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Old 02-12-2012, 11:49 PM   #1
Feb 2012
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Posts: 12

Okay. So I am new to brewing and my first batch had a very low alcohol content. (Not 100% sure as I had no idea how to use a hydrometer) I drank 12 and not even a buzz. I received a few answers on another thread I posted on this subject. I was told to use more malt extract and even adding corn sugar to increase gravity thus having more fermentable sugars. More sugar=more alcohol content.

My questions are this:

What would be better to add? More Malt extract or Corn sugar?

How would I add these sugars? I would assume during the boil?

At what time? I would assume you add these sugars at the same time you would normally add the malt extract in the boil?

How much? How much of either of these sugars should I add? Is there a way of knowing how much to add to get a certain alcohol percentage?

Any answers/suggestions are greatly appreciated!

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Old 02-13-2012, 12:00 AM   #2
Lucky_Chicken's Avatar
Jul 2011
Bloomfield, IA
Posts: 795
Liked 37 Times on 27 Posts

Answers come with more questions: was the beer good? All grain or extract?

I would suggest reading up on hydrometers, how to use, ect. you will need it to add alcohol.

Is the point of brewing beer to get a buzz or to have good beer to drink? If you are just looking for a buz put water sugar and yeast in a jar let it sit and drink that. it wont be good but it will get you drunk.

now... on to your questions.
Malt extract will add flavors to your brew and alcohol, corn sugar is completely ferment able and will just add alcohol (at moderate concentrations, at high concentrations there can be off flavors)

the sugars would be added at the boil, at least before the last 5 minutes, but the beginning would be best.

How much to add depends on where the brew is at currently (reading the hydrometer). knowing how much to get a certain percentage has a lot of factors... yeast used, other ferment able sugars, yeast nutrients...

That should get you started more info and we can probably help more.
PS: welcome to HBT get a few more batches in and we'll have to meet up next time i am up that way for a bottle swap!

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Old 02-13-2012, 12:01 AM   #3
BrewinHooligan's Avatar
Dec 2011
Mesa, AZ
Posts: 5,211
Liked 1786 Times on 1200 Posts

Sugars ferment out more than malts do and create a drier beer which is desirable in some brews and to some tastes, but you do not want to have more than 10%-20% of your fermentables coming from sugars or adjuncts. Your beer will taste better if you add more malt. If adding sugar, there is no need to add for the full boil as it may carmelize and not ferment fully. If you add with 15 minutes left to the boil you will make sure to kill any nasties. Hopville's BeerCalculus is free recipe software that will give you a good idea what your OG and FG should be along with your ABV.
No yeast, no beer. No beer, no civilization. Therefore, we really have yeast to thank for all our modern-day conveniences and tasty beer

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Old 02-13-2012, 03:24 AM   #4
Feb 2012
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Posts: 12

Thanks a lot for the info! I really appreciate it! I am new to the hobby but already enjoy it very much! To answer your question:

Is the point of brewing beer to get a buzz or to have good beer to drink? My answer is both!!!!

Thanks for the warm welcome! Hopefully I can brew a beer that keeps me warm! (Winter in Iowa is cold!!!!)

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Old 02-13-2012, 03:37 AM   #5
JLem's Avatar
Jan 2009
Attleboro, MA
Posts: 3,637
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Check out - a great guide for getting started and a resource you can turn back to as you progress in the hobby

I spent 4 years in Iowa City and, yes, winters are cold in Iowa (especially with wind chill!). I remember public schools closing because of wind chill
My Hombrewing Blog

My Beer Cellar

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Old 02-13-2012, 04:05 AM   #6
Feb 2012
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Posts: 12

Funny you mention this website! I just bought his book a couple of days ago and it was delivered today!

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Old 02-13-2012, 12:52 PM   #7
Jan 2010
Last Station
Posts: 667
Liked 8 Times on 8 Posts

I think it would be much better if you tell us your recipe .

It is probably an Extract batch .

Which yeast strain did you use ?

What was the O.G. and F.G. ?

I'm suspicious of stuck fermentation which often occurs with Extract batches .


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Old 02-13-2012, 02:54 PM   #8
Dec 2011
Culpeper, VA
Posts: 2,640
Liked 279 Times on 225 Posts

Look into Belgian Tripel recipes. We just brewed one last night with a 1.090 OG which should come out to about 9.7% Alcohol. Not my favorite style but it will get ya drunk!
Next up: Amber Ale
Primary 1&2: 90 Min IPA clone
Primary 3&4: Belgian Wit
Keg #1: White Mosaic Pale Ale
Keg #2: Empty
Drinking: Amber Ale, White Mosaic Pale Ale

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Old 02-13-2012, 03:02 PM   #9
Sep 2011
Austin, Texas
Posts: 1,249
Liked 66 Times on 54 Posts

IF you just want to jack up the ABV, you can add sugars to the boil with 10-15 mins left. Just be sure to stir it to it doesn't burn. AHS sells a 1% ABV booster that is prepacked and is a mix. I've used it for a few brews and it's great.

Generally when I'm not happy with a recipe's ABV, I'll add a pound of DME to the recipe which boosts the alcohol by ~0.8%. Choose a DME that fits the profile of the beer. I'll also boost the hops by a fraction to offset the additional malt and alcohol flavors the DME adds.
On Deck: Cornucopia Oktoberfest
Primary: Centennial Blonde v2, Ed Wort's Kolsch
Secondary: none
Kegged: County Jail Pale Ale, AHS Anniv IPA, AHS Brooklyn Brown, Raspberry Wheat, Blood Orange Hefe, Ranger IPA clone (x2), Newcastle clone, AHS Irish Red, Centennial Blonde
Bottled: Session Series Belgian Saison, Apocalypso, Pecan Porter, DFH 90 Minute Clone, Apfelwein (x2), Wytchmaker Rye IPA Clone, Vienna/Simcoe SMaSH, Munich/Cascade SMaSH

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Old 07-12-2012, 09:01 PM   #10
Jul 2012
Casper, WY
Posts: 5

If you increase the amount of malt and/or sugar, do you need to increase the amount of yeast?

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