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... ABV% that is.

A colleague of mine asked me recently whether it is possible to brew a low alcohol beer without sacrificing all body, flavour & aroma. I've thinking about it and now I'm curious. I've brewed an American Wheat Beer that came in at 3.6% ABV due to 50% extraction efficiency, and the beer was really nice. The body was definitely on the lite side but the hops were nice and the beer was a nice easy quaffer.

I know some people may find this kind of talk offensive but wouldn't it be nice to have good beer you can drink all day and still be standing at the end of it.

So my topics for discussion are:

- What's the lowest ABV% beer you've ever brewed and what was it like?
- How low can you go and still have a nice beer? Can you go as low as 2% ?


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I've brewed 3% bitters that were great at cellar temp but I'm not sure how they'd hold up "cold 'n' gassy"...
I love them. As Barry once said "I'm a thirsty boy".

I agree with him. They're my favourite types of beer when you've got a group of good friends, a fair bit of time on your hands, and much to be discussed. They're my favourite type of beer at home alone when I'm cooking the dinner too!

Actually, I've got one in the FE now. WLP002 and around 3.7%... 2 kegs... should be drinking it early next week.
I'm not sure how they'd hold up "cold 'n' gassy"...

probably not well, it's not a beer that lends itself to cold & gassy. if c & g's how you like'm, go for a light Blonde, kolsch or a good NZ Draught
Haven't Brewdog just released a 1% beer? Nanny State or something...
Music to my ears at the mo Mr Cherry, if you check out the Thread 'Moderation Pale Ale' you will see that my current goal is to make a 3.3% IPA packed full of body and flavour, but a low ABV to allow me to punish lots of it in the sun, without being punished myself ;o) haha

What ive tried so far, is mashing high with more crystals than I would usually use, and in another beer I upped the crystal, mashed high, and used 20% rye as Rye allways lends an oily mouthfeel which I thought might help counter a thin bodied result??? Theyre both still in the fermenters atm, but I will make sure to let everyone know how they turn out, im not going to stop till I get it perfect!!

The lowest ive gone, is 2.5%, that was the scottish 60/- and the body was definately sacrificed, I think from memory it went from 1036 to 1016 and it felt thin, not creamy and full, it had a fair whack of crystals in it as well...

Do a bit of a search on jump mashing, ive regularly read posts from AHB's butters who brews beers around 1-3% using this technique, ive read of him drinking a beer that is 1.1% or something ridiculously low?? Probably just enough fermentation to get a fermentation character?? Interesting stuff!
Rev, I did a little reading on jump mashing and it seems, in a nut-shell, to be mash-in at acid rest temp and leave it for 20-30 min then increase mash temp to mash-out temp for the remainder of the mash. Apparently you get a full body, full flavour beer with 1-2% ABV. Interesting stuff alright!!!

Why don't you try it and let us know how you get on ;-)
I was brewing a english bitter a bit over a year ago, about 1.04 OG and 35IBUs. Anyway I still had a few gremlins in my set up, not least in my copper cooling coil. The hose broke off while I wasn't looking and filled the kettle up with maybe 7 litres of water. Nightmare right. It came in at about 1.026 and I just threw the yeast in and let it go. It actually tasted ok, not a complete disaster. My wife was breast feeding at the time so it became her beer of choice.

Typically though I wouldn;t recommend dilution with unsterile rain water as a way to going about obtaining this effect.
I have this acute nervous disorder, that prevents me from brewing anything under about 5.5%. I just can't do it, is there therapy or anything for this kind of thing?
Yes there is therapy for that condition Tony, it's 3.7% ABV and it's called Bookbinder ;-)
I did a mild for the homebrew comp this year and due to a bit of a cockup all round I ended up with 2.2%. The main note from the judges was a lack of finish (I'm ignoring the off note here), it seemed to just peeter out at the end. Shame really as the prior 3.5% attempt was a lot better in the finish.

Maybe a "low alcohol" beer could be the next wellington WBC beer (although I shall not be saying it out loud on the day :o)
Brewing 3% table beer is fine, but there is no substitute for a beer brewed with loads and loads of ingredients!! I dont realy dig on talking about the sutilties in the malt where you stuggling to taste it, because they put fuck all in it, or the the balanced end of pallete hoppyness, or doing the old wait for it wait for it wait for it oh there it is now its gone. Give me a smack in the mouth of flavour anyday!! I will drink both but I seem to allways remember the bigger before the hum whats it oh yeah the 3% beer any day!!
these are beers i like just drinking
i'm not bothered at all about talking about subtlety - you can have your figgy pudding in a barleywine. these beers transcend trashy wank talk... I'd call them catalysts for good conversation - but they can't be seeing that they are consumed and changed during the process (me english not good enought to find a better word).
There's no problem getting flavours in a 3.5% beer, the hard bit is getting the flavours and the right balance

I'd rather have an evening drinking 3.5%'ers than having two or three rip snorters and snoozing off in front of the telly before the game's finished

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