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Old 02-08-2011, 02:48 PM   #1
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Default How to increase alcohol%

Im new to brewing and it seems like every brew i do the alcohol% comes in around 6-7.5%. Is there a simple and easy way to increase my beers alchohol% up to the 8.5-10% range? Exact products names and techniques would be great

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Old 02-08-2011, 03:16 PM   #2
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You need to add more fermentable sugars to your wort for the yeast to eat. If brewing all grain, increase your grain bill. If extract, increase your LME or DME by a few pounds. You could also play with things like honey or brown sugar in your recipes. Just make sure to take into account how a stronger malt presence will impact your hop schedule & amount/type of yeast you need...you may need to increase amounts to balance out your recipes.

I use the Brew Pal app on my iPhone when formulating recipes. You just plug in your fermentables, yeast, additions, hops, etc & it outputs your ABV & IBUs. So far it's been very accurate. There are a lot of these resources out there.

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Old 02-08-2011, 03:28 PM   #3
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beersmith will help with the calcs.

I can get hi-malt glucose syrup from my LHBS and that's what I use. I would also consider things like dextrose and rice syrup depending on what flavours you want to add. if you just want to up the alchol and not change the taste too much then find the product with the most fermentable sugars.
. check your yeast strain too. that much alcohol could have a negative impact on attenuation depending on the alcohol tolerance of your yeast. also you will have a high OG and may need to pitch extra yeast. I've never done anything like this before...sounds like carbed barleywine to me.....!

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Old 02-08-2011, 03:49 PM   #4
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Add Lot's of "Table Sugar" to your wort at the end of the boil. Sugar is completely consumed and turned into alcohol during the ferment.

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Old 02-08-2011, 03:53 PM   #5
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Add Lot's of "Table Sugar" to your wort at the end of the boil. Sugar is completely consumed and turned into alcohol during the ferment.
It'll also make your beer taste crazy cidery... Make a bigger beer (more malt & balance with hops) or just have a shot with your beer!
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Old 02-08-2011, 03:58 PM   #6
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+1 just dumping in a bunch of sugar is a good way to make high ABV crap that you have to choke down.

Brew recipes that are meant for higher ABV in the first place and you don't have this problem.

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Old 02-08-2011, 04:23 PM   #7
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Be aware that making really big beers takes commitment, too. It's not as easy as making standard sized beers, and takes a lot longer. Be prepared to age your beers a few months after bottling, at least, before they start to taste good.

Alternately, you can use the beer you already brew to make an ice beer. That might be the easiest way. See the process here:
http://www.basicbrewing.com/index.php?page=february-20-2009-barleywine-ice-beer

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Old 02-08-2011, 07:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordzilla View Post
Im new to brewing and it seems like every brew i do the alcohol% comes in around 6-7.5%.
I don't think its by magic. There probably is a reason they are at that level. If you are brewing pre-made kits, then find a kit that makes a bigger brew. If you are doing all-grain, then pick a recipe with more base grains. It's not rocket science.

Whats wrong with a 7% brew? Some of my favorites are "only" 6-7%.
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Old 02-08-2011, 07:25 PM   #9
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Lots of beer is "only" 6-7%. They are average I think. There are plenty of good ones, just as there are plenty of good 4% session beers, and 8-10% imperial beers. The idea is to match the grain bill to the hops for the style you are shooting for and pitch plenty of yeast. Then sit back and wait for the yeasts to do their job. They are generally slower at the end of one of those heavier beers. It's generally not much more difficult than that.

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Old 02-09-2011, 04:25 PM   #10
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I was a bit curious of this myself. I'm fermenting my first American Style Lager and it called for rice syrup (ended up using rice syrup solids). From what I've read the rice syrup only adds fermentable sugars without adding taste or color (of course upping the alcohol will affect the taste).

Would you just be able to add rice syrup to up the alcohol content?

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