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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Stronger Grogg!
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Old 07-04-2006, 11:33 AM   #1
Tylenol3
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Default Stronger Grogg!

Hi All,

I'm still very new at all this (brewing my second batch of Cooper's extract) but I'm having a great time so far. I'm too young to pretend to be sophisticated about beer, so I'll level with you all: I started homebrewing to get drunk for cheap. That said, I love the the process, and I think there's a good chance that I'll spend a lot more time on this hobby than I expected. I'm going to work my way through a few more cans of grocery store kits before I get more adventurous, so I was wondering about making my brew a bit stronger. If I tip an extra bit of sugar in with my wort extract and brewing sugar, will I get stronger beer? How much is it safe to add? Will it give me a greater chance of a spoiled batch or of bottle bombs?

On a slightly seperate topic, I've read again and again that I'll get a better brew by using glucose instead of sucrose. Is this something that an unseasoned tongue will taste? What are other ways to slowly step into the world of proper brewing without making any large investments?

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Old 07-04-2006, 02:09 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tylenol3
What are other ways to slowly step into the world of proper brewing without making any large investments?
First off welcome to a fun hobbie.

As for getting into proper brewing check out this link:Books for the beginner

And this link:How To Brew by John Palmer

This also:Must have books

And also this link:Home Brewing Community

Cherrs!
Justin
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Old 07-04-2006, 02:26 PM   #3
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Adding table sugar produces a cidery flavor that is fairly vile when combined with the hop bittering, but if you use enough of sugar the harsh alcohol flavor masks cideriness. Unless, of course, the yeast die due to alcohol poisoning before they convert all of the sugar. In that case, you'll have a sweet, harsh, vile tasting high ABV beverage we call hooch.

Which is good for getting drunk, if you don't mind killer hangovers.

On the other hand, if you follow the directions and good brewing practices, you'll be making good ale. You might even discover that there is more to brewing that getting hammered, puking your guts out and feeling rotten the next day.

As for brewing on the cheap, pickle buckets work fine for fermenters and settling tanks, dry ale yeast packets can be split to make three or four batches and you can learn how to wash and sve yeast. Extract kits can be made using a large cooking pot in your kitchen. You can greatly improve the flavor of a kit by steeping small quantities of grains. You need a thermometer and there's no real substitute for a capper and you have to use new caps, but the bottles are free.

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Old 07-04-2006, 05:29 PM   #4
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Default Yes Virginia, you can brew stronger beer.

Here Here for reading before you brew!

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Old 07-04-2006, 10:07 PM   #5
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Thanks for the response, guys. I suppose I should have been a bit more clear about my question, though. As delicious as "hooch" sounds, I was hoping to make something that tastes much the same as the 5% ABV that I've made so far, but maybe at 6 or 7%. I'm not using table sugar, I'm using the brewing sugar that you can get at the grocery store. My kit says "add 1kg of fermentable sugars." I was wondering if I can increase alcohol content by a few points just by adding more of this sugar, or are there other factors I need to consider before I just go adding extra sugar. If I can add extra, how much is too much?

I was wondering about better quality sugars just as a way to improve the taste of my kit beer. Is it worthwhile to go to a homebrew supply shop and get something superior to the off-the-shelf brewing sugar, or will the results be hard to notice since I'm starting with a kit anyway? The same goes for yeast-- I've heard a few times that I'll do better to chuck the yeast that comes with the kits and get something better. Would anyone else agree?

Thanks again guys. It's great to have a place to ask these questions and actually get an enthusiastic response.

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Old 07-04-2006, 10:10 PM   #6
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Remember, some kits are better than others. I think it's the Coopers kits that call for the addition of table sugar (I've never used one), while the Brewer's Best kits I've used in my first two batches are LME and DME. If you've got a HBS around, worth a trip to see what they have; might not be too much more to get a really high-quality brew, and there might be something a bit *bigger* that you might like.

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Old 07-05-2006, 12:04 AM   #7
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Seriously, a pound of brewer's sugar will raise the ABV about 1.3%. The problem is that you throw off the malt/hop/alcohol balance. Extra light malt extract will do the same thing, but keep the malt flavors in balance.

The biggest problems with kit yeast is age and the limited varieties. For many ale styles, a specialized ale yeast will product more flavorful results. Dried ale yeasts are generally selected to ferment fully (high attenuation), drop out of the ale (highly focculent) and not contribute much in the way of flavors (clean fermenting). The age problem can be bypassed by making a yeast starter several days before brewing.

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Old 07-05-2006, 01:38 AM   #8
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I would say that if you are wanting to merely raise the ABV by 1%, add the extra pound of corn sugar. It's not going to throw off the taste by enough for you to notice being a "novice" beer drinker, but will definitely up the alcohol. After you've been brewing/drinking beer for a while, or if you were trying to raise the ABV by 3-4%, you'll notice the difference.

A word of warning, though: While you are still new to the beer world do not let your homebrewing keep you from buying and tasting commercial beers. Try as many different brands and styles of beer as you can so you can develop a taste for what works and what doesn't other than how drunk you can get.

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Old 07-05-2006, 07:53 AM   #9
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It's funny reading the responses to this thread-- I must sound like a real alcoholic. I was really just trying to think of a way to make my beer go a little bit farther... I tend to drink faster than I can produce. I've also had lots of nice commercial brews that were stronger-than-average, so I thought maybe I could do it easily too. At any rate, I think I'll experiment (that's what this is all about, right?) with my next brew, and if it tastes like poo then I'll give it a miss in the future.

I know this is slightly off topic, but to follow up gruntingfrog's post, does anyone have any recommendations for "killer" commercial beers that should be tasted before one dies? Unfortunately my access to American microbrews has been severely limited by my migration to Australia, but if there's anyone else down under, or if anyone has any general recommendations to expand one's taste buds, what would they be?

And further to that, does anyone know of a listing of homebrew clubs where I might be able to go and meet some people and buy/trade beer, recipes, etc?

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Old 07-05-2006, 02:17 PM   #10
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http://oz.craftbrewer.org/Community/clubs.shtml looks like a place to start.

Stick around a while and you'll see worse. Things like "I put a coulpe cans of frut and a sack of sugar in with some bread yeast & it tastes like crap. What did I do wrong?"
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