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ABV too high


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Hi Guys,


I have a question based around alcohol content...


Recently I have been making some of the best beers I have done... Up to my 29th brew and am really happy with the flavours I am getting out...


However I am finding (and so are my mates) that probably the last 5 brews I have done are just too alcoholic! they have all been ending up north of 5% the last one I did was 6.9%.


Although it was super tasty you have one or two and you are totally sozzled!


Basically I am not using hopped cans any more and just liquid malts and dried malts plus my hops etc...


The quantities I am working with are 1.5kg of liquid malt and 1.5kg of dried malt totalling 3kg in each brew.


So I totally get that if I reduced this by maybe 0.5kg that the alcohol would reduce BUT I am worried that I would end up with watery or not as tastey beers. FYI I make them all to between 21-23L.


Does anyone know how I can reduce the ABV% but maintain a tasty full bodied beer?


I have got to the point of not being able to drink my usual quantity of beer in a session because it is smashing me and my mates!


Some might say a good problem to have but I would like to be able to refine this...


Anyone else had the same problem I have had?? How have you overcome it?


Any input is greatly appreciated!




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Seeing as you are not including dextrose or other simple sugars, the only way to reduce the ABV is, as you state, reduce the fermentables.


This will also reduce the final gravity giving you a "thinner" beer, that is less body.

In your case, not so "thin" or watery because the extract you use is not 100% fermebtable, more like 95%.

In your example @ 23 litres, would finish around 1.009


Two articles on increasing the body in beer:

John Palmer

BYO Magazine

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Absolutely +1 on the spreadsheet.


Steeping specialty grain will also add body and you can see the effect on he FG in the spreadsheet.


Like I said 1.009 is not a that thin a beer and prob worth doing, approx 4% in the bottle.

I prefer around 3.5% for a session beer. I probably drink more...

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You two just made my day! That spreadsheet is the bee's knee's isn't it! And the article by John Palmer is a great read too...


Thanks very much for the information guys, you can be sure I will be putting it to use in my future brews!



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There was an article (with recipes) a few months ago in BYO magazine about session beers.


Some styles lend themselves really well to mid-strength beers. Styles like Scottish Ales and English Ordinary Bitters.


If you are interested I can dig up the magazine and post some of the extract recipes.

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The recipes in the BYO magazine are either all grain or partials.


But I have a couple from Brewing Classic Styles by Jamil Z. It is a really good recipe book; I highly recommend it.


The strange weights are due to a conversion from imperial to metric. You can just round the weights of grain & malt; no need to be that precise. Also, the number in brackets after the grain represents degrees Lovibond.


Ordinary Bitter


2.76kg English Pale Ale LME

227g Crystal (120L)

113g Special Roast (50L)

34g East Kent Golding Hops (5% AA) - 60 min

14g EKG Hops - 30 min

14g EKG Hops - 1 min


Yeast - WLP002 English Ale, Wyeast 1968 London ESB or Safale S-04.


21 Litres

Ferment at 20 degrees

3.6% ABV


Scottish Heavy 70/-


2.15kg English Pale Ale LME

113g Munich LME

450g Crystal (40L)

227g Honey Malt (18L)

113g Crystal (120L)

85g Pale Chocolate (200L)

21g East Kent Goldings (AA 5%)- 60 min


Yeast - Wyeast 1056, WLP001 California Ale or US-05


21 litres

Ferment at 18 degrees

3.2% ABV


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What are the numbers in brackets representing in yuor recipes?


I am not an all grain or partial brewer (yet) but I am an extract brewer trying to now steer clear of hopped cans etc...


Guessing these figures represent something to do with the all grain methods... Would you know how I could still use these ingredients in one of my extract brews??


Could I just steep these grains and include it in my brew and or just add the amounts of malts to the boil?


Any advice would be tops, I am really keen to make the Ordinary Bitter! [biggrin]

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Bill is spot on.


I couldn't work out how to insert the degrees symbol. I probably should have explained it (I will edit my post). If you check out the link in Bill's post you will see the conversion to EBC. Most Australian suppliers will use EBC to describe the colour of the grain.


And yes, they are all specialty malts that only need to be steeped, not mashed.

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Bill - thanks for the link. That now makes sense and I learnt something new, loves it!


Hairy - cheers for letting me know just to steep the grains... as I expected but great to have confirmation from someone else.

P.S. love the footer quote... Vanilla Ice was the first CD I bought around 15-20 years ago, still got it too! what a weapon he was!

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You just need to click on the link Warren and it will take you to the thread on AHB - you then need to look for post 391 (the posts are each numbered in the top right corner). Then click on ianh's link to his spreadsheet - you will probably need to be signed in as a member of AHB to download the spreadsheet.


It isn't for mac but it works on mac for the most part.

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