What is your definition of 'big beer'?

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msarro

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Just curious what everyone's feelings are on this. My average session beer tends to hover around 7-8% ABV, and I've had friends tell me that it's a 'big beer,' and a number of them are brewers. I brew most of my beer to be around that same ABV. I don't really consider things to be a big beer until they hit double digits. What about everyone else? What do you consider the scale to be? Is it based off of gravity, alcohol, or something else?
 

devilishprune

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Your session beer is 8%? My session beers are 4% +/- .5% ABV.

Biggest one I have made is still fermenting and is 9%. I would consider anything 8% ABV and above to be a big beer.
 

TheSeether

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OG > 1.090 is my definition. This would be because pitching, fermenting and conditioning must be approached differently than lower OG beers.
 

bknifefight

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Wow, how many beers do you have in a session? I generally brew mostly strong beers and even though that's what I drink most of the time, I wouldn't call them session beers. I would say anything with an OG > 1.080 is a big beer.
 

jakecpunut

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I'm with ya.. most everything I've brewed lately and plan to brew hovers around 7% and that's what I drink all the time so that's my session beers as well..

I'm with you on big beers being in the double digits! haha
 
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msarro

msarro

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Wow, how many beers do you have in a session? I generally brew mostly strong beers and even though that's what I drink most of the time, I wouldn't call them session beers. I would say anything with an OG > 1.080 is a big beer.
If I'm really doing a session it'll be 3-4 beers. Otherwise I tend to be a one and done kind of guy. Usually sessions involve me going out with other brewers or beer afficianados, which doesn't happen too often.
 

TheSeether

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I am a self-professed ABV whore. I can enjoy beer under 7%-8% but 7%-8% is my sweet spot and the further it goes under 7%-8% the less likely I am to keep drinking it.
 

motobrewer

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7-8% is not a session beer.

my session beers are 3-4%. anything above 8% is a big beer for me.
 

TheSeether

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Funny how tastes can vary so much.

<5% = I am not wasting my time with this except to taste it to offer an opinion on request.
>5%-7% = Easy drinking, some good stuff in here but generally looking for something more.
>7%-9% = Average - Practically all of my "go to" beers fall in this slot.
>10% = Big (Bell's Hop Slam, Founder's Double Trouble, Yeti stouts)
>15% = Monster (Founder's Devil Dancer)
>20% = Question if you can still call it beer. (DFH 120 minute)
 

jakecpunut

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7-8% is not a session beer.

my session beers are 3-4%. anything above 8% is a big beer for me.
I think it depends on the person.. I regularly drink higher gravity beers so lower gravity beers don't effect me much at all... so a session beer to me is a 7/8 % beer..

3-4 % is water haha.. j/k
 
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msarro

msarro

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>20% = Question if you can still call it beer. (DFH 120 minute)
120 is 18% ABV I think, just like world wide stout... there are some above 20% though. Tactical nuclear penguin is 32%, Sink the Bismark is 41%, and End of History is 55% (all from Brew Dog) :drunk:

I suppose technically speaking they're beers, but I can't imagine any sort of yeast surviving in a 55% alcohol environment. They've got to be doing freeze distilling or something.
 

motobrewer

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the term "session beer" has a definition, and it's certainly not 7%. if you can drink a lot of 7% beers that's fine, but it doesn't mean they're session beers.

it'd be like calling a 3.8% mild a barleywine.
 
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msarro

msarro

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the term "session beer" has a definition, and it's certainly not 7%. if you can drink a lot of 7% beers that's fine, but it doesn't mean they're session beers.

it'd be like calling a 3.8% mild a barleywine.
http://beeradvocate.com/articles/653

That's about the best definition I can find, and even BA states that they're just making it up. Is there another one I'm missing?
 

Golddiggie

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For me, a big beer would be anything that hits over 9% ABV...

4.5-5.5% Light
5.5-6.5% Average
6.5-7.5% Solid
7.5-9.0% Hefty (depends, a lot, on the brew though)
9.0%+ BIG

I hope to be able to brew up my MOAB within the next month or so... The goal there, is a 13-14%+ ABV English Barleywine... I might have to wait until I move, or see if I can brew up (and ferment it) up at my sister's/mother's place... Brewing it won't be an issue, it's the fermenting that could be... Although there is a fridge in the garage that's not normally used that I could probably procure as a fermentation chamber, for the 2 months (or so) that I plan to let it ferment. :D
 

coypoo

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For me, a big beer would be anything that hits over 9% ABV...

4.5-5.5% Light
5.5-6.5% Average
6.5-7.5% Solid
7.5-9.0% Hefty (depends, a lot, on the brew though)
9.0%+ BIG
Thats pretty much what I think as well. Most of the beers I make are in the 5.5-6.5% range. IPA is ~7.2, and I am starting to experiment with a baby (1040) black, hoppy ale to be a good session beer. My "big" beers though are all +9.7% at least (biggest to date was a 12.6% BW that was and still is amazing)
 

0110x011

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I'd call anything 7% and above a "big" beer. My personal definition of a big beer is any I can't have more than two of if I want to drive (serving size being proportional to strength). It's been a good rule of thumb for me.
 

Golddiggie

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Thats pretty much what I think as well. Most of the beers I make are in the 5.5-6.5% range. IPA is ~7.2, and I am starting to experiment with a baby (1040) black, hoppy ale to be a good session beer. My "big" beers though are all +9.7% at least (biggest to date was a 12.6% BW that was and still is amazing)
My old ale is 8.1% and is still bottle carbonating. Was bottled less than a week ago, so I need to let it go at least another week before I chill one down and try it... Before bottling, it was very smooth... I did have it on oak for about 5-1/2 weeks, and brewed it on 12/20/10...

I'm sticking with styles from the British Isles for now... I want to get those pretty well nailed before I start experimenting with other region styles. Although, I have done a coupe of my US style brews so far (American amber ale, and now a cream ale)...

My first brew, a honey porter, was 7.2%... :D My Strong Scotch Ale, which was started on 2/13 should be in the 7% neighborhood... I plan on letting it go another week before pulling a hydrometer sample. Of course, tasting it will tell me if it's ready, needs more time, or needs something else done with it...
 

Golddiggie

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I'd call anything 7% and above a "big" beer. My personal definition of a big beer is any I can't have more than two of if I want to drive (serving size being proportional to strength). It's been a good rule of thumb for me.
Two in how much time? You should be able to handle at least one per hour and not be F'd up... Or not F'd up enough to be in trouble... Although with the way things are these days, you're probably better off being 100% sober before you even THINK about driving.

Personally, I make sure I give myself enough time to be completely sober before I drive. So, depending on how many I've had, I give myself the right amount of time to process the alcohol out of my system. Basically, you have to know when to stop... I know it's not always easy when you have good home brew on hand, but you need to.

Another option, is to make sure you're NOT going to drive. Either by having a designated driver, or drinking at home. :D The second option is far easier I find. :drunk:
 
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