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Old 01-30-2012, 12:46 AM   #1
sross
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Default bumping up gravity

Hey i was trying to make a super high gravity ale but as soon as we measured the gravity around 1069 or about 7.9% abv. We want to bump up the alcohol content of the batch because the amount of hops that we added seems overwhelming compared to alcohol content. Would it seem like a good idea to add 4 pounds of brown sugar to the batch during secondary? any suggestions on what to do?



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Old 01-30-2012, 12:56 AM   #2
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That's a lot of sugar to add, it's going to dry the crap out of your beer. Brown sugar gives 46ppg, which would add almost 37 points to 5 gallons. Assuming your yeast can deal with that ABV, it would work. Still, how much hops did you add that you're worried it's going to out-hop a 7.9% beer? (Also: Is too much hops even a thing? I'm from Oregon, so I can't imagine such a thing. )



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Old 01-30-2012, 01:07 AM   #3
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Without the recipe, and/or knowing what style of brew is being made, it's virtually impossible to say what actions could/should be taken. What was the target OG? Also, I don't think you're reading things correctly. Just because the hydrometer lists 7.9% potential, doesn't mean that's what you'll get. You need to know where the brew will finish, which takes several factors into account.

That being said, I think just adding 4# of brown sugar is a seriously bad idea. You have a few options when it comes to correcting the gravity slip on a brew.

1. Leave it alone and see how it turns out.
2. Make up some solution of DME and water (keep the water part to a minimum), chill it and then add it to the batch. This can cause other complications since you'll need to account for the extra water that you're adding in the batch size/volume. It will also make it more difficult to figure out the corrected OG.
3. Let it age and drink it when it's balanced, or has the characteristics you originally wanted. This is almost the same as #1...

There are more options, but those are the easiest.

Was this an extract batch, partial mash, or all grain?? If extract, chances are that unless you're doing full batch boils, you picked up more top-off water than wort, giving you a false low gravity reading. The temperature of the wort when you take the reading, for hydrometers, can also effect the reading you get. As can large amounts of other particles in the sample you used to get the OG reading.

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Old 01-30-2012, 01:15 AM   #4
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You'd be better off just adding some everclear pure grain alcohol to up the ABV over adding 4 lbs of brown sugar to the secondary where there will hardly be enough viable yeast to ferment it out. Either way, it would be some nasty hootch!

I suggest you use this as a learning experience and just let it go as is. You may be surprised how well it turns out. Next time just use a recipe that gets you where you want to go from the start.

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Old 01-30-2012, 03:07 AM   #5
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it was an all grain batch that was around 5 gallons and had 20 pounds of grain. We did one sparge and it was still running very dark. There is 6 ounces of hops in it! We added a lot of hops to it in order to balance out with the extreme maltiness.

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Old 01-30-2012, 03:19 AM   #6
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Post the recipe, including the mash details... Without information, we cannot help you. Unless you really don't want any help and just want to toss brown sugar into a batch. Just don't complain about dumping it when it doesn't taste anything like what you wanted it to.

With 20# of grain you should have gotten more than a 1.069 OG. With that much grain, you had a really low efficiency rate (south of 50%). Which means either the crush, grain, sucks, or your process is in serious need of help.

How many batches have you guys done before this one? What size was/is the mash tun? If your hardware won't support the size of the grain bill, then you can either switch to partial mash (or boost/assist with DME) for the bigger brews, make them smaller into primary, or upgrade the hardware size to support such brews.
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Old 01-30-2012, 03:27 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnsma22 View Post
You'd be better off just adding some everclear pure grain alcohol to up the ABV over adding 4 lbs of brown sugar to the secondary where there will hardly be enough viable yeast to ferment it out. Either way, it would be some nasty hootch!
Or if you're that desperate for a good buzz, either bottle in bombers or bring a bottle of something to the table with you. Irish car bombs?

With 20lbs of grain, you must have had either a poor mash efficiency or a lot of specialty grains (you did say "extreme maltiness) - but even that wouldn't affect your OG as much as your FG. I just did a batch with 16lbs of base malt and about 1.5lbs of special (for an IPA, obviously) and it's conditioning right now at 8.8%. I did add a pound of cane sugar, my OG was 1.077. Tasted at bottling and it was quite nice, I can't tell if I went overboard on the dry hops (4oz of Cascade). My final hop bill was 13oz, I believe.

So, yes, post your recipe, your mash details, and your actual temps and volumes. You must be using a 10-gallon mash tun or larger, even a thick mash would take up almost 8 gallons of space. Too thick and your efficiency will suffer. I'm sure it will come out good as it is now. Better to enjoy it and be better prepared for the next batch then to potentially ruin this batch and have nothing waiting in the wings.
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Old 01-30-2012, 04:34 AM   #8
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I don't see how adding more sugar (and drying out your beer) is going to decrease your ibus. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think it'll balance it. Coming from the nw, I don't see too many hops being a problem

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Old 01-30-2012, 04:51 AM   #9
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Do you want rocket fuel or a nice beer? If you want maximum alcohol then get a high alcohol tolerant yeast such as a wine yeast. If that is all you want though then that is all the advice that anyone on here will be able to give you and maybe if distilling is legal at your location then you might like to give that a try since the results may be favourable.



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