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Old 02-23-2010, 11:43 PM   #1
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Default Alcohol content

I had some friends over to bottle beer and one asked if it is possible to raise the alcohol content. I know that corn sugar will raise it but what will it do to the flavor of the beer? I figured that adding 2.5 lbs to the next batch will raise it from 4.3% to 7.2%.
I also noticed when I pluged in the ingredients to the program I am using that the IBU's went down when I added the sugar.

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Old 02-23-2010, 11:47 PM   #2
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IBU's may go down due to dilution, but not sure... or maybe sugars decrease hops utilization. Someone may have to chime in on that one... But as for adding sugar, its best to use something like turbinado sugar in the boil, from what I've read. I'm planning on giving it a try soon. It tends to lend the right kinds of flavors to the beer wort. The corn sugar works, but I don't know much about it. I've used for bottling and for apfelwine w/ great success, but... not w/ beer.

Anyone else w/ input?

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Old 02-23-2010, 11:49 PM   #3
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the best way to raise the ABV is to use more malt sugars and just make a bigger beer.

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Old 02-23-2010, 11:49 PM   #4
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While dumping in sugar will raise ABV, it will also do a lot of other things to the beer. Mostly undesirable. It will thin the body, lower the FG (dry it out) and could make the beer taste cidery if too much is used. Some beers on the other hand use a little bit of sugar to get higher gravity and keep the body thinner (and more drinkable). Tripels and Double IPAs will often include up to 1lb of sugar. Some Belgian styles use invert sugars too.

Instead of dumping sugar into your beer, why not brew styles that have naturally higher OG? Barleywine, RIS, Old Ale, IPA, IIPA, Tripel, Dubbel. The list goes on. That, or choose a style that uses a little sugar for the right reasons?

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Old 02-23-2010, 11:49 PM   #5
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if you just want alcohol, use honey, rice syrup, or table sugar as they are 90%+ fermentables.

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Old 02-23-2010, 11:50 PM   #6
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It will definitely dry it out and could cause some undesirable flavors. I wouldn't recommend going that high. I sometimes add sugar to really big beers because there is so much malt in there anyway and its a good way to dry it out, say for a Imperial IPA.

I've also used this in a barleywine:
http://www.austinhomebrew.com/produc...ducts_id=10137

No way I would use it in a recipe designed for 4.3% though. If you want a big beer, make one that is appropriate, stylistically speaking. If you REALLY want to just raise it with wreckless abandom, just add a couple more pounds of DME (assuming you're doing extract).

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Old 02-24-2010, 12:00 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edcculus View Post
IBUs are affected by OG. The higher the OG, the more hops you will need to get the same IUS.
This is not true. As a side effect of what really happens, higher OG tends to lead to less hop utilization. In this case, adding a bunch of dextrose will not effect the hop utilization near as much as adding a bunch of malt(in whatever form).

Now, I'm paraphrasing from a thread in which we discussed the matter over in the science section, but..

Quote:
Originally Posted by American Society of Brewing Chemists
The variations are mainly due to differences in equipment but are also influenced by the hop product used. In the range 10.5-13.5° P, no relationship between hop utilization and original gravity was found
Here's that article in whole: http://www.asbcnet.org/journal/abstr...sues/47-14.htm

also, in this BBR broadcast, John Palmer talks on the matter, and how he got it wrong early on.
http://media.libsyn.com/media/basicb...3-20-08ibu.mp3
36:40 is where the discussion happens. Bascially he goes over how hop utilization is a function of break material, and because high gravity beers tends to have more break material, they usually get lower hop utilization.

This is a long held and hard to kill myth of homebrewing. It is also why a lot of beer software gets the IBUs wrong as well.

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Old 02-24-2010, 12:06 AM   #8
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if a fermentable is nearly completely fermented, it does little to effect the bitterness.

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Old 02-24-2010, 12:12 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mordantly View Post
if a fermentable is nearly completely fermented, it does little to effect the bitterness.
You mean adding sugar post boil? It will not change the bitterness at all... at least the IBU's. Alcohol has a bittering character.
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Old 02-24-2010, 12:22 AM   #10
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Cool, thanks z987k. Post edited. Now that you mention it, I do remember reading about that recently.

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