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Old 02-25-2010, 07:46 PM   #1
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Default Got my first real brew ingredients, pointers?

I'm sure you saw my last thread using k-mart ingredients for my first batch to get the idea of brewing. I decided to buy the real deal stuff this afternoon after someone from here showed me a local brew shop.

k-mart ingredients, $15, real ingredients $20 and i got more extract plus a package of sugar, lol.

First thing's first, i bought 3.3lbs to make 4 gallons, they suggested i buy 1 can of the extract and add some sugar to fill the void of ideally having 1lb per 1 gallon. I rather not screw up this batch from being a n00b, but i'm thinking just doing a cup of water with a tablespoon of corn sugar for my start like i did last time and just use that as my bit of extra sugar. I'm not a big fan of sweet, so i'm guessing it'd be okay to not really add any sugar?

How long should i boil this, just 20 minutes until the foam subsides? It's a hopped (amber) extract. Not planning adding anything else to it.

And most importantly, thanks to this site for pointing me in the right direction!

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Old 02-25-2010, 08:42 PM   #2
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Any sugar you add is going to ferment out almost completely, it will not add any detectable amount of sweetness, just more alcohol.

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Old 02-25-2010, 10:31 PM   #3
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It's my understanding that too much sugar will create over the 5-6% that kills the yeast and there will be sugar left that can't ferment...because the yeast is dead.

Anyway, went ahead and made the batch, there's a little under 4 gallons and i added 3/4 a cup of corn sugar. I hate being impatient, i can't wait to try it, lol.

Corn sugar smells like hippie stores, lol.

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Old 02-25-2010, 10:53 PM   #4
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Yeast can live well above 5-6% with most being able to tolerate 10%+. Do yourself a favor and read Section 1 of howtobrew.com. Even if you like tinkering you will still learn a lot of valuable lessons and fundamental processes of making beer and it's a quick read.

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Old 02-26-2010, 01:08 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by NorCalAngler View Post
Yeast can live well above 5-6% with most being able to tolerate 10%+. Do yourself a favor and read Section 1 of howtobrew.com. Even if you like tinkering you will still learn a lot of valuable lessons and fundamental processes of making beer and it's a quick read.
Depends on the yeast is what i've read, brewers yeast is the 5-6%, wine yeast does around 12% and some strands can handle up to about 21%.
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Old 02-26-2010, 03:56 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by O_16581_72452_5 View Post
Depends on the yeast is what i've read, brewers yeast is the 5-6%, wine yeast does around 12% and some strands can handle up to about 21%.
Inaccurate.

White Labs (a major producer of yeast for professional and homebrewers) has this on their website (www.whitelabs.com)

Notes on alcohol tolerance:
Very High: Over 15%
High: 10-15%
Medium-High: 8-12%
Medium: 5-10%
Low: 2-5%

Looking at all the brewing strains available, there are a number that are high (Cal Ale WLP 001 for example), many that are medium high, and none that are below medium, 5%-10%. One strain in the 'very high' category.

What are you reading? I'd look elsewhere for information.
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Old 02-26-2010, 04:00 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by mr_bell View Post
Inaccurate.

White Labs (a major producer of yeast for professional and homebrewers) has this on their website (www.whitelabs.com)

Notes on alcohol tolerance:
Very High: Over 15%
High: 10-15%
Medium-High: 8-12%
Medium: 5-10%
Low: 2-5%

Looking at all the brewing strains available, there are a number that are high (Cal Ale WLP 001 for example), many that are medium high, and none that are below medium, 5%-10%. One strain in the 'very high' category.

What are you reading? I'd look elsewhere for information.
Dammit, next time i'll know to add more sugar.
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Old 02-26-2010, 10:49 AM   #8
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Dammit, next time i'll know to add more sugar.
Hey, you could just mix up some sugar and water and throw in the high gravity yeast if that's what you're lookin' for. FYI, adding sugar (assuming you mean table sugar or corn sugar--simple sugars) to beer will certainly increase the alcohol, but it will also thin it out/decrease the body and make it cidery. This is necessary and appropriate in some beers, but there are decreasing returns with simply adding more sugar--that is, if you are actually seeking at least a decent homebrewed beer.
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Old 02-26-2010, 11:37 AM   #9
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Looks like you are on the right track. Do yourself a favor next time and either order kits from places like Midwest Brewing or Austin Homebrew Supply. Most of those kits are all malt, and don't require a lot of sugar to "take up the void". The pre hopped extract in cans isn't always the freshest or highest quality extract. I would urge you to avoid the "kit and kilo" mindset that some homebrew shops will sell you. That is a can or two of extract and a bunch of sugar to bump up the gravity. IMO, this is what really gives it the "homebrew taste".

Also brewers yeast can handle a lot of alcohol. I'm aging a Belgian Golden Strong at the moment that clocks in around 12.5%. Just as a little aside, I did happen to use sugar in this beer because an all malt beer that big would end up being very sweet without the sugar to dry it out.

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Old 02-26-2010, 11:44 AM   #10
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Dammit, next time i'll know to add more sugar.
No, don't!!!!!! The best tasting beers have a great balance of ingredients- malt, hops, water, and yeast; all in proper balance. There are a couple of occasions when the use of sugar may be appropriate. But using 3.3 pounds of malt and a pound of corn sugar isn't one of them. Sugar does increase the alcohol, but it also reduces the body and malt flavor, since it's almost 100% fermentable.

A good basic recipe should be the way to go. I'm not a fan of canned kits, and found the best flavor in a homebrew comes from fresh extract, grains, good quality yeast (dry is fine, but don't proof it with sugar), and good non-chlorinated water.
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