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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: hillbillybrewer on November 26, 2009, 04:02:42 PM

Title: Lower ABV, Same Taste - Possible?
Post by: hillbillybrewer on November 26, 2009, 04:02:42 PM
Hey all, seemed like a good starting point for my first post here, so here we go!:

I made an experimental wheat beer a few weeks ago and I really like the way it came out (allbeit a little too much cascade for flavoring), but after having just two I pretty much have to cut myself off (heck I'm only 5'7" and 135 pounds).  Same with my Cream Ales that I love (at least I can enjoy three of those at a sitting).

So I was wondering if it were possible if going all grain, to maybe mash at a higher temp for less fermentables, but hop a little higher to balance the sweetness, to try and achieve near the same flavor but with at least somewhat less alcohol?

Thanks for any input, and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!
Title: Re: Lower ABV, Same Taste - Possible?
Post by: tom on November 26, 2009, 04:15:15 PM
Welcome!
Yes, all of those are good ideas.
Darker beers would be easier, just cut out some base malt.
For all beers you could try "no-sparge" all-grain. Just use the "first runnings" without any sparge. That will give you most of the flavor and less alcohol. I once made a "no-sparge" Mild Ale and a homebrew judge thought that it was "too big for style".
Title: Re: Lower ABV, Same Taste - Possible?
Post by: bonjour on November 26, 2009, 04:39:16 PM
"Same" flavor -- no,  similar flavor yes.

you have the right idea but target the FG of the beers that you like.  lower the basemalt and try and hit the same FG by raising the mash temp.  Start there and then adjust.

Fred
Title: Re: Lower ABV, Same Taste - Possible?
Post by: drf255 on November 27, 2009, 12:03:53 PM
There's a point where you just can't pull it off.  I love making low ABV beers.  I love drinking good tasting beer, and I can't say I hate the effects of the alcohol, but sometimes I have to stop enjoying the beer earlier than I'd like to.

I have had good luck in the past with high gravity brewing.  I'll brew a 10 gallons of 1060 beer, then dilute it with boiled/cooled tap water to 15 gallons of 1040 beer.  Because you brew it at a higher gravity, the yeast can't attenuate it as much and throws off esters that it wouldnt at a lower SG.  I started doing this with the BYO Heineken Clone.  Now I routinely do that as my standard summer lager.  Colby's BYO style profile on American Lagers stated that Budweiser is brewed this way.

Try it, it's a home run.  You get more beer for the same amount of work.
Title: Re: Lower ABV, Same Taste - Possible?
Post by: a10t2 on November 27, 2009, 03:30:06 PM
I did a test a few months ago to try to remove the alcohol from a beer. Ethanol boils at 174°F, so all you have to do is hold it above that point but below a full boil. I took a gallon of my black lager and just kept it as close to 180°F as possible using the kitchen stove. After about 45 minutes I could no longer smell the alcohol cooking off (if you wanted to, I bet that would be a great way to catch a buzz). According to my hydrometer readings, it went from 5.5% ABV to 2.1%. It was definitely still drinkable, although I think it may have picked up a slightly flat chalky flavor. Obviously, I don't think this would be an option for hoppy styles, but it might be something to investigate.
Title: Re: Lower ABV, Same Taste - Possible?
Post by: tom on November 27, 2009, 05:04:44 PM
So the gravity went up?
Title: Re: Lower ABV, Same Taste - Possible?
Post by: a10t2 on November 27, 2009, 05:48:54 PM
So the gravity went up?

Yes, it went from something like 1.009 to 1.018, although I can't remember if I compensated for the volume reduction or not. I'll check my notes when I get home Sunday/Monday.
Title: Re: Lower ABV, Same Taste - Possible?
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on November 27, 2009, 07:10:47 PM
A lot of Czech breweries brew 10 Plato beer (OG of 1040).
I think average Czech beer drinker prefer this beer over 12 Plato (1048).
So you can make good tasting low alcohol beers.

By the way Czech hold #1 place of beer consumed per capita.
It is somewhere around 160 liters per year or about one 1/2 liter a day.
Title: Re: Lower ABV, Same Taste - Possible?
Post by: beerocd on November 29, 2009, 12:07:32 AM

By the way Czech hold #1 place of beer consumed per capita.
It is somewhere around 160 liters per year or about one 1/2 liter a day.

11 Places behind the US in life expectancy. Not so good - there's 49 ahead of US.

-OCD
Title: Re: Lower ABV, Same Taste - Possible?
Post by: hillbillybrewer on November 29, 2009, 03:18:54 AM
Thanks for all the tips, this will give me plenty of experimentation to do   ;D