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Old 10-01-2010, 02:00 PM   #1
ErikTheDrunk
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Default Modifying Alcohol Content

Hello all. Im new here - obv - and had a few questions. I've just started brewing and have gone through 4 successful (shockingly) rounds with some good results. I am now attempting a clone of the Atwater Brewing Company's Vanilla Java Porter, estimated ABV about 4.5-5. Pardon my ignorance here, but I've just been following directions and learning as I got so far. I was wondering what the best course of action would be to double the ABV? Also, Im assuming this will change the flavor/taste of the brew slightly but by how much? I love Porters but find most often that the recipe's tend to be pretty light and I was looking for more of a kick in the pants beer to warm the body for the cold winter nights in Western NY. Thanks

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Old 10-01-2010, 02:31 PM   #2
djinn88
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Doubling the alcohol will change the recipe entirely. I'm too noob to tell you much, but probably double your grains, malt extracts, sugars (whole recipe basically) and keep the same volume of water.

Also, there is something called BrewVint alcohol boost, that is a maltodextrine/dextrose blend I think. I bought some recently, claims to keep the taste the same and boost ABV by 1%, but that is not double as you may realize.

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Old 10-01-2010, 02:39 PM   #3
cenla
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ErikTheDrunk View Post
...estimated ABV about 4.5-5. Pardon my ignorance here, but I've just been following directions and learning as I got so far. I was wondering what the best course of action would be to double the ABV?
so you're aiming for an abv of 9 to 10 percent? That's a big beer and a huge change from the intended recipe.

You'd do better to buy an Imperial Stout kit, which is basically what you're wanting to brew.
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Old 10-01-2010, 02:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djinn88 View Post
Doubling the alcohol will change the recipe entirely. I'm too noob to tell you much, but probably double your grains, malt extracts, sugars (whole recipe basically) and keep the same volume of water.
If you want to work from a recipe you already have, you'll mostly want to increase the malt extract or base grain (depending on whether you do extract or all grain). If you post the recipe we can help. However, I think the idea of working off an imperial stout or robust porter recipe would be a better start. If you do some searches you can find some info on adding coffee and vanilla flavors to your beer if that's what you want.

Quote:
Also, there is something called BrewVint alcohol boost, that is a maltodextrine/dextrose blend I think. I bought some recently, claims to keep the taste the same and boost ABV by 1%, but that is not double as you may realize.
Although some people use this with success, IIRC it's just corn sugar, so you can do the same thing for cheaper on your own, but you'd probably be better off just adding enough DME to raise the ABV by 1% if that's what you really want.
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Old 10-01-2010, 03:11 PM   #5
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Look at the Robust Porter recipes, they run 6-8%. But if you want 9-10%, an Imperial Stout would be better.

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Old 10-01-2010, 03:25 PM   #6
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More sugar = more alcohol. The formulas for predicting gravity are simple and then estimating attenuation will help you predict the alcohol amount. Keep in mind that as you increase the sugar, you'll need to proportionally increase the hop rates to provide balance. Also keep in mind that while you double your base grains, a doubling of specialty and crystal grains is probably not required as it could through things out of wack. The theory I prescribe to on big beers is that there is so much base malt providing unfermentable sugars that crystal malt is only required in small doses (if at all). Doubling the alcohol in that beer will firmly put you into the imperial / high gravity beers which can be tricky to brew and require extra attention in regards to yeast pitch rates / health, aeration, hitting your target attenuation, etc.

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Old 10-01-2010, 04:45 PM   #7
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With you being so new, a 10% beer may be too much of a sharp learning curve. It's very easy to not treat your yeast nice enough for a beer that high. I've been brewing for 3+ years and still have trouble with beer that high alcohol. Maybe up it a few % ABV instead of doubling it. It'll be easier to do without potentially making something that needs to mellow for 6 months.

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