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Old 05-12-2011, 02:40 AM   #1
Weslhoff2000
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Default High alcohol content beer problem

I've brewed two beer kit recipes that were over 7% alcohol, and both of have tasted so strong and bad that they are basically undrinkable. I was wondering if there was something I'm not doing that would make it more bearable to drink?


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Old 05-12-2011, 02:54 AM   #2
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Not giving them time to fully carb and condition. REGULAR stouts have taken me between 6 and 8 weeks to fully carb and condition.....Bigger beers have taken me months.

And just because a beer is carbed doesn't mean it still doesn't need more times for the hot alcohol flavors to mellow out.

The 3 weeks at 70 degrees, that we recommend is the minimum time it takes for average gravity beers to carbonate and condition. Higher grav beers take longer.

Stouts and porters have taken me between 6 and 8 weeks to carb up..I have a 1.090 Belgian strong that took three months to carb up. And at least another 3-6 before it was drinkable

Temp and gravity are the two factors that contribute to the time it takes to carb beer. But if a beer's not ready yet, or seems low carbed, and you added the right amount of sugar to it, then it's not stalled, it's just not time yet.

Everything you need to know about carbing and conditioning, can be found here Of Patience and Bottle Conditioning. With emphasis on the word, "patience."

Lazy Llama came up with a handy dandy chart to determine how long something takes in brewing, whether it's fermentation, carbonation, bottle conditioning....



Let me give you an extreme example of it, I brewed a high gravity pumpkin beer 3 years ago. I found one yesterday, and cracked it. And posted this.

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OH MY GOD...I just found a bottle of this in one of my cubby holes beer storage places in my loft.

It is amazing!!!!!!!

I can't believe how great this beer is. It's what every pumpkin beer I ever tried and was disapointed with should be. It has a quarter inch light caramel/tan head, lots of lacing on the glass. It has a surprising definite pumpkin and spice taste, cut with a dark caramel/molasses toffee note to it. It has a pronounced bitterness, not from hops but a roasty coffee bite to it. It's got no hop aroma, but instead has a burnt sugar chocolate and coffee smell.

All in all this is one of the best beers I ever made. I really wish I had more of this. I guess I may have to brew this in the late summer for fall.

I'm blown away.

Dayum!!!!!
Give them time.


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Old 05-12-2011, 02:55 AM   #3
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You'll have to post a lot more information to get a proper answer. Things like the type of kit and ingredients, fermentation time and temperature, and how long it's been in the bottle will help people narrow down your issue.

My short answer (without more info) would be that that kit has a bunch of straight sugar to boost alcohol (without providing the body and flavour that grains or extract give), and/or you didn't give it enough time in the bottle. Generally with beer (or wine, or mead, etc), the stronger it is, the longer it needs to age. Time will help the alcohol burn mellow out, to a point.

I have a Barley Wine that I brewed to 11.5% (all grain) that didn't even try until it had been in the bottle for 3-4. I bottled it about a year ago (brewed it a few months before that) and I still have about 5 of the 13 bottles left.
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Old 05-12-2011, 03:00 AM   #4
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I am no expert brewer and will therefore only provide a small gem I learned from another:

Don't drink either of these brews. Box them and ship them to me

Seriously, time is your friend. You did not make a beer with a "Born On" date that requires a quick drink before it spoils. This is May 2011. You now have some good beer planned for Labor Day weekend in September.
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Old 05-12-2011, 03:44 AM   #5
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Thanks everyone for the great info. I think that my problem is that its way to young. My first high gravity beer was a Belgian tripel, the one i finished now was a blonde ale. I actually have 2 beers from the tripel that i brewed that should be about 1 year old now, so who suggests that i try that and see what happens? I was kinda wary to do it as i felt it might spoil if i kept it too long.
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Old 05-12-2011, 03:44 AM   #6
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Drink some whiskey, then your beer. It won't seem as strong anymore.
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Old 05-12-2011, 04:25 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BankerJohn View Post
I am no expert brewer and will therefore only provide a small gem I learned from another:

Don't drink either of these brews. Box them and ship them to me

Seriously, time is your friend. You did not make a beer with a "Born On" date that requires a quick drink before it spoils. This is May 2011. You now have some good beer planned for Labor Day weekend in September.
Dude, it's a 7% beer. Not a barley wine... I drink a lot of my 7% beers from grain to glass in 2 months time and have no issues. Not saying all of them were perfect and didn't get better but none have been undrinkable and all are good. Revvy has some great points and if it's not carb related it's a sanitation/fermentation issue. With higher gravity beers temps tend to kick up quickly, make sure your holding it below the peak suggested temp at all times. I like to chill to the low end and let it ramp up to the median temp. Also make sure your using the proper size starter.
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Old 05-12-2011, 11:00 PM   #8
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One more question. Is it better to age the beer in the carboy, in a keg, or in a bottle?
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Old 05-12-2011, 11:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Weslhoff2000 View Post
One more question. Is it better to age the beer in the carboy, in a keg, or in a bottle?
General consensus and a couple scientific studies here and there have shown that beer conditions and marries flavors faster when stored in bulk, i.e. carboy or keg.

Just remember that a good "aging" temp is about 50*F, or cellar temperature. Serving temperatures will slow down the process.


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