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Extra Sugar/Honey for Higher ABV

Hey, All.
I’ve read that about a pound of sugar/honey during fermentation will increase the ABV by 1%. I’m assuming you could put 2 or 3 pounds in with enough yeast and generate an even higher ABV.

I want to do this with something soon, like a Nut Brown or Red Ale, and wanted to ask if there’s any special advice or direction for this idea. Do I just pitch the sugar in the wort in the last 15 minutes of the boil, stir it in before transferring from kettle to carboy?
How much more yeast, if any, do I add when pitching?

And of course, how does the beer generally taste after doing this? Does it change the flavor much?

Thanks!

Adding sugar isn’t an issue, but I wouldn’t overdo it. Sugar, honey, etc ferment out completely and will thin your beer. I like to add between 1/2 to 1lb of cane sugar to my IPAs and APAs because I like them a little more dry. 5-10% sugar isn’t too bad, but much more than that and you’ll have a very thin / dry beer.

The amount of yeast depends on the OG. Use Mr.Malty or YeastCalc to determine how much yeast to pitch. You can add sugars at different times, but I add it during the last 15min of the boil. I know others will add simple sugars during fermentation. Usually when it starts to slow. I don’t know/understand the benefits of this so have never tried.

I’ve read in forums to mix the sugar/honey with boiled water and add it when the fermentation slows because the yeast will attack the simple sugars first or more aggressively than the complex sugars derived from the malt. In the past, though, I’ve just added a pound or so of sugar/honey towards the end of the boil with no issues. I am thinking of adding the water/honey mix after 3-4 days in the bucket with a Belgian I’ll be making soon. I’ll want that a little higher in ABV and thinner/drier.

This. Unless you really want some residual sweetness in the beer. I add after fermentation has slowed a bit on saisons, IIPA’s, IPAs, other farmhouse beers.

Really? Interesting. I didn’t realize it would make it taste/feel thinner like you guys say.
So a brown/nut brown/amber ale is a bad idea for this, and I should keep it to IPAs or what you guys mentioned?

[quote=“Shark”]Really? Interesting. I didn’t realize it would make it taste/feel thinner like you guys say.
So a brown/nut brown/amber ale is a bad idea for this, and I should keep it to IPAs or what you guys mentioned?[/quote]

Typically those beer styles have a little more mouthfeel/body, so yes, adding honey or simple sugars would likely work against you in that respect.

I guess a bigger question is what is your objective? Do you want to brew something that just has high octane and will get you drunk quicker? If so, I’d recommend Popov Vodka :mrgreen:

In all seriousness, answer that question first (what do I want to brew/drink/gift) and then hone in on a style. Higher alcohol styles that I like are BGSA’s and tripels, both of which typically have simple sugar additions. Keep in mind that 3-4 of an American Brown or American Amber will get you where you want to be. :cheers:

This. Unless you really want some residual sweetness in the beer. I add after fermentation has slowed a bit on saisons, IIPA’s, IPAs, other farmhouse beers.[/quote]Without a doubt, this is the best way to add simple sugars. I’ve had great success.

Another thing to consider is your ability to control the fermentation temperature - lots of simple sugar can lead to a fast, hot fermentation which isn’t typically a desirable thing.

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