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How to maintain flavor, body, aroma while reducing ABV%?

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nicadrick

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I have a few recipes that I will certainly keep around all year. I would like to keep all the flavor, body, and aroma goodness but reduce the ABV% when I brew these in the summer time.

Do I add water to the wort?

Do I reduce the fermentables by reducing the base malt in the grain bill? (Won't this change the flavor profile?)

Do I reduce all the grain quantities while maintaining the ratios within the grain bill?

Advise please!

Thanks!
 

Hardleft

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I recently made a mild, and although it is not done yet, the sample I took was hugely flavorful. I mashed way too high at 161F. It should turn out to be a very low alcohol beer, but I think it will have tons of flavor.
 

mkling

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To reduce ABV and keep keep flavor, body, and aroma intact is tricky. You definitely need to reduce fermentables (OG) but not reduce FG much if you want flavor & body the same.

If it were me, I'd reduce base malt almost exclusively AND I'd increase mash temperature a good bit. This will reduce OG but keep FG about the same.
 

david_42

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My Bent Rod Rye is a 2/3rds clone of Bear Republic's Hop Rod Rye. It certainly isn't the same beer, but very good.

As an experiment, you can take any of your beers and add 25% soda water to get and idea of what a straight dilution would do.

Reducing the base malt is the best place to start. That way you've got the majority of the grain flavors and all of the hops. The IBUs will be higher, but I've found that the additional bittering is refreshing in the heat.
 

pjj2ba

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Reducing the base malt is the best place to start. That way you've got the majority of the grain flavors and all of the hops. The IBUs will be higher, but I've found that the additional bittering is refreshing in the heat.
+1 on reducing the base malt. That is what is recomended for the various levels of Scotch Ales. The specialty malts remain much the same in all, but the amount of base malt changes. The same would apply for other styles.

I like to add a little wheat (or more if already in the recipe) as that can add more body compared to the typical base malt, and will add to the complexity. Also consider adding in some Vienna or Munich if using Pale or Pilsner malt. Also using some toasted malt can up the flavors,
 

bigjoe

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This is a good subject. TBN had Charlie Bamforth on for an episode. I'm listening to it now (Qand A with Dr Charlie Bamforth 11-30-09 http://thebrewingnetwork.com/shows/582). He recommends high mash temps.

He states to mash in at 72C (162F) Most of the starch will break down, but not into small enough chains that can be fermented. He does mention that you shouldn't have the expectation of the beer tasting the same as its higher gravity version.
 

JKoravos

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I recently made a mild, and although it is not done yet, the sample I took was hugely flavorful. I mashed way too high at 161F. It should turn out to be a very low alcohol beer, but I think it will have tons of flavor.

Doesn't sound like you mashed too high at all.
 
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