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Thread: Low Carb light beer

  1. #1
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    Jan 2017
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    Norfolk
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    Low Carb light beer

    Hello all..... Just looking for expansion on an idea. Has any one brewed a low carb beer, I may well be asking a silly question but is it possible to get a lower carb beer by the mash temperature being on the low side of 65 degrees so the final beer has a low attenuation limit. Thus being thinner in mouthfeel and having less carbs?

  2. #2
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    Oct 2013
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    Cincinnati, OH
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slewfoot View Post
    Hello all..... Just looking for expansion on an idea. Has any one brewed a low carb beer, I may well be asking a silly question but is it possible to get a lower carb beer by the mash temperature being on the low side of 65 degrees so the final beer has a low attenuation limit. Thus being thinner in mouthfeel and having less carbs?
    I think Miller has done this....lol. MGD 64 right?!?

    Couple things....
    First, it’s best to reference C or F when talking temps. Most would assume you mean F if you’re in Norfolk. 65*F will be too low for much enzymatic activity. It the old days, some would mash cold and let it sit overnight before progressing through the process, but I’m assuming you are not talking about that.

    Second, 62-63*C would be ideal for Beta amylase activity. If you then raise (step mash) to 66-67*C for optimal Alpha amylase activity, you will break down as much complex starch into simple sugars as possible. You will still not be “low” in carbs. There will be many complex sugars left in the mash.

    You can add adjuncts (corn, rice, etc) to help increase alcohol content while reducing carbs. A yeast strain that metabolizes more complex sugars will help as well. Some strains, such as lagers for example, are able to metabolize more complex sugars (maltitriose & others). Aerating well and pitching proper rates of healthy yeast will help increase attenuation and result in less carbs left behind.

    The big guys will use large amounts of adjuncts, and they will use concentrated enzymes to help maximize the efficiency of the process. Sugar can be used also, but needs to be invert (simple glucose and fructose) for the yeast to metabolize it.

    MGD 64 is basically invert sugar water attenuated as highly as possible. The sugar is made from just enough malted barley so it can be considered beer.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    Kent, WA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slewfoot View Post
    Hello all..... Just looking for expansion on an idea. Has any one brewed a low carb beer, I may well be asking a silly question but is it possible to get a lower carb beer by the mash temperature being on the low side of 65 degrees so the final beer has a low attenuation limit. Thus being thinner in mouthfeel and having less carbs?
    What about using the "Brut IPA" approach with amyloglucosidase enzyme?

    Regards,
    Mike

  4. #4
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    Feb 2016
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    San Francisco, CA
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    One thing you need to consider is that alcohol is also a carbohydrate: ethanol has two carbons, six hydrogens, and one lonely oxygen. Mashing cool will get more of the sugars fermented, but the human body can still pull a lot of calories out of what the yeast poops out.

    If you're looking to make something low in carbs that still tastes and feels like beer, you're probably better served by cutting down on base malt and mashing warm to decrease fermentability, so you can still get the same body/flavor out of less grain. Your ABV will suffer twice – once because you're using less grain, and a second time because you're making a less fermentable wort – but alcohol is full of calories, you can't make a high-ABV low-cal beer.

    On the other hand, if you're looking to get minimum calories, maximum ABV, and are willing to sacrifice flavor, mouthfeel, etc., UnFermentable does well to point out MGD 64 – mash low, throw in as many simple sugars as you can stomach, and make sure your tap accounts serve the stuff as close to freezing as possible, because you don't want your customers to taste that sorry hopwater on the way down.

  5. #5
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    Norfolk
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    Thanks for all your suggestions, the reason I ask is I have recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and was looking at the possibility of brewing something as a niche market.

  6. #6
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    From my understanding that style of beer is brewed with the addition of enzymes to make sure that all unfermentables are broken down and fermented into alcohol. Then the product is liquored down to the correct ABV/calorie range.

    Something like MGD 64 will be almost all water when it is said and done and alcohol is 6 Cal/g giving you at most 7 grams of alcohol/bottle.
    Manuel

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by feinbera View Post
    One thing you need to consider is that alcohol is also a carbohydrate: ethanol has two carbons, six hydrogens, and one lonely oxygen.
    Ethanol is not a carbohydrate. It does contain 7 calories per gram.

    It's a bit beyond my technical knowledge, however carbohydrates are polyhydroxyl ketones or aldehydes, or produce them when hydrolyzed. Since ethanol is neither a ketone or aldehyde, and does not hydrolyze to them, it is not a carbohydrate. This is a common misconception.

    The Brut IPA comment is exactly the enzymes I was speaking to for macrobrewers. Amyloglucosidase. There are others often added as well (Bioglucanase, xylanase, ect) to help with processing and extract as much of that converted sugar as possible.

  8. #8
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    Mar 2013
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    Milwaukee WI
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    Having worked for MillerCoors in the past, I can confirm that for most of thier beers, they are brewing and fermenting at high gravity and then watering down in the bright beer tanks or on the way to the BBTs, the other thing they do is add boatloads of Corn Syrup as the adjunct of choice (beleive or not most large breweries have actually moved away from using corn, or even cornstarch, as it presents special material processing and handling problems) Corn Syrup is advantageous for a few reasons, it is nearly 100% fermentable, its relatively easy to store, handle and move at large scale compared to corn, and its bloody cheap.

    The other thing you could do is talk to your malt supplier and see if they have a malt blend available that is specifically lower in carbohydrate content (ie high protein malts like 6-row) and use this as your grist base, and minimize addition of specialty malts, i will also repeat the great suggestion of using artificial enzymes, conversely(or even in conjunction) you could ferment it with a strain of Diastaticus yeast, which will also dry the beer out to almost nothing. I would also add either up to a third of the fermentables for the batch of beer as either Dextrose or Corn Syrup. This will add alcohol without really adding anything else, which is kind of the point of "light" or "low calorie" beer.

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