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Old 06-20-2007, 07:09 AM   #1
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Default high alcohol vs low alcohol

I just polished off my last batch - it finished about 3% ABV - ended up dumping the last of the keg b/c I am very unsatisfied with such a low alcohol beer. I made it to placate SWMBO - it was supposed to be like Negro Modelo but my stomach is expanding unnaturally with the low alcohol beer.

I have decided to make nothing weaker than 5% ABV. My preference is a beer that is 5 to 7% ABV.

My point of view is to have a good buzz with 22oz of beer.

What do other homebrewers think? Do you value a low alcohol beer? When you brew it do you brew it with other people in mind or b/c that is what you want to brew?

What is the ABV of a Bud/Coors/Miller/Negro Modelo anyway?

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Old 06-20-2007, 10:10 AM   #2
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The Alcohol in commercial beers actually varies from state to state depending on the local laws. It will tell you on the side of the bottle. As far as my homebrews? I don't care if its 190 proof or O'douls as along as it tastes good!

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Old 06-20-2007, 11:52 AM   #3
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I guess it depends on why you drink/brew beer in the first place...getting a buzz really isn't a priority for me these days.

My primary goal is to brew great tasting beer (course alcohol content, or lack there of, is a component of flavor in most brews). My lower abv beers have been tasty and very helpful in refining my brewing technique as they have not had big ABVs or IBUs to mask any shortcomings.

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Old 06-20-2007, 12:04 PM   #4
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I have a spectrum from ~ mid %3 to just about %9. They all have their place. Most come in about %4.5 to %5.0 that is what 'feels' or 'tastes' right to me for my normal beers. Most of my OG's hit 1.045 to 1.050 and I am very comfortable (as are others) brewing in that range. But the thing is sometimes you want a beer with more substance. My Oatmeal Stout is around 45 and finishes at 20 so it is a low abv beer but has tremendous flavor and body. Some of my other brews start high and finish very low. I guess if I had to pick I like my higher gravity brews to finish low as odd as that sounds. It all depends on what I am in the mood for. One challenge is to produce a low abv beer with good flavor.

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Old 06-20-2007, 03:09 PM   #5
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I tend to make small beers (OG ~ 1.040). Partially because they are rarer, partially because they are a more fun and harder to get right. That doesn't mean I'll try to brew a 4% IPA, ain't possible. A nice, hoppy 4% ale is possible (see BRR in my recipe list), but it isn't 3CPA or Old Bog Water. The best low ABV ales tend to use 15-25% specialty grains, such as oatmeal or rye.

BMC runs around 4% ABV. Some states a bit higher, some a bit lower.

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Old 06-20-2007, 06:52 PM   #6
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Since I tend to make mostly ales of the British Isles, my range is anywhere from 3.5% session ales, to a wee heavy that will be in the 9% range somewhere. It all depends on what I feel like brewing.

Personally, alcohol content is about the last thing on my mind when I evaluate any beer; I'm far more interested in taste.

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Old 06-20-2007, 07:13 PM   #7
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i shot too high for a long time, so i'm brewing lighter beers (4-6%) right now, hefeweizens mostly. i may do some bigger beers in the future, but i think i'm going to top out at about 7% for a while. i drink too much anyway

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Old 06-20-2007, 08:10 PM   #8
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I like beers in the 5-7% range. I'm not really interested in what some here call lawn mower beer because if I'm thirsty I feel like water is a better alternative.
Also if I'm drinking I shoot for at least 1 glass of water for every 2 glasses of beer. A 1 to 1 ratio is probably a more healthy ratio and I try to shoot for that if I am
1. thirsty or 2. I'm in a social situation.

Another thing I do is if I've had a couple of beers I'll drink water with my meals because I have a tendency to wash my food down

That seems to work pretty good for me. I'm in my fifities and don't have a beer gut and don't want one.

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Old 06-20-2007, 08:36 PM   #9
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I'm of the opinion that the ABV doesn't really matter only the taste. But then again I don't drink for the buzz. In fact that is what I like least about big beers. I really like Imperial Stouts, Belgian Strong Ales and IPAs but I'm disappointed I can't drink more than a couple without getting seriously drunk. I have to wait until the weekend to even consider opening a 22oz of one of these beers. On the other hand I have made a really good dark mild that I can enjoy without worry. Its coming in about 2.8% ABV.

Craig

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Old 06-20-2007, 08:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Speranza
The Alcohol in commercial beers actually varies from state to state depending on the local laws.
I don't think individual brands vary, do they? I know some states have a 6% cap which keeps out a lot of beers, but are there brands produced differently from state to state?

Quote:
It will tell you on the side of the bottle.
Again, but: Until the mid-90's, it was against federal law in the US to put this on the label. Many still don't.

Quote:
I don't care if its 190 proof...or O'douls...as along as it tastes good!
Agreed. ABV is well down the list of my considerations when brewing.
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