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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2004 * January 9, 2004 * Alcohol content < Previous Next >

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rodney stephenson (216.152.0.218)
Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 05:03 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ok what decides the alcohol content besides the obvious yeast, and how can you modify it, ie. make it lower/higher. I have noticed that the alcohol content varies by recipe. Is it SG, OG, or FG, that decides this or am I completly off the mark.
 

Jeremy S (205.188.208.75)
Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 07:19 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The alchohol content of a beer is decided by the amount of fermentable sugars in solution. The OG is taken to give a reference point for later gravity readings and the FG is where the fermentation stops, or where the brewer stops it. This is pretty much all I know, but I'm sure someone will correct me if I am wrong.
 

Craig Johnson (172.196.188.236)
Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 11:05 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Rodney,

Jeremy is right on.To get the alcohol content subtract the FG reading from your OG and multiply by 131. OG=1.060 FG=1.010 The difference is .050 which you multiply by 131 which gives you 6.55%. TADAH there is you alcohol content by volume.

If you want to raise your alcohol content simply put more malt into your recipe. Be careful tweaking recipes because you can really change the flavor of the beer or create rocket fuel tasting beer.

Everybody here will also repeat the mantra "Check out John Palmer's -- How To Brew" It is a great source of information. This site is also a great source and your questions will always get answered.
 

Don Million (63.214.47.39)
Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 03:49 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It's really a combination of how much fermentable sugar is in the wort to begin with and how completely the yeast are able to convert that sugar to alcohol. So it's both.

Start with a high amount of fermentable sugars in your wort (lots of malt, honey, or, God forbid!, plain sugar) and use a yeast that is known for high attenuation (Danstar Nottingham, Wyeast 1056 or 1007) and you'll end up with a highly alcoholic beer.

I feel compelled to add, though, that most of the homebrews that I've tried, where the brewer was focusing on getting a high alcohol content, tasted like crap. If all you want is a lot of alcohol, drink Everclear. A really good tasting beer is a blend of a lot of different elements and alcohol is only one of them.
 

Bill Pierce (24.141.63.119)
Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 05:13 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Don's right; the mark of a really good strong beer is its ability to mask the alcohol and create a balance of flavors and qualities. Some Belgians and a few doppelbocks do it masterfully.
 

Beerboy (81.134.148.158)
Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 05:24 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

God forbid!, plain sugar.

Sugar has it's place in beer - What about all those Belgian beers with in excess of 10-20% sugar?
 

Bill Pierce (24.141.63.119)
Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 05:28 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Beerboy, Don was being facetious. He's well aware of the fact that many Belgian strong beers achieve some of their high alcohol without increasing body by the use of brewing sugars.
 

Don Million (63.214.47.39)
Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 09:46 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Right. Proper use of sugar is a fine thing. Improper use of it is not. The thing is, several of the brewers I've known who were fixated on getting the highest possible alcohol content made IMPROPER use of it, which is why I worded my comment the way I did.

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