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Increasing Alcohol Content of Beer Kits

The alcohol content of our ingredient kits can be increased by adding additional fermentable sugars, however, this will alter the intended flavor, aroma, and texture of the finished beer.  The recipes for the kits are formulated to create a balance between the malt sweetness, hop bitterness, and other fermentation characteristics to create an enjoyable beer.  

When additional fermentable sugars are added,  the balance is changed and the resulting beer may not be representative of the original. When attempting to increase the alcohol in a recipe it is helpful to understand how the different sugar sources will affect the outcome.

If you add Malt Extract:

  • 1# of dry malt extract will add approx. 1.008 specific gravity points per 5 gallons
  • 1# of liquid malt extract will add approx. 1.007 specific gravity points per 5 gallons
  • Increases overall body of the beer
  • Possible higher finishing gravity or sweeter malt finish
  • Less perceived hop bitterness
  • Can add a spicy flavor and aroma and increased alcohol warmth

If you add simple sugars (corn sugar, table sugar, honey):

  • 1# of sugar adds approx. 1.009 specific gravity points per 5 gallons
  • Increases dryness in the finish
  • Decreases overall body
  • Increases perceived hop bitterness
  • Too high a percentage can dilute the malt nutrients needed for healthy fermentation
  • Can add a spicy flavor and aroma and increased alcohol warmth

When increasing the alcohol it may be necessary to increase the amount of other ingredients (hops & specialty grains) to maintain a balance of flavor and aroma in the beer.  Also with increased sugar content, you may need to use a yeast starter to avoid off flavors and unpleasant higher alcohol characteristics that are produced by stressed yeast cells. 

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Fermenter's Favorites™ Priming Sugar (Corn Sugar) Ames Farm Artisanal Minnesota Honey