To Øl Instant Craft Beer

We have for while been wanting to provide quality beers in situations which normally doesn’t encourages it due to the natural physics of beer. E.g. Newton would state that climbing a mountain with your rucksack packed with zesty IPAs can be an undesired challenge or any security guard would state that bringing your favourite hop juice with you on-board an airplane is impossible unless you repack it in a lot of 100ml containers.

However after several hours in the labs, we are now able to present the latest invention to the world of craft beer that will make traveling with quality beers a lot easier and all of the above scenarios plus more possible.

We bring to you To Øl – Instant Craft Beer. Beer in powder form to be mixed with the original alcohol and sparkling water. It’s as easy as 1-2-3.

To make instant beer you need to understand the basic compounds of beers so you can subtract them from each other (to put them back together later). Basically, beer is made of dry-matter (carbohydrate, fat, protein and ash – like instant coffee), alcohol and water. Water, as you might remember from school physics, exists in three different states, solid (ice), liquid (water) and gas (steam/vapour). To go from ice to water you need to apply heat (melt) and to go from water to steam you need to apply heat (boil). A natural way of subtracting both alcohol and water from the dry-matter is to boil the beer, but heat is bad for the aroma since high temperatures basically destroy all of the aroma-compounds e.g. all the aroma oils from hops will turn bitter (this is why you should never pasteurize a beer! Never!!).

freeze drying 4

However, a closer study of freeze drying shows that this process might actually be the perfect process to uphold aroma and obtain a split between Water, Dry-Matter and Alcohol – and thereby make Instant Beer.

Freeze drying utilizes the fact that water at very low temperatures and in vacuum will actually go directly from ice to vapour. This process is called sublimation. This is a super effective method of drawing off all the liquids parts of the beer – water and alcohol – and leaving behind the dry matter in an unaffected way and thereby keeping the aromas.

The dry-matter contains all the sugars, bitter compounds and some flavours. The water contains a bit of the flavour from the beer. And finally, the alcohol is isolated and keeps the aromas of the beer more intensely compared to traditional distilling.

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To make To Øl Instant Craft Beer, we teamed up with GEA who facilitate a larger scale freeze drying capacity and really are the experts on this field.

We started the project with 4 different beers to be freeze dried. A heavy deep beer brewed with coffee, a fruity IPA brewed with different tropical fruits, a Wild Yeast hop forward IPAs and a fairly dry pilsner. We first of all wanted to understand how different leftovers in different types of beer comes out during freeze drying, but we also realized that if we produced four different dry matters and the corresponding alcohol, then people would be able to mix together various types of dry matter and alcohol to create their desired type of beer, both in low abv or imperial versions of course.

freeze drying 1

Initially we loaded 5 liters of deep frozen beer into trays in the freeze drying machines. Then, after some hours of processing in around minus 40 degrees Celsius and 0,1 millibar of pressure, everything that is left on the trays is dry. The vapour from the drying is sucked out into a “cold trap”. Here, the water deposes on the surface and can later be melted and recovered. And the vapour of the ethanol collects nicely in a bottom drain that can be collected. So freeze drying doesn’t just separate dry-matter from vapour, but also splits alcohol and water. So far this alcohol fraction is quite strong.

freeze drying 3

The result is that we now have 4 different dry matters and alcohols. Next week we are going to our dear friends at Buxton to climb the ridges of the Peak Districts, brew a seaweed gose and of course bring To Øl Instant Craft Beer to drink the first To Øl beer ever in an airplane.