hist-brewing: alcohol w/potatoes

Daniel W. Butler-Ehle dwbutler at mtu.edu
Tue Jun 20 15:08:48 PDT 2000


On Tue, 20 Jun 2000, Steven McDaniel wrote:

> I would like to increase the alcohol content of my summer beer without using
> honey or making the beer so sweet that you can not stand to drink it. I have
> heard you can use potatoes to increase the alcohol content but I have no
> idea how to do it or how much to use. Can anyone help?

Brewing yeast will ferment sugars, not starches.  In order to get 
alcohol from the potatoes in your beer, you have to convert the 
starches into sugars. You probably don't want to do this.

Simple sugars like honey (which is almost all glucose) will
generally increase alcohol, not sweetness in a beer (unless 
you use a ton of it and the high alcohol arrests the fermentation 
before the sugar is used up).  So if you're brewing from 
extract, you could boost the alcohol by adding some corn 
sugar or honey.

If you're brewing from grain, follow a mash temperature 
schedule that favors simpler sugars.

In either case, choose a yeast with a high attenuation and alcohol 
tolerance.  Alternatively, you could just cut your beer with 
vodka or drink Bud Dry.

Cheers, 
Dan Butler-Ehle


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