raising alcohol question?

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by MP72, May 8, 2012.

  1. MP72

    MP72 Savant (260) Pennsylvania Sep 25, 2006

    I was wondering what would be the easiest way to increase the alcohol content using a kit? This weekends IPA will only be my second homebrew but the guy at the store was saying I can tweak the ABV but did not say how. Not a big issue but would be nice if possible.
     
  2. More malt or sugar will do the trick.
     
  3. MP72

    MP72 Savant (260) Pennsylvania Sep 25, 2006

    Thanks ,, does it matter if its DME or LME?
     
  4. Nope, its all fermentable. DME is generally preferred over LME by the extract brewers from what I hear. Since you are doing an IPA table sugar wouldnt be bad is it will completely ferment out and leave the beer more dry.

    Edit: maybe not completely 100% ferment out, but a much higher percentage than any extract will.
     
  5. MP72

    MP72 Savant (260) Pennsylvania Sep 25, 2006

    Great Thank you for the help.
     
  6. krugulitis

    krugulitis Zealot (80) California Jan 19, 2008

    I agree with using table sugar. You can add DME, but your color will be darker and your beer sweeter - this isn't a bad thing, but i prefer my IPA's bone dry and I have had good success using up to 10% sugar. Keep in mind also that if you raise the alcohol of your beer your IBU will drop.
     
  7. VikeMan

    VikeMan Champion (855) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009 Verified

    Table sugar (sucrose) is 100% fermentable by ale and lager yeasts. So unless the yeast craps out, your first thought was correct.
     
  8. toastw

    toastw Aficionado (115) Texas Aug 16, 2008

    For an IPA, I think sugar's your best bet. It'll offer some good fermentables and help give you a dry finish. For a 5-gallon batch, not sure what you're after, but I think a pound would be plenty.
     
  9. VikeMan

    VikeMan Champion (855) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009 Verified

    What's the expected ABV of the kit? And how high do you want it? And why?
     
  10. VikeMan

    VikeMan Champion (855) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009 Verified

    One pound of table sugar in a 5 gallon batch will add about 9 points of OG. And about a 1.2% bump in ABV.
     
    arkinsparkin likes this.
  11. MP72

    MP72 Savant (260) Pennsylvania Sep 25, 2006

    It is saying 5.6 - 6%
     
  12. MP72

    MP72 Savant (260) Pennsylvania Sep 25, 2006

    I tend to prefer dryer IPA's anyway similar to Torpedo so if table sugar will make it a bit dryer and hike the ABV this would be perfect.
     
  13. MP72

    MP72 Savant (260) Pennsylvania Sep 25, 2006

    I would be happy with something in the 6.5-7 percent range but as I said in the OP its certainly not a huge issue if theres a chance of ruining the batch.
     
  14. VikeMan

    VikeMan Champion (855) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009 Verified

    'Technically' adding sugar will not make the beer drier, because the final gravity will not change. However, it will subjectively seem drier from a 'dry for its ABV' perspective (because you increased the ABV without increasing the final gravity.)
     
    MP72 likes this.
  15. MP72

    MP72 Savant (260) Pennsylvania Sep 25, 2006

    I see ,, maybe I will go ahead and try one pound of sugar and see how this turns out. Experimenting is all part of the fun. Thanks for the helpful info.
     
  16. VikeMan

    VikeMan Champion (855) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009 Verified

    Well, 3/4 of a pound would put you right in that range. It's not going to ruin the beer, but to tell the truth, I wouldn't be looking to modify a kit that I had never brewed before, i.e. not knowing what it is I'm really changing flavorwise.
     
  17. MP72

    MP72 Savant (260) Pennsylvania Sep 25, 2006

    You make a very good point,, it may be a dry beer to begin with. I am going off the fact that most of the IPA's I buy tend to still be sweet and malty while being highly hopped. SN Torpedo and Stone seen drier and more on par with what I like. Maybe I will brew the kit as is and then move on to trying some clones etc..
    I really do appreciate all the input I get here at the Homebrew forum. My first batch English Bitter turned out nice by the way too which is just giving me more enthusiasm.
     
  18. ryane

    ryane Savant (380) Washington Nov 21, 2007

    If your doing a partial boil it will be difficult to get the IBU's high enough without adding the sugar (high sugar concentration lowers IBU extraction efficiency) So boil as much as you can, add the extract and sugar late in the boil

    You should also note that adding sugar may throw off the balance of the beer a bit, it might be helpful if you posted the recipe or kit so we can comment on that as well
     
  19. yinzer

    yinzer Savant (395) Pennsylvania Nov 24, 2006

    If it's a kit I don't think that it will be dry. What extract is it using? If it's LME is it canned? Who makes it?

    Some extracts are made with the intent to add sugar.
     
  20. Agold

    Agold Advocate (510) Pennsylvania Mar 13, 2010

    Actually since alcohol is less dense than water you will lower the FG and thin the beer out by adding sugar.
     
  21. VikeMan

    VikeMan Champion (855) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009 Verified

    Yes, I was expecting someone would point that out. But the impact of that phenomenon (for the amount of sugar we're talking about) on the FG is pretty small. But you are correct.
     
  22. MP72

    MP72 Savant (260) Pennsylvania Sep 25, 2006

    Brewers best and it contains LME and DME I think I am just going to follow it as is.