Low ABV / session brews

Hey Alers,

I’ve been tinkering with lower ABV beers for the last few brews with a 3.5% dry stout and 4% Irish red and I’m looking for ideas for my next brew.

Anyone on here willing to share some of their tried and true recipes?

English Bitter, Scottish Ale, English Mild, Belgian Ale, Saison, Flanders Brown, among some, can all be in that % range.

I’ve done an ordinary bitter at 3.7%. Quite quaffable.

I’ve had good results with the #14Trashy Blonde Session ale from Brew Dog:

edit - The recipe is much better with a dry hop addition.

Good stuff guys! Seems I’ve got many options to brew for my next batch.

Salut Luc LeStout, je suis justement à la recherche d’une recette de stout. En as-tu une à me suggérer ?

Anybody else has a recommended stout recipe?

Dans quel style de stout tu recherche au juste?

Quelque chose de pas trop lourd, probablement american stout, ou irish extra stout ou oatmeal stout.

I would definitely recommend trying an english mild. Lots of flavour packed into a low abv beer. I’ve only made mine once but I will definitely brew it again.

Je trouve l’oatmeal stout du livre Brewing Classic Styles dure à battre, mais il tombe autour de 5%.

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Je seconde Mike avec une English Mild Ale. Je suis vraiment un fan de ce style et c’est justement des bières avec un faible ABV (en bas de 4% selon BJCP).

J’en ai brassé une jusqu’à maintenant et je prépare ma 2e brasse en fds (je paufine la recette). Je sors un peu du style en ayant autour de 4,2%, mais je pourrais facilement baisser le ABV avec moins de grain!

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I’ll give you my favorite stout recipe brewed thus far:

Milk Stout Left Hand Brewing clone
5 gallon batch
OG 1.062
FG 1.022
ABV 5.25%
22 IBU

3.2 kg - Pale Malt (2 Row)
450 g - Roasted Barley
340 g - Crystal Malt 60L
340 g - Chocolate Malt
340 g - Munich Malt
280 g - Flaked barley
220 g - Flaked oats

66C (151F) mash temps

Hops & additions
10 g - Magnum [12% AA] (60 min)
28 g - East Kent Goldings [5% AA] (10 min)
450 g - Lactose sugar (10 min)

1 pack of Safale US05
Ferment at 20C (68F)

A nice smooth and roasty stout with the lactose adding a touch of sweetness and some nice mouthfeel. This beer was my first where it really exceeded my expectations as a homebrewer so it hold a special place in my homebrewing heart :wink:

Merci, on va essayer ça!

Salut Montrealers,

J’ai brassé la recette ci-dessus, mis en keg aujourd’hui. C’est bon mais il me semble que ce serait encore meilleur avec de la vanille, chose que je n’ai jamais essayée encore.

Des conseils pour utiliser de la vanille en keg?

Feel free to reply in english if you prefer.


J’ai jamais utilisé de la vanille dans une bière encore mais j’aimerais bien m’essayer un moment donné.
Très curieux de lire les réponses des autres membres pour des tips.

Je n’ai jamais brassé avec de la vanille non plus, mais j’en utilise (sous forme d’extrait de vanille pure) lorsque je fais des batchs de Baileys maison.
J’utilise 1 à 2 cuillères à thé pour un batch d’environ 2 litres.

Par contre, tu risques de devoir en mettre moins pour une bière. Le sucre, la crème et le whisky du Baileys font que le goût de vanille n’est pas trop dominant.

Sinon je n’ai jamais utilisé des tiges de vanille directement.

You can drop vanilla bean(s) directly in the keg, or alternately use a hop spider/dry hopping canister. They can be sanitized briefly in beer, vodka, or not at all (does not seem to make a difference), and if possible should be dropped into the keg before the transfer and purged with CO2 to limit exposing your beer to O2, but popping the top and sliding in a bean should be fine too. :slight_smile:

Vanilla beans are also good for multiple brews if removed from the keg in a sanitary manner and properly stored. Mine are removed with sanitized tongs and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container (mason jar) with a very small amount of the last beer they were in (this also works well for oak cubes and chunks). Other alternatives are using a small amount of vodka, bourbon or other hard alcohol (depending on what they’ll be used for next) or even drying them out (have not tried that yet).

You will need to taste your beer periodically (as one might do with aging on wood) so the vanilla doesn’t become overwhelming. Different types of vanilla beans will have slightly different flavors and intensities, and crops vary year to year, so smell and taste and let your senses guide you. I use Madagascar, but feel free to experiment.

Some types:

Madagascar Vanilla - rich and creamy.
Mexican Vanilla - bold, dark, smokey.
Indian Vanilla - full, chocolate.
Indonesian Vanilla - mild, well balanced.
Tahitian Vanilla - floral, cherry-chocolate.
Tonga Vanilla - earthy, fig, raisin. 

If you notice that with reuse the beans are ‘weakening’ in flavor (ie taking too long to get to your desired result), or you just want a very strong vanilla punch-in-the face from a fresh bean, the pod can be cut into smaller pieces or even split open and the caviar (aka seeds) scraped out and used directly. I would strongly recommend using a hop spider or a fine mesh tea ball in this case as the smaller pieces can get stuck in hoses and posts, and the caviar is tiny and can get everywhere, including the seals on the liquid post…


Thanks Tara, that was a very detailed answer! Would you say one pod per keg and where do you find all these different vanilla varieties?


Vanille - Épices de cru (epicesdecru.com)

Ils ont un kioske au marché Jean-Talon

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One pod per keg is usually enough…and +1 to Eric’s suggestion of épices de cru - it’s where we buy ours…not sure if they have all the varieties, but there is usually some choice.

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