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Old 02-16-2011, 12:59 PM   #1
akthor
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Default How do increase ABV but not adversely effect taste?

I am making all the beer for a friends wedding come fall. We are going to make some different beers so he can decide on the 4 kinds that will be offered. This weekend we are going to make a Red Ale and a Pale Ale.

So since it will be an open bar I would prefer if folks got fewer stronger beers as opposed to a bunch of less alcohol beer since I am paying for everything involved with the beer as my present to him.

I would like to bump up the ABV by 1% at least but I would like to not have it hurt the flavor. Yes there will be more alcohol flavor but I don't want any other adverse flavors.

Here are my two recipes. If you have an extract recipe that you think is better and will have a higher ABV feel free to post it.

Red Ale

• Hopped Light Malt Extract (1 can)
• Unhopped Light Malt Extract (1 can)
• Melanoidin Malt Grain (4 oz)
• Hop Pellets (1 oz)
• Ale Yeast (1 pack)

Pale Ale

• Hopped Light Malt Extract – 1 can
• Light Dried Malt Extract – 2 lbs
• Crystal Malt Grains – 6 oz
• Hop Pellets – 1 oz
• Ale Yeast – 1 pack

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Old 02-16-2011, 01:28 PM   #2
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You could add table sugar or corn sugar to boost the ABV. At 1% you would need to add approximately 1-1.25 lbs. of sugar. At that rate you're going to thin your beer out and give it more of a dry flavor. You could add other simple sugars, like honey, brown sugar, etc. but you will get the same effect. On a session beer that might make too thin of a beer.

Your other option is to add more malt by adding extract (1.5lbs) or do a partial mash of some two row (2 lbs.).

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Old 02-16-2011, 01:42 PM   #3
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Could you add a small amount of Everclear before bottling? I know its cheating, but would it work?

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Old 02-16-2011, 02:19 PM   #4
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What is your target ABV % range for the brews?

Since this is supposed to be a wedding present, why use hopped extract? I would do at least a mini-mash or partial mash recipe if it was a wedding gift from me. Sure, it's a little more work, but it's well worth it. Plus, you can simply use more grain in the mash, or add more DME (light or extra light) to the recipe to boost the OG (and ABV %)...

Your recipes, as they stand now, are in the ~4-4.5% ABV range...

You could just add enough DME (light or extra light) to your posted recipe's to boost the alcohol level.

For the Red Ale recipe, what type of red ale is it?? You do need to specify you know... What size are the LME cans?? What L value are the caramel/crystal malt you're looking to use in the Pale Ale? Is that English or American Pale Ale?

How about going to a liquor store, with a solid beer selection, pick some of each style you're thinking of using, then have him try THOSE out? Go for ones that you can locate solid clone recipe's for. Then, try cloning the beers he selected and see how close they are (keep at least one of each on hand to compare, or make sure you can get more later).

Be sure to give the brews enough time in primary before bottling/kegging... If kegging, slow carbonate on gas (two weeks at serving temp, with the correct CO2 pressure to hit the CO2 volumes)... If you're going to keg, then you might want to also filter the brew to make presentation better. Or use other fining methods (gelatin, etc.) to make clearer, or reduced chill haze, brew.

Are you planning on making 5 or 10 gallon batches? Instead of four different beers (assuming 5 gallon batches there) why not get them to pick two, and make 10 gallon batches? Offer a lighter brew, like a pale ale, red ale or amber ale. Plus something darker/heavier like a porter.

Of course, using extracts for 10 gallon batches is going to cost a LOT... Well, compared with either a partial mash or going all grain. I'm going to be making a 10 gallon cream ale on the 26th (all grain)... The total cost is under $50 for ingredients (actually less than that since the sponsor is chipping in $40). My 5 gallon all grain batches are running about $15-$17 per batch.

If you have ~6 months to brew something, why not do it up proper? Step up your game and put some effort into it... After all, how would YOU feel if someone gave you a wedding present that was the lowest grade version of something?

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Old 02-16-2011, 03:48 PM   #5
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Austin homebrew sells a option with their kit thats suppossed to boost the ABV 1% without affecting flavor. I've used it a few times and can't say that I've noticed any difference.

http://www.austinhomebrew.com/produc...ducts_id=10137

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Old 02-16-2011, 05:04 PM   #6
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I only have the equipment to really do 5 gallon batches. I also have a fractured L5 vertabrae right now so even doing 5 gallon batches is gonna be a challenge.

Again I am using extracts for ease of use. My extract recipes taste as good if not better than my friends who does all grain.

Would like about 5.5% ABV

If I add DME will that change the flavor? Thin the beer of make it dry like using dextrose or table sugar?

It's a Red Ale no idea what kind. I just posted the simplified version.

American Pale Ale.

I am brewing for testing because I have my own kegerator and a big trip in May that I also need beer for so we will be drinking these and if he likes I will make more for the wedding.

I do a month in primary and usually 3 or 4 weeks at 12psi in the kegerator before drinking. These wedding brews will be sitting for a longer period so I will do a month in primary and the prime them with sugar and let them sit. Some may sit 3 months some less but all will sit for at least a month.I will then cold crash them and jump them to a clean keg for travel.

I'm sorry I don't agree with you about brewing it proper. Any kind of brewing by any method as long as its done right and as long as the ingredients are fresh is proper. Extract recipes can taste just as good as all grain. And as I said some of mine have tasted better than my friends AG recipes.

And since it was requested of me by the groom to make the beer for the wedding and the groom has been drinking my home brew for months now I guess it must be ok


Quote:
Originally Posted by Golddiggie View Post
What is your target ABV % range for the brews?

Since this is supposed to be a wedding present, why use hopped extract? I would do at least a mini-mash or partial mash recipe if it was a wedding gift from me. Sure, it's a little more work, but it's well worth it. Plus, you can simply use more grain in the mash, or add more DME (light or extra light) to the recipe to boost the OG (and ABV %)...

Your recipes, as they stand now, are in the ~4-4.5% ABV range...

You could just add enough DME (light or extra light) to your posted recipe's to boost the alcohol level.

For the Red Ale recipe, what type of red ale is it?? You do need to specify you know... What size are the LME cans?? What L value are the caramel/crystal malt you're looking to use in the Pale Ale? Is that English or American Pale Ale?

How about going to a liquor store, with a solid beer selection, pick some of each style you're thinking of using, then have him try THOSE out? Go for ones that you can locate solid clone recipe's for. Then, try cloning the beers he selected and see how close they are (keep at least one of each on hand to compare, or make sure you can get more later).

Be sure to give the brews enough time in primary before bottling/kegging... If kegging, slow carbonate on gas (two weeks at serving temp, with the correct CO2 pressure to hit the CO2 volumes)... If you're going to keg, then you might want to also filter the brew to make presentation better. Or use other fining methods (gelatin, etc.) to make clearer, or reduced chill haze, brew.

Are you planning on making 5 or 10 gallon batches? Instead of four different beers (assuming 5 gallon batches there) why not get them to pick two, and make 10 gallon batches? Offer a lighter brew, like a pale ale, red ale or amber ale. Plus something darker/heavier like a porter.

Of course, using extracts for 10 gallon batches is going to cost a LOT... Well, compared with either a partial mash or going all grain. I'm going to be making a 10 gallon cream ale on the 26th (all grain)... The total cost is under $50 for ingredients (actually less than that since the sponsor is chipping in $40). My 5 gallon all grain batches are running about $15-$17 per batch.

If you have ~6 months to brew something, why not do it up proper? Step up your game and put some effort into it... After all, how would YOU feel if someone gave you a wedding present that was the lowest grade version of something?
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Old 02-16-2011, 05:20 PM   #7
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If you're content to keep brewing extract, fine... I think your friend has to be doing something really wrong if he's not getting really good beer from all grain.

I would dump the pre-hopped extract and add your own hops. I would also decide on an actual red style for that brew... Even when I was brewing extract batches, I used unhopped LME... Got really good beer from those batches. Getting great beer from all grain batches.

I still think you should get the friend before a good array of craft brews, and pick ~4 (or 6) of those that he likes, or would like on tap. Then get clone recipes and go that route. If you get even close to the original, I don't think anyone will complain... Just keep to things that are carbonated with CO2/sugar and not on nitrogen... Unless you have a nitrogen setup that you'll be bringing with you...

I do understand about bad backs. I've had one for over 30 years... I can handle the BIAB method for all grain. Get a friend to help if you need it. While I do find it's easier to brew when you have someone strong to lift the grain bag, it's not required. You just need to plan the brew properly... You can get a solid brew with 12-14 pounds of grain (total) and manage to transfer it into the sparge pot (use a step stool, I did on Sunday and it made things MUCH easier on my back)...

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Old 02-16-2011, 05:29 PM   #8
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One option is to just add less water and make a smaller batch. This keeps everything in balance.

Adding more DME or LME has a similar effect, but it does reduce the hop levels, relatively speaking, though this may not be an issue for most styles.

Adding sugar adds ABV but will skew the taste toward lighter. This isn't always bad.

I guess the question is, what would you consider 'hurting' the flavor? It's probably hard to make it higher ABV and have it taste exactly the same. Are you okay with a bit more body and malt flavor?

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Old 02-16-2011, 05:41 PM   #9
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One thing to remember is if you add bunch more extract, your going to upset the balance of malt and hop flavor, if you add more extract you might want to up the hop amounts a bit.

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Old 02-16-2011, 05:46 PM   #10
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I'm still stuck on the original logic.
It costs more money to make more alcohol, so if the goal is to make it cost less since you're footing the whole bill, make lower ABV beers.

I mean, the people coming to the wedding reception...are they all BMC drinkers? That stuff isn't exactly high alcohol either, and if they like Coors Light, they may find a Pale Ale 'gross and bitter'.

Of course I live in Nebraska, who's official state beer is Busch Light, and people think a wheat beer is 'too heavy' (that insult is for you, dad!)

If you must though, I'd go the corn sugar route. Extract kits can be slightly less fermentable than the original style would be if done as all grain, so sometimes that sugar 'thinning' things out actually puts the beer into style guidelines.

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