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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: lees_brew on February 06, 2011, 11:45:48 PM

Title: how to get higher ABV brews
Post by: lees_brew on February 06, 2011, 11:45:48 PM
I had a question concerning High ABV for my extract brews.  How do you acheive this? Is it the yeast you use? I use the dry yeast that comes with the kit. Should I up to a liquid yeast?

Thanks
Lee
Title: Re: how to get higher ABV brews
Post by: passlaku on February 07, 2011, 12:27:57 AM
You have a couple of options.  First you can simply buy more dry malt extract (DME) or liquid malt extract (LME) and add it to your kettle during the boil.  This should result in a higher ABV beer with more body, as well.  Your other option is to add table sugar, which will give you higher ABV but will also make for a thinner beer.  In both cases you are simply adding fermentables (gravity points) to your wort which the yeast will then eat and convert to alcohol.  Similarly, you can add honey, molasses, brown sugar, dammera sugar, and in all cases you'll be increasing your wort's gravity and the finished beer's ABV.  If you get a chance, pick up Radical Brewing by Mosher.  He has a nice section on sugars used to increase ABV. 

As for your yeast, make sure you use a good quality dry yeast (Nottingham or a Fermentis product) and that you properly rehydrate it before using.
Title: Re: how to get higher ABV brews
Post by: oscarvan on February 07, 2011, 12:52:09 AM
Find a RECIPE in a reasonably reputable looking publication (there's a lot of crap on line, so a book or magazine is probably a better idea.....) Beer Captured or Designing Great Beers comes to mind. Then follow a recipe for a "big" beer. Then after you do that for a while start concocting your own......
Title: Re: how to get higher ABV brews
Post by: lees_brew on February 07, 2011, 12:57:28 AM
You have a couple of options.  First you can simply buy more dry malt extract (DME) or liquid malt extract (LME) and add it to your kettle during the boil.  This should result in a higher ABV beer with more body, as well.  Your other option is to add table sugar, which will give you higher ABV but will also make for a thinner beer.  In both cases you are simply adding fermentables (gravity points) to your wort which the yeast will then eat and convert to alcohol.  Similarly, you can add honey, molasses, brown sugar, dammera sugar, and in all cases you'll be increasing your wort's gravity and the finished beer's ABV.  If you get a chance, pick up Radical Brewing by Mosher.  He has a nice section on sugars used to increase ABV. 

would'nt the sugar cause the beer to be more sweet?  Or as long as I did not add to much it should be ok?
Title: Re: how to get higher ABV brews
Post by: passlaku on February 07, 2011, 01:03:21 AM
Sugar is eaten by the yeast, it is totally fermentable.  If your wort is fully fermented it will not result in "sweet" beer. 
Title: Re: how to get higher ABV brews
Post by: dbeechum on February 07, 2011, 07:27:12 AM
Lee,

I can only guess you're round about Washington way.

The story with alcohol levels and brew is all about the amount of sugar available to the yeast. The more simple sugars, the more the booze. (up to a point)

So you can totally take your regular recipe and add a little sugar to it (0.5-1.0 lb), boost the original gravity and your yeast, assuming it's generally healthy, will grant you more booze.

There's a cost though. Since regular old sugar pretty much ferments into nothingness, it also cuts the body of your beer. If you add too much sugar, you'd end up with something insipid, bland and tasting of harsh alcohol.

Assuming it ferments all the sugar, that is. If you add too much sugar the yeast will give up after a point and stop fermenting yielding that extra sweetness you were worried about. Oscar's advice is well taken - find a good high alcohol Extract recipe to start with and you'll be sure you'll end up with something intended to be a butt kicker and good tasting.

Also, make sure, as you go up in strength, you need healthier yeast to get the job done right. Read up on starters or throw more yeast into the beer to start with!
Title: Re: how to get higher ABV brews
Post by: andylovesburritos on February 08, 2011, 05:17:15 PM
if you are worried about a sweet beer just add HOPS!!!