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High-ish Abv With Kits (6-7%?)

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leevalentine001

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Hi again,

As mentioned at the end of my last topic, I had a search around these forums and Google for ideas on how to make higher abv beers / ciders. Most of the answers I found were for 10% or higher beers, cost well over $100 in ingredients for one batch and took months to complete.

I'm just interested in getting a standard can and kilo brew up to a 6-7% kind of abv. I don't mind if it sacrifices a little taste - I'll work on that later (still very new to brewing). It's mainly to take out on fishing trips with my mates who wanna get a bit pi$$ed without carrying around huge volumes of beer. And for when I do the occasional weekday fish I can take 1 750 ml bottle for a nice buzz for an hour or so instead of 2-3 bottles. I have way too much to carry as it is when fishing (which is a nightmare on the bus)!

I should also add that I'm trying to brew on a tight budget at the moment (saving for a trip to Japan next year) so I usually head to big W, buy a can for $12, a brew enhancer for $5 and I make 23 litres of beer (or 17 of cider) for $17.

Is it simple enough to just add an extra kg of dextrose in? Will the brigalows yeast packets handle it (or better worded: how high an abv can brigalows yeast handle)? Can I simply add extra yeast packets or will I have to buy more expensive yeast? I don't mind buying a better yeast if I have to but I would like to keep the costs as low as possible.

Also, if it is simple enough to do the above, how much would an extra kg of dextrose add to the abv? I noticed on some other sites people were saying to use 10 - 15 pound (US sites, but roughly 4.5 - 7kg) which seems like a massive amount for an extra 2-3% abv.

Can anyone shed some light on this? Keeping in mind I am new to brewing and am prone to be asking stupid questions (or at least, the wrong questions).

Something simple like "use this can, x amount of kg of x sugar, x yeast, ferment for x time at x temperature and bottle condition for x time" would be perfect - but I would also love to hear a little bit of the science behind it too.

Thanks again

Lee
 

carniebrew

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The trick would be (and i'm not suggesting this is going to be a super quality craft beer, but that doesn't seem to be your main aim) to get a highly hopped kit to balance out the extra malt/adjuncts you'd need to add.

Something like the Coopers Australian Bitter, two packets of Brew Enhancer 2, filled to 17 litres. That would get you around 6.3% abv after bottling (1073/1029). It may not sound like a lot, but that's sure to give you a big buzz when you chug a 750ml bottle of it....and it'd cost about $20.

For a few extra dollars, replace one of the BE2 bags with a 1.5kg can of Coopers light malt extract (unhopped), and do it up to 20 litres. 1067/1023 to give you 6.2% after bottling (19 litres ups it to 6.6% btw).
 

Florian

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Very easy to do if you use IanP's spreadsheet to design your beers. But i'd up the malt extract rather than just sugar to ensure more body in your brew. You shouldn't need more yeast for 6% beer, but if you're getting up over 7% look into yeast starters and the like.
 

Liam_snorkel

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two cans + a kilo of sugaz. both yeast packets. dry hop with nelson sauvin.
~7% in the bottle.
 

slash22000

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I don't want to sound like your mum here or anything, but you want to brew a high ABV beer purely to get drunk and you don't care what it tastes like? Seems like that could lead down a bad road.

That said, it's simple - more fermentables (sugar, malt, etc) = more alcohol, assuming your yeast are up to the task. The 7g pack of yeast that comes with a kit is not enough, two packets might be enough though (quality of the yeast itself notwithstanding).
 

big78sam

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Do a search on "toucan" recipes here, i.e. throw in 2 cans and both yeasts. There is a drinkable 2 can stout recipe floating around that I think from memory is 1 coopers stout kit, one coopers dark kit, 500g brown sugar and the recommendation is to use a better yeast.

Try here for starters

http://www.aussiehomebrewer.com/forum/inde...showtopic=15630
 

carniebrew

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Do a search on "toucan" recipes here, i.e. throw in 2 cans and both yeasts. There is a drinkable 2 can stout recipe floating around that I think from memory is 1 coopers stout kit, one coopers dark kit, 500g brown sugar and the recommendation is to use a better yeast.
Just remember if you're doing two can beers you get double the IBU's...i.e. if you do two Coopers Aust Bitter with 1kg dextrose over 23 litres, yeah you'll have a 7% beer, but with an IBU of 54. You're gonna want to like IPA levels of bitterness. I'd prefer one kit can and one unhopped can.

You could do two kit cans of something with low hops, like the Thomas Coopers Wheat or Mexican Cerveza.
 

leevalentine001

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Awesome, thanks for the replies! I'm not sure if Big W stock the LME cans but I'll definitely keep an eye out. I usually make 23 litres so the closer I can get to that, the better. 19 litres at 6.6% sounds perfect to me. I assume that's including the sugar from bottle conditioning? Or does it still go up another .5% or so?

And thanks Florian, I have downloaded that and gave it a quick go but I found it a bit confusing (or overwhelming perhaps). Most of the choices are things I've never heard of and terms I don't really know. But I saved it to my phone cause I'm sure it will come in handy sooner or later.
 

carniebrew

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Awesome, thanks for the replies! I'm not sure if Big W stock the LME cans but I'll definitely keep an eye out. I usually make 23 litres so the closer I can get to that, the better. 19 litres at 6.6% sounds perfect to me. I assume that's including the sugar from bottle conditioning? Or does it still go up another .5% or so?

And thanks Florian, I have downloaded that and gave it a quick go but I found it a bit confusing (or overwhelming perhaps). Most of the choices are things I've never heard of and terms I don't really know. But I saved it to my phone cause I'm sure it will come in handy sooner or later.
I included the .4% bump you get from bottle priming in my numbers.

If you can't get an unhopped extract tin at Big W, you can get 2 boxes of their 500gm DME instead. So you'd have the Aust Bitter can, 1 pack of BE2 and 2 packs of DME, that'd give you (in 19 litres) around 6.4% after bottle conditioning, with gravities of 1066/1022 and an IBU of 32.5ish.

Mind you thinking about it more, it would be easier to just get 2 cans of Mexican Cerveza, 1 bag of BE2 and pitch both yeasts on 21 litres....6.5% after bottle priming with an IBU of 32.
 

leevalentine001

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I included the .4% bump you get from bottle priming in my numbers.

If you can't get an unhopped extract tin at Big W, you can get 2 boxes of their 500gm DME instead. So you'd have the Aust Bitter can, 1 pack of BE2 and 2 packs of DME, that'd give you (in 19 litres) around 6.4% after bottle conditioning, with gravities of 1066/1022 and an IBU of 32.5ish.

Mind you thinking about it more, it would be easier to just get 2 cans of Mexican Cerveza, 1 bag of BE2 and pitch both yeasts on 21 litres....6.5% after bottle priming with an IBU of 32.
All of this sounds good to me! Any particular brand of Mexican Cerveza? Ie. Will Big W be likely to stock one? Also, is there a benefit of using 2 cans instead of extra sugars? I imagine it will cost a little more. Will 1066 not go lower than 1022 with those ingredients? And would using the same ingredients with a different yeast produce the same result but with a higher abv?
 

carniebrew

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All of this sounds good to me! Any particular brand of Mexican Cerveza? Ie. Will Big W be likely to stock one? Also, is there a benefit of using 2 cans instead of extra sugars? I imagine it will cost a little more. Will 1066 not go lower than 1022 with those ingredients? And would using the same ingredients with a different yeast produce the same result but with a higher abv?
I'm talking about the Coopers Cerveza, they have it advertised on their website so i'd assume they'd have it in store. And yes, if you read my post again using 2 cans will give you extra hop bitterness, up to you if you consider that a benefit or not! Do you like heavily hopped or lightly hopped brews? If the former, do two cans (and you get two yeast packets). If the latter, do 1 can and extra malt/sugar.

As for yeast, the kit yeast is already a high attenuator, I don't think any specialty yeast will yield a lower FG...but will certainly change the flavour somewhat. But you said you wanted cheap, so I still suggest 2 x mexican cerveza with a box of BE2 and both kit yeasts.
 

Diesel80

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Lee,

if not worried about the flavour, just grab a bottle of Kentucky Gold bourbon.
That sh!t is foul but will give you a buzz for well over an hour and is very portable. If you over-indulge your head will still be buzzing for hours and hours the next day. Good value! :icon_drunk:

Otherwise, i would go the Toucan route if you want to make some strong beer from kits that is pretty drinkable. Watch the IBUs if you don't like your beer bitter :p

Cheers,
D80
 

leevalentine001

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Thanks again Carnie, and whoops sorry I overlooked the part about extra hops. I do prefer strongly hopped beers so I think I'll definitely give that recipe a go as soon as my 2 ciders are finished.

Diesel, I used to work at Liquorland and we sold a tonne of Kentucky gold. I was curious and gave it a try. Honestly I didn't think it was much worse than JB but to be fair, bourbon is pretty much the only brown spirit I'm not very fond of.

They cost $30 now (they were $27 when I worked there). Really not worth the money when you can brew 2-3 slabs (9 litre slabs) of beer for the same price. That, and there's $20-$22 bottles of locally made spirits available at many of the smaller bottle shops (vodkas, whiskeys, brandy, tequila - just about anything).

Next thing to search for (and possibly make a new topic for if I can't find it) is the use of malt in an apple cider (how it affects the flavour).
 

slash22000

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Next thing to search for (and possibly make a new topic for if I can't find it) is the use of malt in an apple cider (how it affects the flavour).
What you're looking for is called "Graff".
 

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