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Author Topic: Some tips on making extract beers  (Read 3377 times)

Offline Kyle

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Some tips on making extract beers
« on: June 27, 2011, 10:25:00 PM »
Extract brewing using LME or DME, hops, specialty grains, and yeast can yield some good beers. Once you have had an all-grain beer, you may swear you will never go back to extract brewing given the added control you have over the brewing process and the taste difference. However, extract brewing offers advantages such as requiring less equipment and much less time to brew. I did this type of extract brewing from 2007-2010, and I'm now quaffing some pale ale made following that approach for a brewing demonstration on March 8th.

Here are a few suggestions to get the most out of extract brewing:

Twang: this is a fairly universally perceived flavour that is sour-sachrinne and can be mild to quite strong depending on the beer. Avoid cutting the beer with corn or rice sugars as these will increase the problem. Also don't drink extract brews until at least one month has passed since brewday. The twang is very muted at three months, and barely noticable at all at four months (of course the hops go away if left too long, so balance is needed.) In the beer I'm drinking now, it is very faint, but still noticable alongside all-grain beers. Using things with alot of flavour like specialty grains, spices, fruit, hops, and some yeasts will help mask the twang.

Hops: read up on the different varieties, and try different combinations in each of your brews until you find something you really like. Understand and use hop bitterness calculations to make sure the beer is in balance and style appropriate. Pellet and whole leaf hops are equivalent in quality. Give hops a gentle stir when adding them.

Specialty Grains: buy these pre-crushed or borrow an FCBA member's mill and go to town with these. Get a bunch of different kinds in the bulk grain order splits and research how different specialty grains affect the outcome of your beer. Never brew without using specialty grains (except for SMASH beers). Treat specialty grains like spices, too little is better than too much.

Yeast: By changing yeast strains, you will have a profound effect on the beer. The yeast library is available for you to use as part of your membership and we will also soon be stocking good quality dry yeasts for members to buy cheaply (remaining a non-profit club).

Boil: Time your hop additions carefully and make sure the malt extract is added while the water is hot but the burner has been turned off. Following addition of the extract, stir gently in every area of the pot untl there are no changes that you can feel in resistance agains the stir spoon and then everything will be in solution. Then turn the pot back on high, and skim off any scum as it forms on the top. Wait until newly added hops become submerged before skimming off scum to avoid accidental removal of hops. Consider a full wort boil as this will lessen the twang. if a full boil is impractical, then add bottled mineral water (from the cheap 1g jugs) instead of boiled, cooled tap water. Consider Irish moss or Whirlfloc, which, added during the boil, will help to create clearer beer.

All-grain can certainly be done in an apartment, but for those with minimal space or time, or those somewhat new to the hobby, or those who prefer ease to complexity, estract brewing can be a good technique to achieve brews that are waaaay better than Coopers / Muntons.

etc.
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Offline grapenut

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Re: Some tips on making extract beers
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2011, 01:34:52 PM »
Hi....new member...first post. I've made a few dozen batches using extracts. Mostly Coopers and Brew Canada. I have never boiled my wort and have never had a problem. I have never read of a reason of why brewers do it. Is it because that's the way it's always been done so we continue to do it? Just wondering.....

Offline Richard

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Re: Some tips on making extract beers
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2011, 02:13:40 PM »
Welcome :)

Kyle is talking about un-hopped extract; if you boiled your Coopers or BC kits you'd likely evaporate or isomerize (convert to bittering) the flavour and aroma hop additions to the extract. No need to boil if you're going from a can.
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Offline Kyle

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Re: Some tips on making extract beers
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2011, 10:05:33 AM »
Welcome, yes, the Coopers kits are very easy, and are not designed to be boiled. I used them for a while, and for 15 minutes of effort (+time to bottle) you can have beer. The other methods give you much more creative control, and let you brew beers more like what you would find at a pub, but they do require some additional equipment and time. I'm out of town now, but if you head over to the meeting on Saturday, the guys will happily share their brewing talents and beers with you.
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Offline Kyle

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Re: Some tips on making extract beers
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2012, 09:01:09 PM »
bump
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Offline Richard

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Re: Some tips on making extract beers
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2012, 09:47:28 PM »
Stickied.
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