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Old 11-11-2012, 04:23 PM   #1
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Default thinking about boosting alcohol a little.

From what I can tell adding 4 oz. of DME and 4 oz. of corn sugar will will boost ABV by about 0.5% per five gallon. So I am thinking about adding this mixture to kits that start in the 4-5% range. First, does that sound about right? Second, will this have any negative impact on the taste of the beer?

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Old 11-11-2012, 04:42 PM   #2
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That sounds about right. The main risk you run is making the recipe unbalanced with respect to the other ingredients. Adjusting the fermentables too much without adjusting the hops may throw off the balance of bitterness to malt. Also recipes are formulated with percentages of specialty malts/adjuncts to achieve a certain flavor and body, so you could be messing with that (corn sugar for example will tend to thin out the beer because it is completely fermentable). Small adjustments may not be that big a deal but you need to keep these things in mind.

You could just pick a recipe or kit that has the ABV you want.

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Old 11-11-2012, 04:49 PM   #3
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chickypad laid it all out.

You're main issue would be drying the beer out. Meaning the gravity will drop slightly lower. This could have the beer be slightly thinner in body than the kit called for.

I'd suggest finding a kit that something you like, where the ABV is where you want it. Atleast until you are doing all grain, and making your own recipes, and can tweak things easily to keep it all together.

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Old 11-11-2012, 08:45 PM   #4
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Maybe consider not brewing session beers if you are looking for higher ABV. Alternatively you could try just adding a shot of vodka to your glass if you are looking to get f'ed up quicker.

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Old 11-12-2012, 01:50 PM   #5
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I agree about choosing a style that has higher abv, if that is what you want, rather than adding an extract/sugar mixture. If you want to make an Imperial version of a style (say an Imperial Pale Ale), you really have to adjust the whole recipe, not only boost the abv.

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Old 11-12-2012, 01:56 PM   #6
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I regularly use 2 lbs of standard brown sugar in most of my 5 gallon batches of heavy ale. The batch is approx. 7% ABV before the sugar and 8% after adding. Adding sugar to a 4 or 5% ABV recipe tends to degrade the taste and body but when you get into the heavy ale category the sugar provides a zing to sharpen the taste, which I like.

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Old 11-12-2012, 02:49 PM   #7
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Make a belgian beer and add inverted sugar - it is SUPER CHEAP to make the sugar at home and will increase ABV + Flavor to your brew

Here's how to make it -

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Old 11-12-2012, 10:35 PM   #8
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Thanks for the advice. I will definitely be brewing most beers recipes that are in the 5-7% range which is where I like them and I find 6% to be the sweet spot for me. I was just curious about the effect of raising some of the interesting low ABV beers into closer of my comfort range would have on the beer. I know my curiosity will eventually get the better of me and I will try it but after hearing this it probably won't be for the first few so I can compare the results.

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Old 11-13-2012, 06:21 AM   #9
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I must be old fashioned, without looking at my software I have no idea what the ABV is nor do I care. I choose a style I like, find a good recipe for it, and brew it. There seems to be an obsession with taking a recipe and then jacking the ABV...why not just make wine or cider?

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Old 11-14-2012, 01:30 AM   #10
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I am new here so I don't want to be confrontational but it's not like I asked if I could double my ABV by pouring in a bag of cane sugar. I was just considering upping it by 0.5%. Would people be this bothered if I asked what do you think about an extra TBS of sugar in my lemonade or an extra shake of salt on my fries? I am new to brewing and had what I considered a legitimate question about the effect of raising alcohol a little. Most people said it could have a negative effect so I decided to at least put it off until at least a few brews. While I truly don't drink beer to get drunk and honestly don't even remember the last time I was drunk I would be lying if I said I didn't like the relaxing feeling of alcohol.

Also I probably will make some wine and cider later but I prefer beer most of the time.

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