Author Topic: intentionally weak beer  (Read 2340 times)

Offline melferburque

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intentionally weak beer
« on: March 07, 2012, 08:29:23 PM »
I'd like to brew a bit lighter beer, mostly just to lower the alcohol, without sacrificing much else.  I'm not looking into a parti-gyle situation, I want to shoot for a 1.040 starting gravity and just work from there.  basically, I'd love to make a lighter IPA.  I'm not keen on a lot of the lighter english styles (bitters & browns), I really enjoy my northwest style beers, be they pale, amber or IPA.  I'd like something with a bit of body and a good hop bitterness.  I was thinking of downsizing a rye IPA recipe I've brewed several times, just not sure how to do it.  here's what I'm thinking:

7# maris otter
1# rye
1# munich
1# crystal 40

1/2 oz columbus @ 60 min
1 oz cascade @ 20 min
1 oz cascade @ 10 min
1 oz cascade @ flameout

munich dry yeast

should put me in the ballpark of 45 IBU backloaded for the aroma, and if I mash a few degrees higher than normal I should end up right at 4% ABV (assuming my usual 60% eff) and a FG of 1.014 or so (using a medium attenuating yeast).  not sure if I want to swap the crystal out for carapils, but I definitely like a bit of that malty body.  I thought the added sweetness may balance the relatively high amount of hops a bit better.

I'd like to brew something along the lines of the beers I like to drink and make, but cut the alcohol back.  I'd rather drink the beer than get the buzz, especially on weeknights.  it seems contrary to what most people are about, but I would love to get a solid session beer that could replace my usual 6-7% 85+ IBU IPAs.

is this just crazy to even attempt?  any tweaks I should consider?  planning to brew friday night, so I have 48 hours to tinker with the recipe.

Offline euge

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Re: intentionally weak beer
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2012, 08:40:21 PM »
Not crazy. I brew like this frequently for the same reasons you stated. You could go a point or so lower and be in "Mild" territory.

Use specialty/crystal malts to give it body and flavor.

I don't like getting plowed after just a could beers. Like to sip on some session beers and enjoy myself. 
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline richardt

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Re: intentionally weak beer
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2012, 08:42:45 PM »
Mash higher to get the residual dextrins and body you're looking for.  Weak doesn't necessarily mean thin.

Offline melferburque

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Re: intentionally weak beer
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2012, 08:50:06 PM »
Mash higher to get the residual dextrins and body you're looking for.  Weak doesn't necessarily mean thin.

was planning to mash around 154-156. that should suffice, no?

Offline richardt

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Re: intentionally weak beer
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2012, 09:02:55 PM »
looks good

Offline ccfoo242

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Re: intentionally weak beer
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2012, 09:16:19 PM »
I look forward to hearing how this comes out. I definitely want to brew some session beers...cuz I loves the drinkin but I hates the drunk!  :o

Intra cervisiam est deus.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: intentionally weak beer
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2012, 09:44:03 PM »
Mash at 158 at least. my house session beer clocks in a a sopping 1.032 with, depending on if I want hoppy or not, between 5-12 oz of hops starting at 15 minutes. big malt big hops and with a low attenuating british yeast a nice sane 1.012 fg. so like ~3% abv. drink it all night.

drinking a 6.5% Rye IPA right now and it's loveley but after two I am feeling it.

Offline tomsawyer

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Re: intentionally weak beer
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2012, 06:15:49 AM »
+1 to a higher mash temp (156-160F) and also a shorter mash time (30min) with either a mashout or get it boiling right away to fix the carbohydrate profile (larger, nonfermentable carbs for body/flavor).

Personally I might keep the IBUs to no more than the OG and maybe an IBU/OG of 0.75 (30IBU/40OG), you still need to observe balance rules at lower levels.  Might even be more important since everything is a little more delicate.

Low ABV beers are referred to a session beers.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: intentionally weak beer
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2012, 07:50:42 AM »
I'm experimenting along the same lines myself right now. I just cracked into my first take at a "session bitter" last night and already know a few tweaks I need to make. It came out fairly dry and thin so the hop bitterness is a bit out of balance. Still tastes fantastic but next time I will use a low attenuating yeast instead of Chico and add some dextrin. I'll probably drop the bu:gu a little bit closer to 1 as well and switch to a cleaner bittering hop like Magnum (I used Galena for this batch).

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Offline bo

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Re: intentionally weak beer
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2012, 08:04:24 AM »
Here's an article that I think you'll find interesting:

http://byo.com/stories/wizard/article/section/121-mr-wizard/181-beano-brau-a-hefewizens-mr-wizard

and yes, they use Beano.

Offline weithman5

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Re: intentionally weak beer
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2012, 08:08:57 AM »
sounds okay, i also like having the lower alcohol often.  one thing to consider is looking at a grain bill for a scottish 60/70 (mostly marris otter like you are starting with) and then configure the hops (since they usually don't have much (i like it that way, i am usually  a malt head  in the world of hop heads)  to the flavor and aroma you want.
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Offline melferburque

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Re: intentionally weak beer
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2012, 08:21:12 AM »
I'm experimenting along the same lines myself right now. I just cracked into my first take at a "session bitter" last night and already know a few tweaks I need to make. It came out fairly dry and thin so the hop bitterness is a bit out of balance. Still tastes fantastic but next time I will use a low attenuating yeast instead of Chico and add some dextrin. I'll probably drop the bu:gu a little bit closer to 1 as well and switch to a cleaner bittering hop like Magnum (I used Galena for this batch).

Sent from my DROID BIONIC using Tapatalk

are all IBUs the same, however?  I've gone pretty light on the bittering hops (1/2 oz of columbus, could move to 45 min) and heavier on the late addition of cascade.  I'm more concerned about the body of the beer, I don't want something really thin. I just worry that adding so much crystal will be too sweet, I could switch to carapils instead.  I hadn't considered adding dextrin, I figured all the specialty grains would take care of that.

it sounds like this is definitely possible, I'm surprised there isn't more talk about sessioning beers.  most homebrewers like beer, rather than just trying to make the strongest beer they can. I would much rather drive three or four good low alcohol beers than one 12% most of the time. save the barleywines for special occasions.

Offline melferburque

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Re: intentionally weak beer
« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2012, 08:23:26 AM »
Here's an article that I think you'll find interesting:

http://byo.com/stories/wizard/article/section/121-mr-wizard/181-beano-brau-a-hefewizens-mr-wizard

and yes, they use Beano.

that's an interesting article, but counter to what I'm trying to accomplish.  I don't care so much about the calories or carbs, I just want to cut the alcohol back.  seems the best way to do that is a higher mash temp and a lower attenuating yeast.

Offline skyler

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Re: intentionally weak beer
« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2012, 09:04:19 AM »
I think what you are trying to do is brew an emerging style that I have seen called "San Diego Session Ale,"  "West Coast Session Ale," or even just an "American Bitter." Here in Northern California a few breweries have been doing them as one-off beers, but a few breweries in San Diego do them full-time, notably Ballast Point and Stone. It was something I took with me from a trip to San Diego and have brewed a few times. Essentially, my take on it is to take the malt bill of an Amber Ale, then reduce the base malt down to get about a 1.040 OG. Then I hop it like an IPA, but reduce the bittering hops to get it down to 55-60 IBUs. I actually mash at 152-156, because I like it pretty dry and don't mind if the FG is 1.009, but I can certainly see the wisdom in shooting for 156-160. Below is the recipe for my most recent (third) attempt at the style, though it is currently fermenting, so I can't really tell you if it was great or not.

Recipe: West Coast Session Ale

Wort Volume After Boil: 6.50 US gals
Expected OG: 1.041 SG
Expected FG: 1.009 SG

Fermentables
US 2-Row Malt 5lb 8oz (64.7 %) In Mash/Steeped
Canadian Vienna Malt 2lb 2oz (25.0 %) In Mash/Steeped
UK Medium Crystal (120EBC) 12.00 oz (8.8 %) In Mash/Steeped
German Carafa Special II 2.00 oz (1.5 %) In Mash/Steeped

Hops
US Nugget (12.0 % alpha) 20 g All Of Boil
US Centennial (6.5 % alpha) 70 g 20 Min From End
NZ Nelson Sauvin (12.5 % alpha) 90 g  At turn off
US Centennial (6.5 % alpha) 33 g Dry-Hopped
NZ Nelson Sauvin (12.5 % alpha) 27 g  Dry-Hopped


Yeast: White Labs WLP090-San Diego Super Ale

Mash at 151 degF for 60 mins


Now, you could certainly keep the carafa out if you want it paler, and you could use your own hops if you want, but I would use a nice big aroma charge and shoot for no less than 50 IBUs if you want it to feel like an IPA on the tongue.

Offline melferburque

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Re: intentionally weak beer
« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2012, 09:21:18 AM »
I think what you are trying to do is brew an emerging style that I have seen called "San Diego Session Ale,"  "West Coast Session Ale," or even just an "American Bitter." Here in Northern California a few breweries have been doing them as one-off beers, but a few breweries in San Diego do them full-time, notably Ballast Point and Stone.

that is EXACTLY what I'm looking for.  I don't think we can get Ballast Point in Seattle, but I know I can get Stone.  what's the name of their session ale?