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Old 11-09-2012, 08:12 PM   #1
gregmcc
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Default An even noobier question

OK so can someone tell me what governs the alcohol content? Is it the amount of sugar, the amount of yeast or the time you let it ferment? Ive seen recipes for varying quantities using the same amount of yeast (I think)
any hints or tips greatly absorbed



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Old 11-09-2012, 08:31 PM   #2
lukehgriffiths
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Default Re: An even noobier question

The fermentable material and the ability of the yeast to ferment it (given in its vital statistics as a percentage).

Pale Malt provides plenty of fermentation enablers, darker malts need to be enabled by pale malt (Maris Otter usually or extract).

Table sugar is totally fermentable so the yeast can convert that into alcohol directly.

Various things limit the process e.g. if left too long to ferment it can change the style of respiration and it may be more likely to get infested by nasties (either not good).

Note that this is based on learned knowledge not experience and the more trained hands can probably help. I hope that being a novice my terms are that of the layman and don't over-complicate things.



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Old 11-09-2012, 08:49 PM   #3
Dave1970
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Default Re: An even noobier question

If you have a look at the calculators link you'll find an ABV calculator. Alcohol content is calculated from the drop from the OG (Original Gravity) to the FG (Final Gravity)...this is how much sugar has been converted to alcohol.
OG is the amount of sugars in your wort - whether they're from sugar, malt extract or extracted from grains by mashing
FG is what's left when the yeasties are finished - it can vary according to the yeast strain, some have higher attenuation than others (attenuation is how much of the available sugars they'll convert - expressed as a %), temperature, pitching rate (how much yeast), the types of sugars in the wort and how fermentable they are

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Old 11-09-2012, 09:03 PM   #4
gregmcc
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Default Re: An even noobier question

So if I were to use less sugar, there would be less fermentables and when it's all done it would be lower alcohol content? or am I missing the point..........

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Old 11-09-2012, 09:07 PM   #5
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Default Re: An even noobier question

bingo! you are spot on

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Old 11-09-2012, 09:13 PM   #6
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Default Re: An even noobier question

Put simply, the amount of sugar determines alcohol content. So less sugar equals less alcohol. But as in most things it is slightly more complicated. The sugar must be fermentable (not all are readily fermentable) and the yeast can only ferment to a set amount of alcohol. Different yeasts can survive and produce alcohol to different strengths. I could go into more detail, but....

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Old 12-09-2012, 07:54 AM   #7
Andyhull
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Default Re: An even noobier question

So would a wine yeast ferment to a lower SG?



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