High Alc% Beer

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My last two beers have been APA that came out around the 4.9% alc. I want to make a high % alc beer for my next one.

I have WLP008 and WLP802 yeasts already in the fridge so I would like to use one of these .. but I am always open to expand my yeast library.

Can someone please tell me how to make a beer high % alc? Is it just a matter of adding more fermentables to a normal k&k?

I haven't used the WLP802 yeast before so please suggest a suitable recipie that is suited to this yeast.


pint of lager

brewing on the verandah
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Approximate alcohol % is the starting gravity og in whole numbers (eg og 1.045 = 45) - the final gravity divided by 7.

So you can change the starting gravity, and or the final gravity.

The final gravity can be changed by using a more attenuative yeast. From the Whitelabs site wlp008 has attenuation of 70-75%, and wlp 802 has attenuation 75-80%.

This means if you start out with the same starting ingredients, a beer fermented with wlp 802 rather than wlp 008 will attenuate or ferment out more, taste drier and have a lower final gravity and a higher alcohol content.

wlp 802 is a lager yeast, check on the white labs site for suitable beers styles and fermentation temperatures. If you are a kit brewer, use a lager kit as a base.

To change the starting gravity, use more ingredients. This is not as simple as chucking in an extra kilo of DME as the residual sweetness after fermentation is over, the remaining 20-25% will be higher and the beer bitterness will be totally out of balance.

wlp802 is a great lager yeast. Make sure that your equipment will brew at lager temps. If you are a kit brewer, I suggest a good lager base, say an ESB 3 kg tin pilsner, and an extra 300-500gms dextrose to give you a bit more alcohol.

If you are a kit/extract brewer trying for a barley wine style, with alcohol around 8%, you really need to have spot on fermentation and brewing techniques. To get the final bitterness vs sweetness right is a challenge for any brewer.

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