Do you want to increase the Alcohol By Volume (ABV) of your homebrew? Yes, we know you do. The best way to increase the ABV is to add more fermentable sugar for your yeast to consume. Unfortunately, simply adding a few extra cups of sugar to your wort and hoping for success won’t give you the beer you desire. However, there are steps you can take to ensure that you do. Here’s how.
High Gravity Yeast
This is the most important step. Consider the yeast you intend to use. Can it handle an increase in sugar? Not all beer yeasts are created equal, and some strains simply lack the capability to produce additional alcohol.
Moreover, even if the strain can produce a higher percentage, low cell count can lead to stress. Stressed yeast produces off-flavors and other unpleasant characteristics. To avoid this, you may need to create a yeast starter.
ACE Stacked Fermentation Tank
Increase ABV With Malt Extract
Here’s what you should know about adjusting the volume of malt extract in your brew. When it comes to increasing gravity, one pound of dry malt extract adds approximately 1.008 specific gravity points per 5 gallons, while one pound of liquid malt extract adds approximately 1.007 specific gravity points per 5 gallons. When adding malt extract, the following may occur:
– It increases the overall body of the beer.
– It results in a higher finishing gravity.
– It imparts a sweeter malt taste.
– It may potentially reduce perceived hop bitterness.
– It can add a spicy flavor and aroma.
– It might intensify the alcohol warmth.
Adding Simple Sugars To Increase ABV
Simple sugars are another excellent option for boosting ABV. One pound of sugar adds approximately 1.009 specific gravity points per 5 gallons. When adding more simple sugars (such as corn sugar, table sugar, honey, or Brewer’s Crystals), the following may occur:
– It increases dryness.
– It reduces the overall body of the beer.
– It enhances perceived hop bitterness.
– Excessive simple sugars can result in poor fermentation.
– It adds a spicy flavor and aroma, as well as increased alcohol warmth.
Finding Balance With High ABV Beers
Increasing the alcohol content will alter the intended flavor, aroma, and texture of the finished beer. Recipes are formulated to achieve a balance between malt sweetness, hop bitterness, and other fermentation characteristics. Changing the ABV interferes with the original recipe’s balance.
You’ll need to experiment. This might involve increasing the quantity of other ingredients (such as hops and additives) to maintain a balance of flavor and aroma, or it might require something else entirely. Have fun experimenting!