42 AM
With the first one my wife still drank (one a day or so during the third trimester), but she really gets depressed when we are sitting having dinner and she wants a glass of wine, mead or beer. I tell her that it's ok and she will be able to have it soon, but you know how pregnant women can be (no offense ladies I think that what you do is great).

Usually I won't partake in alcohol during dinner, but sometimes when I sneak out to the back patio with a beer in hand I can see it in her eyes. Just trying to keep her happy. That's the whole reason for this. I can finally make GOOD beer, not crappy mass manufactured NA, and try to make it NA.

I will keep experimenting with getting the alcohol out. Maybe I can become the forums premier NA guy or something.

-Shawn

Medsen Fey
11-19-2009, 10:14 AM
Maybe I can become the forums premier NA guy or something.


I think you're there already! ;D
And around here, I don't think you'll get much competition for the title. ;)

zxcvbob
11-19-2009, 01:33 PM
I can finally make GOOD beer, not crappy mass manufactured NA, and try to make it NA.

I will keep experimenting with getting the alcohol out. Maybe I can become the forums premier NA guy or something.

-Shawn

Some of the mass produced NA beer is pretty good. I haven't had any in a long time, but I think it was St. Pauli Girl that actually tasted like good beer. It's kind of expensive. You can also make a style of beer called English Mild that has a low alcohol content and tastes good -- it's also pretty fast to brew. (I should brew some of that so I can have decent beer without so many calories...)

ibwahooka
11-19-2009, 07:57 PM
I think you're there already! ;D
And around here, I don't think you'll get much competition for the title. ;)

I also have some Army friends that only drink NA since they are recovering. So I will continue to strive for the title!

akueck
11-20-2009, 12:45 AM
You can also make a style of beer called English Mild that has a low alcohol content and tastes good -- it's also pretty fast to brew. (I should brew some of that so I can have decent beer without so many calories...)

Milds are great, I like brewing them. I am also a big fan of Berliner Weisse, which only has about 2.5-3.5% abv. The weisse is a sour beer though so it doesn't finish very fast (bacteria take a long time to do their thing).

The Mild might be a good candidate for trying to make it NA. It's low abv to begin with, and the roasty flavors would stand up to more heating. It is also lightly hopped so you won't throw the flavor off too much by getting rid of most of the alcohol.

trennels
11-20-2009, 06:33 AM
I found an old thread that might be helpful:
http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=9381