Author Topic: Alcohol by volume  (Read 8893 times)

crwright2020

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Alcohol by volume
« on: August 04, 2008, 01:06:17 PM »
Hi I am a new brewer and three weeks ago I made my first to batches (extract kits, an amber ale and a cream ale).  My amber ale had final gravity of what i believe to be 1.005 (seeing that that is theoreticly the lowerest reading possible) giving me a final abv of 2.8%. My cream ale has a final gravity slightly higher of 3.8% abv.  Both kits came with 6lbs of pilsen malt extract.  Do I need to add more malt extract or do I do something wrong?

 ???

Any help would be appreciated.


Offline UselessBrewing

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Re: Alcohol by volume
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2008, 01:46:48 PM »
Welcome to the forum crwright2020!

Can you give me what your Original Gravity was? I would think both kits would come in around 4 ABV.

There are a few things you could do to up the ABV.
1. You could add more Base Malt Extract (either Dry or liquid). This will not add any extra flavors, You can add 20% or more to up the abv
2. You could add a Specialty Malt Extract (usually only in liquid form). This will add extra flavors changing the beer. No more than 20% of total grain bill.
3. You could add Table Sugar or Honey (This can be turned into Belgian Candi Sugar to save money.  Here is a good read about it. http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=42786) I have found that this usually mellows a beer. No more than 15% of total grain bill.
4. Lastly you could add Belgian Candi Sugar. (My favorite) Depending on the beer this can turn an OK beer into an exceptional beer. Adding hints of spices, accentuating hops, and changing the flavors in the beer. I make my own. No more than 15% of total grain bill.

Be warned that 2-4 have limitations and if you go overboard you run the risk of ruining your beer (Bitter Beer Face comes to mind). Since you are just starting out, the easiest thing to do would be increase your base malt extracts adding this at the beginning of the boil. Be warned, if you plan on adding any of the above Adjuncts, only choose one. Your total Adjuncts in a beer should not be more than 15-20% of the total grain bill.

If I were you, I would purchase two more of the same kits and modify them by adding one of the Adjunct's and then compare what the differences were and which one you like most.

Cheers

Preston
The woodpecker pecks, Not to annoy, But to survive!

crwright2020

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Re: Alcohol by volume
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2008, 10:52:59 PM »
Thank you for your reply.  The original gravity of the the amber ale was 1.021 (final 1.005) and an original gravity 1.030 (final 1.005) for the cream ale.

Offline UselessBrewing

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Re: Alcohol by volume
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2008, 06:57:13 AM »
The original gravity of the the amber ale was 1.021 (final 1.005) and an original gravity 1.030 (final 1.005) for the cream ale.
That sounds right. Both of these beers will have a low ABV. Did you get these from a Local Home Brew Store (LHBS) or over the internet? What did the instructions say the Origional Gravity (OG) and Final Gravity(FG) should be?

One thing comes to mind. Are you sure that you have 5.0 Gallons of Beer and no more? If you had more than what the recipe calls for you may have diluted the beer. Just a thought.

Cheers

Preston
The woodpecker pecks, Not to annoy, But to survive!

crwright2020

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Re: Alcohol by volume
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2008, 03:14:55 PM »
I think you may be right, maybe I added to much water.  I brewed by volume ie. 5 gal. not the the styles o.g.

Well that is a lesson learned. :-\  The beer is tastes fine, it just has no alcohol in it.  It could be worst for my first time.

Thank you for your help.

Offline UselessBrewing

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Re: Alcohol by volume
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2008, 06:42:01 AM »
I think you may be right, maybe I added to much water.  I brewed by volume ie. 5 gal. not the the styles o.g.
Well that is a lesson learned. :-\  The beer is tastes fine, it just has no alcohol in it.  It could be worst for my first time.
Thank you for your help.
I found that keeping notes and going by a brew sheet, helps to avoid things like that in the future. Print out the Beersmith Brew sheet and keep it handy when you brew. And above all, enjoy the journey, I have!

Cheers

Preston
The woodpecker pecks, Not to annoy, But to survive!

crwright2020

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Re: Alcohol by volume
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2008, 01:33:43 PM »
I believe there were two factors to my problem.  I did not compensate for how hot the wort was when I took the OG reading.  I also was premature in kegging and force carbonating  wort that may have not been ready (first batch excitment). 

I opened a bottle from the same batch and it was much better.


Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: Alcohol by volume
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2008, 05:34:58 PM »
crwright2020,
Just curious as to if you have done much reading on the subject.
If not I'd recommend Papazian's Complete Joy of Homebrewing.
It answers a lot of the hows and whys along with providing many recipes.
Great Bears of the World by Laurie Strachan is also a good resource.
It gives basic guidelines to may styles along with both all-grain and extract recipe templates.

Welcome to the wonderful world of homebrewing.  It's a fun and rewarding hobby.

"To alcohol! The cause of - and solution to - all of life's problems!" -Homer Simpson

crwright2020

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Re: Alcohol by volume
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2008, 06:08:57 AM »
Thanks Maine Homebrewer, I have read most of Papazian's revised "Complete Joy of Homebrewing".  I don't think that Papazian uses a grain sock in the book, but I figured I would ask insted of making a mess and ruining a batch.

I will check out the "Great Beers of the World" by Laurie Strachan. 

You guys have been a great help.

djolson

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Re: Alcohol by volume
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2008, 01:03:02 AM »
I add 3 lbs of LME to most batches I make these days to increase the ABV. I like an ABV of about 6-7% in most of my batches.

Offline UselessBrewing

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Re: Alcohol by volume
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2008, 08:09:13 AM »
I add 3 lbs of LME to most batches I make these days to increase the ABV. I like an ABV of about 6-7% in most of my batches.
Start High, End High! Be careful going above 1.070. Most yeasts can chew through 60 points fairly easily, above that and you start killing off the yeast because of alcohol content. Special yeasts that can handle higher gravity beers are needed above that.

Cheers

Preston
The woodpecker pecks, Not to annoy, But to survive!

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: Alcohol by volume
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2008, 05:37:31 PM »
In a recent batch I didn't get the gravity I would have liked from the grain (I don't use the software, just notes and guesswork), so I added a pound of extract at the end of the boil.
The result was quite good, couldn't really tell that there was any extract in the brew.

Though I have run into problems with a starting gravity over 1.060, as Preston said most yeasts bred for beer have lower alcohol tolerance than yeasts bred for other purposes.
"To alcohol! The cause of - and solution to - all of life's problems!" -Homer Simpson

 

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