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Old 03-13-2010, 12:40 AM   #1
b33risGOOD
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Default Alcahol Level

Hello All

I have been busy gathering equipment and reading alot about my first brew. Hopefully this weekend or Monday latest. One question I do have.

I have read a lot of the stickies and tutorials, but I have not heard anything about what alcahol level to expect from my first brew. Im sure it has a lot to do with what recipe I use but for my first time ill be using an extract kit most likely.

What can i expect, and what are some factors that will effect the alcahol level.

thanks.

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Old 03-13-2010, 12:43 AM   #2
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Alcohol is level is determined by the total amount of fermentable sugars that the yeast attenuate. Now you have several keywords to google.

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Old 03-13-2010, 12:44 AM   #3
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Sugar + Yeast equals alcohol, it's COMPLETELY dependent on the kit you get and the ingredients you use. When you get your kit, we can tell you more...

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Old 03-13-2010, 12:54 AM   #4
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I hear u guys, since i dont know what kit im getting, and the store is about an hours drive ill have to just listen to what the clerk tells me

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Old 03-13-2010, 12:54 AM   #5
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use your hydrometer. take an SG reading at start before you add the yeast. then after fermentation is over take another SG reading. wait 3-4 days and take another reading. if they are both exactly the same then fermentation is actually over. if they are not the same wait a week and check again. once the SG stops falling then fermentation is over. now once you have the FG reading subtract it from the very first SG reading. take the difference and multiply by 130.

ex.

OG = 1.056
FG = 1.010

ABV = (1.056 - 1.010) * 130 = 5.98%

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Old 03-13-2010, 12:55 AM   #6
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why thank you sir, I was kinda just wondering what is your average %, time will tell

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Old 03-13-2010, 01:01 AM   #7
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It should be mentioned too that more sugar (fermentable from extract & grains) doesn't always mean more alchohol. Certain yeasts can only do so much until there is too much alchohol in the beer. Some yeasts are good for taking high gravity beers (big beers) down in gravity and other yeasts aren't. The more unfermented sugars in the beer, the sweeter it will be. So, if you start with a high gravity wort and use a regular yeast, you will have alchohol, but it will also be extra super sweet and not necessarily the best tasting beer.

Its a blancing act. I just didn't want you to get the impression that you could add more sugars and automatically get higher and higher alchohol levels for infinity. As a general rule, its true and normally won't be an issue, especially using kits, but there is a breaking point too.

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Old 03-13-2010, 01:03 AM   #8
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I average around 7% for my brews. Some are 4.5% Hefe's and some are 8% Imperial IPA's, then again I have a 15% Barleywine fermenting right now.

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Old 03-13-2010, 02:02 AM   #9
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Don't worry about the alcohol level. It'll take care of itself. Ask the guys at your LHBS for a few kits that would be good for the first timer, pick one of them that's a style you enjoy drinking and brew it. If you're just looking to make some hi-test to get you hammered (not pointing fingers and saying you are... we just get a lot of folks on here that are), save yourself a lot of time, money and headache and just buy something.

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Old 03-13-2010, 02:11 AM   #10
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My average alcohol content would be somewhere in the high 4's I guess. It will be easy for you to calcluate if you take a gravity reading before fermentation and then at its conclusion. Here's a cool little online calculator:

http://www.steubrew.com/alcohol-content-calculator.html

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