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Old 12-04-2012, 03:34 PM   #1
brazedowl
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Default Upping ABV

So my friends and I are going to get some kits and try our first batches next month. We were wondering if it would be possible to kick up the ABV on the kits. Most of them are rated at 5.0-5.5%. We aren't talking anything crazy, maybe up to 6.5 or 7.0.

I make wine and if I wanted to up the abv I would just add sugar to increase the OG. Can you do that with beer without destroying the flavor or knocking the recipe out of whack? Is there an upper limit to how much you can increase the ABV before the flavor begins to deteriorate?



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Old 12-04-2012, 04:04 PM   #2
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It depends on the style of beer. I personally wouldn't be a fan of upping the ABV of certain styles of beer just for the hell of it. Instead, consider making some double or imperial style beers that are suppose to be at 7-8%.



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Old 12-04-2012, 04:07 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brazedowl View Post
So my friends and I are going to get some kits and try our first batches next month. We were wondering if it would be possible to kick up the ABV on the kits. Most of them are rated at 5.0-5.5%. We aren't talking anything crazy, maybe up to 6.5 or 7.0.

I make wine and if I wanted to up the abv I would just add sugar to increase the OG. Can you do that with beer without destroying the flavor or knocking the recipe out of whack? Is there an upper limit to how much you can increase the ABV before the flavor begins to deteriorate?
You should probably just try making beer for the first time instead of experimenting. It's quite different than making wine.

And if your friends just want to get drunk, go buy some Everclear.
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Old 12-04-2012, 06:18 PM   #4
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As a rule of thumb, one pound of DME will up the ABV by slightly less than 1%. YMMV.

Also, it will affect the recipe. Higher gravity beers need more attention to the yeast and fermentation process; the alcohol itself will become more of a flavor component; the balance with the hops will be affected. Best to choose a recipe designed as such, than to toss extra sugars into the pot. FWIW.

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Old 12-04-2012, 09:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brazedowl
So my friends and I are going to get some kits and try our first batches next month. We were wondering if it would be possible to kick up the ABV on the kits. Most of them are rated at 5.0-5.5%. We aren't talking anything crazy, maybe up to 6.5 or 7.0.

I make wine and if I wanted to up the abv I would just add sugar to increase the OG. Can you do that with beer without destroying the flavor or knocking the recipe out of whack? Is there an upper limit to how much you can increase the ABV before the flavor begins to deteriorate?
Google two things - dogfish 120 clone, tactical nuclear penguin.

I realize your shooting for 6% and not 40, but hear give you an idea of how complicated bigger beers can get.

For what you're going for, the best advice has already been given - go with a high alcohol style ale kit, like a Belgian strong/triple.

Before you do that though, you may want to do a few basic kits. From what I understand beer is a heck of a lot easier to infect than wine. You probably want to get your process down before blowing $50-60 on a high ABV kit.
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:22 PM   #6
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Any additions to a kit will change what was the intended recipe. Usually not for the better.

The best way to get a higher ABV is to select a kit/recipe that is designed to be that way.



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