Low ABV porter or stout recipes?

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porterguy

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Does anyone have any good low or even very low ABV stout or porter recipes that are still decently full-bodied? Looking for sub-4% for sure, ideally even a sub-3%. I'd much rather drink several lower ABV beers than just one or two higher ABV. brews.
 

Dgallo

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Does anyone have any good low or even very low ABV stout or porter recipes that are still decently full-bodied? Looking for sub-4% for sure, ideally even a sub-3%. I'd much rather drink several lower ABV beers than just one or two higher ABV. brews.
@TwistedGray does high quality low abv beers, he may have one
 

TwistedGray

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Yah, what I usually do now is brew the 'big' beer (5-10%) and then do a second beer from the now spent grain.

If the first beer is 5 gallons, then the second beer should be 2-3 gallons. I'd aim for 2 gallons.

If you'd like, I can dig out my grain bill for the last oatmeal stout that I did. The second running beers came out at 2.63%, and they taste every bit as full body as a 5-8% beer. You truly can't tell they're that low.
 

kmarkstevens

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@Dgallo Check out this thread: Sub 1.030 beers

Here's a historic 3.4% ABV porter: Historical Beers - Austerity Porter

In general, the key thing to remember is that you reduce the base grain to lower the alcohol, but keep the specialty grains as is. You can also increase specialty grains like oats, flaked barley, flaked wheat, torrified wheat. Mash high so there are more unfermentables that contribute to more mouth feel

So, if you're doing an Irish Stout, you could look to modify something like John Palmer's basic recipe:
7# pale
2# flaked barley
1# roasted barley
  1. 5# pale malt. (note: you probably won't notice cutting one pound of base malt from most recipes)
  2. you could increase to 2.5# flaked barley
  3. you could add 1/2# oats to the mash
  4. mash high at 158F so there are more unfermentables in the mash
  5. use a low attenuation yeast. Irish yeast has low attenuation and meets style, so brew with that. Or to say another way, when going for lower ABV use a low attenuation yeast (San Diego super yeast will result in as much as 20% more alcohol than WLP002/Pub)
  6. Hops - keep the BU:GU ratio the same as the original (ie, you need less hops for the same amount of bitterness). Both John Palmer and Jamil have the BU:GU ratio around 1 for their Irish Stouts
  7. Increasing Crystal malt will add mouthfeel but some folks like myself feel this can turn into an unpleasant cloying sweetness
  8. Carapils/carafoam/dextrine powder at 4oz per 5 gallons will add mouthfeel.
Lower Alcohol Irish Oat Stout - I've brewed this many times and I like the results
5# pale
2# flaked barley (or 2.5%)
1# roasted barley
bittering hop to a BU:GU ratio = ~1
Irish Yeast
Mash at 158F
ABV ~3.75%
 

kevin58

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Pick up a copy of The Homebrewers Guide to Vintage Beer by Ron Pattinson. Historically accurate recipes for just about every English style. The Porter section has a 2.79% ABV table porter... a 4.8% runner... and a WWII era porter at 2.84%. The lowest ABV Stout in the book is 4.76% but I have seen other Stout recipes on his blog that came in at 4% and maybe even a tad lower.
 
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porterguy

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Yah, what I usually do now is brew the 'big' beer (5-10%) and then do a second beer from the now spent grain.

If the first beer is 5 gallons, then the second beer should be 2-3 gallons. I'd aim for 2 gallons.

If you'd like, I can dig out my grain bill for the last oatmeal stout that I did. The second running beers came out at 2.63%, and they taste every bit as full body as a 5-8% beer. You truly can't tell they're that low.
Thanks, I'll try that with two batches. And sure, I'll try your oatmeal stout recipe.
 
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porterguy

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Thanks all, I will check these options out. I'd forgotten Pattinson has a lot of low ABV options; I have the book (so damn many brewing books i can't remember what's in which one). I'll dive back into it. :mug:
 

TwistedGray

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@porterguy

This is what I brewed for my 4ish gallon batch, and I did a second runnings.

First beer was 1.110 - > 1.044 (8.66% ABV)
Second beer was 1.040 - > 1.020 (2.63% ABV)

8lb 2 row
1.5lb flaked oats
6oz crystal 120L
4oz black roasted barley
4oz chocolate
2oz black patent
3oz white wheat
3oz carapils

(1oz EKG on the main beer and 0.5oz EKG on the second beer)
 

kmarkstevens

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Thanks all, I will check these options out. I'd forgotten Pattinson has a lot of low ABV options; I have the book (so damn many brewing books i can't remember what's in which one). I'll dive back into it. :mug:
Pattinson has tons of low ABV options. I have two of his books and downloaded probably a hundred recipes. Whilst these are tried and true recipes, keep in mind that there were a lot of constraints on the brewers for why they went so low gravity (taxes, wars, shortages, etc). So, good starting points but homebrewers can fine tune the recipes, maybe make them slightly higher ABV.

May I throw out a gem? Try the Whitbread 1930 AK. AK is a defunct style that featured 2-row, 6-row for grainy-ness, flaked corn for some sweetness off set by impressively high IBU's (IBU=56 in the Whitbread recipe).

After having looked at a dozen recipes and made quite a few AK's, here's my learnings:
AK guidelines:
English pale (50-75%)
6 row (10-50%)
Corn flaked (3-10%)
Invert or crystal (10-15%)
Do a dry hop
Mash lower 148-152F (BUT I like to mash high)
IBU 40-60 (owing to the corn, AK's can take high hopping without being overpowered. ordinary bitter more like 20-35 as lacking the corn sweetness)
Any English yeast that’s not overly estery works for me: Notty, w yorkie, fullers, whitbread, London Ale, Burton, etc
 

Miraculix

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Pattinson has tons of low ABV options. I have two of his books and downloaded probably a hundred recipes. Whilst these are tried and true recipes, keep in mind that there were a lot of constraints on the brewers for why they went so low gravity (taxes, wars, shortages, etc). So, good starting points but homebrewers can fine tune the recipes, maybe make them slightly higher ABV.

May I throw out a gem? Try the Whitbread 1930 AK. AK is a defunct style that featured 2-row, 6-row for grainy-ness, flaked corn for some sweetness off set by impressively high IBU's (IBU=56 in the Whitbread recipe).

After having looked at a dozen recipes and made quite a few AK's, here's my learnings:
AK guidelines:
English pale (50-75%)
6 row (10-50%)
Corn flaked (3-10%)
Invert or crystal (10-15%)
Do a dry hop
Mash lower 148-152F (BUT I like to mash high)
IBU 40-60 (owing to the corn, AK's can take high hopping without being overpowered. ordinary bitter more like 20-35 as lacking the corn sweetness)
Any English yeast that’s not overly estery works for me: Notty, w yorkie, fullers, whitbread, London Ale, Burton, etc
Thanks for the info!

I just opened an ak thread in the recipe section, would you mind sharing some of your experiences there?
 
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porterguy

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Pattinson has tons of low ABV options. I have two of his books and downloaded probably a hundred recipes. Whilst these are tried and true recipes, keep in mind that there were a lot of constraints on the brewers for why they went so low gravity (taxes, wars, shortages, etc). So, good starting points but homebrewers can fine tune the recipes, maybe make them slightly higher ABV.

May I throw out a gem? Try the Whitbread 1930 AK. AK is a defunct style that featured 2-row, 6-row for grainy-ness, flaked corn for some sweetness off set by impressively high IBU's (IBU=56 in the Whitbread recipe).

After having looked at a dozen recipes and made quite a few AK's, here's my learnings:
AK guidelines:
English pale (50-75%)
6 row (10-50%)
Corn flaked (3-10%)
Invert or crystal (10-15%)
Do a dry hop
Mash lower 148-152F (BUT I like to mash high)
IBU 40-60 (owing to the corn, AK's can take high hopping without being overpowered. ordinary bitter more like 20-35 as lacking the corn sweetness)
Any English yeast that’s not overly estery works for me: Notty, w yorkie, fullers, whitbread, London Ale, Burton, etc
Cool. I'll definitely check it out. I've made a number of his recipes from the Guide to Vintage Beer. I really like milds, and having a variety of recipes in one place is great. This past Christmas, I got his inch and a half thick book on milds. Probably way more than I'll ever need to know, but I've always been into history, and beer history is no different.
 

kmarkstevens

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Cool. I'll definitely check it out. I've made a number of his recipes from the Guide to Vintage Beer. I really like milds, and having a variety of recipes in one place is great. This past Christmas, I got his inch and a half thick book on milds. Probably way more than I'll ever need to know, but I've always been into history, and beer history is no different.
I might have to get his milds book.

If you're ever in the Seattle Area. Go to Machine House Brewing. The owner/brewmeister is English, and makes a Mild that is to die for. Ron was going to visit and do a talk last April, but then covid happened. Hopefully, Ron will do a rain check when things open up.

@Miraculix Posted in the AK thread: (257) Your favourite AK recipe? | HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.
 
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