Home brewing antics can now be found at my other blog; http://gettinggrist.blogspot.com/

Friday, 9 July 2010

The People's Pint

Despite all my enthusiasm and drive, I failed. I have beer, but not quite as expected. Let me explain.

CAMRA (campaign for real ale) launched a campaign last year for zero duty on all beers at 2.8% and below. The idea was to get people back into pubs, with cheap pints, whilst promoting responsible drinking. Some may argue a beer with such little alcohol is not worth having.

So, as an experiment, those of us at North Hampshire Brewers decided to have a crack at brewing a beer up to 2.8% abv. Any style, any ingredients, to see if it was possible to create a beer, within the limits, that was worth coming back for more.

Sadly, my yeast over performed and my brew has come in at 3.1% abv

My plan was to produce a wort with a high initial gravity and then use a low attenuating yeast so less of the sugars were turned to alcohol. The yeast I chose was Windsor, which I've never had finish lower than 1015 in the past (albeit in higher gravity beers). On this occasion it stopped at 1012, which still leaves a bit of body, but as the original gravity was 1036 I make the final alcohol content 3.1%

To be honest, I was a little scared of starting too low and ending up with forty pints of water. At least I'll have a beer that's drinkable, although sadly, no good for our experiment.

For what it's worth, my recipe was as follows;

91% Lager Malt
9% Belgian Aromatic Malt
Mashed at 68deg
Hopped with First Gold and Aurora

I was hoping the aromatic malt would deliver quite a bit of maltiness, beneath the zingy, sunshine hops.

I've bottled it today and it will be tasted at the next meeting of the North Hampshire Brewers at the end of this month.


  1. I have had the same problem with low abv beers, it always ends up fermenting out more than I want. If you tried using a munich malt or mild ale malt as a base malt (less nitrogen), or bulk it out with caramel malts (increase the unfermentables) it could help. Other than that you could always try underpitching your yeast trying to stop the fermentation early by forced cooling. This is what I do but don't always catch it in time.

  2. Thanks Rob. I did mean to force cool it but the yeast went mental, climbing out of the fermenter. By the time it had settled down it was already at 1012. I like your idea of changing the base malt. Perhaps I'll try that if I give it another go sometime.