High alcohol ABV

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LED_ZEP

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I've noticed a few posts since lock-down from people new to brewing looking for a High ABV in TC's and wines so thought I'd put this out there.

I've done few experiments to see how high I can push the ABV over the years and 20-21% is about the limit I've got. The two main things I found were:
1) It took so long to get the last 4% to ferment out I could have fermented another 23l of 15 - 16% in that time from scratch. So if you're trying to get an higher ABV for "things that can't be mentioned on here" it's a false economy.
2) The other was that it meant not stressing the yeast. By this I mean keeping the temp constant and at the low end for the yeast's recommended temp range and sugar feeding (i.e. starting with a O.G. of around 1.090 (12% ish) and as the sugar is used up adding a little more in steps.
I like to think about it as offering the yeast that "wafer thin mint", they know they have had enough but just can't stop!

 

Chippy_Tea

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I posted this in another thread earlier.



How did you get it to 23.5% i was under the impression (as the article below says) 16% is pushing it though it can go higher occasionally.


First of all, when making a high alcohol wine, you have to resign yourself to the fact that you are fighting an uphill battle. This is because wine yeast has been bred for decades to produce wines that are 10 to 13 percent alcohol, just like the wines you'll find at the store. So when you attempt to make wines that are beyond 13%, you must understand that it is necessary to nurture the fermentation along.

You must also have a realistic view of how much alcohol you can expect to make. There have been times on rare occasions when 19 or 20 percent has been obtained, but in reality 15 or 16 percent is closer to the norm and 17 or 18 percent is usually considered a godsend. Also, be prepared for fermentations that just can't do much beyond 13 or 14 percent. Different fruits, mix of nutrients and overall fermentation environment contribute to the unpredictability of a fermentation.




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Mr_S_Jerusalem

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Lol it’s kind of hilarious because high alcohol wine tastes AWFUL in my opinion. (Unless we talking Madeira or something obviously)

I mean guys just make twice as much instead, then drink twice as much then you still be happy boyos lol.

Why you setting your sights at unrealistic expectations? You wasting your time.
 

LED_ZEP

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Lol it’s kind of hilarious because high alcohol wine tastes AWFUL in my opinion. (Unless we talking Madeira or something obviously)

I mean guys just make twice as much instead, then drink twice as much then you still be happy boyos lol.

Why you setting your sights at unrealistic expectations? You wasting your time.
I agree, that's exactly what I meant by a false economy, especially when further processing the end result. Just make two batches and end up with more total alcohol.
When it comes to wine (dessert wines apart) 11% -13% is where you want to be for taste.
but it's still fun to experiment.
 

johncrobinson

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I used (past tense) to do a lot of high alcohol fermentation's mainly out of interest but also to produce sherry/port clones.
These days i make to a lower abv and then fortify with shop bought spirit.

It is still interesting as to how far a natural fermentation can be pushed though.
 

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