Author Topic: newbie brewer, looking to find a Low Carb, lower calorie beer with flavor  (Read 1284 times)

Offline Bill H

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Im like many of you that really love there beer, quickly getting turned on (not in a bad way, LOL) with home brewing. One of my favorite beers is Guinness for the flavor profile, color, and satisfying in many ways. Also I have found in calorie and Carbs, it a damn nice beer with lower numbers in that area.

Are there any recipes that allow a home brewer to make up a beer with flavor, presence, but lighter in body, calories and carbs? I have to watch my carb levels due to being prone to type 2 diabetes.
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Offline BrodyR

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I love low alcohol beers. Here's a few styles I've played around with:

1) Ordinary Bitter/Golden Ale: CAMRA cites OB as 3.4% to 3.9% abv but I've seen some as low as 3%. A basic recipe would be 90% British Pale Ale Base Malt (Marris Otter/Golden Promise), 6% Medium/Dark UK Crystal Malt, 4% Wheat Malt. Hopping is flexible, it seems the English differ from the Germans in incorporating some American style hopping (sometimes US varieties and heavy late/dry hopping). The combo of flavorful British Ale yeast (could even try open fermenting a top cropper), UK malts, and a decent hop character can make the beers pretty flavorful despite such a low gravity. It may seem unusual but I actually did a Hockhurz mash on my last Golden Ale - the long rest at 160f seems to help with body and foam. Single infusion I go on the higher end, like 154f. Golden Ales are all or mostly pale ale malt with more aggressive hopping. I have a 3.9% one on tap now that was Golden Promise, EKG, Wyeast 1469 (T. Taylor yeast). Think the yeast, hops, and low final pH leave it with a citrusy sort of flavor.

2) Berlinner Weisse: I only helped brew one once with a buddy so by no means an expert. But he kettle soured a berlinner that came in around 3% and it was solid.

3) Czech Lagers: BJCP style guidelines seem to be a off on ABV but this site gives a nice overview (http://www.europeanbeerguide.net/czecintr.htm). The Czechs brew 8-10 plato (3-4%) lagers in pale, amber, and dark varieties. This slideshow goes in depth (https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/attachments/presentations/pdf/2015/2015%20AHA%20Czech%20Lagers%20-%20History,%20Brewing,%20Judging.pdf).

4) Trappist Singles/Pattersbier: Something I want to look more into. Only one I tried was basically a pils with Trappist yeast. I have a lot to learn with these.

5) Irish Dry Stout, as you mentioned: I have one fermenting now - 70% Base Malt ( I split TF Golden Promise with Munton's Mild Ale Malt), 20% Flaked Barley, 10% Munton's Roasted Barley. Used the 1469 I've been open fermenting/top cropping, and bittered with a hop shot to 35ibus. Guinness finishes with a low pH (3.8 or 3.9 IIRC?) and has a bit of an acidic twang but a lot of folk like the pH higher on stouts and mash as around 5.5. I added the Roasted Barley late once (after mashing Pale Malts at 5.4) and my final pH was 3.85 with the acidity being a major flavor component.


Offline erockrph

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A table-strength saison seems to fit what you're looking for. I brew one around 1.037 OG that ends up between 4% and 4.5%. By using Wyeast 3711 you end up with a very dry beer that has a nice mouthfeel and doesn't end up too thin. 3711 will take a beer down to Lite beer level of carbs (1.004 FG or less for a small beer like this) like clockwork. I ferment in the mid 60's and that favors a citrus character with a little pepper. You end up with a borderline-tart beer that drinks like a dry white wine.

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Offline euge

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Also one can dilute beer post-ferment pre-carbonation with water.
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Offline pete b

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I agree with Brody's list and Eric's saison suggestion. I would check into the carbs on a bitter as they can have quite a bit of crystal malts which are a chief if culprit in beer carbs as they leave behind a lot of residual sugars. The good thing about brewing your own is you can reduce the crystal malts. Try a bitter that is almost all base malt like Maris otter with just a touch of chocolate malt for color. I make IPA s that are 80% pale malt and 20% Munich. My guess is that is significantly less carbs than an IPA with crystal malt and if your OG is around 1.045 you can get enough maltiness to go with the hops with relatively moderate calories. WY1450 can be your friend as it leaves a nice mouth feel without under attenuating.
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Offline pete b

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One more thing. You say you are new to home brewing. Do you brew all grain? The reason I ask is that its easier to control attenuation (how much of the sugars the yeast turns to alcohol) if you make your own wort. If you are an extract brewer and don't feel like you want to go all grain see if you can find which extracts produce a more attenuative wort. My guess is that the lighter the better but do a little research. You might do better making a dry stout with light extract and steeping roasted grains for flavor and color as opposed to using dark extract.
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Offline dmtaylor

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You can brew most styles to a lower original gravity (say a maximum of 1.035-1.040) and combine this with the use of a low attenuating yeast such as Windsor ale yeast to give a low strength, low alcohol beer that still has body and flavor.  Windsor yeast is well suited to most British and American beer styles.  Other yeasts can turn the beer more watery.  Saison is another option but you might want to keep the original gravity even lower, maybe 1.030-1.035 since it could finish about 1.000 if you use Belle Saison or Wyeast 3711 yeast, but even with that low of a gravity it will still give you 4 to 4.5% ABV.  Alcohol has a lot of calories too, not just the residual sugars.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2016, 12:53:06 PM by dmtaylor »
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Offline Stevie

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Alcohol has a lot of calories too, not just the residual sugars.
I'm pretty sure the calories from residual sugars are more useful to the body than the calories from the alcohol.

Offline pete b

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Alcohol has a lot of calories too, not just the residual sugars.
I'm pretty sure the calories from residual sugars are more useful to the body than the calories from the alcohol.
The OP is specifically concerned with carbs though and their effect on his blood sugar. I am assuming an otherwise healthy diet and a desire to make a moderate amount of beer better for his specific condition.
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