# Low Carb Beer Brewing

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Bgiebels, May 31, 2018.

1. ### Bgiebels New Member

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#1
I did a search, on the site, and didn't find anything concerning this. I actually thought this would be a subject others have already discussed....

But... I'm starting a LCHF (Low Carb High Fat) diet and usually switch to Vodka when I'm on the diet but I honestly get a more enjoyable buzz when drinking beer rather than hard alcohols... So I'd like to brew a low carbohydrate beer and be relatively accurate in determining the number of carbohydrates I am consuming on any given day.

To do that, I'd have to figure out how to calculate the number of carbs in my homebrews... If anyone can guide me in the calculations for that I'd appreciate it.

Furthermore, how does one brew a "low carb" beer? I've seen some things, online, which indicated including 25% of the grain bill using sugar, instead of grain, and a Session Yeast, would accomplish this but I fail to see how including more "simple sugar" accomplishes the goal.

Thanks, in advance, for any input.

2. ### Bgiebels New Member

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#2
Last edited: May 31, 2018
I did find the following calculator that will provide the carbohydrate content...

http://www.mrgoodbeer.com/carb-cal.shtml

Although it would be good to know what the formula for the calculation is...

3. ### jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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#3
i have nothing to back this up, but i've only heard of low carb beer from macro breweries. i can't help but think they use some sort of filtration or some complex process to filter out some carbs. you might be onto something with the sugar, since those macro beers seem to be a dry, crisp lager type (i've never had one, so just going by looks and comparison to other macro beers)

I know the recipe calculator here provides a calories per bottle stat, but that's probably not too helpful for what you want.

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4. ### thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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#4
Last edited: May 31, 2018
What are you looking to do? Weight loss? It's generally the alcohol and not the carbs in beer that cause issues. There are ways to adjust your fat and carb macros to enjoy a beer or two. It's a trade off balancing act. Take in less than you put out basically. Calories from simple carbs like beer burn off way faster than complex carbs and fats. Cut your calories and adjust fat and carb intake for the days that you wish to consume and you'll be on the right track.
Brew lower gravity, lighter beers with less calories. The recipe calc will give you the approx calories per 12oz serving for your recipe after you have taken all your gravity readings.

I know this isn't exactly what your looking for, but it works and is the best way I've found to keep the pounds off, lose weight etc. Throw some heavy weight lifting in there and a couple days of cardio and you can for sure add to your surplus.

Or, take the easy path and drink Michelobe ultra light or whatever it is. Seems to work for the big name actors lol.

5. ### Nosybear Well-Known Member

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#5
By switching to vodka, you've traded the dextrines and sugars in beer for the alcohol in the vodka - yes, alcohol is a carbohydrate. Beer has no fat and very little protein so it's safe to assume that all the calories in beer are carbohydrates. Carbohydrates excluding alcohol are around four calories per gram, alcohol is around seven per gram. The remainder of this would be a whole lot easier if we used Metric units but here goes: If a beer is 5% ABV, multiply by 0.8 to get ABW, or 4% ABW. We'll assume a Metric pint - 16.9 ounces, or 500 ml - of beer. You have 500 ml * 0.04 (percent), or 20 ml of alcohol. Alcohol is 0.789 g/ml, so you have 15.78 grams of alcohol in a metric pint of 5% beer. Multiply by 7 to get the calories contributed by alcohol, 110.46. There's a calculator on the site that will give you the calories of a beer so let's say that for this beer, our metric pint has 200 calories. That means 89.54 calories in the beer (200 - 110.46) are carbohydrate. Carbohydrates are 4 calories per gram so divide by 4 to get 22.4 grams of other carbohydrates.

The best way to brew a low-carb beer is to brew a session beer. Lowering the alcohol content also lowers the amount of other carbs - unfermented sugars, dextrines and other digestible carbohydrates - in the beer. Using enzymes to reduce the dextrines will only convert them to simpler carbohydrates - read sugars - and will not decrease the carbohydrates in the beer. Sugar simply converts to alcohol, again a carbohydrate and a bad one at that since the body treats it like a simple sugar. Thunderwagn's suggestion of Michelob Ultra (or Bud Select) will reduce the carbs but unfortunately at the cost of flavor. There are good session beers to be brewed, though. A Mild at 3.5%, a Patersbier at 3.8%, even a session Saison coming in around 4% are all good alternatives to the flavorless Macrobrewery ultra light beers.

6. ### Bgiebels New Member

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Yes, Fat loss. I normally do a HFLC (High Fat Low Carb) Ketogenic diet where the carbohydrates are the culprit. Although the alcohol (being a carbohydrate) will stop you from burning fat, as fuel, it does not take you out of Ketosis for more than it takes to burn the alcohol off. Alcohol is not stored in the muscles and liver as Glycogen like other carbohydrates are. Once the alcohol is burned off, your body is right back into ketosis and burning fat for fuel. Where any carbohydrates (non alcohol) will be stored in the muscles and liver and could take days to be burned off and therefore take you away from burning body fat and therefore out of ketosis.

I couldn't imagine drinking Mich Ultra... or Bud Select since, as @Nosybear indicated, they are all flavorless...

I think the answer is a Session Beer or at least a beer where the final gravity down as far as possible 1.003 or below.

Thanks everyone!

7. ### [email protected] Member

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#7
Also, when brewing your lighter, session beers, you can always use a tsp or two of amylase after primary fermentation is complete to drive down residual fermentable sugars (carbs) further. This will push your beer toward lower body, light status.

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8. ### TorchBearerBrewery New Member

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#8
Alcohol is not a carbohydrate. Everclear is 100% alcohol and has no carbs. Also several strong liquors have no carbs what-so-ever. It is the left over unprocessed sugars that are the carbs within a drink.

9. ### HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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#9
I like this. The alpha amylase enzyme in the fermenter will continue to convert the left of starches to sugar, which the yeast can metabolize into alcohol and cO2. The final gravity is super low and the alcohol is high compared with the OG. If you make a beer with darker malts or late addition of hops, you can add flavor without adding calories. A 1.040 OG can drop too 1.003 or so. That gives you a 5% beer without all the carbs.