Author Topic: Adding dextros after primary to increase alcohol percentage  (Read 10102 times)

Offline jaynet

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Adding dextros after primary to increase alcohol percentage
« on: January 15, 2012, 04:11:21 PM »
Greetings:
I am a newbie and have a question for anyone willing to make me wiser:)

I make a gallon kit brew and added all five gallons at the start. When it came time to add the malt extract, I added it as well. 1. was it a mistake to start with the full 5 gallons from the start as the extract added to my total volume? (my Sg was a bit off)
2. using the same logic, would that lower my potential alcohol percentage. I did primary for a week and when I racked the SG (at this point) seemed a bit low as well. (the kit I have should end up with approx 7 to 7.5 % alcohol, currently it's 6.4) I know I still have 2 weeks in my secondary, my final question is:
3. I have read when people will "add" a bit of malt or sugar tabs in the secondary to "up" the final alcohol rate.
Would this be advisable? Sorry for the length. I waited for the proper time to rack (1 week and slow airlock activity), the primary fermentation went well and the beer actually tasted good when I racked it. I'd just like to know if adding some more yeast nutrient would be a good or bad idea. Thanks to any who can help.

Offline ArtCox

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Re: Adding dextros after primary to increase alcohol percentage
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2012, 05:39:35 PM »
You really don't want active fermentation in the Secondary. Secondary Fermentation is not really fermentation, more for clarity. If you add sugar tabs or malt it may stress out the remaining yeast and not bottle condition and carb when it needs to.

Doing a FULL Boil on an Extract Kit is OK, just be sure you calculate for evaporation and trub loss. If I were doing a 5 gal kit I'd start with at least 6.5 gal of water.
 

Offline HolyFirkins

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Re: Adding dextros after primary to increase alcohol percentage
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2012, 08:29:28 PM »
Greetings:
I am a newbie and have a question for anyone willing to make me wiser:)

I make a gallon kit brew and added all five gallons at the start. When it came time to add the malt extract, I added it as well. 1. was it a mistake to start with the full 5 gallons from the start as the extract added to my total volume? (my Sg was a bit off)
2. using the same logic, would that lower my potential alcohol percentage. I did primary for a week and when I racked the SG (at this point) seemed a bit low as well. (the kit I have should end up with approx 7 to 7.5 % alcohol, currently it's 6.4) I know I still have 2 weeks in my secondary, my final question is:
3. I have read when people will "add" a bit of malt or sugar tabs in the secondary to "up" the final alcohol rate.
Would this be advisable? Sorry for the length. I waited for the proper time to rack (1 week and slow airlock activity), the primary fermentation went well and the beer actually tasted good when I racked it. I'd just like to know if adding some more yeast nutrient would be a good or bad idea. Thanks to any who can help.

also, as far as primary fermentation goes..forget what you read in those kits or online for "standard" kits..yeast needs time and a week is normally not long enough..if you rack into secondary too soon you are prohibiting the yeast from fully doing its job, which normally leads to off flavors in your beer. with beer, time is clutch. i normally go 4 weeks for primary..and i ONLY do a secondary if i am dry hopping or adding some sort of adjunct such as vanilla bean, fruit, etc..otherwise secondary is really not needed and it is one less step to take where you can possibly welcome airborne impurities/bacteria and oxygenation. not having the beer come into contact with an extra fermenter is a good thing as well..why chance problems if you dont have to? if you bottle, forget what the kit says about 2 weeks bottle conditioning too..your beer will still be "green" or not ready. go for a minimum of 4 weeks from the time you bottle till you drink your beer..

so total, do One fermentation for 4 weeks minimum (but really it is when your FG is the same for 3 days in a row, that means its done fermenting), and then bottle condition for 4 weeks..THEN drink..try these tips out in your next beer and i'm positive you will be happy with the results..it is a longer wait but patience is important..
Great beer is great..

Offline jaynet

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Re: Adding dextros after primary to increase alcohol percentage
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2012, 10:20:33 AM »
Thank you for the great feedback. It helps to have experience and perspective. :)

Offline jdj213

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Re: Adding dextros after primary to increase alcohol percentage
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2012, 05:28:16 PM »
 If your bottling, throw a teaspoon or so of corn sugar into your bottles before bottling. Your yeast will wake up and piss out a little more alcohol for you. Probably wont hit 7.5 on the nose but it helps. Be careful not to add too much though, if you do your beers might over flow when your ready to drink, or even bust while conditioning. Good luck!

Offline Rusty Nails

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Re: Adding dextros after primary to increase alcohol percentage
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2012, 06:07:25 PM »
Do not add priming sugar to bottles. BS has the tools to calculate the needed sugar, to be mixed in a bottling bucket before bottling. I haven't heard of anyone adding sugar to the bottles in close to 40 years.
I STRONGLY recommend that you get a good book on homebrewing and read it through without skipping chapters. This will answer most of your questions and help you make better beer and not bottle bombs.

Offline HolyFirkins

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Re: Adding dextros after primary to increase alcohol percentage
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2012, 11:43:39 PM »
Do not add priming sugar to bottles. BS has the tools to calculate the needed sugar, to be mixed in a bottling bucket before bottling. I haven't heard of anyone adding sugar to the bottles in close to 40 years.
I STRONGLY recommend that you get a good book on homebrewing and read it through without skipping chapters. This will answer most of your questions and help you make better beer and not bottle bombs.

amen to this. i've never heard of putting corn sugar directly into each bottle, dangerous method in my own opinion. most extract kits come with 5 ounces of priming sugar which is pretty much standard for a 5 gallon batch. you would boil this sugar in water on the stove for 15 minutes to sanitize it, dump it into a bottling bucket, then rack your beer on top of the sugar solution..this naturally mixes the solution into the beer at the same time. THEN you would bottle. another great option is to purchase CO2 drops. they look like little Halls cough drops. you would put 1 into each bottle. (just some other options)

beersmith does calculate everything for you, i'd suggest reading up on the software as well as some standard calculations for different things you are doing. more importantly i'd suggest both getting to know your local homebrew store owner, as well as getting involved with a nearby homebrew club if there is one available. you will find these two things to be very beneficial.
Great beer is great..