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View Full Version : Brewing a..."Malternative" Beverage.



GlassCityBrewer
01-06-2008, 01:16 PM
Ok, feel free to scoff, raise eyebrows, and question my right to call myself a beer lover, but still.

I want to know how it's done.

I've searched high and low on this here worldwide web and only encounted recipes for making a mixed drink and a very strange genre of porn, and while both were educational in their own right, I still remain in the dark of how one actually makes these beverages.

BMOOR
01-06-2008, 01:29 PM
Ok, while there is probabyl more than one way depending on what you want to make AND I don't endorse it, but here is how I've seen it done. (really-I saw it-I did not do it :) )
Make a very light lager of low alcohol and filter it(do not try to acheive flavor in this beer), and then filter it again with charcoal (in this instance it had to be done several times at a loss of final product) so that it is so filtered, you take the color out. Then add back sugar and flavoring-in this case a citrus type flavoring. It resembled a zima type thing and while you would assume it would sell with a certain segment of the population, it did not. Glad it was there brewpub and not mine. Again, this may not be the best way to do it, it was the way one small brewpub tried it out at the request of management.

GlassCityBrewer
01-06-2008, 03:58 PM
Ok, well does anyone have any methods that they would suggest?

nohandslance
01-06-2008, 08:35 PM
Try: Commerceindustrialchemicals.com, You can purchase pure grain alcohol, cut it with H2O, add your flavor of choice, Lemon, raspberry....etc. This will be far cheaper than brewing a light lager and taking up tank space. Also; I just had a wonderful beer called "Frambozen" out of Colorado, nice malt with alot of Raspberry flavor, a very nice alternative if you do not go the "grain alcohol" route.

3DogsBarking
01-06-2008, 09:42 PM
Activated carbon/ charcoal is pretty standard for color removal.

BMOOR
01-07-2008, 06:53 AM
Try: Commerceindustrialchemicals.com, You can purchase pure grain alcohol, cut it with H2O, add your flavor of choice, Lemon, raspberry....etc. This will be far cheaper than brewing a light lager and taking up tank space. Also; I just had a wonderful beer called "Frambozen" out of Colorado, nice malt with alot of Raspberry flavor, a very nice alternative if you do not go the "grain alcohol" route.

Can you call that a malt bevarge then?? or "malternative". I don't know the specifics, but I think you need 51% of alcohol from malted barley??

Also, was the Frambozen from New Belgium? (I know they have a beer by that name). I would definitely drink that over a Flavored MAlt beverage-and this beer is indeed a beer and not an FMB.

einhorn
01-07-2008, 09:04 AM
Sounds like your looking for something like www.bionade.de

I went to Doemens with the son of the "inventor" back in '96 and he couldn't give his Bionade away. After the partial takeover and expansion through a larger mineral water company (Rhn Sprudel), it's taken off like a rocket (it's all about distribution, ain't it?). If I'm not mistaken, they did 1 mio. HL in 2007 and major brewers (Inbev for sure) are coming with similar alternatives.

Sorry, though, can't tell what he's doing differently than a regular brewing process. They have threatened to go up against any plagarists/copycats, as his process is patented. The products are truly excellent and very "in" right now.

BTW: these are all non-alcoholic beverages. Maybe I missed the boat...

l-sheik
01-08-2008, 09:34 AM
Hi,

i have been researching on this topic aswell, focusing on malt based, low alcohol beverages.

The Bionade mentioned by Einhorn is fermented with a Gluconobacter and then probably sweetend and flavored. They make a big secret out of it.

Another interesting aproach would be a fermentation by a Kefir yeast ( fermented milk) together with a Lactobacillus, the VLB in Berlin is working on that and have a process ready for production.

I guess in the end it all comes down to finding one or a blend of microorganism that ferments our normal wort, without producing alcohol or only small amounts of it to a refreshing beverage. You can always adapted flavor and the level of sweetness

You see, many people are working on this and imagine the load of stinking fermented wort they have to taste untill they finally found the one organism that will do the trick, of course it is extremly hard to get infos out of them.

Maybe Chris White has some ideas of what organisms would be worth trying ?

Hope you keep as posted and share your secret :-)

pennbrew2
01-08-2008, 03:49 PM
I don't think the OP is asking about a low/non-alcoholic beverage.

l-sheik
01-09-2008, 02:47 PM
I don't think the OP is asking about a low/non-alcoholic beverage.

sorry if i have been totally off topic, but what exactly is a "malternative beverage" then?

pennbrew2
01-09-2008, 03:00 PM
Stuff like this:

www.smirnoffice.com/

or this:

http://www.mikeshardlemonade.com/

wildcrafter
01-09-2008, 04:06 PM
Isn't a "malternative" just an unmalted grain beverage? If so, there are some real interesting old recipes from the southwest using lupulo(hops), corn, golden barley, peloncillo, and yeast for a cervesa casera. It used to replace wine in all uses- including as a sacrament. I surely don't think it was carbonated. No mention of malting the grains.

GlassCityBrewer
01-09-2008, 08:18 PM
I'd listen to PennBrew2 on this one.

"Malternative" is the buzz world for all of the fruity alcoholic malt beverages.

Smirinoff, Mike's Hard, Seagrams, Bartles and James, etc.

although I'm really trying to shoot for something like BJ's kind of product.

you know, Malt/wine coolers.

pbutlert
01-10-2008, 03:34 PM
I worked at a brewery in Colorado long ago that made a fruit "beer" that was really more like a malternative. It was all 2 row, and then a big addition of dextrose in the kettle. Just a handful of hops to keep it from boiling over, and that was it; VERY low IBU's, I don't remember the number. It would be almost clear colored, and ferment out to something like 1 plato. We would then add aseptic fruit puree after fermentation to give it some color and body. It was a RPITA to filter. Not much beer character to the finished product. I have thought about doing something like it in later years, but then I remembered how much "fun" it was to brew, slapped myself and forgot about it. I have yet to do any kind of fruit beer in the last 10 years of professional brewing, and I don't regret it. :D

Jephro
01-10-2008, 06:32 PM
I have yet to do any kind of fruit beer in the last 10 years of professional brewing, and I don't regret it. :D
..and your tap lines thank you!! ;)

JoeV
01-12-2008, 01:49 PM
Isn't there some minimum percentage of Malt that a beverage needs to have in it to be a "malt beverage" and not a wine? Anyone know? And doesn't a majority of the ethanol need to come from your own fermentation? Barring adding grain spirits.

jarviw
01-13-2008, 10:33 AM
"Malternative" is the buzz world for all of the fruity alcoholic malt beverages.
Smirinoff, Mike's Hard, Seagrams, Bartles and James, etc.
although I'm really trying to shoot for something like BJ's kind of product.
you know, Malt/wine coolers.


No... actually, malternative and wine coolers turned out to be a fad for the brewing industry.
the market does still exist -- very small... and all the marketing efforts turned out to be only a few years of fad that people soon didn't care about anymore.

That's the story of the mega brewers anyways.


Could a craft version of malternative bring back all the rave? possible.
I wouldn't bank on it... definitely not on "yet another wine cooler".

But if it's really good... I mean, REALLY GOOD, a high quality product that consumers can appreciate and share its romance without being tagged as wusses with sissy tastes (which is one of the core problem of malternatives), that may worth your venture.

gitchegumee
03-02-2009, 06:52 PM
As I understand the "malternative" market, it was developed mainly to take advantage of the relatively cheaper tax on beer vs. spirits. Correct me if I'm wrong here, but a beverage made of the requisite malt and hops could qualify as beer, even if it was colorless and tasteless before citrus or other flavorings were added. It could be sold with the attraction of a "cooler" or "mixed cocktail" without the higher tax of a wine or spirit based beverage.
I live and work outside of the constraints of US-based brewing laws and in a hot, tropical location where coolers sell very well. I'd like to offer something in this market. So, this leads up to my question: Has anyone used cane sugar as a base for an alco-pop? It would be cheaper and more neutral-tasting than malt-based beverages. I'd also be interested in hearing any others who make malternatives to find out what works and what doesn't. Thanks for any help!

wildcrafter
03-02-2009, 07:23 PM
Malternative beverage?

Not exactly sure what you mean or desire,,but the best guess I had given my interpretation of the idea is....................HOP TEA SODA.

I had some in Yakima a few years ago,,,,stunning. Far better than ginger ale,,,and that's one of my favorites. I was told the hop tea soda was from the aroma/oil fraction of the hops,,,real low sugar,,,not sweet and very tasty. I also heard the wizard that made it real just passed away,,,,bummer.

So why isn't hop tea soda mainstream yet?:confused:

Why not Peppermint soda,, spearmint soda,,wintergreen soda,,,etc..soda mainstream?? I dunno? Curious though. Agave nectar would make it approved for diabetics?:confused:

wiredgourmet
03-02-2009, 11:01 PM
Our Lord made wine out of water. Surely, only Satan would wish to make water out of beer.

gitchegumee
03-03-2009, 09:29 PM
YOUR Lord, not mine. I'm not talking about making a beer. I'm talking about making an alco-pop. Like ciders, but boosting the alcohol with cane sugar. Something on the order of hard lemonade. Nobody here done that?

malagabeer
08-16-2010, 01:36 PM
[QUOTE=pbutlert]I worked at a brewery in Colorado long ago that made a fruit "beer" that was really more like a malternative. It was all 2 row, and then a big addition of dextrose in the kettle. Just a handful of hops to keep it from boiling over, and that was it; VERY low IBU's, I don't remember the number. It would be almost clear colored, and ferment out to something like 1 plato. We would then add aseptic fruit puree after fermentation to give it some color and body. It was a RPITA to filter. Not much beer character to the finished product.



How did you avoid a new fermentation after adding the fruit puree???? I am planing on making a sweet beer with fruit and I do not know how to avoid a new fermentation....

liammckenna
08-17-2010, 06:04 AM
How did you avoid a new fermentation after adding the fruit puree???? I am planing on making a sweet beer with fruit and I do not know how to avoid a new fermentation....

Depending on formulation, filtration, process, for a 10-15 oBrix product, potassium sorbate at .05 kg/100L and sodium benzoate at .05 kg/100L should prevent a refermentation. With sodium benzoate, the pH must be less than 3.6 so you may have to acidify.

If you can do micro work, you may be able to reduce the amount/rate of application moving forward.

This assumes a 'bright' product. I have no experience with stabilizing lightly filtered or unfiltered malternatives/beer based coolers.

Your mileage may vary. You may also want to do some research on the breakdown products of these stabilizers further downstream. Beware of benzoate in presence of citric or ascorbic acids (apparently can give rise to small amounts of benzene). Sorbate seems inherently safe. I have heard anecdotal evidence of flavour issues with its use. I have never experienced this.

As an aside, winemakers generally use a sorbate/sulfite combo for sweet wines. (sorbate for culture yeast, SO2 for wild nasties of all sorts)

There are some easy methods for measuring free and total SO2. I'll see if I can find them from my winemaking days.

Many culture yeast naturally produce a certain amount of sulfite. Especially in the brewing cultures. Also, depending on a lot of things, your beverage may absorb a lot of SO2 before showing any free in solution. It is the free that is giving you protection but the bound (in quantity) may still irritate a lot of people. SO2 sensitivity is more common than you think.

Good luck,

Pax.

Liam

malagabeer
08-17-2010, 08:57 AM
Depending on formulation, filtration, process, for a 10-15 oBrix product, potassium sorbate at .05 kg/100L and sodium benzoate at .05 kg/100L should prevent a refermentation. With sodium benzoate, the pH must be less than 3.6 so you may have to acidify.

If you can do micro work, you may be able to reduce the amount/rate of application moving forward.

This assumes a 'bright' product. I have no experience with stabilizing lightly filtered or unfiltered malternatives/beer based coolers.

Your mileage may vary. You may also want to do some research on the breakdown products of these stabilizers further downstream. Beware of benzoate in presence of citric or ascorbic acids (apparently can give rise to small amounts of benzene). Sorbate seems inherently safe. I have heard anecdotal evidence of flavour issues with its use. I have never experienced this.

As an aside, winemakers generally use a sorbate/sulfite combo for sweet wines. (sorbate for culture yeast, SO2 for wild nasties of all sorts)

There are some easy methods for measuring free and total SO2. I'll see if I can find them from my winemaking days.

Many culture yeast naturally produce a certain amount of sulfite. Especially in the brewing cultures. Also, depending on a lot of things, your beverage may absorb a lot of SO2 before showing any free in solution. It is the free that is giving you protection but the bound (in quantity) may still irritate a lot of people. SO2 sensitivity is more common than you think.

Good luck,

Pax.

Liam



What a great information!!! Thank you so much...

May I bother you with some more questions? :D

1.- You said that for a 10-15 oBrix product, potassium sorbate at .05 kg/100L and sodium benzoate at .05 kg/100L should prevent a refermentation....that .05 that you mentioned in your post is exactly 0.05 or it is 0.5 kilograms....I know is a weird question but i want to be sure of the exactly amount of potassium sorbate.


2.- I recently read that sodium benzoate and citric juices produce benzene which is carcinogen. Thats why I am thinking of using sorbate/sulfite combo. Have you ever thought or used the sorbate/sulfite combo in a beer? Could be possible used this combination in beer?

Best Regards,

liammckenna
08-17-2010, 10:33 AM
What a great information!!! Thank you so much...

May I bother you with some more questions? :D

1.- You said that for a 10-15 oBrix product, potassium sorbate at .05 kg/100L and sodium benzoate at .05 kg/100L should prevent a refermentation....that .05 that you mentioned in your post is exactly 0.05 or it is 0.5 kilograms....I know is a weird question but i want to be sure of the exactly amount of potassium sorbate.


2.- I recently read that sodium benzoate and citric juices produce benzene which is carcinogen. Thats why I am thinking of using sorbate/sulfite combo. Have you ever thought or used the sorbate/sulfite combo in a beer? Could be possible used this combination in beer?

Best Regards,

It is indeed 0.05 kg/100L for both the sorbate and the benzoate.

Sorbate/sulfite combo should work but you need to measure your SO2. If you find yourself climbing over 200 ppm sulfite and you're not registering any free SO2, I would back off and look for an alternative. That's just me though. I've seen winemakers go higher.

You could also entertain another acid like malic or tartaric to acidify instead of citric to obviate the benzene potential.

Also, to re-iterate, this will, in my knowledge, only work for a brightly filtered product (no cloud or haze). I've never tried it otherwise.

Good luck,

Liam

liammckenna
08-17-2010, 11:34 AM
Here's (http://www.mbhes.com/so2_in_wine.htm) a summary of SO2 measurement methods in wine.

The first method, rough and ready, is what we generally used during processing. We used the potentiometric method prior to packaging.

Good luck,

Liam

malagabeer
08-18-2010, 06:32 AM
Here's (http://www.mbhes.com/so2_in_wine.htm) a summary of SO2 measurement methods in wine.

The first method, rough and ready, is what we generally used during processing. We used the potentiometric method prior to packaging.

Good luck,

Liam


Thank you so much Liam. From now on you are my guru :D