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Full flavored lower abv beers

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by dumptruck81, Jan 14, 2013.

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  1. dumptruck81

    dumptruck81 Initiate (174) Dec 28, 2011 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Kind of an ISO thread. What are some of the better fuller flavored lower abv beers? I love beer but I find myself usually seeking out the bigger flavor higher abv stuff and I don't really want the abv, just the flavor. Looking for beers sub 5%, 7%, 8%, etc...

    Knowing what little I do about brewing I know that you can mash in at a higher temp leaving more body/flavor with less abv. I know there are other ways like hop/other flavor additions/mouthfeel ingredients to achieve great beer with lower abv.

    Gumballhead, stone vanilla smoked porter, jk commercial suicide, and sours are the good ones I can think of.
  2. Droogins

    Droogins Initiate (0) Sep 4, 2012 Massachusetts

    Notch Polotmavy

    Edit: Actually, Notch anything.
  3. m4ttj0nes

    m4ttj0nes Aspirant (204) Feb 21, 2012 Oregon
    Beer Trader

    Lagunitas Day Time Fractional IPA
  4. PABeerGeek74

    PABeerGeek74 Initiate (0) Jul 5, 2012 Pennsylvania

    Atwater Vanilla Java Porter is 6%
    powz87 likes this.
  5. Dennoman

    Dennoman Initiate (0) Aug 20, 2011 Belgium

    If Fullers London Porter is available around your area: stock up. It's my go-to beer for when I just want something dark and flavorful without breaking the ABV bank.
    ZethOfTheNorth likes this.
  6. cubbyswans

    cubbyswans Aspirant (238) Jun 10, 2008 Missouri
    Beer Trader

    Guinness! You can eat that beer with a fork!
  7. VncentLIFE

    VncentLIFE Meyvn (1,417) Feb 16, 2011 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald is like 5%.
    DrDemento456 and mecummins like this.
  8. Jacobob10

    Jacobob10 Poo-Bah (1,599) Feb 23, 2004 New Jersey

    Carton Boat Beer was the first thing that came to mind. I think it's only available on tap though.
    jlenik likes this.
  9. BedetheVenerable

    BedetheVenerable Meyvn (1,023) Sep 5, 2008 Missouri

    This may or may not be something you're interested in, but I brew largely (though not exclusively, by any means) low-gravity (3-4.5%) English ales. Missed my OG on a standard bitter a few weeks ago and it's only 2.99% abv, but has an IMMENSE amount of flavor for the gravity. If you're really into low-grav. beers, take up homebrewing and brew whatever styles you like, in lower gravity. Works great for English, German, and many American 'styles' as well! Plus, since there are often less fermentables, unless you late-hop the crap out of these brews, they're some of the most economical to brew as well!
    BILF and dumptruck81 like this.
  10. dumptruck81

    dumptruck81 Initiate (174) Dec 28, 2011 Texas
    Beer Trader

    I'm really interested in heading that direction. My goal so far is low abv quads, trippels, stouts/porters, hoppy brews, and sours(when I get there). I'd like to try some commercial versions first to get more ideas though.

    I realize things like quads are generally meant to be bigger high abv beers but I figure you should be able to somewhat duplicate the taste without the high abv.
  11. barleywinefiend

    barleywinefiend Initiate (0) Nov 22, 2007 Washington

    ISA and Berliner.
  12. shuntstout

    shuntstout Initiate (191) Apr 2, 2010 New Mexico
    Beer Trader

    Berliner Weiss' are amazing, especially Solstice d ete from Dieu Du Ciel! Also gueuzes and Drinkin in the sun from Mikkeller
    GrindFatherBob likes this.
  13. dbfp210

    dbfp210 Initiate (0) Jun 27, 2012 Pennsylvania

    DFH 60 min. 6%.
  14. TravisR

    TravisR Initiate (116) Dec 31, 2012 New Jersey

    Stone Levitation. Delicious and 4.4%
  15. nickapalooza86

    nickapalooza86 Initiate (0) Feb 23, 2010 Wisconsin

    Miller lite, I tried it after the second hops version came out but now with the new triple hops version, well all I have to say is all other beers need not apply!
  16. Lipsntoes

    Lipsntoes Initiate (0) Jul 15, 2012 Ohio

    FFF Pride and Joy pale ale.
  17. BedetheVenerable

    BedetheVenerable Meyvn (1,023) Sep 5, 2008 Missouri

    In terms of quads, but with lower alcohol, there are some dubbels out there that get SOME of the same flavors, though part of a quad's flavor profile comes as a result of the bigger malt character/alcohol. I particularly like Goose Island's Pere Jacques, at 8% (it may have risen in the newest batch, I'm not sure). At around 2 years old though, it's pure, toasty, malty, fruity gold. Love it. Also, maybe look at St. Bernardus 6 and 8, especially the 6, which is only 6.7% and really tasty.
  18. skinsfan

    skinsfan Zealot (583) May 24, 2005 Maryland
    Beer Trader

    These are all around 5% abv or so and I usually always have some of these on hand at all times:

    Stone Levitation
    Lagunitas Daytime IPA
    Yards Philly Pale Ale and Brawler
    Full Sail Black Lager
    Victory Headwaters and Prima Pils
    Founders All Day IPA
    Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier
    Kostritzer Schwarzbier
    21st Amendment Bitter American
    Half Acre Daisy Cutter
    FFF Pride and Joy and Gumballhead

    Many others I am missing I am sure. Cheers
    Bitter_Echo and Profchaos20 like this.
  19. BladeRunner

    BladeRunner Aspirant (210) Apr 4, 2007 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Fullers ESB, Founders Porter, Anchor Porter, Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout and Rodenbach Classic and Grand Cru come to mind.
  20. ThickNStout

    ThickNStout Poo-Bah (2,091) Mar 8, 2011 Georgia
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Samuel Smith Organic Chocolate Stout is delicious and doesn't break the bank.
    yuriruley, UHCougar12 and BladeRunner like this.
  21. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,031) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    I, too, brew a number of low-gravity beers (usually between 3.0 and 3.5%). Can you in all honesty say that you can see these finding any sort of purchase in the current U.S. craft scene? My smoked mild, though bursting with flavor for such a "small" beer -- and easy to knock back 5-6 of without feeling intoxicated -- would hardly make a ripple at what passes for a "tasting" among beer geeks these days. Sorry, but I never see low ABV beers in the UK style catching on here.
  22. Mandark

    Mandark Initiate (0) Apr 8, 2008 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Taras Boulba by Brasserie de La Senne--4.5% Belgian Pale Ale, amazing when fresh: http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/16320/32846

    Four by Upright--excellent, slightly funky yet crisp saison also 4.5% (their Five might be even better): http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/19866/49537

    The Entire Butt by Salopian--how can you resist the name, right? Historically, this was the name given to porters that were a blend of ales (or, so the back of the bottle tells me), and this one is very complex for 4.8%: http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/282/771

    And some love for a couple local breweries....
    Gossamer by Half Acre--solid summertime crisp blonde ale that is loaded with delicious, and only 4.2%: http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/18006/54770

    Well Read Temptress by Pipeworks--these guys bounced back from the first bad batch of Blue Lady with a really well done Berliner Weiss, made with raspberries: http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/28178/86321/?ba=cnbrown313

    There are so many more, but these are some recent examples I enjoyed. Except Taras Boulba: I had that first a few years ago and I would buy it by the case if money allowed!
  23. StoutChaser7D

    StoutChaser7D Initiate (171) Nov 16, 2012 California

    Deschutes Obsidian Stout - 6.4 I believe, very tasty and not too expensive.
  24. glaze3

    glaze3 Initiate (17) Jul 29, 2010 Nevada

    Firestone Velvet Merlin 5.5%
  25. PatriotsRule

    PatriotsRule Aspirant (257) Sep 25, 2012 Massachusetts

    Otter creek stovepipe portah at 4.4%
  26. Hawkharvs

    Hawkharvs Initiate (0) Sep 9, 2012 Iowa

    Tallgrass Buffalo Sweat oatmeal stout....5%
    jmbranum likes this.
  27. tectactoe

    tectactoe Initiate (0) Mar 20, 2012 Michigan

    Founders All Day IPA, New Holland The Poet.
    Bitter_Echo and GR_Rick like this.
  28. BedetheVenerable

    BedetheVenerable Meyvn (1,023) Sep 5, 2008 Missouri

    Sadly, I largely agree with you...why I gots to brew my own, as this is what I love (two trips to England got me hooked!) just as much as the big beers...
  29. nc41

    nc41 Meyvn (1,483) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    I don't target by ABV, but Gumball is an incredible brew. Wish it was in a can, the perfect beach pool beer.
  30. mecummins

    mecummins Initiate (0) Nov 16, 2012 Illinois

    I second Buffalo Sweat. Great flavor and so creamy.

    If you can get Two Brothers ' Domaine DuPage French Style Country Ale, you should give it a shot. It comes in at 5.9% and is an great example of a Biere de Garde.
    creepinjeeper likes this.
  31. EnronCFO

    EnronCFO Devotee (498) Mar 29, 2007 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    Agreed. Had Cerne Pivo on tap the other night. Not a style everyone appreciates, but that's a damn solid beer.

    In a similar vein of dark lagers, Harpoon's Munich Dark is a pretty easy drinking, fuller bodied beer and perfect for the winter.
  32. luwak

    luwak Aspirant (269) Mar 2, 2010 Arizona
    Beer Trader

    Almost all lambic, gueuze, kriek, and many saisons....
  33. Providence

    Providence Initiate (0) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    Brooklyn Lager
    Smuttynose Robust Porer
    Sam Smith Oatmeal stout
  34. fmccormi

    fmccormi Meyvn (1,299) Oct 24, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    Captain Lawrence Freshchester Pale Ale = well-balanced APA, $10/ sixer (5.6% ABV)
    Ommegang Witte = really, really solid witbier true to style but unique, too (5.2% ABV)
    Sixpoint Sweet Action = best cream ale I've ever had, $8-10/ 4-pack (5.2% ABV)
    Weyerbacher Verboten = very flavorful and spot-on Belgian Pale Ale (5.9% ABV)
    Stillwater Beer Table - Table Beer = one of the funkiest, brettiest things I've ever drank, but pricey (4.7% ABV)

    And as mentioned above, Victory Headwaters Pale Ale and Prima Pils are both excellent.
  35. Tut

    Tut Initiate (0) Sep 23, 2004 New York

    That's one of the oldest Guinness myths and just plain stupid. BA's should know better.
    Hotmetal1 likes this.
  36. Tut

    Tut Initiate (0) Sep 23, 2004 New York

    English Milds are below 4% and very hearty and flavorful. There are some excellent American craft Miles on tap, if you can find them.
  37. onefalsemove711

    onefalsemove711 Initiate (182) Jul 20, 2011 California

    Drakes Alpha Session and Lagunitas Daytime IPA. Cheers!
  38. DamianX13

    DamianX13 Initiate (167) Sep 18, 2012 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Black Butte Porter. 5 %
    StoutChaser7D likes this.
  39. abcramer

    abcramer Disciple (348) Feb 6, 2010 Pennsylvania

    While not available to most BA's because it's produced by a nanobrewery in Ephrata, PA, I have to give a shout-out to St. Boniface Bulls Head Mild. Made for the Bulls Heads Public House in Lititz, PA, this mild is full of flavor, but is somewhere in the 3% to 4% range. A wonderful session beer!
  40. Leepa_Time

    Leepa_Time Initiate (0) Jan 4, 2013 Maryland

    tonight i'm drinking Smuttynose Robust Porter. 5.3%
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