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how to increase abv on a 5 gallon batch

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bockenfardts

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Post Sun Jan 03, 2010 7:31 am

how to increase abv on a 5 gallon batch

Can anyone give me info on how to increase the abv on a 5 gallon batch. the beer i want to make has the flavor i want i just want it to have a little more kick. thanks in advance for any info. BOCKENFARDTS
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dmtaylo2

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Post Sun Jan 03, 2010 8:12 am

Re: how to increase abv on a 5 gallon batch

So easy to do..... simply add a pound of regular table sugar to your recipe. Or even a little more if you want. It will taste exactly the same, but the alcohol will be higher. Table sugar is about 99.5% fermentable, and very clean. IGNORE ANYTHING YOU READ ABOUT "CIDERY FLAVORS" from sugar -- it is a myth that just refuses to die! I add sugar to a lot of my recipes and they turn out fine, and the Belgians who make some of the best beers in the universe use a lot of sugar as well to kick up their alcohol as well, or they substitute malt for sugar which gives them a lower final gravity, since sugar is much more fermentable (malt sugar is only around 75-80% fermentable).
Dave

"This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption. Let us give praise to our Maker, and glory to His bounty, by learning about... BEER!" - Friar Tuck (Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves)
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Legman

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Post Sun Jan 03, 2010 9:05 am

Re: how to increase abv on a 5 gallon batch

dmtaylo2 wrote:So easy to do..... simply add a pound of regular table sugar to your recipe. Or even a little more if you want. It will taste exactly the same, but the alcohol will be higher.

This is true about raising the ABV and keeping with in the same flavor......but anytime you add sugars to your beer it will thin the body and ferment out drier.
I would say another option would be to increase your base malt or add light extract instead. This will help keep your original body and mouthfeel of the beer.
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Nighthawk

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Post Sun Jan 03, 2010 9:26 am

Re: how to increase abv on a 5 gallon batch

If you are just uping a kit, an idea would be to plug the original recipe in to a calculator (Tastybrew.com, qbrew are free) and then add 1/2 LME and 1/2 sugar to up your ABV.

I think this should keep the mouthfeel a little closer to the original recipe.

So if you original recipe is 1.050 and you want to go to 1.075, add enough LME to get to 1.062 and sugar to get to 1.075.
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dmtaylo2

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Post Sun Jan 03, 2010 9:55 am

Re: how to increase abv on a 5 gallon batch

These guys are right, too. Actually I think we're all right, depending on how you look at it. Extra malt extract will not only kick up your alcohol level, in basically the same way as sugar -- it ALSO kicks up your final gravity, since malt extract is most often only about 70-75% fermentable. In my experience with over 30 extract batches, I found it very very difficult to EVER get a final gravity less than about 1.018, when in fact for most beer styles, a lower final gravity (perhaps 1.012-1.014 is most typical) is appropriate for more moderate body and mouthfeel. By using additional extract, you'll only be increasing the final gravity by several points, into the 1.020s, which is almost NEVER appropriate except for the biggest of beers. In contrast, a lower final gravity in the mid 1.010s makes your beer more drinkable, or as the Belgians would say, more "digestible".

My advice would still be, knowing what I know today after 11 years of homebrewing, IF you are making an extract beer, then I'd still stick with sugar so I could keep the final gravity as low as possible. It will dilute the malt flavor ever so slightly, but not enough to make any kind of negative difference whatsoever. Actually, I am coming to the realization as we speak that malt extract is essentially DESIGNED to be used with sugar. Seriously!(?) I wonder if they purposely make it somewhat less fermentable than your typical all-grain wort (as is used in the vast majority of commercial breweries) in order for it to combine well with sugar at home and allow the brewer to choose your final gravity based on how much 100% fermentable sugar you add, or lack thereof. This helps keep the hobby cheaper as well. Malt extract is WAY expensive compared to grain, and on a price-per-bottle basis, compared to how much you pay for commercial beer at the store.

And of course, if you are making an all-grain batch, simply kick up your base malt! But somehow I don't think you are asking that question.

Sorry for the way overboard excess of information. Hopefully it does help you though. Bottom line is that you can add pretty much whatever sugar you want to kick up the alcohol. You can use table sugar, corn sugar, malt sugar (extract), honey, maple syrup.... it all does almost exactly the same thing. The only exceptions to this are lactose (milk sugar) and maltodextrin, which are non-fermentable. But any other sugar does the trick.
Dave

"This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption. Let us give praise to our Maker, and glory to His bounty, by learning about... BEER!" - Friar Tuck (Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves)
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beerider

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Post Sun Jan 03, 2010 12:02 pm

Re: how to increase abv on a 5 gallon batch

BTW...1 lb of cane sugar will raise your gravity by .009... :cheers:
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Shadetree

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Post Sun Jan 03, 2010 12:06 pm

Re: how to increase abv on a 5 gallon batch

beerider wrote:BTW...1 lb of cane sugar will raise your gravity by .009... :cheers:

It'll raise your OG by 0.009 and will decrease your FG by 0.002 (because of the increased ethanol), assuming an equivalent fermentation.
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falcon98

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Post Tue Jan 05, 2010 12:37 pm

Re: how to increase abv on a 5 gallon batch

Has anyone tried the Brewvint Alcohol Boost that austinhomebrew sells?

Supposedly adds 1% abv with little or no change in flavor.
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Chewie8

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Post Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:41 pm

Re: how to increase abv on a 5 gallon batch

falcon98 wrote:Has anyone tried the Brewvint Alcohol Boost that austinhomebrew sells?

Supposedly adds 1% abv with little or no change in flavor.


If you are really that desperate, why not just add vodka? Really though, I don't see a huge point to try and increase your alcohol now. Just brew it bigger next time! :cheers:
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nyakavt

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Post Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:52 pm

Re: how to increase abv on a 5 gallon batch

falcon98 wrote:Has anyone tried the Brewvint Alcohol Boost that austinhomebrew sells?

Supposedly adds 1% abv with little or no change in flavor.


It's just sugar. Check out AHS's response to a thread over at HBT, dude sounds like he's really pushing the stuff. It's just a way for them to sell you a pound of sugar for $2.
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Glug Master

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Post Tue Jan 05, 2010 3:27 pm

Re: how to increase abv on a 5 gallon batch

I got way out of wack on my volume last time I brewed Denny's RIPA and didn't have time to boil it down so I went ahead and got it fermenting. A couple days later I boiled up a pound of sugar in two cups of water and added it to the fermenter. It's still dry hopping but it tasted normal when I racked it to the secondary.
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falcon98

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Post Wed Jan 06, 2010 9:05 am

Re: how to increase abv on a 5 gallon batch

nyakavt wrote:
falcon98 wrote:Has anyone tried the Brewvint Alcohol Boost that austinhomebrew sells?

Supposedly adds 1% abv with little or no change in flavor.


It's just sugar. Check out AHS's response to a thread over at HBT, dude sounds like he's really pushing the stuff. It's just a way for them to sell you a pound of sugar for $2.



I'm not pushing anything. I've bought a couple of kits from them and they always ask if you want it. I didn't know it was just sugar.
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nyakavt

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Post Wed Jan 06, 2010 10:04 am

Re: how to increase abv on a 5 gallon batch

falcon98 wrote:I'm not pushing anything. I've bought a couple of kits from them and they always ask if you want it. I didn't know it was just sugar.


Didn't mean you falcon, I meant the AHS guys. If you read their response, they are trying to mystify brewvint alcohol boost like it's some magical thing, and saying that he can taste a difference between a pound of corn/cane sugar and the brewvint stuff. I say bollocks to that.

edit:
I checked AHS site, it seems they are giving a bit more information these days, and now say that Brewvint is 55% maltose and 45% glucose. This is also known as high maltose corn sugar/syrup, which is corn sugar that is treated with enzymes to create maltose, then blended with pure corn syrup (glucose). This is a common food additive like high fructose corn syrup, and becoming more common because HFCS is getting a bad name for some reason.

So there you go. Will you notice the difference between this product and table sugar? No, not at the 1 lb / 5 gal level. You may be able to taste a difference at much higher concentrations, but I find that the flavor comes from the unrefined or carmelized bits of the sugar, not the ultra refined stuff like corn/cane/high fructose/high maltose.
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bird_dog44

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Post Wed Jan 06, 2010 10:31 am

Re: how to increase abv on a 5 gallon batch

this may be a silly question but i am a new home brewer.....when do you add the extra lb of sugar....when you boil the wort or to the primary fermenting bucket?
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nyakavt

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Post Wed Jan 06, 2010 12:28 pm

Re: how to increase abv on a 5 gallon batch

Easiest to add it to boil kettle into the wort, then it gets sanitized right away. You could add it right before you turn the flame off if you're doing a concentrated boil, this will help with hop utilization.

When they make huge beers, like DFH 120 min or Utopias, they will feed the yeast doses of sugar every few days after the maltose fermentation is done. This makes sure that the yeast will not eat up all the sugar and get lazy on the maltose, and keeps them from getting overwhelmed by the huge gravity. This method is only necessary on very high sugar content brews (> 20% of grist), so don't worry about it if you're only adding a pound.
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