Calculating time to reduce alcohol in wine using heating method

In summary: The summary is that the person is looking for a way to reduce the ethanol content in wine for health or personal reasons. They are trying to find a model to describe the kinetics of alcohol removal and are having trouble with the first-order reaction model. They have found a pre-exponential factor, an activation energy, a gas constant, and a temperature, and have solved for time and temperature. They have also solved for the alcohol concentration.
  • #106
JT Smith said:
I think it's a tough problem you're considering.

Last year I decided I'd try some dealcoholized beers. The number of them has exploded and I was able to buy 18 different types without much trouble. Many of them were horrible and went down the sink quickly. Some were okay but odd in character. And a few were actually pretty good. I liked them as refreshing beverages but there was no mistaking them with actual beer. No way!

There are different ways these beers are made. I think many have the alcohol removed via RO. One brewer claims theirs are not dealcoholized. Instead the beer ferments without producing very much ethanol. It is a proprietary process but I imagine it's a combination of mash profile and yeast selection.

You could brew your own Shaoxing-style wine. From what I just read it sounds very similar to sake production and doesn't look hard to do. It would take time and it's probably not trivial to do well. But it would open the door for experimenting with different yeast strains. Another trick is to arrest the fermentation to limit the alcohol. You end up with a sweeter wine that way. But in a cooked dish a little extra sweetener might be acceptable.I'm going to have to go and buy some Shaoxing wine. I wonder if it's hard to find? I went looking for brewed Mirin (yet another rice wine) last year and discovered that it is either super hard to find or simply not available in the San Francisco Bay Area. Lots of inexpensive fake Mirin though.
They've been pushing the Heinekin 0.0 beer on TV. I wonder if you tried that one. Many papers and articles discuss controlling the fermentation process to dial in the alcohol level. Also though, factors like temperature, days with sun, rain, etc. affect the final product's alcohol level.

As far as availability, Shaoxing wine is readily available in Asian markets. I also live in the San Francisco Bay Area and in the South Bay, we have lots of them. I bought my Shaoxing wine at Ranch 99 Market for about $5.00. Mirin and Sake are available at Safeway these days. My area also has several Japanese and Korean markets making those products easy to find.

Today my replacement refractometer should arrive and I'll start with the dilution only measurements using the Shaoxing wine - no cooking yet.
 
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  • #107
I did not try that one for the simple reason that I don't like regular Heinekin. It's a marketing thing to call it 0.0. They stopped at the appropriate decimal point as the content is 0.03%. I read that there is a silly lawsuit about this.

The Mirin I found is called Aji Mirin. It's basically just a mixture of grain alcohol, sugar, and some longer chain carbohydrates. It's not brewed, it's mixed. Hon Mirin is the traditional form. It's brewed from rice, fungus, and yeast, similar to sake and Shaoxing wine. I figure it's probably a lot tastier than the cheaper stuff but I couldn't find any to try. I did find some bottles labeled "Hon" but the ingredients made it clear it was not. Oh well, I guess I'll have to visit Japan.

I'm off to one of the local Asian markets today for other reasons so I'll see what they have in the way of Shaoxing wine.
 
  • #108
ArtZ said:
They've been pushing the Heinekin 0.0 beer on TV. I wonder if you tried that one. Many papers and articles discuss controlling the fermentation process to dial in the alcohol level. Also though, factors like temperature, days with sun, rain, etc. affect the final product's alcohol level.

As far as availability, Shaoxing wine is readily available in Asian markets. I also live in the San Francisco Bay Area and in the South Bay, we have lots of them. I bought my Shaoxing wine at Ranch 99 Market for about $5.00. Mirin and Sake are available at Safeway these days. My area also has several Japanese and Korean markets making those products easy to find.

Today my replacement refractometer should arrive and I'll start with the dilution only measurements using the Shaoxing wine - no cooking yet.
BTW, I should have mentioned that Shaoxing comes two ways- cooking only with added salt and drinking or cooking style with no added salt. The Shaoxing with salt is a lower grade and runs $4-6 a bottle. Shaoxing for drinking $8 -20 a pop.

Aji Mirin is cheap and very commonly available and is what most Japanese home cooks use. Hon Mirin is better but you'll only find it at a Japanese market. The word 'Hon' signifies a high grade. If a Japanese sushi chef tells you his maguru is Hon maguru, you are getting the good stuff, but you'll pay $$$.
 
  • #109
I went to Japanese markets in Berkeley, San Mateo, and Japantown in San Francisco, as well as a Korean market and a couple generic Asian places. No dice! I did find it online for $42 but decided that was too much for something I might not even like.

Thanks for the heads up about the salted version of Shaoxing. They do that with other wines too and I avoid them. Mediocre wine plus a denaturant isn't a tasty combo even for cooking.
 
  • #110
JT Smith said:
I did not try that one for the simple reason that I don't like regular Heinekin. It's a marketing thing to call it 0.0. They stopped at the appropriate decimal point as the content is 0.03%. I read that there is a silly lawsuit about this.

The Mirin I found is called Aji Mirin. It's basically just a mixture of grain alcohol, sugar, and some longer chain carbohydrates. It's not brewed, it's mixed. Hon Mirin is the traditional form. It's brewed from rice, fungus, and yeast, similar to sake and Shaoxing wine. I figure it's probably a lot tastier than the cheaper stuff but I couldn't find any to try. I did find some bottles labeled "Hon" but the ingredients made it clear it was not. Oh well, I guess I'll have to visit Japan.

I'm off to one of the local Asian markets today for other reasons so I'll see what they have in the way of Shaoxing wine.
Eden Mirin is readily available in Whole Foods. It is product of Japan, with ingredients water, rice, sea salt, Koji (aspergillus) and nothing else. It is traditionally brewed. Unfortunately, it does have salt.
 
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  • #111
JT Smith said:
I went to Japanese markets in Berkeley, San Mateo, and Japantown in San Francisco, as well as a Korean market and a couple generic Asian places. No dice! I did find it online for $42 but decided that was too much for something I might not even like.

Thanks for the heads up about the salted version of Shaoxing. They do that with other wines too and I avoid them. Mediocre wine plus a denaturant isn't a tasty combo even for cooking.
Wow, sounds like you made the whirlwind tour today! And returned empty handed? What specifically couldn't you find? The potable Shaoxing?

I did receive the replacement refractometer - just tried it. in cal mode read 0.0 with the supplied distilled water. With the Shaoxing it read 4.0 on the PA scale. Adding a drop of water to the Shaoxing sample, reading was 1.4. Doesn't look promising. :-(
 
  • #112
PAllen said:
Eden Mirin is readily available in Whole Foods. It is product of Japan, with ingredients water, rice, sea salt, Koji (aspergillus) and nothing else. It is traditionally brewed. Unfortunately, it does have salt.

Thanks for that. Whole Foods, for better or worse, is my closest supermarket so I go there often. I'm pretty sure I looked at what they had. And from what I've read, right or wrong, Hon Mirin should be at 14% alcohol and contain no salt. So even though it's fermented I would have rejected the Eden product based on that. Maybe I should give it another look since it's what's available.
 
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  • #113
ArtZ said:
Wow, sounds like you made the whirlwind tour today! And returned empty handed? What specifically couldn't you find? The potable Shaoxing?

I did receive the replacement refractometer - just tried it. in cal mode read 0.0 with the supplied distilled water. With the Shaoxing it read 4.0 on the PA scale. Adding a drop of water to the Shaoxing sample, reading was 1.4. Doesn't look promising. :-(

Last year I searched for a couple of months, looking for true Mirin. Like a mirage....I just got back from buying a bottle of Shaoxing wine. One of our local Asian markets was boarded up! It was always kind of a sleazy place, VERY fishy stinky, horrible music playing, dead-eyed drone cashiers. But it had been like that forever. I figured it would be always be. Nope. Gone.

So I went to the nearest alternative, a better place actually. I chose the most expensive bottle which was just $8. Tasting it, looking at it, it's interesting. Very deep yellow, almost brown. A little sweet but also another set of flavors that I know but don't have enough words to describe. Savory, unami, but more than just that. I wish my tongue and taste buds could talk. They know. I can see why it would be a valuable addition to food. I'm most certainly going to be adding it to my next stir-fry.

FWIW this is what I got. Is it a good one?

SHAO XING CHIA FAN CHIEW
PAGODA BRAND
ALC. 17% BY VOL
82% RICE, 18% WHEAT, WINE WITH CARAMEL COLOR ADDED
PRODUCED AND BOTTLED IN CHINA
shaoxing.jpg
 
  • #114
JT Smith said:
Thanks for that. Whole Foods, for better or worse, is my closest supermarket so I go there often. I'm pretty sure I looked at what they had. And from what I've read, right or wrong, Hon Mirin should be at 14% alcohol and contain no salt. So even though it's fermented I would have rejected the Eden product based on that. Maybe I should give it another look since it's what's available.
Obviously, no salt and meant for possible drinking would be better (the Eden has only 10% alcohol). But it sure seems a lot better than what you were describing. I’ve found it quite nice in cooking, but I am no expert.
 
  • #115
PAllen said:
Obviously, no salt and meant for possible drinking would be better (the Eden has only 10% alcohol). But it sure seems a lot better than what you were describing. I’ve found it quite nice in cooking, but I am no expert.

I'll have to give it a try. The cheap-ass Mirin I bought that's just a mixture of grain alcohol and sugar tastes pretty bad.
 
  • #116
I'm not exactly sure what you ended up with today. This is my bottle of Shaoxing:

1679713381726.png


Nearly all the bottles of the cooking variety have red and gold labels. Smells good but I wouldn't drink it.
 
  • #117
Yours says "cooking wine". Does that mean it has salt added?

I wonder what's up with your refractometer? It's 5X the price I paid, you'd think it would work better. I'm not sure what you were hoping to achieve by measuring dilutions though. Wouldn't you expect a straight line heading toward zero? That's what I imagined would happen.

I tried it with the wine I bought and, yes, that's exactly what I got:

shaoxing dilutions.png
By the way, the Washington Post recently published a timely article on the subject of dealcoholized wines. Maybe it won't be that much longer before you can just go and buy a reduced alcohol Shaoxing.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2023/03/25/nonalcoholic-wine/
 
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  • #118
JT Smith said:
Yours says "cooking wine". Does that mean it has salt added?

I wonder what's up with your refractometer? It's 5X the price I paid, you'd think it would work better. I'm not sure what you were hoping to achieve by measuring dilutions though. Wouldn't you expect a straight line heading toward zero? That's what I imagined would happen.

I tried it with the wine I bought and, yes, that's exactly what I got:

View attachment 324048By the way, the Washington Post recently published a timely article on the subject of dealcoholized wines. Maybe it won't be that much longer before you can just go and buy a reduced alcohol Shaoxing.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2023/03/25/nonalcoholic-wine/
Yes, my Shaoxing has 1.5% salt added; not potable. Geez, your chart is exactly what I expect though you are plotting Brix against wine fraction not PA against wine fraction. I will need to experiment more with my refractometer; didn't try it yesterday on the Brix scale.

Thanks for the WP article. Sounds like wine is the toughest non-alcoholic nut to crack. I received a coupon yesterday from Total Wine. I may take a jaunt over and see what they have in the way of low alcohol and non-alcoholic wines and get a bottle.
 
  • #119
ArtZ said:
I will need to experiment more with my refractometer; didn't try it yesterday on the Brix scale.

I don't know why you are using PA. You don't know what it means. There are numerous models for estimating the alcohol produced from grape juice with a given sugar content. There are simple models that are just a conversion factor, like PA = 0.55 * Brix. Others try to take into account that there will be residual sugar and other unfermentables that affect the refractometer (or hydrometer) measurement. So then you get something like PA = 0.55 * Brix - 3, or whatever. Who knows what your refractometer is doing. And, more to the point, why do you care when you're not trying to estimate the potential alcohol of a sugar solution?
 
  • #120
OK, good point. Didn't have time to look at this today. The day today was devoted to another chemical problem, reducing the pungency of chopped fresh garlic in sauces for my wife's business. I mention this only in passing since I don't alert and get barked at by the Forum moderation police.

You are right, there's no way of knowing what the Brix to PA calculation the refractometer is using. I wonder if repeating your Brix against dilution advances my cause? I'm still tempted to drag the sous vide bath back out and perform a reduction in volume at a very controlled temperature measuring the Brix at controlled time points. Maybe reconstitute back to full volume at each Brix measurement point? Also, can taste the reconstituted wine at each test time compared to the full ABV wine.
 
  • #121
I was wrong, Milwaukee Instruments does describe the formula they use to calculate PA. It's in the manual.

The user can select the conversion factor so you have PA = factor * Brix. Or you can select what they call the "curve" which is a second degree polynomial. If that's how the unit comes by default maybe it explains your seemingly weird result. I dunno.
 
  • #122
Looking for the Eden Mirin yesterday and our local Whole Foods doesn't carry it any more. Maybe another one of their stores has it or else I can buy it online. Anyway, I checked out the Eden website and here's what they say about removing the alcohol.

Mirin's alcohol content, about ten percent, quickly evaporates when cooked with food or may be removed by heating it to the boiling point, and allowed to cool before adding to uncooked foods.

https://store.edenfoods.com/mirin-rice-cooking-wine/

Pretty funny and also a little irresponsible.
 
  • #123
I watched the video this morning and didn't get that it was either funny or irresponsible - did I miss something?

Also went to Marina Grocery in Milpitas. They have a dizzying array of Shaoxing wines. Here's a small sampling.
 

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  • #124
ArtZ said:
I watched the video this morning and didn't get that it was either funny or irresponsible - did I miss something?

Video?

I quoted text where they said you could remove the alcohol from the Mirin simply by heating it to a boil and then letting it cool. If you've been following this thread you'd know that's clearly not the case!
 
  • #125
I think I see the Shaoxing wine I bought in one of your photos.

I found a bottle of the Eden Mirin at a different Whole Foods today. It's kind of expensive at $14 / 300ml. I tasted it and it is definitely better than the cheaper stuff. I'm going to throw that junk out. Mirin is very sweet! The Eden measured 46% Brix. Even accounting for the alcohol that's a lot of sugar.
 
  • #126
JT Smith said:
I think I see the Shaoxing wine I bought in one of your photos.

I found a bottle of the Eden Mirin at a different Whole Foods today. It's kind of expensive at $14 / 300ml. I tasted it and it is definitely better than the cheaper stuff. I'm going to throw that junk out. Mirin is very sweet! The Eden measured 46% Brix. Even accounting for the alcohol that's a lot of sugar.
My error. https://store.edenfoods.com/mirin-rice-cooking-wine/ is not a video. sorry. I will try my ShaoXing on the Brix scale. Also bought a bottle 0% ABV. Chardonnay at BevMo. Will chill and try tonight. The Kendall Jackson low-alcohol was $14.99 and still came in at 9.0% ABV. Didn't buy this one.
 
  • #127
JT Smith said:
I think I see the Shaoxing wine I bought in one of your photos.

I found a bottle of the Eden Mirin at a different Whole Foods today. It's kind of expensive at $14 / 300ml. I tasted it and it is definitely better than the cheaper stuff. I'm going to throw that junk out. Mirin is very sweet! The Eden measured 46% Brix. Even accounting for the alcohol that's a lot of sugar.
One problem with these wines is US regulations: if a wine is to be sold at a store that lacks a liquor store license, it must have salt or something similar to discourage drinking. Fortunately, there is a growing trend for grocers to have liquor licenses, but I don't know about Asian markets. In any case, an importer of a wine mostly used for cooking narrows their market considerably if they import the superior product (the one with no salt).
 
  • #128
PAllen said:
One problem with these wines is US regulations: if a wine is to be sold at a store that lacks a liquor store license, it must have salt or something similar to discourage drinking. Fortunately, there is a growing trend for grocers to have liquor licenses, but I don't know about Asian markets. In any case, an importer of a wine mostly used for cooking narrows their market considerably if they import the superior product (the one with no salt).

It is kind of annoying. Is it just a U.S. thing, denatured wine for cooking?

All of the Japanese/Korean/Asian markets I visited and of course Whole Foods have full liquor licenses. I know that alcohol in supermarkets isn't universal in the U.S. There's a patchwork of regulations.
 
  • #129
JT Smith said:
It is kind of annoying. Is it just a U.S. thing, denatured wine for cooking?

All of the Japanese/Korean/Asian markets I visited and of course Whole Foods have full liquor licenses. I know that alcohol in supermarkets isn't universal in the U.S. There's a patchwork of regulations.
Last night, I did some testing with the refractometer. All tests were on the Brix scale. Using distilled water, the instrument was checked for zero. This reading was correctly displayed. Both the Shaoxing at 15% ABV and the Free wine at 0.0 ABV were tested with Brix values of 7.2 and 6.7 respectively. I am thinking that Brix values are useless for anything I am trying to do.
 

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  • #130
ArtZ said:
Last night, I did some testing with the refractometer. All tests were on the Brix scale. Using distilled water, the instrument was checked for zero. This reading was correctly displayed. Both the Shaoxing at 15% ABV and the Free wine at 0.0 ABV were tested with Brix values of 7.2 and 6.7 respectively. I am thinking that Brix values are useless for anything I am trying to do

I think that it is the case, at least for wines, that the refractive index adds proportionally to the volume fraction of the ethanol. It sure wasn't obvious to me that it would work out that way but apparently it is true for some liquid mixtures. I looked a bit and found there is something called Arago-Biot approach for the RI of binary mixtures. It is basically that the refractive index of a mixture is the sum of the volume fraction of each times the refractive index of the pure substance.

I think this is why I got a straight line when I added ethanol to my reduced and reconstituted wine. For every 1% Brix difference the ABV differed by approximately 2.5% . So if you know the starting ABV, and you do, then after reducing and reconstituting you should be able to figure out the new value.

new %ABV = original %ABV - change in Brix * 2.5%

In the case of your FRE wine, it has at most only 0.5% ethanol so the Brix value primarily reflects the sugar (and other dissolved ingredients). My 14.2% ABV red wine was pretty dry and had an original Brix of 8.4%. If you divide 14.2% by 2.5% you get 5.7%. Subtracting that from 8.4% leaves 1.7% Brix, which represents the residual sugar (and other stuff). In contrast, the 10% ABV Mirin I bought recently was 45% Brix. That's mainly due to all of the sugar in that cloyingly sweet wine.

Of course I only did this experiment with one wine. Maybe it wouldn't work with your Shaoxing. Or maybe the curve wouldn't be linear. Or the slope would be different. You'd have to repeat what I did to find out for sure.
 
  • #131
The sugar content of the Eden mirin is remarkable given that there are no added sugars. The ingredients indicate 12 gm of sugar per 2 tbsp, none of which is added sugar. Most of the calories are from this sugar, which apparently all comes from the handling of the rice.
 
  • #132
From what I understand mirin isn't really brewed in the conventional sense. Rather, alcohol is added to the rice/koji mixture in the form of a Japanese whisky called shochu. Sometimes I think sake is added instead but then it isn't "hon".

A long time ago I made amazake, which is just steamed rice and koji mixed together and held at temperature for a while (I think about 14 hours?). The enzymes from the fungus in the koji break down the starches in the rice, analogous to how the amylases in malted barley break down the starches in barley/wheat/rice/rye/oatmeal/whatever when making beer. Technically, sake, mirin, Shaoxing, etc are not wines, they're beers since they are derived from grain instead of fruit.

Anyway, amazake is just about the sweetest thing you could imagine. Well, the runnings from the mash tun when making beer is about the same. Both are basically syrups. Except that I think amazake contains a larger proportion of more complex sugars.

So I think (I think) that mirin is a mixture of sweet rice syrup and Japanese whiskey, aged for something like two months, and then filtered. Probably that aging part is key to developing aromatic compounds. The inexpensive "aji" mirin that is just a mixture of grain alcohol and sugars lacks complexity. It would be like mixing vodka with a small amount of grape juice and calling it wine.
 

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