We all know that yeast is an essential component of alcoholic beer. After all, it is responsible for producing alcohol that has typically been synonymous with beer.
However, if you are producing non-alcoholic beer, then surely you don’t need the alcohol and you don’t nee to add yeast?
Well not exactly. Let’s take at where yeast is and isn’t used in non-alcoholic beer drink production.
What Exactly is The Role of Yeast?
In beer, there are four main ingredients; water, grain, hops and yeast.
Under favourable conditions, the yeast reacts with the glucose from the grains to produce alcohol and carbon dioxide.
Both alcohol and carbon dioxide are crucial for a great beer. The carbon dioxide helps produce the characteristics of the body and taste, whilst the alcohol is essential for extracting flavours from the hops.
If yeast isn’t included within beer production (alcoholic or non-alcoholic), then there is no carbon dioxide and no alcohol, which will just result in a flat, sweet ‘beer’.
Therefore, the role of yeast is still greatly important in the production of non-alcoholic beer. Or an alternative, innovative solution is required!
Using Yeast in Non-Alcoholic Beer
Because the role of yeast is crucial to both flavour and texture, it is still very important in the manufacture of alcohol free beers.
We have already written a dedicated article on the topic, but to summarise, most non-alcoholic beers are produced by removing alcohol from alcoholic beers until the percentage is low enough to be classed as alcohol free.
Although this method seems to add complexity, it is until now one of the best ways to achieve a similar flavour and body that we associate with beers.
Making Non-Alcoholic, Yeast-Free Beer
The easiest way to produce a great beer with no yeast is to simply remove it after the beer has been produced. Much like removing the alcohol from a beer to make it alcohol free, there are processes where yeast can be filtered off before packaging.
Alternatively, you can skip using yeast altogether.
As I’ve already mentioned, this will drastically alter the characteristics of the beer that we are familiar with. However, this process is most commonly used in the Middle East, Africa and Asia where Muslim populations are high. This is because alcohol is considered haram and strictly forbidden.
Therefore, these drinks are often sweet and watery.