The Unhinged Brewer says hello!

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by The Unhinged Brewer, Oct 17, 2017.

  1. The Unhinged Brewer

    The Unhinged Brewer New Member

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    Hello!

    I'm reasonably new to brewing - about 5 months. What made me start is a combination of two facts:

    1. I have some health issues that have forced me to nearly quit drinking.
    2. I really like beer.

    We will put aside that 2 may have caused 1 if you don't mind.;)

    I figure I can drink two or three 2.5% beers on the weekend, but I can't seem to buy such a thing. So I started brewing to create one. I am looking to brew some good, flavorful, low ABV beer (see note on that).

    I'm a small-batch guy right now, brewing both 1 and 2.5 gallon batches with extract and specialty grains. Started with kits, but about the lowest ABV I can get in a kit is 3.2%, so I am trying some of my own recipes to see what I can do about that low ABV thing.

    I currently have a Scottish Light in the fermenter that should turn out to be about 2.5%, but we'll see about the flavor.

    Would love to do an NA, too, but that's a different kettle of fish.

    Could use some ideas and advice on doing what I'm doing. Help keep me from drinking nothing but O'Douls for all eternity.

    NOTE: I hear a lot of people saying that 5% is low ABV,, and calling such beers 'Session,' but that isn't at all low in my opinion. Three 5% beers, and I'm pretty lit, as I think most people are. Hell, Coors light is 4.1%, and one can get pretty wasted on it.
     
  2. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    Use more water or less malt. You’ll get less alcohol. You’ll have the hops to consider, but that’s built into the app. À vôtre santé!!
     
  3. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    just brew your beer and ferment, then heat it up to 160F for 30 minutes and wallah you have very low alcohol beer
     
  4. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    You forgot to mention the copper coil, OMB!! :D:eek:
     
  5. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Welcome I think we're all a little unhinged in some way Or another and then some more than others it's what makes life so interesting if we were all the same it would be boring as bat shit here in this mortal realm;).

    You've stuck up a good thread me thinks mate I've been pondering upon the same thing some low alcohol but full flavoured ales probably more than lagers. Lowest I've Brewers is down to 3% and that was with a coffee brown ale plenty drinkable was back in my extract days.

    Do you brew extract BTW? Because one thing you can do to give your beer some Body which I'm guessing it will lack is upping the mash temp- you could try some wheat as well for extra body and head retention too. Also brewing hoppy ales will help to overcome this thin mouthfeel too.

    Your yeast will help too I'm thinking them English strains that don't attenuate a heap this will help two fold in lowering alcohol % and leaving behind some body for your beer.

    Looking forward to your success You'll find what your looking for here:)...
     
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  6. The Unhinged Brewer

    The Unhinged Brewer New Member

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    #6 The Unhinged Brewer, Oct 17, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2017
    Yes, I'm extract right now. Considering moving to BIAB, partly for the reason you mention - the mash temp is a variable that can be used to control the fermentable sugars and thus ABV. I feel like I have other issues to solve first, like my attenuation is all over the map. When I feel like I am in better control then moving to BIAB is a next move.

    Oh, and thanks for the tips - wheat is a great idea, will try that on my next go-round, and I have much to learn about yeast. Don't love hoppy ales, but agree that hops will be useful in this endeavor.
     
  7. The Unhinged Brewer

    The Unhinged Brewer New Member

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    Yeah, but it really mucks up the flavors, especially the hops. Plus, it's not quite that simple, it appears. The physics are actually quite complex. When distilling, you have to get to nearly 200F to get all the ethanol out, and that affects the beer even more. Same thing with just boiling. Plus there's the oxygen exposure, which may have something to do with the taste changes. I'm trying variations on this, but not thrilled thus far.
     
  8. The Unhinged Brewer

    The Unhinged Brewer New Member

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    Love the app for this reason - can play with variables and see what happens with the ABV. Using less malt does indeed lower the OG/ABV, but it lessens the flavor as well. My favorite beer is a Scotch Ale, which I've learned is called a Wee Heavy since I started brewing. That has the flavor I like, but it typically has an ABV that is flammable. So, how do I get a Wee Heavy flavor with a Light ABV? That would be a good trick, que no?
     
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  9. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    #9 Ozarks Mountain Brew, Oct 17, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2017
    well alcohol is one thing, flavor is your issues, its up to you to to create that low alcohol beer with the right flavor, I suggest first starting with a weak yest and thin fermentables and then experiment from there
     
  10. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    Yup. I think you’re looking for a miracle. Mashing your own grains on the high end of the temperature spectrum would also result in less fermentable sugars, but it would be a maltier flavor. I think every way possible to reduce alcohol in beer has been mentioned here. You’ll have to figure out which ones work best for you.
     
  11. The Unhinged Brewer

    The Unhinged Brewer New Member

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    Thanks for all the advice, folks. I'll keep you posted on my progress towards the 'miracle.' :)
     
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  12. BoomerBrian

    BoomerBrian Active Member

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    If you like sour beers look into Berliner Weisse. They are low abv and tasty.

    Some other tips in addition to the ones above to add body is use some rye or munich malt. Basic Brewing Radio has done some experiments using nothing but rye for very low abv beers. I believe he has some youtube videos on the topic.
     
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  13. The Unhinged Brewer

    The Unhinged Brewer New Member

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    Ah! Great, I will look into that, thanks.
     
  14. Group W

    Group W Well-Known Member

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    I feel your pain. Good suggestions here. Some drink a pint of water along with that pint of session beer. Welcome to the forum.
     
  15. el Roncho

    el Roncho New Member

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    I am wondering about how to add body and taste, if they are not the same thing. I am asking ere so please do not consider that I am advising. I was having problems with the head and lacing in my extract beers and Coopers told me to use Carapils malts, 8 oz in 6 gallons; steeped at 150* for 1 hour. The taste did seem to be a bit stronger...and as advised, it did add body and made for improved head retention and lacing. If Unhinged added the Carapils to his menu and used less malt, would this help to lower the abv as he desires, without weakening the flavor too much?

    Are there any other grains or additives that can be added that are harder for the yeast to digest but can add flavor without the alcohol? This is an interesting thread and I would like to go under the 5% also...but probably not as low as Unhinged. (Most extract kits I use ferment down to about 4.3 or 4.5. so I do have options, but I like to make 7 gallons out of a 6 gallon kit.) (You know that old saying...10 lbs of doodoo in a 5 pound bag.)
     
  16. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    the reason they say 8oz and not more is it makes the beer too thick and foamy and not good at all, I wouldn't go over that recommendation for a 5 gallon batch, Ive experimented with that my self and know this for a fact. as for other grains or additives there are some Ive never used but I hear it does impact flavor, any grain thats dark or roasted has little to no ferment ables
     
  17. The Unhinged Brewer

    The Unhinged Brewer New Member

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    I have been experimenting with using caramel and other roasted/kilned malts. As I understand it, those have fewer fermentable sugars in them, so the remaining stays in the beer, lowering the ABV but keeping flavor. So these experimental beers have a much higher specialty grain-to-extract ratio than the typical beer. So far, they are interesting beers. Not without flavor, but not yet as much as I'd like. The reason I like Brewer's Friend is that the app is really helping me design these experiments. I have one in the fermenter that I'll bottle tomorrow, and I've got a series of these going on.

    So, yes, I think that using specialty grains like Carapils and others is important to making a flavorful but lower alcohol beer.

    Thanks for the note

    Unhinged
     
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