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I'm still relatively new to brewing, but have made about 10 batches using malt extract kits + 1 kg of Coopers Brew Enhancer (instead of sugar).

So far all of the batches I've made have been around about 3.5% - 4.5%. At first I thought I might have been getting some stuck fermentations, but given all of the different extract kits I've tried come out to about the same percentage, I'm guessing that's just how it's meant to be using the ingredients I'm using.

Is there any way to scale these up slightly to about 5% ish without sacrificing too much in the way of taste? From reading around, it seems adding extra sugar will increase the alcohol but make it taste like rubbish, and just adding a whole can of extra malt extract will make it taste too sweet.

There's not too much in the way of home brew stores around here, so I'm pretty much limited to the home brew supplies I can pick up from the super markets. (Eg the extract kits, sugar, brew enhancer, corn syrup etc) so I'm not game to try to move to all grain brewing (which would have given complete control of the recipe + result)

I was thinking about maybe two batches, using 3 cans of extract between them but not sure of the effect that will have. I'm guessing if I only wanted to scale it up by about 1% I probably shouldn't be using all the 3rd can anyway....

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To get from 4.5% to 5% using table sugar will certainly not make the beer taste like rubbish. And if you add a whole can of extract if fermented properly it would be plenty dry and not too sweet. –  brewchez Nov 1 '10 at 18:43
    
okay - I'm going to try a couple of batches using some extra Coopers Brew Enhancer (basically dextrose, maltodextrin and Light Dry Malt) to try and push it up. Do you think an extra 200gms would be a reasonable amount to start with? (eg going from 1kg sugars to 1.2kg sugars to go from 4% to 5% alcohol at the end) –  smylie Nov 4 '10 at 1:41

1 Answer 1

There are a few good homebrew stores that you could order ingredients from. There is no reason to limit yourself to what you can get at the grocery store. Try morebeer.com or northernbrewer.com and get a kit that fits your desires. Also, the more extract you use the more alcohol you will get. A good 5% alcohol beer might be a pale ale with 5lbs. of malt extract and 1/2lb of sugar. Ferment with a yeast that will attenuate 80% of the sugars. Hope this helps. mark www.backyardbrewer.blogspot.com www.thebackyardbrewer.com

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I guess I should have mentioned I'm not from the states. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to get home brew stuff shipped over to nz, but its something I'll definitely bear in mind if I move up to all grain brewing. thanks =) –  smylie Nov 4 '10 at 1:37

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