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Increasing Alcohol

Hey everyone!

for my second brew I am going to try the autumn amber ale kit from Midwest. It says the alcohol will be 4.3% but I was hoping to get it more around 5%. I was told to add DME to increase the alcohol. The question I have is that the kit comes with 6 lbs of Gold liquid malt but no DME. Which one should I get to add to this?

Thanks
:cheers:

For just upping alcohol without changing the flavor much, I get the lightest I can find.

For any extract recipe, I would recommend about a pound of good old regular white table sugar per 5 gallons to raise the alcohol by approximately 1%. Or use a little less if you don’t need a full percent. You don’t need to blow money on DME. Just use regular sugar. It will turn out great. I guarantee it.

Bumping the ABV with sugar will thin the body and dry out the beer. You might want to consider steeping some grain to bump up the body.

I can be wrong on this but just adding simple sugar will raise your s.g. but end up at the same f.g. as it is 100% fermentable. If you substitute some of the malt for sugar it will lower the sg. and dry out the beer.

Just get 1 pound of DME and add it to the boil…not cheap, but that will do ya and won’t rock the flavor. might want to buy some more hops and throw those in, too…

http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/ferm ... ilsen.html

Pure sugar will slightly reduce the FG and result in a drier beer (more alcohol and the same residual unfermentable sugars), but that is often desirable with extract beers. I find that my extract beers usually end up too sweet with too high final gravity otherwise.

Close, but not exactly correct. Because yeast can fully ferment out simple sugar, and the gravity of an alcohol/water solution is < 1.000, simply adding sugar will lower the FG by a small amount, despite the fact that the same amount of residual sugar will be present from the malts after fermentation.

Replacing malt with sugar will give a bigger impact though, and is more commonly suggested when the objective is to dry out a beer and drive down the FG.

I agree. It is the least expensive and most affective way to boost the ABV. As long as you don’t get carried away with it sugar is the way to go. I brewed two 20 gallon batches of Belgian style ale this summer, both with 4lbs of sugar from the grocery.

You can always experiment with other sugars like honey, agave, brown… but table sugar will be the cheapest and not add any perceivable taste in reasonable amounts.

It’s his second batch ever. I think there is too much detailed information being flooded. I was in the same situation early on and I added a pound of table sugar and it all worked out fine. That’s probably the best way to start out with experimenting. Keep it simple.

I agree with the 1lb of table sugar. Extract recipes are notoriously less fermentable and the table sugar should help dry it out closer to what the same corresponding all-grain recipe would produce. This is of course assuming the recipe doesn’t already have dextrose or table sugar included. Some recipe designers take into account the lower fermentability and compensate by adding the simple sugar to the kit. Adding sugar to a recipe that already has some might produce a thinner beer. Not always bad depending on the style.

Same type of question, but about brown sugar. Last year did an Imperial Pumpkin, and added a cup of brown sugar. not so much for the higher alcohol, but more for the flavor. Would brown sugar dry it out the same as corn/table sugar? More for my own understanding what I am doing to the beer than anything else.

From what I can remember, it had the hint of brown sugar flavor to it, but was just curious. Getting ready to brew it again as it turned into my wife’s favorite, and got an Honorable Mention from it at a local comp.

Brown sugar is basically table sugar and molasses if I’m not mistaken. Molasses is not 100% fermentable so it will leave a residual sweetness and a molasses like flavor. Are you looking to boost alcohol or just get that residual sweetness? If all you are looking for is the sweetness you can just add Molasses directly.

why not just get a different kit that is closer to your desired abv?

Guess a little bit of both. A little more booze is never a bad thing when they sit for a few months before drinking. Going to stick with the brown sugar I guess. It does what I want it to do, so I’ll stick with what I know.

That hint of molasses is nice though. Thanks for the clarification.

It is the NB Smashing Pumpkin that I add extra spices, 6 pounds of pumpkin, and some extra 2-row too. Kind of made it my own, but needed a base to follow since I am no where near able to create my own.

In my experience with kits (which is limited) they are rarely improved by adding ingredients.

Thanks everyone for the info! I ended up adding buying some extra DME

The reason I didnt want to change to a different kit with a higher abv is because I wanted to try out an Autumn beer and this one sounded good. Hopefully this works!

Thanks again for the help
:cheers:

[quote=“jabonneau86”]Same type of question, but about brown sugar. Last year did an Imperial Pumpkin, and added a cup of brown sugar. not so much for the higher alcohol, but more for the flavor. Would brown sugar dry it out the same as corn/table sugar? More for my own understanding what I am doing to the beer than anything else.

From what I can remember, it had the hint of brown sugar flavor to it, but was just curious. Getting ready to brew it again as it turned into my wife’s favorite, and got an Honorable Mention from it at a local comp.[/quote]

There’s no way you’ll be able to taste 1 cup brown sugar in a 5 gallon batch, at least not in 5 gallons. Maybe in small 1 gallon batch you would. Molasses is like 90-some percent fermentable, so it will increase alcohol and serve to slightly dry out the beer like other simple sugars. If you want to taste a little molasses in your beer, then use a cup of molasses. It works well, I’ve done it. Just don’t use any more than that (per 5 gallons) or it can taste too strong.

[quote=“dmtaylo2”][quote=“jabonneau86”]Same type of question, but about brown sugar. Last year did an Imperial Pumpkin, and added a cup of brown sugar. not so much for the higher alcohol, but more for the flavor. Would brown sugar dry it out the same as corn/table sugar? More for my own understanding what I am doing to the beer than anything else.

From what I can remember, it had the hint of brown sugar flavor to it, but was just curious. Getting ready to brew it again as it turned into my wife’s favorite, and got an Honorable Mention from it at a local comp.[/quote]

There’s no way you’ll be able to taste 1 cup brown sugar in a 5 gallon batch, at least not in 5 gallons. Maybe in small 1 gallon batch you would. Molasses is like 90-some percent fermentable, so it will increase alcohol and serve to slightly dry out the beer like other simple sugars. If you want to taste a little molasses in your beer, then use a cup of molasses. It works well, I’ve done it. Just don’t use any more than that (per 5 gallons) or it can taste too strong.[/quote]

Not that I disagree with not being able to taste the molasses in such a small amount but according to this site, molasses is only 78% fermentable:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/index.php/Fermentable_adjuncts#Molasses
. Since molasses is such a small percentage of brown sugar, brown sugar can be considered to be almost fully fermentable. Maybe that’s what you meant?

It’s why I suggested adding straight molasses if that’s what he was looking for.

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