Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > The trick to a great low-alcohol brew?
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Old 10-11-2009, 01:41 PM   #11
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Whether it be a Mild or an Ordinary Bitter, start with Marris Otter as a base malt and use English or English-like hops. Then choose an English yeast and fermentation temperature that suits the flavors you're trying to achieve (esters/phenols, etc.). Designing Great Beers has some good info on brewing these styles.

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Old 10-11-2009, 02:09 PM   #12
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I find adding some rye (10-15%) can make for great small beers. Ordinary Bitters run 3-3.5% and can be extremely refreshing. Fermenting at the low-end for the yeast is also a good idea.

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Old 10-11-2009, 02:47 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by woodenbuick View Post
How do they do it, according to my brewere friends at Miller / Coors they start with beer that is 7 - 8 % abv and then water it down.
I have tried the same trick, but have been unhappy with the results.
That sounds nasty.
I guess that is done purely for financial reasons.
Have a beer on me.
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Old 10-11-2009, 03:02 PM   #14
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As was touched on earlier, one of the tricks in the process is mashing high. Maybe 154-156. This will put a lot of unfermentables in your wort and produce a lower alcohol beer with more body.

There are a lot of styles which you could probably formulate to work, flavor wise, changing them into session beers.


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Old 10-11-2009, 03:02 PM   #15
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I just made my first mild and it really turned out pretty good. No special tricks or anything, just a decent recipe.
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Old 09-01-2012, 09:55 AM   #16
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old bump... but this was the only thread i found on the topic i was looking for...

so, there was some general advice in this thread about making a low alc beer. but...

the OG doesn't matter so much as the FG? If i have an FG of 1.012 or so from an OG of of 1.04, will it have a similar feeling of density/body as a beer of FG 1.012 from a higher OG?

ive only made one low alc beer before and it was accidental and i wasn't too happy with the body or balance of it. FG i think was about 1.008, alc around 4, and too bitter for what it was. go ahead and disagree with me on having it too bitter if you want ...

so, what are some suggestions for making a thick low alc? a ton of crystal? unmalted grains? wheat? a certain yeast or high mashtemp?
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Old 09-01-2012, 10:47 AM   #17
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A lower attenuation yeast, such as Windsor, is helpful. It leaves more sweetness/body behind.

Higher mash temps do the same.

I presently have a 3.8% Hefeweizen that tastes as good or better than a stronger version. It is light, but still very flavorful. To me, it is everything a summer beer should be.

Beer is supposed to be about hospitality. I have never had anybody taste one of my beers and call it watery. And yet, they can walk out of my place after a few hours of relaxing and still function.

I don't even like the drunken stupor anymore... But man do I love to put away a few good pints!

The beers finish sooner, are ready quickly, and taste great and fairly true to whatever style you desire.
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Old 09-01-2012, 12:48 PM   #18
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I've had good luck brewing lowering ABV Pales (<4%) and then dry-hopping the bejesus out of them in the keg. Adds a lot of flavor (though no body).

Another vote for mashing high - really helps to round out the mouthfeel.

Think it would be interesting to try to get a low ABV by brewing an 8% beer and splitting it into two batches with boiled water. I'm going to try that soon.
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Old 09-01-2012, 12:58 PM   #19
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For low ABV beers I Mash High, Mash Thin, and use a low attenuating yeast (I like WLP008 for American style ales WLP002 for English ales)

I also believe that your recipe should be some what simple... There is not a ton of character to hide behind in low OG beers.. If you try and make a kitchen sink beer it will come out muddled...
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Old 09-01-2012, 01:09 PM   #20
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One thing that I would add that hasn't been mentioned yet is getting some kettle caramelization for color and flavor. Mash high, drain a gallon of your first runnings and boil that down as much as you can in a separate pot while you're doing the regular boil with everything else and then add it back at the end. This may not be appropriate for all styles, but I just did a Scottish Ale at about 4.3% ABV and it tasted great!

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