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Old 12-26-2012, 07:11 AM   #1
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Default Boosting alcohol

As my first batch draws closer to bottling date (only one more week) I'm really surprised about how relaxed I have been throughout since pitching the yeast. I had my concerns about the rate of bubbling throughr the airlock but I really only check it once a day to be sure it hasn't made a mess. My concern now has moved on to my next batch.

I'm going to be doing a Newcastle clone for #2 and ill do it by the recipe but an interesting question was posed by a good friend. What about ABV%? How can I bring it up? I know adding fermentibles will boost the level BUT how will that affect the flavor? Does the sugar you add depend on the yeast? I think my third batch will be a bit of tinkering so any advice would be great!

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Old 12-26-2012, 07:57 AM   #2
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You can't boost ABV significantly without altering the flavor. You can usually get an appx. 1% increase without too noticeable of a taste change, by adding a pound of sugar with 5 minutes to go in your boil. It will have a bit of a drying effect on the finished beer, I usually get 0.002 points lower on final gravity with a sugar addition.

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Old 12-26-2012, 08:10 AM   #3
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adding more extract will increase abv. If you increase the abv you may need to make a yeast starter.

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Old 12-26-2012, 08:17 AM   #4
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Boosting ABV usually requires longer conditioning times and higher chances of stressed yeast and off flavors. Friends always want to do high gravity beers but they don't really understand what that entails. My advice is to get that idea out of your head and worry about flavor first.

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Old 12-26-2012, 08:56 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbsmith View Post
Boosting ABV usually requires longer conditioning times and higher chances of stressed yeast and off flavors. Friends always want to do high gravity beers but they don't really understand what that entails. My advice is to get that idea out of your head and worry about flavor first.
^That!!!

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Old 12-26-2012, 09:03 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbsmith
Boosting ABV usually requires longer conditioning times and higher chances of stressed yeast and off flavors. Friends always want to do high gravity beers but they don't really understand what that entails. My advice is to get that idea out of your head and worry about flavor first.
I'm not looking for huge spikes. It's flavor first, everything else second. I'm just looking in to it for reference. I know a LHB'er that consistently produces excellent beers in the 6-9% range and if I can hit that quality with an ABV nearly double where I am now it'd last longer! Ha!

I had looked at sugar and, according to the online calculators, it would take 5 lbs of corn sugar just to get in his range so I'm curious what his secret is. Anyways, advice heard. Ill stick with making good beer.
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Old 12-26-2012, 09:41 AM   #7
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I misread your question and thought you wanted to boost an existing recipe a little bit.

Making a 8-9% beer is not hard but it takes some more equipment than normal. You need more yeast and more oxygen. You'd need a yeast starter to get more yeast cells and you'd need a way to get your oxygen level in the wort over 8ppm, so the yeast can function properly. maybe yud need a pure O2 system if you're looking at 8%< beer if you want to be consistent. Off flavors are caused by the yeast being stressed.

If you've got that taken care of just increase the grains and extract until your OG is high enough. Just as an example, take the Newcastle recipe and increase everything by 50% but keep water the same. The ABV will be higher but it'll taste different than the real thing.

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Old 12-26-2012, 10:16 AM   #8
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Quote:
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has anyone else's bottles been exploding?
This guy did have one batch that would shoot beer everywhere like he shook them up. I assume now that he had too much sugar in his bottles...
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Old 12-26-2012, 11:28 AM   #9
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I added a booster to my first batch and wasn't to pleased I did so. It was a fat tire clone and tasted close to the real deal except for the alcohol hint in the finish. Everyone liked it but I dont think I will ever boost again. What a stupid thing I did to my first batch. More ABV does not equal better flavor just more alcohol. Sometimes the lessons you learn are best taught by yourself. Have fun!

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Old 12-26-2012, 11:36 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mufflerbearing
I added a booster to my first batch and wasn't to pleased I did so. It was a fat tire clone and tasted close to the real deal except for the alcohol hint in the finish. Everyone liked it but I dont think I will ever boost again. What a stupid thing I did to my first batch. More ABV does not equal better flavor just more alcohol. Sometimes the lessons you learn are best taught by yourself. Have fun!
Yeah. I figured it wasn't best to boost a clone. I may worry about tweaking that later when I've established an ability to tweak recipes to get a flavor profile that I'm looking for. As of right now I haven't even bottled my first batch yet...
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