Low/mid Alcohol Brews

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I'm looking to put a keg of a mid-strength (about 3 1/2% or so) brew on as part of my standard setup. I'm thinking of a normal kit (haven't decided what yet) with .5kg maltodextrin for added body and minimal alcohol and maybe .25kg dried malt.

Using the calculator on the liquorcraft site this comes to about 3.5% with a 23L batch (vs about 5.5-6% for my normal 18L batches).

Alternatives are to go with some grain instead of the malt??

Ideally I'm after a decent beer that's low alch and still has body and taste. Has anyone brewed such a beast? To date I haven't been impressed with any of the commercial offerings, although I had a couple of schooners of Coopers new Regency light and was pretty impressed.
Hi Tony,
There are some great commercial beers in the 3-4% alc range you could try and see if they 'blow your skirt up' so to speak, them being rogers from Little creatures and montieths original ale to name a couple. Both theres beers are full flavoured beers with great body.
I would personally use 1.5 kg of pale malt rather than the maltodextrin, i don't think many brewers consider maltodextrin something that even should be used in wort production in the first place.
Anyway your on the right track to making a full bodied beer in this range by thinking you need to have a reasonbly high finishing gravity with a low starting gravity.
To do this i mash the grain at 70c and use a yeast strain with lower attenuation than most.
What iam discribing here however is nothing like a cooper regency light but a beer that has as much flavour and body as you can possibly throw at it.
I read somewhere about a micro brewery in one of the states in the US that has to deal with a really tough law in which they can't brew over 4% alc. To still make the fullest flavoured and bodied beers they do this by mashing the grain as high as possible or/and using a yeast with lower attenuation than most.
Iam not that familar with a good kit to base your recipe on but i would be looking at one that is reasonbly well hopped in the kettle to at least 25 ibu.

Now if the beer you are after is something more like a coopers light than i would take a different approach, the beer i write of here is something quite a bit different to that beer and not something any mega brewery in australia would make.
Anyway i hope i have provided some food for thought and i wish you the best of luck with your lower alc brew.
What iam basically getting at is there is more to low alc beers than aussie lights and mids and you might enjoy something a bit more like them.

Cheers Jayse
Hi Jayse, thanks for your reply. I'm really looking for something in the lower end of the 3% range, 3.5% tops. Hence the reason for looking at using maltodextrin (it's only about 30% fermentable).

Personally I don't have an issue using maltodextrin in my brews as I really like the body it adds. I'm thinking I'd have to limit LME to about 0.5kg to do what I want.

I hadn't considered the option of a yeast with a lower attenuation rate; this is certainly something I should consider. I'm not sure how much difference it would make to the end result, percentage wise.

Country Brewer sell a lite booster for brews, it is a 500gm pack and contains 250 gms of LME and 250 gms maltodextrin. It is certainly an easy option for adding to a standard kit to make a mid strength beer.

I find maltodextrin has a weird sort of sweetness to it, try some on a teaspoon next time you open a bag of it.

Jayse's ideas about a mini mash and different yeasts are an excellent path to follow, if you are prepared to spend the extra time on your brews. I know my kits improved out of sight by the addition of some real grain flavour.

Brewing a mid strength beer would lend itself to a smaller full mash brew. So long as you had a big enough pot to boil in, you could mash say 4 kg of grain and then, the range of beers you could put in your keg would be awesome.
tonydav said:
I hadn't considered the option of a yeast with a lower attenuation rate; this is certainly something I should consider. I'm not sure how much difference it would make to the end result, percentage wise.


Hi tony the difference between finishing at 1.015 instead of 1.008 would be 1% so quite a marked difference in a beer that all up is only 3.5%.
It means you can wack more malt in there and start at a higher starting gravity, therefore giving you a more full flavoured and bodied beer.
I would consider not using any adjuncts at all for the beer iam talking about, i think you would be best to stick with all malt. A great grain you can use that doesn't need mashing is carapils and you could even wack in a whole kg if it in that beer. Just some more ideas anyway.
All the best with it.

pint of lager said:
the range of beers you could put in your keg would be awesome.

Some more great ideas there from lager.

Happy brewing
In my early days of brewing i made a low 3.6% beer by simply using a cooper lager to 18 litres only,fermented out with a coopers yeast roused from the bottle.
Simple quite tasty and all malt no adjuncts :D
I recently made an experimental batch and I'm quite happy with this. Double everything for 20 litres, naturally.


10 Litres

550g JW Light Munich
100g British crystal 95-115L
50g Australian chocolate
700g Light dry malt extract
15g Styrian Goldings (5.5% AA, 60 min.)
10g Styrian Goldings (5.5% AA, 15 min.)

Bitterness: 22 IBU
OG: 1.034
FG: 1.008

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