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Xzavier1982

improving the alchohol content of your beer

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so i am about to make the Mexican cervsa beer kit that they have and the last batch had a real low alcohol content. i was wondering whats the best way to increase the content without making it taist horrible. any ideas? thanks in advance.

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Add more malt but too much and then it's no longer the kind of beer you are trying to make. I would suggest that if you want a higher ABV beer, brew one that is made to have higher ABV. Corona and others in that category are not high ABV beers.
Adding sugar will make your beer weak but will add alchohol to it.

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Use DME/LME and it wil up the ABV as well as add to the flavor. Most people will recommend brewing the first batches striaght up to get a feel for the flavor profile and the afterwards play with other ingrediants. Hope this helps. and welcome to the Borg! :borg:

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Adding DME or LME is your best bet. It will add flavor, mouthfeel, and ABV will increase as a result. Your best bet is not to chase ABV, you will not be pleased with the result. Adding fermentable sugars, like table sugar, increases ABV, but the yeast turn these "simple sugars" into off flavors. The fermentable sugars in malt will give you much better results.

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I agree with the above.

The Mr. Beer Mexican Cerveza should register at 3.0-3.3% ABV on it's own. A simply addition of 1Lb of DME Golden Light (i.e. Pale) would boost that up close to 5.2-5.4%...you could also use 2 of the Mr. Beer LMEs and be closer to 4.8-5%

The PRIMARY thing you'll have to appreciate if you make an addition like that is that the Mr. Beer Cerveza only has 13 IBUs. A 5% ABV beer with 13 IBUs is just going to be nasty sweet. You'll need to add a hop bitterness to balance it.

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The standard refills are thin and low ABV. You can juice them up with 8-16oz DME (dried malt extract). If you go with a full pound, you will want to do a hop addition or two to balance out the extra malt.

The best way to raise ABV is to brew recipes that are designed that way from the beginning. The worst way is to add sugar.

Here's a modification I did to Mex Cerveza that turned out nicely. It does have a noticeable hop spice flavor from the Cascade hops. This will require that you incorporate some new, but easy, techniques to your brewing: Steeping grains and hop additions. You'll need to learn this stuff anyway if you want to move beyond using MB pre-hopped extracts.

-Steep for 30 min (at 150-160F): 8 oz 50L crystal malt (anything around 40L-60L will work) in a muslin sack
- bring to boil
-add 2oz Maltodextrin (optional) and 1 lb light DME at boiling (turn the flame off while stirring these in)
-Cascade pellets: 1/3oz at 20min (I use a hop sack)
-At 15 min added ¼ tsp Irish Moss (for clarity, optional)
-At 7min, another 1/3 oz Cascade (saved 1/3 oz to dry hop)
-Remove from heat and mix in the Mr. Beer Cerveza HME
-OG 1.054
-Pitched at 60F w/ Mr Beer yeast (rehydrated)
-Ferment slowly increased to 64F (ambient)
-Dry hopped in the LBK 5 days (optional)
-Brought to 70*F 1 for day then bottled

FG= 1.013, ABV = 5.5%, 20 bottles

You can pick a hop other than Cascade if you like if you want a milder or stronger hop taste/aroma.

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Brew your kits as they are intended. Mexican style beers are low in alcohol to begin with. Brewing big beers is something you get as you gain experience. I disagree with the use of sugar. It has a place. In big beers an all malt one is going could need an IBU of 100 or more not to be sickly sweet. If you are interested in beers with a high ABV research Barleywines and Belgium beers. I have brewed a couple of beers in the 20% range. The fermentation process it itself is over 6 months with a conditioning phase of at least 12 months. What is the reason you feel that you need to have a high ABV brew?? Is it mouth feel or flavor?? Look at the English bitters often right at 3% but some the best flavor and mouth feel you can get.

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When I started brewing I wanted higher ABV beer so I didn't go through my puny 2 gallon batch in a couple days. Now that I brew 5 gallon batches, I find myself loving my 4-5%beer.

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"haerbob3" post=356293 said:

I disagree with the use of sugar. It has a place. In big beers an all malt one is going could need an IBU of 100 or more not to be sickly sweet.

There is indeed a place for sugar (just as haerbob described), but it is a path to disappointment and frustration for a new brewer trying to boost the ABV of his Mr. Beer batches.

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"BigFloyd" post=356389 said:

"haerbob3" post=356293 said:

I disagree with the use of sugar. It has a place. In big beers an all malt one is going could need an IBU of 100 or more not to be sickly sweet.

There is indeed a place for sugar (just as haerbob described), but it is a path to disappointment and frustration for a new brewer trying to boost the ABV of his Mr. Beer batches.

I agree fully with the above. Unfortunately, telling most new brewers not to chase ABV is like telling your kids not to touch fire. They both need to get burned before they learn .

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"haerbob3" post=356395 said:

"BigFloyd" post=356389 said:

"haerbob3" post=356293 said:

I disagree with the use of sugar. It has a place. In big beers an all malt one is going could need an IBU of 100 or more not to be sickly sweet.

There is indeed a place for sugar (just as haerbob described), but it is a path to disappointment and frustration for a new brewer trying to boost the ABV of his Mr. Beer batches.

I agree fully with the above. Unfortunately, telling most new brewers not to chase ABV is like telling your kids not to touch fire. They both need to get burned before they learn .

it does seem like that's the case. most of the time

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I think every new brewer should brew a nasty, sweet, cidery POS brew and then they will "get it."

Sometime you can't fix stupid so.....you just let it happen.


Like I say to most.....if you want to get hammered.......drink hard liquor.

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It was for me. The first hopslam clone I made fell into this category. It had the ABV but the sickly sweet never conditioned out even after a year. I was so disappointed in this beer that I never let anyone else even try it.

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Use less water in making the wort but maintain the same amount of ingredients.

I'm trying to achieve what you're after with my current batch. I followed the MB instructions to the "t" except I only filled my keg to the 7 quart mark. I'm hoping the beer will be more flavorsome and have a higher ABV. Of course the downside is I'll have less beer to enjoy! Quality over quantity?

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My general philosophy is to try to keep my OGs as low as I can for a style, use alternative malts (IE munich) to add maltyness to make up for more of a less malty base malt, and that way I can drink more beer.

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