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Old 11-15-2010, 12:18 AM   #1
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Default Need Quick Help! Upping Alcohol Content Without Affecting Flavor

I got a kit that called for nottingham dry yeast, and I'm brewing an english mild ale today. I'd like the expected ABV to be between 5-6%, however, the anticipated ABV says it looks like it should finish up around 3.2%

Now, I know certain yeasts can handle higher alcohol content then others, and I don't know really anything about the nottingham yeast that this recipe calls for.

Please tell me if I'm wrong, but here's what I'm thinking about doing. I've got one of two options to up the ABV...add honey or add molasses.

A) Will the notingham yeast have any issues with consuming the sugars in honey or molasses?

B) Should I have a preference in which I should use between the honey and molasses? I've got 12oz of honey I can use, but would have to go out to the store to get some molasses. From what I've heard, if you add either early on in the boil, most of the flavor from the molasses/honey should be gone. If I'd like to keep some of that flavor, I should add it later in the boil.

C) How much of either the honey/molasses should I add to my boil to get my ABV into the 5-6% range?

D) Anything else I should look out for since this english mild ale doesn't call for either molasses or honey?

TIA!

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Old 11-15-2010, 12:21 AM   #2
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Well, a "mild" should be under 4% or it isnt' a mild anymore.

Anywho..........anything you add will change the basic structure of the beer. I personally HATE molasses, so I'd probably just go with plain table sugar if I needed to boost up the ABV of a fairly thin easy drinking beer.

I'd rather just leave the beer alone, as the entire balance of malt and hops and alcohol is in play with each recipe. Unless the recipe is totally out of whack, I'd leave it alone.

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Old 11-15-2010, 12:25 AM   #3
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The target ABV is right for a mild...if you want higher you will end up with a different style. That said, the best way to boost without changing flavor too much is to add malt extract. If that's not possible you can use either honey or molasses...not sure how it will affect flavor but the yeast will have no problem fermenting it. The higher alcohol content yeast issues come from big beers like some Belgians, Barley Wines, Imperials, etc. that hit or exceed 8% ABV.

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Old 11-15-2010, 12:29 AM   #4
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+1 Yoop, preach it sister!!! Aside from screwing up the balance of the recipe the sugar can result in cidery flavor...great in cider, not so much in beer! Stick with what you have. enjoy your Mild as a session beer, and brew another style. You can NEVER have too much homebrew around! RDWHAHB...speaking of, I now have a hankering for a Yankee Killer Texas Cascadian Dark Ale!!!

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Old 11-15-2010, 12:29 AM   #5
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I agree with yoop...If you want a higher abv beer, then make your next kit higher. It really isn't about the booze, but the flavor that most of us care about. We're not brewing to get whacked, but to make great tasting beer.

And a mild IS a great tasting beer, despite it's low alcohol content. Because there's not a high alcohol backbone, you can really get some nice subtle flavors it it.

Besides, Beer recipes are a balance...and if you add to one variable, that will affect other parts of it...For example if you decide to raise the gravity of a balanced beer...a beer where the hops balance out the sweetness...and you raise the maltniness of it without alaso balancing the hops, then your beer may end up being way too cloyingly sweet. Or if you just add sugar willy nilly it could become overly dry, or cidery.

SO I would just brew this, and enjoy it, don't worry if you get buzzed or not, and make your next batch as high as you want.

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Old 11-15-2010, 01:08 AM   #6
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Just wanted to post this handy guide I found to the different sugars that a home brewer typically has in their arsenal. Very interesting stuff:

Sugars & Home Brewing

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Old 11-15-2010, 01:12 AM   #7
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Why go to all the trouble. Just buy some Everclear and add it in after the beer is finished.

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Old 11-15-2010, 01:13 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdlev View Post
Just wanted to post this handy guide I found to the different sugars that a home brewer typically has in their arsenal. Very interesting stuff:

Sugars & Home Brewing
Nothing new or even strange there, many of us use them all the time, but for flavor, and as part of a BALANCED recipe, not just to raise the abv, for boozing sake.

Hell I just used this in my Sri Lankin Stout experiment.



I've also broken down dried figs, and dates, via steeping and mascerating to make my own strange fruit sugars. As well as using mollases, brown sugar, turbinado sugar, and making my own Belgian Candi ones...but it's all used judicsiously and balanced out with the rest of the recipe, just not tossed in willy nilly to cop a bigger buzz.
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Old 11-15-2010, 02:23 AM   #9
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Revvy...how the hell do you know so much about so much?! You truly are the yoda of beer masters...

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Old 11-15-2010, 03:08 AM   #10
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I agree that Revvy does have quite a hombrewing knowledge. No arguing that.

But, the stuff he's saying in this thread is just basic homebrewing common sense. Raising your beer a whole 2½ - 3% alcohol is going to change things up quite a bit. Especially on an already low gravity brew. If you just add sugar, whether it be corn sugar, honey, etc, will lower the body and change the beer up completely and you'll lose quite a bit of body. If you add the sugars in the form of malt extract, it will be much better, however you'll end up with a different style of beer. And it will be much maltier than the recipe originally intended. If you want to keep it balanced, you'll need to update your hop additions as well.

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