Ways to THIN out a porter and increase ABV?

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AntDoctor

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Hello! I'm brewing up a 1 gallon porter using mesquite bean pods that I harvested and rye berries that a friend donated. Unlike my previous porter/stout attempts, I wanted this bad boi to have a high final gravity: I desire sweetness and a thick 'n creamy mouthfeel.

Whelp, my monkey's-paw-type wish came true: it seems to be finished fermenting with a FG of ~1.040... It's thicker'na pile of Paul Bunyan's flapjacks, that's for sure! The taste right now is pretty good; I'm pleasantly surprised with how porter/stout-like it tastes. Since the SG was ~1.069, it only has an ABV of ~3.5%, which is pretty low. So how can I thin this beer out a bit and increase the ABV? Perhaps I should add some table sugar? If adding sugar is the way, how do I calculate how much I should add?

Possible reasons for the insanely high SG and FG:

  1. I used Danstar London ESB, a low attenuating yeast that can't process maltotriose.
  2. I forgot to add the brewing salts to my distilled water until AFTER fermentation got going (so maybe the mash pH was off and starches didn't become sugars).
  3. I added a crap ton of (unmalted?) rye, oats, wheat, and literal mesquite bean pods.
  4. I did forget to add yeast nutrient this time. But it's only 1 gallon and I added a whole packet of ESB. Plus, mesquite pods are supposed to have tons of protein and other nutrients, I think.


FERMENTABLES:
  • 0.4 lb - Rye (15.2%)
  • 1 lb - Pale 2-Row (38%)
  • 0.6 lb - Munich (22.8%)
  • 2 oz - White Wheat (4.8%)
  • 1 oz - Blackprinz (2.4%)
  • 3 oz - Caramel / Crystal 60L (7.1%)
  • 1 oz - Chocolate (2.4%)
  • 2 oz - Rolled Oats (4.8%)
  • 1tbsp - Smoked Malt (0.1%)
  • Some undefined amount of sugar from 0.5lb of soaked mesquite bean pods
 

VikeMan

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So how can I thin this beer out a bit and increase the ABV? Perhaps I should add some table sugar? If adding sugar is the way, how do I calculate how much I should add?
You could dowload the FruitCalc spreadsheet from this page:

Then enter your base beer's OG, FG, and volume, and add Sugar from the "fruit" dropdown. Play with the amount until you like the overall combined OG/FG/ABV.

In a 1 gal batch, an ounce of sugar should add roughly 3 gravity points to OG (and FG should remain unchanged).
It will actually lower the FG a little, because of alcohol being lighter than water.
 

bracconiere

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off the wall statement, i know....but koji rice? :mug:

edit: assuming this is rice with koji mold, that's been dried...that's how they brew sake which is gel'd starch and just room temp....



it would be one hell of an interesting brew! stout sake! :bigmug:
 
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AntDoctor

AntDoctor

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it would be one hell of an interesting brew! stout sake! :bigmug:
Lol, we think too similarly. This recipe was primarily to try out mesquite pods as an ingredient, and the OTHER way I was planning on using it was exactly this. I'm glad someone else jumped to the same conclusion!

add some everclear
Honestly.... yeah this could work!

It's measurable. For @AntDoctor's beer volume and FG, plus one ounce of sugar, it would drop about a point.
Thank you so much! I think I'll try adding some sugar, see how much gets digested, but if the yeast seems like it's stalling out, I'll maybe just add some everclear to make it easier.
 

Drewch

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Lol, we think too similarly. This recipe was primarily to try out mesquite pods as an ingredient, and the OTHER way I was planning on using it was exactly this. I'm glad someone else jumped to the same conclusion!


Honestly.... yeah this could work!


Thank you so much! I think I'll try adding some sugar, see how much gets digested, but if the yeast seems like it's stalling out, I'll maybe just add some everclear to make it easier.
You can also try physically rousing the yeast to get it back in suspension. A big barleywine of mine dropped a few more points after I gave the bucket a vigorous shake to swirl the yeast back up.
 

dmtaylor

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How long has it been fermenting? My guess is it's not done yet. London yeast isn't THAT low of an attenuator. I get an average 67% with it. Regardless of your rye and oats, it shouldn't be THAT high.

Might as well ask the good ole question also...... have you measured with a refractometer by any chance? Or are these hydrometer readings?
 

Drewch

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Might as well ask the good ole question also...... have you measured with a refractometer by any chance?
Good point. Refractometers are great for small batches, but you have to compute your correction factor for wort and correct for the alcohol content for FG readings.
 
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AntDoctor

AntDoctor

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How long has it been fermenting? My guess is it's not done yet. London yeast isn't THAT low of an attenuator. I get an average 67% with it. Regardless of your rye and oats, it shouldn't be THAT high.

Might as well ask the good ole question also...... have you measured with a refractometer by any chance? Or are these hydrometer readings?
It's been going for a week now, and the last 2 days I had the gallon at room temp (73-78F) to make sure it was finished/finalize any yeast activity (airlock is now essentially stopped). I use a hydrometer only, I don't even have a refractometer. I think I'll boil some sugar in water, throw in some yeast nutrients and a bit more yeast, then swirl it into the gallon.
 

dmtaylor

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It's been going for a week now, and the last 2 days I had the gallon at room temp (73-78F) to make sure it was finished/finalize any yeast activity (airlock is now essentially stopped). I use a hydrometer only, I don't even have a refractometer. I think I'll boil some sugar in water, throw in some yeast nutrients and a bit more yeast, then swirl it into the gallon.
Wow. More London yeast won't help. Try adding US-05, that could help a great deal as it can eat all the maltotriose that London will not eat at all.
 
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AntDoctor

AntDoctor

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Wow. More London yeast won't help. Try adding US-05, that could help a great deal as it can eat all the maltotriose that London will not eat at all.
The thing is, I added some dextrose this morning, and it's already bubbling away again. I think all the extra gravity points are coming from un-digestible sugars!
 

Holden Caulfield

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If still fermenting, you could add some of enzyme to break down the unfermentable sugars.


BTW, I have no experience with this but theoretically it should work. Also, no idea just how far it will go.
 

Miraculix

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If still fermenting, you could add some of enzyme to break down the unfermentable sugars.


BTW, I have no experience with this but theoretically it should work. Also, no idea just how far it will go.
Will go down to 1.0.
 

VikeMan

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Will go down to 1.0.
not with alpha-amylase, gluco is what takes it to terminal dryness ....
Not directed at either of you, but enzyme selection aside, can we dispense with the notion that there's something unique about a gravity of 1.000? 1.000 doesn't mean that all the carbs have been fermented.
 

bracconiere

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1.000 doesn't mean that all the carbs have been fermented.

most of them, and in beer, there's other things besides just water and ethanol, that thicken it as well...that's why beer gives a frothy head! triple O or not!


or at least that's my belief? :mug: (i usually assume, there's probably like 1-2 grams in a 12oz glass left. maybe 1-2 grams protein. works for my nutrition tracking software)
 
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