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Old 03-11-2009, 07:44 PM   #1
nuclearnova
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Default Adding sugar during fermentation

Hi, I'm new to home brewing (working on my third batch now) and this forum. Right now I'm brewing a lager that has the potential to reach only 4% alcohol based on the OG. If I wanted the alcohol content to reach around 6%, could I add table sugar during fermentation (two pounds for a 5 gallon batch from my calculations)? The beer has been fermenting around two and a half weeks in the low 50's, I was probably going to move it to the secondary within the next week before I thought of this. Any suggestions/comments?

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Old 03-11-2009, 07:53 PM   #2
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Yes you can add sugar (add to boiling water first). It will thin your beer some and if you use to much then it can/will change the flavor.

FYI, the mega swill breweries use up to 40% glucose syrup. I'd stick below 20%. Even the belgians don't go over 20%.

Why the need for the boosted a/v?

What was the OG?

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Old 03-11-2009, 09:25 PM   #3
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How much is too much? What would be safe so I don't change the flavor and viscosity too much? 1/2 lb, 1 lb, 1.5lb?

I'll take a look into glucose syrup next time I'm out, that might be better than table sugar.

I forget the OG but my hydrometer has a "potential alcohol" scale and so far all 3 batches have started at around 5% and ended around 1%. I'm use to drinking microbrews that typically have 6-9% alcohol, so thats one reason I wanted to up mine

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Old 03-11-2009, 09:32 PM   #4
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Pretty much the same thing. Really, white sugars are generally pretty close in effect.

You should start using the Specifc Gravity section if the Hydro.

1lb will probably be about 12% the bill. and will boost it by about 1% a/v. I'd not go higer than 2lbs.

Personally I'd just use more extract next time.

What I meant by "thin" your beer was in the flavor department.

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Old 03-11-2009, 10:01 PM   #5
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Thanks for the advice, I'll switch over to the specific gravity section now that I've read up on how it works. Do you mean it will thin the taste of this current batch of beer, and if so how? I could see it thinning my next batch if I used sugar to replace malt. This batch was actually an all grain batch, but I think I'm switching back to extracts mostly from now on, and I can just add some extra extract to my recipe.

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Old 03-11-2009, 10:34 PM   #6
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Hmm.. Maybe "thin" wasn't the right word. Maybe replace that with "bite".

You could just use more grain in your recipe. Also what are your mash temps?

Why are you going from AG to Extract?

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Old 03-12-2009, 04:38 PM   #7
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As long as your sugar content stays in the low 20 percent range, you should not see much, if any, change in taste. Depending on the type of beer, sugar added above the low 20 percent range can lead to off tastes, a "cidery" taste in particular.

Personally, I try not to exceed 20 percent sugar in my fermentables. I do generally add a pound of corn sugar to boost the ABV.

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Old 03-12-2009, 05:36 PM   #8
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I see what you mean Denny. I forget the temps I used, but they were the recommended ones in the book found here - How to Brew - By John Palmer . I'll probably do both AG and extract again at some point, the AG was just so much more work. I really liked how the beer came out from extract, but who knows maybe I'll be blown away by this AG batch enough to stick with it for my next batch.

Thanks for the suggestion Kirks, I'll keep that in mind the next time I'm shopping for ingredients

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Old 03-12-2009, 11:40 PM   #9
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This reminds me of a problem I find with beersmith etc. I don't think any of them account for nonfermentable sugars when they tell you what the est OG is. I can see that being a problem with telling that from mash temps, but they don't even take into account caramel malts effect on FG.

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Old 03-12-2009, 11:58 PM   #10
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You are roughly on with your calculations. Its about a percent per pound in 5 gallons. In this case I don't think its a good idea. If you want higher alcohol, use more malts in the first place. If you add sugar you'll just dry the beer out. If you were making a saison or something like that it would be different.

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