Noobs High Grav Attempt - Pointers?
I've got one brew in the primary, one in bottles conditioning and one in bottles for drinking. That's the limit of my experience with homebrew.
With my homebrew kit I received a can of 'Lager' extract that I'm not likely to ever use. (It's liquid extract, but can you use the term 'LME' for hopped extracts?)
Anyway, I was planning on throwing the contents in with my next brew. I've only brewed ales, and I'm sticking with that for now, so I won't be using the lager yeast that came with it, just the extract. Since I usually throw in raw sugar as well, I figured that I'd use the opportunity to brew a high grav brew.
Why? Mostly for the experience, I'm a bit of a mad scientist (I'm also going to do a Low ABV sugar wash with different yeasts just to experiment with yeast flavours).
Also, I'm not averse to a bit of boozing, so the high alcohol content sounds appealing (obviously not a session beer).
It's going to look fairly close to this, depending on suggestions.
(3.85Lb) 1.75kg - 'Lager' Liquid Extract
(3.85Lb) 1.75kg - Coopers Australian Pale Ale Liquid Extract
(4.4lb) 2kg - Raw Sugar
First question: Yeast
Buy an extra packet (or three) of ale yeast, rehydrate and pitch.
My major concern is that I'm pretty sure brewcalculus only factors %75 attenuation for the yeast, even when fermenting simple sugars. As such, the alcohol content may be too high and may kill off the ale yeast. I need to have enough vigour left in the yeast to ensure that they carb my bottles properly.
So help with the yeast would be great, but any other suggestions would also be greatly appreciated.
throw 2 packets of rehydrated nottingham in there. It's such a monster it'll eat that up better than anything else i've used. It's also a really clean fermenting strain inside it's temp range so all around pretty awesome
throwing your numbers into hopville, i'm getting:
% LB OZ Malt or Fermentable
35% 4 3 Sugar, Table (Sucrose)
32% 3 14 Cooper's Australian Pale Ale
32% 3 14 Coopers Lager
Original Gravity 1.091
8.8-9.1% ABV (depends on the strain chosen)
35% sugar is really high. expect a less than pleasant cidery taste. i'd cut back sugar to the 20-25% range.
champagne yeast can't digest maltose and other more complex sugars, so it you use it to ferment this brew you won't get all the attenuation (read: alcohol) you're probably looking for.
have you considered adding some steeping grains to make this brew a tad more interesting?
what will you be doing for hops? what kind, when and how much?
I'm a total noob so I don't really have any experience in anything other that extracts (Incl. grains and hops).
I could definately add some grains, this isn't exactly a real style of beer so i wouldn't know where to start. Suggestions?
The extracts in australia are usually hopped, though I think I will have to add some more for something this strong, in order to balance it a bit. I like the idea of dry hopping into the primary after attenuation has slowed down. Mostly because I'm lazy and it sounds easy and also because I like IPAs. I don't mind bitter, but I prefer flavour.
Again, I can boil water, so if you have suggestions about how to tackle this, (bitters vs aromatics, boiling /dryhopping, hop types etc) I'm open. I'll probably just see what they have at the LHBS.
Speaking of IPAs (we were, trust me) I just put on an IPA kit (Coopers special) and it's terrible. Still at 110 but there's no way it's going to be as tasty as it's supposed to be. It would have needed two kits and a pant load of hops. Maybe once some more sugar ferments out the hops will come through, but at the moment it tastes like any other basic ale kit.
Oh wait, there was more....
I'm confused about the attenuation thing. Won't the unfermented complex sugars (RE Champagne) help to balance the cidery taste from the sugar?
Also, raw sugar has slightly different composition to table sugar, but that probably doesn't affect the calcs much, it does affect the taste though. Gives it a richer, more caramel taste.
I'm not looking for a particulary high alcohol beer, I've just got a spare kit and figured it would be a good way to use it. I'm happy to drop a kilo of sugar out of the mix in order to have something more drinkable.
I'd probably prefer to use an ale yeast anyway, I just want to be sure that it will have enough vigor to carb my bottles at high alc.
be aware that dry-hopping adds mostly aroma. it only contributes marginally to taste, and provides no bitterness. if you want bitterness, you need to boil the hops in your wort for at least 30 mins, with 60 being better. for flavor, add hops with 10 to 15 minutes left in the boil. for aroma, add when there is less than 5 minutes left (you can even add the aroma hops as you turn off the heat, called "flame-out").
as to choice of hops... well, that would be like telling you what beer to drink! all depends on what you like. cascade is the typical aroma and flavoring hop for american IPAs, if that's your thing. there are some new hops that are worth checking out, IMO, such as citra, amarillo and simcoe (dunno if those are available down under, certainly hope so for your sake).
i wouldn't expect too much flavor contribution from the raw sugar, given all the flavors in the LME and the alcohol. certainly can't hurt to try, and it'll be somewhere back there, but don't expect strong molasses flavors. use of darker crytal malts can help in that department.
i would definitely drop some of that sugar, losing a kilo sounds about right - would put it at 22% of the fermentables, 1.068 OG, ~6.7% ABV (assuming a 5 gallon/18.9 L batch). sounds lovely!
Thanks again sweetcell.
I Just read the partial grain section of 'how to brew' for a bit more info. I may as well have a go, this is basically one giant experiment brew anyway. Crystal sounds perfect.
I do like the taste and aroma of hops, if I'm going to be fmucking around with this brew anyway I may as well try out something that I think I will enjoy. I think there will be enough bitterness in the extract to leave it as is for this experiment. I'll either dry hop, boil for 15 or both to get some flavour and aroma (i didn't realise these were different things with brewing...).
Thanks for the hop suggestion as well.
I also noticed today that the recipes on the tins call for 23L of water in total, which is just over 6 Gallons.... that, with one can of extract and a kilo of dextrose (the recommended recipe for most) makes a very basic beer. I only mention it as most recipes (and you) assume a 5 Gal brew.
if i now understand correctly, it sounds like your cans only contain flavoring and the sugar is needed to create the alcohol. so if your cans call for sugar, then you should add the normal amount - or maybe even more if you want to boost alcohol above normal levels. apologies if i've misled you there. that would explain why champagne yeast would work in your case - you're only fermenting simple sugars.
as a next step, i'd suggest moving away from these "sugar needed" kits and getting regular extract that doesn't call for sugar because it contains sufficient maltose. as you may have noticed, most extract-based recipes don't call for additional sugar.
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