Spirits added to beer- Can you calculate ABV? - Home Brew Forums

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12-04-2012, 10:34 PM   #1
powerfreak

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Mar 2010
AZ, Gilbert, AZ
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I have made a couple of brews now that have had rum and bourbon additions to achieve a flavor profile. Even vodka 'extracts' used at bottling.

Is there a way to calculate how much the ABV goes up from the booze additions?

Example: 5 gallons of a 5% beer had 6 ounces of bourbon added to the secondary along with the spices that had been soaking in that bourbon. That beer isn't going to be 5% anymore, so is there a way to calculate what the bourbon/rum/vodka/whatever adds?

12-04-2012, 10:38 PM   #2
cheezydemon3
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Nov 2009
louisville
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Yes

What abv was the bourbon?

BTW 6 oz of puregrain wouldn't do much.

12-04-2012, 10:53 PM   #3
powerfreak

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Mar 2010
AZ, Gilbert, AZ
Posts: 125
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I need to double check. Say 35% abv.

12-04-2012, 11:35 PM   #4
Leithoa
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Aug 2012
Akron, ohio
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You need to find how many ounces of alcohol are from each liquid and then divide their sum by the total volume. You'll probably kick yourself after you see it. You could also take a weighted average.
First get everything in the same units.
Code:
`5 gallons x 128 ounces / 1 gallon = 640 ounces`
then figure out how many ounces ( by volume in this case) are pure alcohol
Code:
` [Ounces of Beer] x [ABV of beer] = 640  x 0.05 = 32`
Next do the same for the spirit you're adding( assuming 80 proof liquor, or 40% ABV)
Code:
` [Ounces of spirit] x [ABV of spirit] = 6 x 0.4 = 2.4`
Now we take the average
Code:
```([ounces of alcohol from beer]+[ounces of alcohol from spirits]) / [Total volume of liquid]
= (32+2.4)/(640+6) = 34.4/646 ~= 0.053 = 5.3% ABV```
So it's a bit involved but not impossible.
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Reason: Wrong numbers. Thanks for pointing it out Qhrumphf

12-05-2012, 04:53 AM   #5
cheezydemon3
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But when you find that it added .03% alcohol, you will kick yourself for wasting all of the scratch paper.

12-05-2012, 05:42 AM   #6
powerfreak

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Mar 2010
AZ, Gilbert, AZ
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Thanks for that. Yeah, feeling kind of silly for wanting to know.

Based on taste, you would think it added way more than that, but the math doesn't lie, right?

12-05-2012, 02:51 PM   #7
cheezydemon3
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Bourbon has a TON of flavor. I found it overpowered any brew I did. Kinda lost my taste for bourbon beer.....

12-05-2012, 02:54 PM   #8
TyTanium
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Nov 2011
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by cheezydemon3 Bourbon has a TON of flavor. I found it overpowered any brew I did. Kinda lost my taste for bourbon beer.....
Subtly is the key. Generally we're trying to make bourbon barrel beer, not bourbon beer. The only bourbon added is what's left in the wood. Less is more, IMO.

12-05-2012, 03:09 PM   #9
cheezydemon3
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by TyTanium Subtly is the key. Generally we're trying to make bourbon barrel beer, not bourbon beer. The only bourbon added is what's left in the wood. Less is more, IMO.
Thanks! Yeah I burned myself on it. "More is more" being my general MO.....

I will get back to it, need a while to recover.

I actually have 1 low hop PA , a bastardized apfelwine and a blonde kegged, 2 pale ales (low hop) on deck.

Need to get right with my tastebuds!

12-05-2012, 03:10 PM   #10
powerfreak

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Mar 2010
AZ, Gilbert, AZ
Posts: 125
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Oh I agree. The recipes I've done booze on have had rum soaked oak cubes and bourbon soaked oak cubes. When I add the cubes, I go ahead and transfer the booze that wasn't soaked up too. It's worked well, as it's usually just a couple of ounces, but this last one had a bit more, which is why it is more pronounced.

As a bottler, I'm hoping the taste mellows a bit over time.