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Hi All,

I'm a relatively new brewer and I just finished my first batch of Diablo IPA. I like it!! I'd like to boost the ABV without adding much body.  I'd like to maybe get to about 8% ABVCan I use pure maltose to do this? As a completely fermentable sugar maltose would leave no mouthfeel or off tastes correct?  I'm talking about using pure maltose sugar, not a maltose corn syrup or a booster mix of sugars.

Thanks 

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We commonly say "Chase flavor, not ABV".  The Diablo IPA is 5.1%.  To make it 8% you would have to add a lot of something - and you would dramatically impact the flavor of the beer - basically diluting the hop flavor.  Normally people add LME (liquid malt extract) or Mr. Beer booster - but adding this much of it would require some hop steeping to bring the bitterness back to the proper level.  In short, this isn't a great idea.

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Maltose is what the beer is made from (malt extract). What you need is dextrose. It will raise ABV without adding body. It will also highlight any extra hop additions you make for flavor/aroma. I almost always add a cup of dextrose to all of my IPAs.

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Thanks! Like I said I'm new, but the basic idea is "you cant drastically change one thing, without affecting another"?  So if I were to add dextrose, as Josh suggests, that would still dilute the hop flavor so I'd need to add a little more? Adding just LME would also interfere with the balance of the beer? I'm not really chasing ABV so much, which is why I don't want to add to the body or mess with the balance too much. I would like just a little more "kick" in it though

Thanks again you guys are awesome to a total newbie.  I just followed the directions exactly and it came out pretty good, but I know it can be better

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24 minutes ago, cjpitt80 said:

Thanks! Like I said I'm new, but the basic idea is "you cant drastically change one thing, without affecting another"?  So if I were to add dextrose, as Josh suggests, that would still dilute the hop flavor so I'd need to add a little more? Adding just LME would also interfere with the balance of the beer? I'm not really chasing ABV so much, which is why I don't want to add to the body or mess with the balance too much. I would like just a little more "kick" in it though

Thanks again you guys are awesome to a total newbie.  I just followed the directions exactly and it came out pretty good, but I know it can be better

 

No, as I said above, dextrose doesn't dilute the hop flavor, it does the opposite. Dextrose dilutes the malt flavor and dries out the beer, which brings the hops forward.

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21 minutes ago, MRB Josh R said:

 

No, as I said above, dextrose doesn't dilute the hop flavor, it does the opposite. Dextrose dilutes the malt flavor and dries out the beer, which brings the hops forward.

Ahh... I see. So the experimentation begins! I don't want to dry out too much or want it TOO hoppy, so we'll see.   You mentioned you add a cup of dextrose to your IPAs, is this in the standard LBK and how does it change the flavor? Do you attempt to balance out the flavor with anything else, or do you like very hoppy beers? I see the Mr. Beer Booster has 8% glucose, 56% maltose, 16% maltotriose and 20% dextrins. Have you had any experience with this vs using straight dextrose? Would this perhaps be a better option for me since ideally I'd like to keep the balance and flavor close to where it is now and up the ABV a little? Also, would I be able to just use another can of the Diablo extract in the wort? Thanks again!!

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Going up to 8% abv is pretty drastic. Best advice around here is to make a few batches as is so you get the process down.

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43 minutes ago, gophers6 said:

Going up to 8% abv is pretty drastic. Best advice around here is to make a few batches as is so you get the process down.

 

That's good advice.

An ABV of 8% is a lot of alcohol and you'll need a lot of malt to offset the harshness. If you start with a wort that's about 1.075 O.G. you'll end up with 8%. If it's all LME or HME (almost 5.5 lbs total)  and appropriately hopped you'll have a big beer that's relatively balanced. If you start with a wort for a beer in the 6% ABV range, you'll be adding a pound of sugar and end up with something that could be imbalanced and with a harsh alcohol burn. Either way, you'll have to wait quite a while to drink it because it'll take at least a couple of months to condition out and settle down in the bottle.

Somebody here said the best way to boost alcohol is to have a glass of good whiskey with your beer. That's the best advice, yet! ;)

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Yea,

I tried this and no one wanted to drink it including me. 8% is a rough rider brew for sure.

 

I have read a few post about some lacing with a bit of vodka prior to bottling but you might as well be drinking whisky.

I like my beer to have some taste you cannot buy and sought after. Keep it simple and boost a little at a time to learn what yo might like. LME is best followed with a cup of Dextrose at Flame out. Hopping is forgiving  and favorable when boosting as others are recommending.

I introduce 1/3 cup of dextrose mid ferment to get an extra dry tasting brew.  5% to 6% max for me.

 

Lets Make Beer, M

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Just had a Winter Dark Ale, kicked up with some extra malt to about 5% alcohol by my best estimate. The WDA has enough bitterness to handle the extra malt, without any added hops. The taste was great, and the 5% alcohol was enough to let you know that this was no "light" beer. Chase flavor, try different recipes and styles, add malts and hops, steep grains, but adding sugars just to boost alcohol content is not what this hobby is about (in my opinion). Anyway, differences in opinion make the world an interesting place. 

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There is no point to attempt to artificially boost ABV just to do it...unless the goal is to make a "big" beer. But if you are working to make a big beer, then work to make that. Do not work to make a certain ABV.

 

Look...I get it. As a beer drinker I LOVE my IPAs to come in at 8+....I want my Belgian Quads to clock in at double digits. A nice 7% stout? That is a session beer my friend.

 

But for homebrewing, the problem is that when we chase the ABV we lose the flavor of the beer. We add booster or dextrose and dry out the malt and push the hops forward. Or we add packs of LME and eliminate the hops.....

 

Here is what you do. Brew your beer and do not worry about ABV at all. Look for flavor profile. You can always buy a big beer from guys who have mastered the balance. You just look for flavor. Add some LME for malt.....add some hops for...well....hops....try some steeping grains. Do not worry about the ABV.

 

And then when you drink the beer, just think about flavor.

 

If you really want to get a bit blurry at the edges then just have either a shot of quality bourbon between brews or a shot of quality vodka. A nice bourbon can bring out the flavors of the darker beers. Vodka can keep the lighter beers in balance.

 

Do not do Scotch. One...you should never take shots of Scotch. We are no longer frat boys. Second....a quality scotch wrecks the palate for the beer. 

 

Trust me on this.

 

Two shots and two beers will have you feeling as loose as you need!

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I don't think that we should discourage people from chasing ABV.  If it's high ABV that they want, and not flavor than brew and let brew.  Although they may be the minority, some people may be interested in home brewing with the soul purpose of seeing how high they can push the limits of the abv.  Sometimes I feel as if we come off as condescending or as if we're scolding people for asking this question.  For whatever reason they're dabbling in the realm of home brewing, looking for a powerful beer or for a delicious beer, we should encourage them.  Isn't the goal to get more people interested in home brewing?  *Disclaimer* This is NOT directed at a particular member, it is strictly a matter of opinion--right or wrong.  

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Going back years, this forum has had that recommendation. Why?  Several reasons.  First, people dump ingredients in beer without understanding the consequences, in their goal of raising ABV.  Add sugar, honey, a bunch of booster, trying to raise a 3.1% ABV to something much higher and you get a lousy dried out beer that gives headaches, takes months and months to not be cidery, if ever (and they can not wait to try it), and they quit the hobby.  This sticky from January 2011 has YankeeDag stating that exact point: 

It’s better to chase Flavor than it is to chase alcohol %. If you chase flavor, in most cases the alcohol level will go up.  If you just add sugars to increase the alcohol content, you’ll make a nice cider…and will take months to mellow out enough to drink. New brewer just love to go all “Mad Scientist” and toss in every bit of fermentable sugars they can hoping to have a super High alcohol drink. Then they are quite put off when the beer goes all Frankenstein on them. Try to keep it down to a 2:1 malt to sugar ratio. That would be 2 parts malt, and one part “sugary stuff”.

 

In addition, those that just want to get wasted aren't something that homebrewers want to encourage or support. You'll find that theme on most homebrewer forums.  If you want to get wasted, seek advice elsewhere.

 

So, while I respect your right to disagree, I for one will continue to tell new brewers, Chase Flavor, Not ABV.

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...and while I humbly respect your opinions as a 6+ year extract brewer, I will continue to tell new brewers, Chase Whatever You Want, As Long As You're Having Fun.  :)

 

LESS FILLING!

TASTES GREAT! 

 

AND...  Although I may not ALWAYS agree with your opinions, there is little room for argument that you are wise in your ways.

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1 hour ago, RickBeer said:

4 years...

...and that, sir, is why I teach English Language Arts and NOT math!  ;)

 

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14 hours ago, MrWhy said:

 

Do not do Scotch. One...you should never take shots of Scotch. We are no longer frat boys. Second....a quality scotch wrecks the palate for the beer. 

 

even frat boys know better than this... :)

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Wow,

I didn't think I'd actually get this many comments! As I stated, I did like the taste and body of the Diablo, I just wanted a little more kick. There's a brewery in Frederick, MD that makes a  Belgian style IPA called Raging Bitch that comes in at about 8.3 ABV. As someone quite new to home brewing, I was inquiring as to whether or not I could raise the ABV WITHOUT affecting taste too much. It has become apparent that this is quite difficult. That's fine, I'll most likely simply try another Mr. Beer recipe to see if it's more to my liking. After that, I'll begin tweaking to see if I like what I create.

 

I will however need to know what to tweak. That is what the post was about since I am a beginner, and certainly not a beer connoisseur. Though I've been reading a lot I'm still not entirely sure on the preferential fermentation of maltose, glucose, maltotriose, and other fermentable wort sugars by yeast and the remaining non-fermentables and proteins end result in terms of flavor profile, body and head retention, which is again why I turned here.  I also do have a job other interests and hobbies and I'm wise enough to know I'm not going to waste weeks to months, in addition to the required resources, simply "chasing ABV" on a beverage that may quite well end up tasting like gasoline mixed with sweet horse urine. There's a liquor store less that half mile away from me if I simply need to get "wasted"  

 

Thanks to everyone that actually tried to help me, though. I appreciate it.

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Not quite sure what "sweet horse urine" tastes like, no desire to learn more... :lol:

 

My recommendation to new brewers is to brew some batches of the base refills.  Then brew some Craft refills (which you already did).  You will see a big difference, because the Craft series has much more malt.  Seasonals have even more.  Make some of the recipes, which include new techniques like dry hopping, adding things like honey or more malt extract (LME/DME) and compare those results against the base refills you previously made.  This learning will be of great benefit to you.  And read.  Then read some more.  Great knowledge throughout the years of posts on this forum.  

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Branching out, experimenting, is not bad. However, you need a "control", a base for comparison. Change one variable at a time, and then check your results. Expand and make changes depending upon previous results, but make those new changes complimentary to your goals. 

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I think part of this is also educating new brewers (like myself) so that we know what we are getting ourselves into. When I first started I thought that I could just add booster and sugar and raise ABV without really changing the beer. It was just adding ABV. I did not realize this dried out the beer, gave it a cidery taste, etc.

 

I greatly appreciate the people who took the time to explain to me what trying to just boost the ABV did. 


I am now understanding that making a big beer is not the same as just adding sugar.

 

Once someone knows...then it is up to them. Add booster, add sugar, do whatever. As long as you realize everything you add has a consequence and it may or may not be what you are after.

 

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