Double IPA OG Issues...

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Active Member
Feb 4, 2008
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Waco, TX
Howdy all,

I'm relatively new to homebrewing (this was my 6th batch), and I'm glad that I finally joined the forum.

The issue I'm having is regarding a batch I brewed earlier today. This is my first attempt at a high ABV brew, so it's a bit of an expedition into the unknown for me. I used the "Imperial Pale Ale" recipe from Sam Calagione's Extreme Brewing as a base, with several modifications.

I picked up some "BrewVint Alcohol Boost" packs from AHS, and I figured I'd use a pack and bump it up to 9.5% from the target orignal 8.5% in the recipe. One thing about it is that the recipe calls for the introduction of 0.5 lbs. light brown sugar once fermentation kicks off. This brings me to my big question: How much more fermentables will this brown sugar introduce? My OG reading yielded only around 1.068. Would the brown sugar send it into the correct ABV range? This doesn't sound right to be, but I'm largely unsure. The fermentables that went in were:

8 lbs. Pale LME
1 lb. 60*L Crystal Malt
14oz BrewVint Alc Boost

Am I freaking out over nothing, or should I consider adding more brown sugar (1.5lb?) when fermentation kicks off? What might that do to the flavor of the beer?

I've posted the adapted recipe here. Any other suggestions (dry hop amts, etc) about the recipe would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

I'm not great with recipes and exact amounts, but I think .5 lbs is going to be plenty of extra fermentables. If I'm calculating correctly the recipe's 1.087 OG to 1.015 FG would yield a 9.4% alcohol by itself. If you're adding the alcohol booster that should be more than enough. You'll have yourself a very strong beer there at the end of it all. Tell us how it turns out.
I talked to a guy at Austin Homebrew on the phone, and he said that brown sugar adds about 0.009 per pound, so, with my original OG of 1.068, I decided to gamble and put in 18oz brown sugar instead of the 8oz. the recipe calls for. That should put it around 1.078 or 1.079...

Granted that the OG reading wasn't low due to stratification, I should be cranking out a brew somewhere in the 8%+ neighborhood, which I can definitely live with.

I'll be sure to update when it's all done!


Figured I'd update: I got fed up with this batch, and ended up throwing something like 4oz of amarillo leafs in secondary (after it had been in secondary for a few weeks already) and just let is sit for a good 3 weeks. When I did bottle it, though, I was very pleased with the results. I served this brew at a party a couple months after it was ready, and it was extremely popular. Nobody could tell how strong it was because of how hoppy it was, and my friends sucked it down (which, of course led to one of them being doubled over on my front lawn, clutching the ground, and screaming "take me to the racehorse!," but I digress). As far as taste went, it turned out really well. I had people (friends, mind you, so more like flattery) telling me that I could singlehandedly take down Dogfish Head. While I think that's an exaggeration, I was very happy with this batch. I feel like I'm writing an obituary now, as I wish I had some left...ah well.