20% ABV Target Brew

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Nate Wyrick

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Hello. This is a repost of my first ever thread #8184095

The project: I'm going to try and brew the highest ABV sour I possibly can. The goal is a final yield of 20% ABV fruited sour beer, or at least as high ABV I can achieve. I've put a good bit of thought into the recipe and the process, I'll share those tomorrow! Any thoughts or feedback on the project would be awesome!
 
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Nate Wyrick

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Update: just looking at my BeerSmith recipes that I've previously used and am deciding between the Flanders Red and the Belgian Strong (soured). With the high ABV, I'm not sure how the yeast is really going to survive or mutate, so I think I'll go with a high gravity trappist yeast, pitch a champagne (or similar wine yeast) after that burns out, and finish with the bugs. I'm hoping this gives me some of the Belgian character, while still achieving the massive ABV I want. I'm not sure how the bugs are going to take the higher alcohol levels, so I think I will pitch the them either at the same time as the wine yeast, or just slightly afterwards.

Recipe:

RO water, built to Belgian style requirements (TBD)
Big ass yeast starter per online calculator (TBD)

6lb 0oz Belgian Pilsner
4lb 0oz 2-row
1lb 4oz Munich Malt
2lb light DME

Old ass hops from the freezer - 1oz at 30 minutes

Boil 120 minutes. 70% efficiency. Target OG 1.150 @ 2.5 gallons post-boil yield.

1 pkg Trappist Yeast (TBD)
1 pkg High Gravity Wine Yeast (TBD)
1 pkg Belgian Sour Mix 1 + sour slurry from last batch + whatever dregs of bottles I have laying around

Fermenting schedule: 3 weeks in a glass carboy - oak barrel for 4 months - bottle and shelf for 3 months - enjoy.


Notes: I tossed around the idea of adding more body to this, knowing there is a high risk of an intolerable booziness - however, I think extra aging in the barrel (and increased lactic acid development) should hide a lot of the alcohol. I may throw in some lactic acid to the mash - although I'm a bit morally opposed to this method of creating sours.

Anyone have any thoughts on adding fruit to this one? I have cherries and pomegranates ready for a batch - but I'm leaning more along the lines of a stone fruit, or maybe just leaving the fruit out.

Any other thoughts would be appreciated as well!
 
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Nate Wyrick

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Happy New Year - Happy Brew Year!

Well I'm glad this break came around and gave me an opportunity to brew up this monster. In fact, it was a double brew day with a Belgian Wit being brewed first and the 20%'er being brewed last. Here's the final recipe.

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RO water, no salt additions
2 liter yeast starter

6lb 0oz Belgian Pilsner
4lb 0oz 2-row
1lb 4oz Munich Malt
2lb Amber DME

0.5oz Huell Melon @ 30
0.5oz Huell Melon @ 15
0.5oz Northern Brewer @ 15

Boil 3.5 hours, measured OG 1.142 @ 2.5 gallons post-boil yield.

1 pkg Wyeast Trappist 3787 Yeast, currently fermenting with temperature control (BrewJacket) at 66degF.

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I was slightly under my target OG, which is probably from several factors. I forgot my computer (read: intentionally left it at work over the holidays) so I didn't have my Brew'n Water spreadsheets for salt additions. I decided just to raw-dog it and go plain RO water. Also, I assume that since this is such a high gravity beer, any normal inefficiencies are just exacerbated.

Anyhow, I've got the 2.5 gallons of 1.142 wort in my BrewJacket set at 66 degrees, using a blow-off tube. The BrewJacket has pretty much been on non-stop since the fermentation started, likely due to the yeast activity created a considerable amount of heat.

The plan forward is to let this ferment out, check gravity, add wine yeast (if required) to get the target FG to around 1.010. Put in a barrel and let the sour bacteria bring it sub 1.000. That should get me to the upper teens (18-19%). It's not the 20% I originally planned, but I have opportunity still to reach my target by adding a little sugar, or with a fruit addition.
 

madscientist451

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The 3787 is supposed to be tolerant to 12%, pitching a wine yeast into that could result in some "interesting" stressed yeast flavors. Did you consider using WLP 099 yeast?
 

Miraculix

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Haven't heard of any wine yeast than can go beyond 15 to 16% alcohol. Good luck with this one!
 

madscientist451

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Sorry, I missed the point of the original post.....

The project: I'm going to try and brew the highest ABV sour I possibly can. The goal is a final yield of 20% ABV fruited sour beer, or at least as high ABV I can achieve.
Any thoughts or feedback on the project would be awesome!

To achieve the goal above, I'd brew a high ABV version of Jamil's Flander's red, mash high, above 156F, and ferment as low it can go with WLP 099.
When it stops, I'd let it sit a few weeks, rack to secondary and pitch ECY Bug Farm and then do nothing for about 6 months. After that, I'd pull a sample every month or so to see how the sour character was coming along. Eventually, I'd add fruit to the secondary or rack onto fruit in another vessel and let it sit at least 2 months.
 

kylevester

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It's too late for this one, but next time you could ice the beer to concentrate it up. Brew a normal belgian strong ale, then lower the temp enough to freeze the water and pull off the concentrated beer. If you concentrate it before souring, you'll increase the intensity of the sour as well.
 

Nebraskan

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Happy New Year - Happy Brew Year!



The plan forward is to let this ferment out, check gravity, add wine yeast (if required) to get the target FG to around 1.010. Put in a barrel and let the sour bacteria bring it sub 1.000. That should get me to the upper teens (18-19%). It's not the 20% I originally planned, but I have opportunity still to reach my target by adding a little sugar, or with a fruit addition.

I hate to burst your bubble. One, bacteria won't add alcohol, if it is ML bacterial it would only work on Malic acid conversion. No bacteria action creates any additional EtOH. In fact, Acetobacter aceti bacteria (that of vinegar)will actually consume alcohol as it works, which this very might likely happen.

Another thing is most bacteria of any interest are stunned by higher alcohol (EtOH) Hence, when we make Port at the winery we add Hi-Proof EtOH in the 95.4% range to the Chancellor and Chambourcin red wines to not only make sure the fermentation is halted( as it is raised to 18% ABV) but also to help with bacteria stability. Even at that, we add doses of SO2 to help ward off unwanted bacterial infections.

Getting anything above 15-16 % ABV takes an almost perfect setting and ferment, that which is not in the cards with your beer. Wine yeasts won't ferments some of the fermentables that beer yeast do, such as Maltotriose, which is a trisaccharides IE triple sugars. Wine yeast cannot ferment this, so adding champagne yeast later won't do much. Even our most powerful yeast, Uvaferm 43 would have difficulty, as you are talking about a fermentation that essentially becomes "stuck" and then using other means or yeasts to restart the "Stuck" fermentation.
 

cactusgarrett

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The bugs aren't what's going to get your FG down after initial ferment, it's the brett. Some strains of brett are pretty alcohol tolerant, so i think time (at least a year) and the brett will be key. I don't think you'll hit the 20% abv mark, as others suggested, but 15%+ sounds doable, as you're taking good steps to get there (big yeast starter, sour slurry+dregs, for example). I'd be surprised if you can get below 1.020 with just sacc and wine yeast, prior to bugs.
 

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