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Old 11-14-2012, 12:58 AM   #1
thehopbandit
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Oct 2012
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As a new homebrewer, I am curious about what adding additional fermentable sugars to the boil will do to the final beer product. I am aware it boosts the amount of sugar that the yeast can consume and therefore will produce a higher alcohol content, but I have a couple other questions.

1. If you are following a recipe, and decide to add additional DME or LME, what happens to the balance of the beer? For instance, will this throw off the recipe and make it too sweet? How does one counteract this increase in sugar while staying true to a style and taste?

2. How much "extra" fermentable sugars like DME and LME can one safely add above what the recipe calls for? For instance, if a recipe calls for 6 lbs of Amber LME, will adding an additional 1 lb of DME drastically affect the taste?

Basically, I am just trying to determine how much toying with the ingredient balance will affect the final product. I'd like to learn how I can safely adjust recipes, say, to slightly increase alcohol content while staying true to the recipe balance. Thanks!



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Old 11-14-2012, 01:11 AM   #2
Hex23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thehopbandit View Post
As a new homebrewer, I am curious about what adding additional fermentable sugars to the boil will do to the final beer product. I am aware it boosts the amount of sugar that the yeast can consume and therefore will produce a higher alcohol content, but I have a couple other questions.

1. If you are following a recipe, and decide to add additional DME or LME, what happens to the balance of the beer? For instance, will this throw off the recipe and make it too sweet? How does one counteract this increase in sugar while staying true to a style and taste?

2. How much "extra" fermentable sugars like DME and LME can one safely add above what the recipe calls for? For instance, if a recipe calls for 6 lbs of Amber LME, will adding an additional 1 lb of DME drastically affect the taste?

Basically, I am just trying to determine how much toying with the ingredient balance will affect the final product. I'd like to learn how I can safely adjust recipes, say, to slightly increase alcohol content while staying true to the recipe balance. Thanks!
Yes it will affect the taste of the beer. For one it will result in a higher FG, which will generally be sweeter. The addition of DME and LME will make for a maltier beer. You should consider balancing out malt additions with more hops to maintain the bitterness ratio (IBU/SG).

Adding 20% more fermentables will have a noticeable to moderate effect, but not a massive effect. It all depends on what you are going for (richer, bolder taste, higher ABV?). Also be aware that changing boil gravity will affect hops utilization and higher OG into the fermenter should also require higher pitching rates.

If you're interested in altering recipes I'd highly suggest getting a program like Beersmith. It will make it easier to account for all these effects.



 
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Old 11-14-2012, 01:28 AM   #3
thehopbandit
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Cool, thanks for the reply!

I have actually been playing around with BeerSmith and it seems pretty useful. So, will adequately increasing the hops to balance out the increased malt (maintain the bitterness ratio), mostly retain the balance of the original recipe or will it still be altered to a point that is noticeably different?

When adjusting ingredients for a recipe in BeerSmith, what other figures/numbers should one be looking at (besides the bitterness ratio) in order to attempt to stay close to style/orignal recipe? I'm mainly just trying to figure out the most important things to consider when altering a recipe. Thanks!

 
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Old 11-14-2012, 01:35 AM   #4
aiptasia
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It depends on how much you're increasing the OG. Not all of the malt sugars are fermentable, so the higher the gravity on the OG, the maltier the beer will taste due to unfermented sugars. Adding 100% fermentable sugars (honey, corn sugar, etc.) will often "thin" the flavor of the beer out a bit and produce a dry alcoholic flavor, too.

In beersmith, you can select your BJCP style in the recipes area and it'll give you a target range for that style in OG, SRM (color), Bitterness and ABV. Keeping your numbers pegged in those ranges should produce a beer considered acceptable for the style. If you use the adjust bitterness, adjust gravity or adjust color buttons, it will remove the guesswork of how much malt or hops to add to your recipes. You just punch in the values you want and it will recalculate your ingredients to match what you want.
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Old 11-14-2012, 01:56 AM   #5
thehopbandit
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Ok, cool. I'll mess around in BeerSmith for a while. Thanks for the replies!

 
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Old 11-14-2012, 02:00 AM   #6
Hex23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thehopbandit View Post
Cool, thanks for the reply!

I have actually been playing around with BeerSmith and it seems pretty useful. So, will adequately increasing the hops to balance out the increased malt (maintain the bitterness ratio), mostly retain the balance of the original recipe or will it still be altered to a point that is noticeably different?

When adjusting ingredients for a recipe in BeerSmith, what other figures/numbers should one be looking at (besides the bitterness ratio) in order to attempt to stay close to style/orignal recipe? I'm mainly just trying to figure out the most important things to consider when altering a recipe. Thanks!
I would also add that you shouldn't get terribly hung up on style. Feel free to take things in a direction that suits your taste. The beers I like most that I've made don't fit a style category exactly. However a really important piece of advice that most brewers starting to experiment tend to miss is change in moderation. It's very easy to go overboard. Beers that are out of way out of balance in some respect usually don't taste good. E.g. I tend to like maltier, less hoppy beers (Wee Heavy, Munich Helles), but I know if I tried to take all the hops out of the beer it would not taste good.

 
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Old 11-14-2012, 02:43 AM   #7
thehopbandit
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hex23 View Post
I would also add that you shouldn't get terribly hung up on style. Feel free to take things in a direction that suits your taste. The beers I like most that I've made don't fit a style category exactly. However a really important piece of advice that most brewers starting to experiment tend to miss is change in moderation. It's very easy to go overboard. Beers that are out of way out of balance in some respect usually don't taste good. E.g. I tend to like maltier, less hoppy beers (Wee Heavy, Munich Helles), but I know if I tried to take all the hops out of the beer it would not taste good.
Awesome! Great advice! I can't wait to do some (moderate) experimentation with my future brews. Thanks for the help.



 
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