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  1. #1
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    It might sound like a crazy question, but I don't drink alcohol... Is there any way to make non-alcoholic meade or to take the alcohol out of it? Or any other drinks (besides pop) to make?

    Waya
    WayaCoyote

  2. #2
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    Oct 2004
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    Unfortunately not really. Many of the characteristics of mead are products of fermentation (besides the alcohol), and can't really be duplicated w/o yeast action. Some propose gently heating and stirring the finished mead (ETOH evaporates at a much lower temp. I forget exactly what 120-ish?), but the problem is that many of the things that make a mead taste like mead also are volatile and would be driven off too.

    I do make Kombucha (a non-alcoholic, aerobically fermented, sparkling tea) quite a bit, and have been wishing to experiment with using honey. It's a delicious, refreshing and healthful substitute for soda (though homemade soda is a good substitute too!) Perhaps you'd take our first Beesource stab using honey [img]smile.gif[/img] ?
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  3. #3
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4

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    You could in theory thru distillation. You would need a still which might be illegal in your area.
    First, make the mead according to whatever receipe you wish. After it's done and ready to drink you will have to put it thru another process...distillation, which might change the taste, make it flat but will remove the alcohol.

    you could make a simple still out of an old crockpot and cooking thermometer. drill 2 holes in the lid of the crock and put the thermometer in one (the alcohol with vent thru the other). Since you dont want to save the alcohol there is no need for the cooling coil we all associate with a backwoods still... The alcohol with vent into the atmosphere, which is ok as long as no open flames are near to light the flammable vapor.
    Next, add the mead until the it is above the level of the thermometer probe, turn on low, it will take a while...a long while. The liquid will heat up to about 185-187 degrees F. (the temp at which alcohol vaporizes) going by memory so it might be a degree or two off.
    The liquid will stay at that temp until all the alcohol is vaporized...once its all gone. the temp will rise to 212 degrees f. at which the water will begin to boil. You can remove the mead from the heat source once the temp is above 190f. cool and drink..I guess. I figure it wont taste all that good and will not have any sparkle (which is caused by the yeast fermenting under pressure with CO2 being the biproduct)

    After rereading this I am thinking you dont need a "still" you could do it in a pot with a thermometer cause you dont want to capture the ETOH (ethyl alcohol). good luck

  5. #5
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    Brew,
    Tell me more about this Kombucha. I searched for it on the web, but how do you do it?

    Waya
    WayaCoyote

  6. #6
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    Kombucha is made from tea, black or green (not herbal). To the sweetened, cooled tea is added an innoculant called a scoby, which I believe is derived as an acronym for Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria And Yeast. The scoby starts life as a clear, mucous-like gel on the surface of the tea, and gradually thickens into a tan, almost leathery pad covering the top. They're like sourdough cultures: stored and shared with friends. This or this page and others are good starts for online info.

    The inocculated tea is kept in a clean vessel under cloth so it can "breathe" but fruit flies etc. can't get in. The scoby feeds on the sugar and, in the presence of oxygen, produces organic acids ( aerobic fermentation as opposed to anaerobic which produces alcohol) which make the kombucha progressively more sour/tart over time. In this sense it's a bit like making vinegar. When the Kombucha is where you like it tartwise, bottle it up. I like a medium balance between sweet and sour personally. Some prefer more sweet with just a little twang, some like a real pucker; it's totally up to you.

    By bottling the Kombucha, you deny it oxygen and largely stop the fermentation process. It continues briefly in the bottle, making it sparkle (carbonating it), but then it stops. Each bottle will have a little scoby of its own, still in the clear phase.

    Kombucha has a long tradition in alternative medicine and many claims have been made of its efficacy in treating any nuumber of maladies. I'll leave that discussion to Tailgater [img]smile.gif[/img] , but it does have nutritive benefits from consuming the scoby and the acids from its metabolism. If nothing else it can help reintroduce flora to the gut.

    That said, I got into Kombucha because it's tasty, refreshing, and because I do really try to drink beverages that I make. There's nothing in there that I didn't put in there, if you know what I mean (dyes, preservatives, etc). And I'm also an inveterate experimenter, especially if it involves fermentation.

    My preferred recipe, for 5 gallons:

    3 oz loose green tea (I experiment with different teas)
    3 lbs sugar (this is where the pasteurized honey could be substituted)
    Half gallon of kombucha from last batch and hunk of scoby (I cut up peices, pack them in a mason jar, and fill with finished kombucha. The acidity from the 'bucha helps the scoby get started; the acids help suppress contaminants)

    Bring 5 gallons water to a boil; turn off heat. Add tea and steep five to eight minutes. Strain into sanitized 6.5-gallon pail onto sugar. Stir to dissolve. Cover with tripled cheesecloth or something similar rubber banded over the top of the pail and allow to cool to room temp (I wait overnite). When cool pour in the scoby/kombucha and whisk vigorously w/ sanitized whisk to oxygenate. Stirring will also suffice. Recover w/ cheesecloth and leave alone a couple weeks. You should start to see the clear gel forming with small bubbles caught in it from the fermentation. As the acidification progresses and the sugar is consumed, the thinkness of the scoby progresses to opacity and the mix slowly sours. Sample occasionally with sanitized turkey baster or by CAREFULLY dipping a sanitized cup and pouring it into a tasting cup. If you see any fuzzy, floating colonies (like you see in a hivetop feeder), the scoby didn't acidify fast enough and the batch got contaminated. Discard it and start again. This usually only happens with very old (low-viability) scobies or cool temps that inhibit the scoby's bugs from gettin the head start on the bad guys.

    The warmer it is and the more O2 it has access to, the faster it'll progress. When it's to your taste, sanitize some tubing and siphon into bottles (plastic 1-liter soda bottles are fine if you don't want to invest in a crown capper for glass bottles yet). I actually use swingtop bottles (like Grolsch comes it) to differentiate it from my beers and meads. If you wish, save some scoby and 'bucha in a clean mason jar in the fridge to start the next batch or split for a friend.

    Each bottle will have a baby scoby in it on the top, a tiny circular transparent pad. I drink them down, but some guests may not, um, fully appreciate the little floatie so it can be discretely plucked out for serving. Decant into a glass, leaving the sediment behind, for serving if you wish. For corny keggers, draft kombucha is convenient and easy.

    I have noticed that for the first time or two drinking Kombucha, especially if on the acidic side, I have felt a little flushed afterwards for a couple minutes. It's invigorating, and some feel that it's the 'bucha magic infusing you. I think it's more due to the acids (like having a lot of vinegar in a salad), and your body quickly acclimates. At the height of managing an un-airconditioned brewing/winemaking shop, I could go through six or seven of these in a day as a nice break from sampling all my customer's wares (there's nothing like starting off the day analyzing an 18% dandelion wine followed by a 12% barleywine )

    Many granola-y health food stores, food co-ops, etc. will have unpasteurized commercial Kombuchas for sale which can be used for your first starter. I'd say a 12-ozer shouldn't innoculate more than a gallon or two. Lacking that, perhaps we can get a scoby exchange going if anyone's interested. I'm actually going back to a new culture as my last batch was too long ago to be as viable as I'd like.

    And lastly (you were wondering when this would end), making Kombucha can be MUCH easier than I've described. Since I'm a beverage geek, sanitizing and using a modest bit of equipment is second-nature to me. Don't feel that what I've described is the only way... the even lower-tech methods you'll find online should work fine with a little reasonable attention to cleanliness.

    Homemade beverages, like "homemade" honey, will save the world someday. If I could bottle the bliss I feel from a hot summer day, sitting in my lawn chair at the hive entrance with a sleeping dog's head under my left hand and a pint of Facemower Mild Ale in the right, I wouldn't need a job. Please feel free to ask questions, I love to talk about this stuff. Since that wasn't apparent .
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  7. #7
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    Feb 2004
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    I have read about putting a red-hot poker into wine or mead in several stories on the middle ages.
    Would this not boil off the alcohol?
    Bee all you can Bee!
    http://www.hamiltonapiary.net

  8. #8
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    This was done as recently as colonial America and into the nineteenth century. It's even described in Moby-Dick if I recall. I'm sure it would boil off a little, but not too much. My understanding is that it was just thrust into the bowl or mug for a second or two to caremelize sugars and gently warm, making what was called flip in the case of ale. A more extended heating as well as some agitation would be needed to drive off a significant amount... think of mulled wine that still has ETOH (distinctive aroma) wafting off it after some time in the kettle.
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  9. #9
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    Jul 2005
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    One of my cookbooks stated that simmering wine for 1 hour only removes about 70% of its original EtOH. Hot rocks are added to certain types of modern German beers to given them a distinctive smokey caramel flavor. Unfortunately good German beer is hard to come by in my county.

  10. #10
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    Mar 2006
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    Kalamazoo, Michigan
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    "<i>It might sound like a crazy question, but I don't drink alcohol... Is there any way to make non-alcoholic meade or to take the alcohol out of it? Or any other drinks (besides pop) to make?

    Waya"</i>

    If it is non-alcoholic, it is not mead.

    For alternatives, you could try Cider and honey, Tea and honey, smoothies (which most use honey in standard), yogurts and honey , fresh frozen fruits and honey.

    Also, water and honey with spices chilled or warmed is very good. You will have to initially warm it to desolve the honey of course.

  11. #11

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    Surfing thru the links that Ben provided, I found a recipe for honey kombucha. Uses honey instead of tea.

    http://w3.trib.com/~kombu/FAQ/part05.html#BM10honey

    Ben,
    Thanks for the great info on kombucha. I need to give it a try.

    [size="1"][ March 05, 2006, 07:59 AM: Message edited by: robo ][/size]

  12. #12
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    May 2005
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    Georgia
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    Ben, Great discussion on the kombucha!! Thanks!
    What are we, men or Beekeepers?

  13. #13
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    Sep 2004
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    I too am a non alcohol user.

    I disagree that if it does not have alcohol its' "not mead".

    There are now some pretty good alcohol free wines out there. Fre' comes to mind.

  14. #14
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    Ben the Kombucha sounds facinating and potentially profitable.

    Look forward to trying it. Thanks for the recipe!

  15. #15
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    I'll say it again, if it does not contain alcohol it is not Mead. [edit by admin]

    Same for wine, if the wine does not contain alcohol, it's only must, not wine.

    Fermented beverages will always have alcohol, or they are not natural, traditional, or even probably fermented. Even non-alcoholic beer has 3% or less alcohol.

    Alcoholic drinks have been with humans since the very begining, it is key to the formation of civilization and agricultural communities.

    Thousands of years of culture WILL NOT be changed or corrupted for some fancifull whimes.

    The very idea of which is caustic to the human spirit and should be considered a crime against humanity.

    [size="1"][ March 14, 2006, 04:45 PM: Message edited by: Admin ][/size]

  16. #16
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    "racially offensive"
    "formation of civilization"
    "some fancifull whimes"
    "caustic to the human spirit "
    "crime against humanity"

    did he say that with a smile, or at least a smirk?

    If not maybe we need to share some more mead with him?
    There is always more than one way to skin a cat, that's of course if you're into eating cats.

  17. #17
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    Oct 2004
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    Or maybe it's too much mead already and time for a little Kombucha :&gt

    Sounds interesting!

    Regards
    Dennis

    [size="1"][ March 14, 2006, 02:38 PM: Message edited by: B Wrangler ][/size]

  18. #18

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    To original question: Put honey in water to desired sweetness and force carbonate.

  19. #19
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    Thanks for keeping it light all! As to fermentation, it really can describe a change to an organic compound that's enzymatically driven in the broadest sense, though certainly brewers, mazers and vintners will use it to mean anaerobic conversion of carbohydrates to alcohol and CO2. I tend to use it in a broader sense as well, as in fermenting Kombucha or even making vinegar.

    Traditionalism has its place and a valuable one at that, but personally I don't let it limit my creativity. It's like style guidelines for formal judging. Useful to allow (somewhat) objective comparison, but I've tasted a great lot of beverages that were truly wonderful in a technical as well as a "yummy" sense that suffered greatly by being "out of style".

    To me, and everyone's tired of hearing it but too bad [img]smile.gif[/img] , home beverage making's purpose is to make it the way you like it and to experiment. (and to reduce your footprint, to produce your own foodstuffs, etc). Enjoy the process, your creation, and the satisfaction! If someone turns their nose up at my mead/wine/beer/kombucha/soda, they can bring their own durn bottle.
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  20. #20
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    Did not know there were "snobs" on the alcohol front....

    lol

    Then NA beers are truly beer. As is Fre' a great tasting wine with nearly zero alchol.

    Is NyQuil wine???

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