Does anyone else rarely brew bigger beers?

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Soulive

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I'm not looking to flame bigger beers or the people who brew them, but I feel in the minority for mostly brewing beers below 6%abv. The bulk of my batches are between 3.5% and 5.5%, with the occasional 6-6.5% IPA. I'd say maybe twice a year I brew something over 7.5%. Anyone else brew smaller beers for the sake of sessionability. I just like being able to drink my beer all day if I feel the urge. I think Biermuncher can relate on this...
 

mrkristofo

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Looking at my brew-log, it appears that mine are pretty much split 50/50. I'm young though, and so are my friends. We can abuse our livers like that I suppose.
 

HP_Lovecraft

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They take longer to mature, and generally cost more. They can also fail many different ways, and for many people they are disappointed with the results.

In short, they are harder to make correctly.

So making bigger beers is a challenge that for some is simply not worth the time, but for others its very rewarding experience.

nick
 

PseudoChef

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I tend to brew bigger beers. I'm not out to get smashed, that's just what I prefer. I find those more analogous to wine, and with how I'm trying to educate myself and learn, I find pairing food with bigger beers comes more naturally. I'm sure that I will begin appreciating smaller beers soon, when I become more comfortable with the pairings and flavor profiles I'm currently trying to create.

I am also curbing my drinking. Now, I'll rarely have more than 2-3 total throughout the week. Weekends I'll usually reserve one night to sample and, uh..."expand my horizons."
 

ohiobrewtus

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I've brewed from 3.8% up to 10%. About 80% of mine seem to be in the 5%-6.5% range. Mostly because that's what the style calls for.

If a style calls for low alcohol that's what I'll do, I have never taken something like an APA and thought 'Gee, it sure would be nice to have less alcohol in this'.

Not that there's anything wrong with doing that... :D
 

Beerthoven

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Most of my beers have been in the 5 to 6% range. The last two beers I made were under 4.5%. I have not made anything I would call "big" yet. My biggest OG was 1.070.

The only two big beers I'm planning for this year are a Christmas Ale (1.095) in March, and an RIS sometime later in the year. Everything else will probably be 1.055 or less.
 

Kaiser

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I see beer as food. Above 6% it becomes more a treat then food and as others say, they do cost more in ingedients as well as time.

Kai
 

z987k

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MY biggest beer came in at 8.8%. Current beer on tap is 3.8%, I like it, I can drink it all night. Most of mine end up in the 4-6 range.
 

BierMuncher

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Soulive said:
..The bulk of my batches are between 3.5% and 5.5%...I just like being able to drink my beer all day if I feel the urge .... I think Biermuncher can relate on this...
Right there with ya. I keg, and I volume consume. Those two things don't lend themselves to a huge beer sitting in my kegerator(s).

My biggest was an "occasion" beer, the RIS-888. It's going into bottles to condition and be savored over a long period.

Give me a 4% Bitters, Brown or Blonde anytime.
 

Fingers

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BierMuncher said:
Right there with ya. I keg, and I volume consume.
I'm the same way, only on a mere mortal scale. I like to drink lots of beer, but I don't like to get falling down drunk and all hung over the next day. My big problem now is brewing enough to keep my kegs full. Today it's -45º with the wind chill.

I WANNA BREW!!! :(
 

artfldodger

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I wouldnt say rarely, but I try to alternate it a bit, I'll do 2 batches of something around 4% and then do a bigger beer around 6-8% The bigger beers seems to sit around longer so this way I always have a good balance for whatever mood may strike me.

Also, without fail I'll brew two massive beers a year that I plan to keep around for a few years, one on my b-day and one on my anniversary. (well not ON the anniversary, but closet to it, SWMBO would throw a fit)
 

blacklab

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I seem to continue to make session brews over and over. my problem with a big beer is I like to have a few at a time. Big beers = sleepytime.
 

Bernie Brewer

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I have two taps, and I *try* to keep a big beer and a session beer around at all times. It doesn't usually work out that way, though. The small beers are easily done in 10-gallon batches, while with the big ones I'm usually limited to five. Couple that with the fact that they do indeed take longer to ferment, etc. I don't always achieve my goal of having one of each on tap. In fact, I've got two session beers on tap right now..........
 

EinGutesBier

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The biggest beer I've made is 6.5% and I really think that's plenty. I may someday push it to 7.5% on occasion, but anything else is usually overkill - not to say that I don't like my barleywines. :ban:
 

Yooper

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Two of my favorites are over 6%, the DFH 60 minute clone (around 7.5% but doesn't taste like it!) and the AB clone (6.5% or so). Otherwise, they are all in the 4-5% range.

I like beer and I don't like to get tipsy when I have kids to drive places, and pick up. So, I like a nice session beer to have after dinner, and then again maybe a couple later on.
 

GrantLee63

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I found that when I first got into beer brewing, bigger was better, and biggest was the best - along with fruits, chocolate, etc., etc. My biggest beer was a Barleywine that finished right around 11%, and a Scottish Ale that was a bit over 9%. Now I find myself typically brewing beers that are A) Malted Barley, Hops and Water, and B) usually around the 1.045 - 1.060 range.

I currently have 4 on tap 1) Oatmeal Stout (5.3%) 2) Dunkelweizen (4.3%) 3) English Nut Brown (4.7%) 4) Amber Ale (5.5%). Plus the two that I have kegged, carbed, and 'in reserve' 1) EdWort's Pale Ale (6.1%) and 2) Rye Ale (5.7%).

Has anyone else found that when they first got into HB, their beers were typically bigger?

- GL63
 

bradsul

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GrantLee63 said:
...Has anyone else found that when they first got into HB, their beers were typically bigger?
I know I started that way. But after a while of really enjoying the taste but getting tanked every time I had 4 or 5 got old so I decided taste and consciousness were more important. :D
 

niquejim

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[Originally Posted by GrantLee63
...Has anyone else found that when they first got into HB, their beers were typically bigger?

QUOTE=bradsul
I know I started that way. But after a while of really enjoying the taste but getting tanked every time I had 4 or 5 got old so I decided taste and consciousness were more important. :D[/QUOTE]




I kept trying to push the limits when I started, now Biermuncher could stop by while on vacation and get all his favorites:mug: . My last 3 were a small Hefe(to add guava to) a mild and a small APA( scaled down of my house ale to save hops).
 

cd2448

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i'm deffo at the low end. six batches in, and the strongest so far is a scaled back apfelwein at about 7%. i am thinking about making something big soon as part of the challenge of making it, but really i like a beer i can sink a good few of, rather than two or three and then lights out.
 

joejaz

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I just find the lower gravity beers taste better ( at least the ones that I make). I have two batches under my pool table that are over 7% and I'm going to let them sit till they mellow out. They are too sweet and you can taste the alcohol. Maybe I'm doing something wrong. I like a dryer beer.
 

shafferpilot

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I'm in the 4% to 6.5% club. Everything I've done falls around there..... BUT I went to a beer tasting a couple weeks ago and had a bottle of Brooklyn Brewery Monster Ale that is 10%. It's BY FAR the tastiest beer I've ever had, so a big beer recipe is in the works. I plan on brewing it in the next month, so I can enjoy it next Christmas/New Years.
 
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Soulive

Soulive

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joejaz said:
I just find the lower gravity beers taste better ( at least the ones that I make). I have two batches under my pool table that are over 7% and I'm going to let them sit till they mellow out. They are too sweet and you can taste the alcohol. Maybe I'm doing something wrong. I like a dryer beer.
Hey Joe, if you want your beer on the dry side, which I also like, then you should definitely start mashing. If you want to get dry with all extract, use more attenuative yeast like Nottingham...
 

CBBaron

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I like beers all over the map and the ones I have brewed represent that. Many are in the 5.0-6.5% range. Several have been under 4% and a number have been over 7%. My biggest is a 1.090 RIS followed closely by the 1.086 that my 08-08-08 came to.
I usually drink one beer in the evening and at 220# even a 9% beer only get me a slight buzz. So the alcohol content is not much of a concern. I brewed a number of bigger beers this fall so now I am planning a Scottish Ale and a Bitter for the near future.
Craig
 

Pabst Blue Robot

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I'm on board with the small beer movement. Most of mine are 1.038-1.054, with the vast majority falling in the low 40's. I just like to drink beer constantly, and with a 20 gallon setup I don't brew big often. I bottle anything over 7% so it can sit around for ages and get good without taking up the taps.
 

DeathBrewer

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lately i've been drinking lighter brews. it all started with my first in-house keg. i finished the ~5 gallons in four days, nearly by myself. i made it into work late the day after it was finished. i decided i needed lighter beers on tap for my personal consumption (i'm working on a house ale)

then it just kinda stuck. almost all my latest brews have been under 6%...plus they ferment faster, and i'm learning more about styles and the flavors that certain ingredients impart.

it's a win-win situation IMO :mug:
 

joejaz

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Soulive said:
Hey Joe, if you want your beer on the dry side, which I also like, then you should definitely start mashing. If you want to get dry with all extract, use more attenuative yeast like Nottingham...

Me and my son are putting the equipment together right now. He's working on the mashtun and I'm working on the keggle. The ESB we brewed at Bobby's house was great. I got to check out what yeast I used on some of the receipes. I know I have used Nottingham.
 

keiths

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Mostly all small beers for me 3.5 - 5%, I have brewed a few bigger one up to 8%
I just like being able to drink all day on the weekends. And with small beers I can.
 

rabidgerbil

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Go ahead and add me to this thread...
So you are definitely not alone, there appears to be lots of us that like, and mainly brew, smaller beers, and it appears to be mainly for the same reasons.

I know that I don't even pay attention to the alcohol level until it is time to take the readings and make my notes on the batch. I never look at it with the original recipe. I just don't care. I am brewing a recipe because it sounds good to me. I am brewing what I think will taste good.

So far, every single one of these has been in the 4.5 - 5.1 range.
 
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Soulive

Soulive

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joejaz said:
Me and my son are putting the equipment together right now. He's working on the mashtun and I'm working on the keggle. The ESB we brewed at Bobby's house was great. I got to check out what yeast I used on some of the receipes. I know I have used Nottingham.
Yeah the yeast is your best bet at controlling attenuation right now. When you guys start mashing, the possibilities will expand...
 

Evan!

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Equal-opportunity brewer, I is. I like to have a nice stock of lower-ABV brews augmented by some medium (7-12%) that are nice to finish the night with, and extreme (13-15%) that are fun to age and drink on special occasions or when you feel like a really massive brew. Last night I finished the night with a barleywine, and nothing else would've sufficed.
 

TheCrane

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Last night I brewed my smallest beer to date (OG:1.039, mild). I have never had so many problems. My usual grain bills are around 10-14 lb for 5 gallons, and I have always had smooth mash and sparge. However, last night's attempt at a mild was seemingly not meant to be. Here's the run down:

1: used Beersmith the determine strike temp/volume. Did this the same way I always do, using the equipment adjust feature. I have always been +/- 1 F. Not last night. Was shooting for 154 F, landed at 148. Frantically, I started heating more water (not prepared). Didn't get to 154 until ~ 30 min in. So much for a full nice full malt character!

2: Stuck sparge! For the first time in 25+ batches, I was stuck. Strange that this happened on my smallest grain bill:confused: Had to blow into manifold and re-vorlauf. There was obvious channeling afterward.

3: 30 minutes into boil, ran out of propane.

4: Chilled wort, went to draw hydrometer sample and... Ball valve frozen solid! Last night was below 0 F.

5: Brought full keggle into the house and thawed ball valve with warm water. Began filling carboy and the wort stopped flowing. The hop bag with used for bittering hops had found its way under the siphon tube and plugged it. Luckily the siphon tube is only loosely connected to the plumbing and I was able to shake it loose without opening the keggle and exposing chilled wort.

After all this, I still managed to slightly over shoot target gravity (OG: 1.040).
Should be interesting to taste, though I'm expecting a thin and bland mild due to low mash temps.

Lesson learned: Don't take small beers lightly!!
 

iamjonsharp

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I aim to brew 75% brews in the 4-7% range, and 25% in the 7-10% range.

It used to be more 50/50, but we just ended up running out of session beers to drink at the house. I always try to make sure there will be an ample supply of session beers in rotation.
 

Brewtopia

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Most of the beers I make come in at around 5.5% - 7%. I do have a Berliner Weisse at 3.2% and a Belgian Style Strong Ale in the primary with an O.G. of 1.110 The highest abv beer I've brewed was 13%.
 

Mutilated1

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I brewed a couple of big beers a few months back, well maybe not "big" by some people's standards, but "bigger" than usual for me. In the future I will probably brew big beers even less, I have two main recipes that I really like right now and neither one is a big beer but I'll probably brew them every 2-3 weeks. If I make a big beer it will last longer because I don't really feel like drinking it everyday, and then even if I do - one beer will do it, and then I'll have 2-3 of something else more likely.
 
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