Originally Posted by ginuwineus
How can I increase the alcohol levels in my brew? I know its based on the amount of extract i put in, however how can I break it down to the percentages? Say from a 5% apv, to a 10% apv.
The amount of fermentables is the biggest portion of how to determine ABV, but there are a couple of other things to keep in mind. One is that most ale strains stop at 9-10% and also that attenuation may change the finishing gravity in a smaller beer.
It's important to use a hydrometer to help you find out where you start, so you know about where you should finish.
Consider that dry malt extract (DME) will give you 1.009 in 5 gallons while liquid malt extact (LME) will give you 1.007 in 5 gallons. That's the basic premise on recipe building.
What that means is that 10 pounds of DME will give you 1.090 in 5 gallons. It will probably ferment down to 1.018-1.020, or until the yeast strains alcohol tolerance, so about 10% or so.
If you want a 5% beer, 6 pounds of DME is a good place to start (as it will ferment a bit lower, probably to 1.010 or so).