While it’s impossible to make generalizations, I would wager good money that every one of us, at some point, gets a hankering to brew something strong. Aside from the entertainment value that comes with serving your friends a 12 percent ABV barley bomb, imperial stouts, barleywines, and Belgian strong ales make excellent gifts and can improve with age if done right.
But if you’ve ever attempted high-gravity brewing, you may already know that it has its challenges. Here are three common problems that can affect big beer and some suggestions for how to overcome them and make high-gravity brewing your own.
Extract brewers don’t need to worry about efficiency: As long as the right amount of extract goes into the correct total volume, you’re all but guaranteed to hit your original gravity. But because large grain bills require lots of mash water, all-grain brewers may find that their systems aren’t so efficient. More mash water means less sparge water, which means valuable malt sugars are left behind in the grain bed.