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Lower ABV, Same Taste - Possible?

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hillbillybrewer:
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!!!

tom:
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".

bonjour:
"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

drf255:
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.

a10t2:
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.

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