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Old 06-29-2012, 04:13 PM   #1
nospacehere
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Default Incredibly strong IPA - Help!

Not sure if this was answered somewhere else, but I can't find anything that describes exactly what I'm doing.

I brewed an IPA from Munton's Bitter IPA kit. I added 3 pounds of DME and 3/4 cup of sugar (I know, stupid - but let me tell you why).

After fermenting for a good week or so, I took a reading and got somewhere around 1.016 FG. My OG was 1.044. My calculation told me this was around 3.5% ABV, so I wanted to bump it up a little. I tossed 3/4 cup of sugar into the carboy (secondary) and let it sit a few days. I then took another reading, and got 1.023. This was only my second batch, so I am not purporting to know what I was doing.

Anyway, after a few days I moved to a bottling bucket, stirred in another 3/4 cup dextrose for priming, and bottled. Well, after 12 days I drank a couple. They're some of the best tasting beers I've ever had. However, they are ridiculously strong. I was either WAY off in my readings, don't know HOW to read what the hydrometer is telling me, or did something wrong.

What I'm looking for is this I guess: does the 4-pound kit count toward your fermentables? Is this a nearly eight-pound beer? Was three pounds of DME way too much? I'm trying to figure out how to gauge so I'll know how much to put in next time for a normal average strength beer.

I have no way now of knowing how strong my beer is, but it feels like it's up in the 7s or so. I was pretty drunk after two of them. Is there some guide that will tell me how much alcohol a pound of DME will produce? I want to brew session beers - not butt-kickers.

Thanks for any help you guys can offer. Cheers!

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Old 06-29-2012, 04:27 PM   #2
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Although you said you like the final product which is the only thing that matters in the end. I would recommend (cause you asked) leaving it alone. If you had left it at 3.5% you could still have a good tasting beer but it would have been so much easier to analyze what went wrong. After making all those it’s easy to lose track what worked and what didn’t. If the desire to do something is so strong than make one change and leave it.

We all do it, I’m trying to get better at it. Worst case I tip the beer out if it’s awful but even then I’ve learnt that what I think is crap others seem to like. I don’t see tipping it out as a waste so long as I learnt something and can pinpoint what I did wrong. Tipping it out and not knowing what caused it is the worst possible outcome.

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Old 06-29-2012, 04:28 PM   #3
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Let me see if I got this right: You started with a kit that uses 4# of DME? And added 3 more, plus 3/4# of sugar? For a 5 gallon batch, this would give an OG of approx. 1.068. So an FG of 1.023 would give you ~5.8% ABV.

It may have tasted stronger due to hot alcohol flavors that result from your own fermentation process. Impossible for me to say.

I found this line rather funny:

Quote:
I want to brew session beers - not butt-kickers.
And yet, you doubled the fermentables in a nice balanced session beer recipe. What were you thinking???

Don't worry, I'm not being critical. I learned a LOT in my first year of brewing - about the brewing process, and also about what I like in a beer. I'm still learning. But at this stage of your brewing career, you should be following recipes, not adulterating them. Plenty of time for that later!
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Old 06-29-2012, 04:42 PM   #4
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Yeah, I know. I knew as soon as I tipped the beaker of dextrose in that I was screwing up. But frazier - are you saying that 3/4 cup of dextrose was all it took to raise the ABV that high?

Thanks for the responses guys. Still hoping to find somewhere that tells me how much DME I should be adding.

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Old 06-29-2012, 04:44 PM   #5
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I brewed 1 batch of Munton's Gold and I never will brew another batch. Personally, if I were you, I'd stay away from those Munton kits. I would go with more of the reputable online homebrew stores, like Auston Homebrew or Morebeer.com. Then I would follow the instructions to a 'T'. Can't go wrong.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nospacehere View Post
Yeah, I know. I knew as soon as I tipped the beaker of dextrose in that I was screwing up. But frazier - are you saying that 3/4 cup of dextrose was all it took to raise the ABV that high?

Thanks for the responses guys. Still hoping to find somewhere that tells me how much DME I should be adding.
What exactly are you trying to find out? How much DME to add to this kit you just brewed? Next kit, I would receommend getting one that is more like what you want without having to add anything.
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Old 06-29-2012, 04:54 PM   #6
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I would have added even more DME....barleywines are fun

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Old 06-29-2012, 05:00 PM   #7
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I recommend picking up some brewing software - you can calculate the expected ABV based on fermentables and yeast. You also might want to consider a 15 minute boil of a sugar solution rather than pitching in raw sugar.

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Old 06-29-2012, 05:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nospacehere View Post
Is there some guide that will tell me how much alcohol a pound of DME will produce? I want to brew session beers - not butt-kickers.

Thanks for any help you guys can offer. Cheers!
Ya, search beer brew calculators. Put 1lb of DME in with a 5 gallon batch and the yeast you used. It'll give u how much alcohol it added.
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Old 06-29-2012, 05:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nospacehere View Post
But frazier - are you saying that 3/4 cup of dextrose was all it took to raise the ABV that high?
No - I guess I mis-read your post. It sounded like you added 3# DME to what was already in the recipe. If all you added was a little dextrose, then you only upped the ABV by about 0.3%
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Old 06-29-2012, 06:23 PM   #10
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4lbs of kit + 3 lbs DME + a little sugar is going to give you a 6ish% IPA. That is on the low end of an american IPA ABV level.

If you like session beers, that might be too much for you, but it certainly isn't an incredibly strong IPA.

Out of curiosity, what temp was the beer fermenting at?

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