Right- it mostly depends on taste. Your typical BMC (Bud, Miller, Coors) is what, like, 4%? It's certainly possible to design your recipes to come out at that level, or to design ones that are higher, based upon what you think you might like.
What sorts of commercial beers do you enjoy drinking now?
Also- beer-making has a very distinctive smell (especially if you're doing your boils in the house), but it should not be sour/offensive.