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Reduce recipe to Lower alchohol w) similiar flavor/bitternes

I have a favorite recipe and I just don’t know how to reduce the alcohol in the recipe while still retaining much of the same flavor/bitterness and keepting that balance between the ingredients etc.

I thought about taking the recipe and just adding more water and getting to lower the gravity during the boil.
I also though about adjusting the grain bill x% proportionately until Beer Smith gave the desired alcohol level.

This will be an IPA and I really want to be careful to not loose the sweet/hops balance in the beer.
The idea is to make a similar tasting beer for a more sensitive palette and less alcohol.
I really appreciate any ideas/advice in this area. Thank you so much. -AMILLS

Seeing the actual recipe is always helpfull. So I think you would likely get a lot more specific advice if you provide it for everyone.

From a general standpoint, reducing the base malt slightly but keeping the specialty grains (and hops) the same (or similar) is one approach. For example, this tends to be what you would do for various strengths of scotish 60/- 70/- 80/-. The % of specialty malt goes down as the beer gets stronger simply due to the higher amount of base malt used - yet overall the weights of the specialty malts stay the same.

This is just one way to achieve what you are looking to do, however any major change in gravity will have some affect on the overall character of the beer. No getting around that fact.

Thank you, here is the recipe:
Would like to drop from 7% down to 5.5% ABV and maybe even lower the IBU’s a bit.

7% ABV
OG. 1.055
6-gal

12.75 lb Two-Row Malt
0.75 lb Munich Malt
1.0 lb Crystal Malt (15 L)
0.25 lb Crystal Malt (40 L)
1 oz Horizon Hops, 13% aa (60 mins)
1 oz Centennial Hops, 9% aa (10 mins)
1 oz Simcoe Hops, 12% aa (5 mins)
1 oz Amarillo Hops, 9% aa (0 mins)
Yeast Safale US-05

A 1.055 OG beer would only give you a 7% beer if it fermented down to 1.001. And that’s just not happening with that much crystal malt.

i also have that grain bill with 75% efficiency to be 1.074 and with 75% attenuation fermenting to 1.019 which would give you a 7.27% beer.

I would agree that either your OG or your ABV% (or both) is slightly off.

Without attempting to crunch any specific numbes, I think you can achieve what you are looking to do by simply reducing the amount of base malt you are using. This could put your #s for crystal slightly out, but you mentioned that you like the malt character you are getting, so if you do reduce the crystal malt, maybe don’t do it at the same rate as your base malt (but you could probably leave it untouched if you like).

Don’t really have any advice about changing the bitterness, except that doing a First Wort hopping to replace your 10 min addition could soften out the bittering a little.

[quote=“amills”]Thank you, here is the recipe:
Would like to drop from 7% down to 5.5% ABV and maybe even lower the IBU’s a bit.

7% ABV
OG. 1.055
6-gal

12.75 lb Two-Row Malt
0.75 lb Munich Malt
1.0 lb Crystal Malt (15 L)
0.25 lb Crystal Malt (40 L)
1 oz Horizon Hops, 13% aa (60 mins)
1 oz Centennial Hops, 9% aa (10 mins)
1 oz Simcoe Hops, 12% aa (5 mins)
1 oz Amarillo Hops, 9% aa (0 mins)
Yeast Safale US-05[/quote]

Drop the 15L, reduce the 2-row to 11lbs and and change the 60 min to half oz.

5.5abv is 78% of 7abv

I would just multiply all your ingredients by .78 which will give you a lower alcohol pale ale. You might try lowering your bittering addition by less… maybe multiply by .85 or .9

Won’t be exact, but will get you in the ballpark. I agree with the above that there seems to be more a concern with your FG if you OG is what you claim.

I would reduce all of the malts, keeping the percentages all the same, with the exception of Crystal 40 if needed to keep the color where you want it – use software to ensure the color of the beer does not change drastically.

I would keep all of the late hop additions (10, 5, and 0 minutes) exactly the same, but would adjust the bittering addition to keep exactly the same BU:GU ratio as the original beer. What that means, if you don’t know, is that let’s say the original beer is 1.070 and 70 IBUs. That would be a ratio of 70:70 = 1.00. So then if you wanted to maintain the same balance in a 1.055 beer, you would need to adjust the 60-minute addition, using software, to achieve 55 IBUs, all the while knowing that the 10-minute addition would contribute approximately the same IBUs in either version. So what the numbers work out to be, I’m not sure but you would need to adjust the 60-minute addition to achieve the same BU:GU ratio of 1.00 or 0.75 or whatever it might have been in the original recipe.

And that’s about it. I think the BU:GU is the key here. The malt bill doesn’t matter quite as much, but you don’t want a BU:GU of 0.75 to turn into 1.25 or something crazy in a smaller beer because that would taste too friggin bitter. BU:GU is how you restore the right bitterness to sweetness balance.

[quote=“dmtaylo2”]I would reduce all of the malts, keeping the percentages all the same, with the exception of Crystal 40 if needed to keep the color where you want it – use software to ensure the color of the beer does not change drastically.

I would keep all of the late hop additions (10, 5, and 0 minutes) exactly the same, but would adjust the bittering addition to keep exactly the same BU:GU ratio as the original beer. What that means, if you don’t know, is that let’s say the original beer is 1.070 and 70 IBUs. That would be a ratio of 70:70 = 1.00. So then if you wanted to maintain the same balance in a 1.055 beer, you would need to adjust the 60-minute addition, using software, to achieve 55 IBUs, all the while knowing that the 10-minute addition would contribute approximately the same IBUs in either version. So what the numbers work out to be, I’m not sure but you would need to adjust the 60-minute addition to achieve the same BU:GU ratio of 1.00 or 0.75 or whatever it might have been in the original recipe.

And that’s about it. I think the BU:GU is the key here. The malt bill doesn’t matter quite as much, but you don’t want a BU:GU of 0.75 to turn into 1.25 or something crazy in a smaller beer because that would taste too friggin bitter. BU:GU is how you restore the right bitterness to sweetness balance.[/quote]

+1 to this advise

Thank you for the great advice! Really appreciated. :slight_smile:

Great stuff Dave.

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