Correction for Low FG Beer

Posted on 04.12.08 7:16PM under Brewing, IPA, Troubleshooting

I made the Post Natal IPA-Style beer a few months ago. A 3.5% ABV beer. It’s hard to make such a small beer. I used like 25% crystal malts, and still got a FG of about 1.006. It’s dry. I like a dry IPA, but this is just too dry sometimes.

I got a neat idea tonight, so I tried it. I put a little packet of Xylitol – one gram – in a single serving of the beer. I had to mix it a lot, so I just put a little beer in there and mixed it well to dissolve all the Xylitol, and then poured the rest of the beer. This had two effects. First, the head was big and fluffy, thanks to a half ounce of beer being whipped into a frenzy – nice lacing, too. Second, the beer is not dry any more. It feels really nice and full, but it still has a great deep bitterness and hop character. I wonder how much nonfermentable sugar (such as dextrine or lactose) I’d need to add to the boil to get this same effect across the entire batch. I guess about 50 grams…

Xylitol is a “dietary supplement”. It’s supposed to be good for your teeth somehow, but it seems to me to be a bit like NutraSweet and similar sugar substitutes. Though they say it doesn’t have Saccharine or Aspartame… But it was a simple convenient small packet to try for this use. I wonder if Xylitol is fermentable? It might be useful to increase beer body for use even during the boil. But I couldn’t see myself cutting open 50 packets of Xylitol on brew day. Maybe I can get it in bulk.

Since I have that Mindbender Jr. “Small IPA” in the fermenter with an OG of 1.030, I expect a super dry beer, too. I just might try this Xylitol trick on that beer, too. I suppose you could probably use a gram of table sugar in the glass and get a similar effect, if you could measure out a gram of table sugar.

Read Comments

  1. Posted by BobbyO on 04.12.08 11:24 PM

    Excepted items of interest from Wikipedia:

    Xylitol is a five-carbon sugar alcohol that is used as a sugar substitute. Xylitol is a naturally occurring sweetener found in the fibers of many fruits and vegetables, including various berries, corn husks, oats, and mushrooms. It can be extracted from corn fibre, birch, raspberries, plums, and corn. Xylitol is roughly as sweet as sucrose but with only two-thirds the food energy.

    Chemical name: 1,2,3,4,5-Pentahydroxypentane

    Xylitol, like most sugar alcohols, can have a laxative effect, because sugar alcohols are not fully broken down during digestion.

    Naturally occurring or not, I don’t like the idea of beer making me poop.

  2. Posted by Keith Brainard on 04.13.08 6:02 AM

    Yeast tends to have that same effect.

    But there’s a niche product: Laxitive Beer.

    Milk Stout of Magnesia
    India Glycerine Ale
    Castor Oil Amber Lager
    Colace Ale
    Citrucel Genuine Draft