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Old 05-18-2013, 07:08 PM   #1
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Default making a reduced ABV version of a recipe?

I have decided that I want my next batch to be a Saison and I really like the looks of the recipe from usurpers26 for How Rye I Am Saison (and the rave reviews from people who have brewed it). However, I'd like to take the ABV down to the mid 5% to 6% range. I scaled the recipe in BS and I adjusted things a bit to get the amounts at more of a round number but I've never tried to alter a recipe to reduce the ABV and I don't want to end up with something that is lower alcohol but not very tasty. For reference here's the recipe just scaled and rounded

Rice Hulls (0.0 SRM) Adjunct 0.50 lb 3.8%
Pale Malt (2 Row) Bel (3.0 SRM) Grain 9.00 lb 68%
Rye Malt (4.7 SRM) Grain 3.00 lb 22.6%
Styrian Goldings (5.40 %) Hops 1.50 oz
Candi Sugar, Clear (0.5 SRM) Sugar 0.75 lb
French Saison (Wyeast Labs #3711)

Anyone have some suggestions for keeping the balance of the recipe but reducing the ABV?

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Old 05-18-2013, 07:30 PM   #2
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For reducing ABV add 1lbs less 2 row or add more water.

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Old 05-18-2013, 07:36 PM   #3
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What's your expected OG? What's your efficiency? What's your batch size? That recipe (at least the one I found) is a 15.5 gallon batch. Unless your efficiency is really low or you're doing more than 5 gallons, you'll probably be upping the gravity a little bit.

If you're trying to keep the same balance, I'd just scale it further. I'd take the original recipe, pay attention to the BU:GU ratio, and try to match it. The IBUs will need to go down a little bit.

Additionally, in my experience 3711 is a BEAST that will take the thing super dry (usually finishes 1.002-1.004 for me). Meaning if you want 5-6% ABV you're looking at a 1.040-1.050 OG sort of area.

One more think, if you're using clear candi sugar that comes in that hard rock form, don't. Just use corn sugar. It's a lot cheaper and will have the same effect. The darker sugar isn't much different. The soft sugar has a tiny bit more flavor, but again not much in my experience. If you want flavor out of it, go with the candi syrup. I get loads of flavor out of the syrups.

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Old 05-18-2013, 07:53 PM   #4
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Qhrumphf - yeah, I guess putting the batch size is sort of important to the equation. I scaled it in BS to a 5.5 gallon recipe and then rounded the numbers some just for "ease of math"

So if I'm trying to reduce ABV and the candy sugar isn't adding much in the way of flavor, could I just leave it out? Zeroing it out in BS still gives me an OG of 1.057 (it's at 1.062 with the sugar)

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Old 05-18-2013, 07:59 PM   #5
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Don't leave out the sugar, it's key to this style. You just need to go down on the total fermentables.
I made this with dark candi syrup and it was awesome, in fact it's next in rotation to brew again. Mine went 1.057 to 1.001, the 3711 is definitely a beast. Qhrumphf has all good advice, an OG mid 1.040's and IBU's around 20 should get you where you need to be.

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Old 05-18-2013, 08:07 PM   #6
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I'd keep the sugar (replacing with corn sugar or candi syrup) and scale it all down proportionately. You want a very dry, very highly attenuated beer, and that sugar will really help dry it out. I suppose since 3711 is such a beast it'd still take an all-malt wort down super low, but I'd definitely mash REALLY low in that case.

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Old 05-18-2013, 08:23 PM   #7
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Playing with BS, here's what I've come up with

8lbs Pale Belgian Malt
2.5 lbs Rye Malt
.6lbs Candy Sugar (probably going to use corn syrup)
1 1/4 oz Styrian Golden hops

That shows a 1.054 OG and just under 22 IBU's. The IBU/SG ratio is pretty close to the original scaled recipe (.402 vs .395)

This would be a 6.5% ABV and a bit higher than I want but I think I'll do this batch at these levels and see what the results are. If it comes out good but not too watery maybe I'll try dropping it a bit more...

Thanks everyone, now go brew something!

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