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Looking Glass

SMOTY Higher ABV

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Hi all, long time lurker, first time poster, so I must start out by saying thanks to everyone on these boards for all the questions asked and all the answers and wisdom provided, they were my questions too, of which so many have helped me tremendously.

Brewed for about a year or so 20 years back, and just got back into it when the whole EOTWAWKI thing happened, like many others too I suppose. Things have certainly changed in that time from the old kit and kg of white sugar, and I've tried to keep up, learn, adjust, to try and keep getting better with the resources available these days.

So I've been experimenting all over the place, always kits, dry malts, liquid malts, various BEs, brown sugar and the like, all with mixed success, but no duds.

I'm presently running two FVs, bottling and storing for months in advance, so I won't be brewing in Summer at all.

Thought it best to give a small intro for the new bloke and the NEWB to brewing, so you all know where I'm at with things.

So after some careful planning I ventured back to the not so local LHBS for supplies today, thought it might be time to stick to some tested recipes, and this will also be my first foray ever into adding grains, hops, and specialised yeast (meaning not tin yeast).

So the first of the next step up in my brewing adventure will be a SMOTY, to put down tomorrow, following the recipe exactly. Though I am a slower beer drinker, and do prefer a slightly higher ABV, perhaps up to one point higher, so my question would be as to how I would best increase ABV without ruining the recipe itself, and staying most inline with the recipe. I know I could decrease brew volume but this may impact intended flavours? There is obviously a lot of malt present already, so would it be better to add dex, white sugar, brown sugar, or something else, dry malt even?

As mentioned these are my first steps into expanding my brewing, so I'm hoping to do things properly and not make a mess of things.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Hey @Looking Glass! Welcome to the forum and welcome back to brewing.

I’ve not really played with a recipe just to add alcohol to the brew, so I’m not exactly sure on this one, but about 500g of dextrose in 23l should up your ABV by about a percent without adding or taking away anything from the recipe.

I probably wouldn’t go much more than that, however the SMOTY should be able to handle it.

Hope that helps!

Cheers

NewBrews (Jamie)

 

Edited by NewBrews
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14 minutes ago, NewBrews said:

I’ve not really played with a recipe just to add alcohol to the brew, so I’m not exactly sure on this one, but about 500g of dextrose in 23l should up your ABV by about a percent without adding or taking away anything from the recipe.

Yes, I'd add dex if all you want is to up the ABV. It won't do much to the recipe, like say, 500g of malt would. It's already a toucan though, so another 500g fermentables may need a bit more yeast. Others would know better about that.

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Thanks Jamie and Lab Cat, dex at about 500 was what I was thinking, though as I've been experimenting a lot with ingredients I thought it was time to stick to recipes to learn some more first, instead of using a haphazard approach to things, as I've realised I've been doing a little too much of my own thing and thought it time to seek advice to get a better beer. I prefer my dark beers a little stronger in cooler weather. I'm finishing off my kit stocks as best I can at the moment, doing some regular strength Ales (Unreal Ale) next for Summer, and using up the last of my darks with a Devil's Brew Porter and then a stout of some kind.

SMOTY calls for both tin yeasts, is this enough?

 

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1 hour ago, Looking Glass said:

SMOTY calls for both tin yeasts, is this enough?

This should be enough.  The Coopers can yeast tends to be enough for a can and kg of other fermentables.  Therefore two cans, plus say 500g of Dextrose or LDM, will be easily consumed by two kit yeasts.

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Thanks so much gents.

All went well with the brew this morning, hops were too easy, I'm just waiting for the Berkey to finish filtering the last of the water needed before I finish it off and pitch the yeast a bit later.

Another question if someone would be kind enough to help, again... The recipe calls for the final 25g of EKG to be added on day 4, wrapped in a cloth. Would the flavours of the hops naturally dissipate through the brew, or would it be better to rack the beer into a second FV, bulk prime etc, to mix the hop flavours?

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If your going to cold crash it(not sure if your fermenting in a fridge) dry hop, then remove and give it the Lusty squeeze, then set it to cold crash.

That should be plenty of time for the hop flavours to circulate through the brew.

I’ve done bulk primes a couple of times but find it just as much of a nuisance as bottling straight up.

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Cheers Jamie, no fridge and no cold crashing at present, ambient temperature seems perfect for brewing where I'm at in Perth, the wort sits consistently at around 17-18C, down to 12C if I put the FV next to the open window. I may consider a fridge when Summer arrives, though I know it's helpful all year round, it's all a case of prioritising things.

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1 hour ago, Looking Glass said:

Another question if someone would be kind enough to help, again... The recipe calls for the final 25g of EKG to be added on day 4, wrapped in a cloth. Would the flavours of the hops naturally dissipate through the brew, or would it be better to rack the beer into a second FV, bulk prime etc, to mix the hop flavours?

Sanitised cloth dropped in the FV works fine. Leave it for 3 or so days, and squeeze it out. Not many on here rack off to a 2nd FV, it seems a US thing. I've never seen a need.

I didn't use to bother crashing, and you don't have to. I have started doing it again because I now bulk prime in my FV, and getting the trub cold sets it, so it doesn't stir up when I stir in the sugar mix. BP isn't necessary for mixing the hops. The main reason is I have 4 different sizes of bottles so only have to sugar the FV with a single dose.

This is a good time of year in Perth to ambient brew, but as soon as it warms up, you'll have issues. There are cooling/heating bodges, but it involves babysitting your FV and checking temp regularly. I CBF, so got an old fridge and controller. It's well worth it.

Edited by Lab Cat
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2 hours ago, Looking Glass said:

Cheers Jamie, no fridge and no cold crashing at present, ambient temperature seems perfect for brewing where I'm at in Perth, the wort sits consistently at around 17-18C, down to 12C if I put the FV next to the open window. I may consider a fridge when Summer arrives, though I know it's helpful all year round, it's all a case of prioritising things.

Mate. We’ve all been there. I only got a fermenting fridge just before the plague hit, and brewed with a cool brewing bag up to that point, just based on space constraints.

But it’s been pretty much going non stop since then, either fermenting brews, or keeping bottles warm for carbonation.

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Cheers for the sage advice and helpful tips Lab Cat. I might consider making room in the fridge for a cold crash when the brew is done, what you say makes sense with hardening the trub, and is better than racking, if I can't manage it then I'll just leave things be without disturbing the brew. The weather's been perfect where I'm located, so I'm making hay while the sun shines so to speak, no plans at this stage to brew through the Summer or likely late Spring either. I did a couple of Green Neck lagers to recipe + a Golden Ale for Summer drinking just recently and I could keep the wort temp at about 13C ambient in the past weeks, but back to Ales now as the temps warms up a bit.

Jamie, after 3+ months of brewing again I only just did my first hop brew today, my first brew with added choc grains and Nottingham yeast next weekend, so it's a case of doing things in their right order, as I said to the helpful lady at the LHBS yesterday... baby steps...

Brew went well today, pitched at 20C, it should get to around 18 in the next couple of hours and stay there; the only issue today was hydrating the two yeasts, I normally do 1 yeast in 100ml tepid water and never had a problem, today I did 2 yeasts in 200ml of tepid water and had some clumps, perhaps I'll hydrate them separately next time I do a toucan.

I also picked up some Nelson Sauvin, US-05, and some Light Crystal Malt grains yesterday, and I've got 2 Real Ale tins, not sure if any of these will go together, so I'll start hunting around in the recipe section again to try to find something which may be perhaps slightly modifiable for what I have. The closest I can find so far would be the Unreal Ale, then maybe add a little extra something to it to experiment.

Thanks for all the tips, this has been a real help.

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Grab the cooper recipes spreadsheet. You can sort it by kit and find the real ale recipes easily. someone will have a link for it.

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