How To Brew Light Beers That Don’t Suck!
Light beers have a bad reputation. They’re often looked on as low on flavour and an unfortunate necessity if you’re planning on driving. This, however, doesn’t have to be the case. When made correctly low ABV beers can still be flavoursome and delicious. Over the last 12 months we’ve seen more commercial brewers attempt lower abv beers with great success. The Fortitude Pacer, Pirate Life’s Throwback IPA, and Bridge Road’s Little Bling are 3 examples of excellent light beers available on the market. But how do they do it? And why don’t they taste like water? Here are a few tips on how to brew light beers with flavour:
- Cut down the amount of base grains or malts. This is the obvious way to decrease alcohol. The alcohol comes from the fermentable sugars in the grains, so dialing back the malt content also decreased the final alcohol percentage.
- Avoid dextrose and other simple fermentables. Dextrose and other simple sugars don’t contribute any flavour to the beer – only alcohol. A low-ABV beer made with dextrose or sugar would taste thin and watery. To avoid this replace dextrose with malt or malt extract.
- Increase specialty grain content. To counteract the thinner mouthfeel from the decreased alcohol content it is a good idea to slightly increase the amount of specialty malts that you use in your light beer. By increasing the amount of crystal malt, for example, you ensure that head retention and mouthfeel remain strong despite the lower ABV.
- Consider using a less agressive yeast. Another method of achieving a low-abv beer is to finish your beer at a higher final gravity than usual. Ask your local Brewers Choice store manager about yeasts that finish at a higher final gravity.
Here are some of our favourite lower ABV beers for you to try:
Pitchfork Ale – A throwback to our farmhouse and saison month! Farmhouse ales are the session ale’s of belgium and france. This ale uses orange peel and a nice touch of wheat for a light mouthfeel that will keep you coming back.
Sunday Session IPA – Session IPA’s have become more and more popular in recent times. But what exactly is a session IPA? A Session IPA maintains the hoppiness of an IPA but isn’t as full-bodied and alcoholic as a regular IPA. Our “Sunday Session IPA” is packed full of Cascade and Amarillo for a strong hoppy flavour but is only moderate in alcohol content. Great for a sunday session!
H’Ella’va Wheat Beer – Yep, you guessed it, this is a wheat beer made with the stunning Ella hop. You can put aside your worries about that ‘funky wheat’ flavour with this one because it’s a milder, more american style wheat beer. Come and try it off tap at our Wacol store!
Golden Ale – Golden ales are a favourite sessionable style. Whilst technically an ale they borrow the clean flavour profile often found in lagers. This one has stood the test of time as one of our favourite kit beer recipes and a great sessionable ale.