A Simple Guide to Extract Brewing

Discussion in 'Beer Brewing "How-To" Guides' started by terrym, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. Jan 12, 2018 #1

    terrym

    terrym

    terrym

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    This simple guide to extract brewing may be of use to those who have acquired some basic skills whilst brewing kits, and are considering moving on and trying new things. Many people will move directly to all grain (AG) brewing, but for some, for whatever reason, this may not be an option, whether only temporarily or permanently.

    Extract brewing sits in between brewing beer from liquid malt kits and AG brewing. It offers the opportunity to brew beers of your choice, as a progression from boosting kits, with the flexibility of brewing smaller volumes like AG if that suits your circumstances, rather than being forced to brew 20plus litres of beer as required by most kits. And you don’t need any more equipment to brew extract beers other than a stock pot and which can be smaller than the final volume of wort, although a fine mesh kitchen type strainer may be useful for filtering out hops after the boil (see later). The main disadvantage of extract brewing is that it is not much less expensive to make extract beers compared to kit beer (unlike AG), although to some this may not be important. However for some extract brewing might be an attractive way to brew their beer rather than staying with kits or moving forward to AG.

    Most AG recipes can be converted to extract, however if the recipes require any grain adjuncts that require mashing such as unmalted oats or torrified wheat, there is a need to convert the grain starch to fermentable sugars and this will require a ‘mini mash’ using a diastase containing grain like pale malt to carry out the conversion, since diastase containing malt extract is extremely difficult to obtain.

    In extract brewing both spray malt (DME) and liquid malt (LME) can be used. Some cheap LME has been known to cause the ‘twang’ in the finished product, so using DME or premium LME may deliver a better product but at higher cost.

    To convert recipes a simple approximate conversion is 1kg Pale Malt = 750g LME = 650g DME

    An extract brew usually contains the following basic steps to produce wort suitable for brewing:-

    1. An optional grain steep if crystal malt, chocolate malt or any other grain malt is to be used to enhance the flavour of the wort. Usually 30 minutes at about 65 -70*C will be sufficient but the liquor from the steep plus the sparging liquor of the spent grain will require boiling to sterilise.

    2. An optional ‘mini-mash’ which is needed if unmalted grains in small quantities are to be used. This will require mashing the unmalted grain with diastase containing grain like pale malt for an hour or so at about 65*C. Sometimes a mini-mash can be used even if there is no unmalted grain present if the brewer feels it will enhance the brew, but notably grain bills are much smaller than for AG brews

    3. A hop boil with the liquors from 1 and 2 above with some water plus some of the malt extract. It serves to sterilise any liquor from grain mashing and steeping, and also to extract bitterness from the hops for the long boil time, with short boil hops being mainly added for flavour, just as for an AG brew. Enclosing the hops in a bag may be useful since the hops will be retained in it when the wort is transferred to the FV, however the disadvantage of this is that it restricts hop movement and may inhibit the hops giving up their ‘goodness’. Note that only some of the malt extract needs to be used for the hop boil, and also, and importantly, only a proportion of the overall final wort volume needs be boiled. The rest of the malt extract and water to top up to the required brew volume can be added directly to the FV just like a kit. So as an example only a third to half of the malt extract and the liquid volume will be needed for the boil.

    4. When the boil is complete the wort will need to be cooled. Depending on the stock pot used this can be done by immersing the pot in a sink or a bowl of cold water, occasionally stirring the sink contents and changing the water when it gets warm, and/or stirring the wort with a sanitised spoon. Aim to cool the wort to below about 30*C .

    5. Add the remaining malt extract and some hot water to the FV as for a kit, thoroughly mixing and aerating. Then add the cooled wort, filtering out the hops and any solid ‘break’ from the boil, and adjust the final wort to the required volume by adding water to additionally achieve the required yeast pitching temperature. Aerate as normal. Pitch the yeast and off you go!

    Useful references:-

    Recommend an Extract Recipe plz - The HomeBrew Forum (This includes a recipe)

    http://www.thehomebrewcompany.co.uk/guide-to-brewing-2-extract-brewing-c-58_60.html (This includes a recipe)

    https://www.thehomebrewforum.co.uk/threads/what-to-brew-next.67160/#post-631825 (This has a mild beer recipe)

    ‘Brew Your Own British Real Ale’ by Graham Wheeler. (This contains many recipe conversions from their AG equivalent. In print and widely available, local libraries may have a copy to borrow.)




     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
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  2. Jan 12, 2018 #2

    terrym

    terrym

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    Any other extract brewer out there with any favourite recipes to post in this thread??
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
  3. Jan 12, 2018 #3

    dad_of_jon

    dad_of_jon

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    brilliant write up terrym - worthy of a sticky imo. :)

    I have a few recipes, i'll post a few up when get the chance (just need to tidy up my notes first ;-)
     
  4. Jan 12, 2018 #4

    -Bezza-

    -Bezza-

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    Thanks Terrym.

    Worth noting that Home Brew Beer by Greg Hughes contains instructions for malt extract equivalents to the all grain recipes in the book - not all, probably about 50% of them.

    I note that Brewersfriend allows you to create malt extract recipes too. I would be interested if there are any thoughts for those who might want to concoct their own recipes here, i.e. is there anything that could go much wrong with simply experimenting with malt extract brewing?
     
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  5. Jan 12, 2018 #5

    terrym

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    At its simplest all you need is malt extract and hops. If you wanted to there is no reason why you couldn't use brewing enhancer or brewing or even table sugar as for a kit, but that rather defeats the object of making up an extract brew, although I have made some brews with a small amount of Golden Syrup. The most difficult bit is selecting the hop type or types and calculating the quantities required and the boil times. However if you copy a recipe this is usually done for you. So its probably best to copy at first and then have a go on your own recipe, perhaps making up a small volume brew.
     
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  6. Jan 12, 2018 #6

    terrym

    terrym

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    This was devised to use up some ingredients, especially the last can of cheap LME I had. I called it Extract Dark Ale. It turned out OK. Initially it was quite spicy like a Christmas Ale but after months af maturing it has mellowed out.

    1.95kg Liquid Malt (1.5kg can +0.45 H&B )
    100g Chocolate Malt*
    25g Black Malt*
    50g Crystal*
    300g Pale Malt**
    100g TW**
    350g Golden Syrup

    * Steep for 30 mins at 65*C; boil for 15 mins
    **Minimash for 60 mins

    25 g Target - 65 min boil using minimash plus 250g LME to 5 litres
    10 g Challenger - 10 min boil used 200g LME to about 3 litres

    ¼ protofloc tab at last 10 mins to 65 min boil wort
    To 18 litres, OG 1.044
    GV12 yeast
    Racked after 10 days then added Hop Tea 20g Challenger + 20g Target with about 350ml water. Tea plus hops to FV.
    FG 1.010
     
  7. Jan 12, 2018 #7

    terrym

    terrym

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  8. Jan 12, 2018 #8

    dad_of_jon

    dad_of_jon

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    Ris-ky business - brewdog homebrew comp finalist. (advanced extract brewing)


    Malt & Sugar:

    2kg very dark dme
    2kg medium dme
    500g wme
    250g dark candi sugar

    Grains:

    250g choc
    250g carafa special III
    250g roasted barley
    500g dark crystal

    steep grains in 2 litres chase spring water (other water is available)

    strike temp 76.8 - mash/steep temp 65

    rinsed with 2 litres water at 50 degrees

    added 4 litres to boil

    and 4kg dme and candi sugar boiled for 15 min

    50g mandarina bavaria in 1 litre of water separate 15 min boil

    all pitched into fv and final 500g WME stirred in.

    topped up to 22 litres(determined to end up with 20 litres of beer) = 60 x 33cl bottles!

    Mj belgian ale yeast rehydrated in 150ml 30deg water

    pitched at 29 degrees - fermenting at 22

    og 1090 - fg 1011.

    10.37%

    tastes very drinkable out of the sample jar, rich chocolate hints with dark fruits and sherry hints. Super now!

    fabulous level of sweetness - not sickly balanced with a light bitterness. superb.

    what a fantastic dessert beer :-)

    primed with 150g sugar

    NOTE: unless you re-hydrate the yeast 1 packet of yeast sprinkled onto the wort will NOT do the job.
     
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  9. Jan 12, 2018 #9

    terrym

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  10. Jan 13, 2018 #10

    LarryF

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    Brilliant write up Terry, as always, no nonsense, clear, concise and to the point. I would always point any beginner to your write ups and the rest of us could do ourselves a big favour re-reading them as a refresher. A real asset to the forum.
     
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  11. Jan 22, 2018 #11

    darrellm

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    I'd really recommend Step.2 the mini-mash. This is ideal for both improving the beer and reducing your spend on malt extract.

    Just lately I've been doing 50/50 grain/DME and the brews have been absolutely superb. Some might say "why not go fully AG" but you can do a lot smaller mash using this method, which cools quicker after the boil - I did a brew in under 3 hours yesterday. Plus using brewing software you can size your brew to use full 1kg or 500g bags of DME. I do my mini-mash in a 12L stockpot, in a grain bag, and it sits in a slightly-warmed but turned-off oven for an hour to keep the mash temp up. Stirring at the start, mid-point and end I can get 68% efficiency (you may get more, or less).

    Here's a recipe I've just brewed based on Orkney Dark Island, it turned out excellent.

    Recipe Specs
    ----------------
    Batch Size (L): 15.0
    Original Gravity (OG): 1.047
    Final Gravity (FG): 1.010
    Alcohol by Volume (ABV): 4.79 %
    Colour (SRM): 17.3 (EBC): 34.1
    Bitterness (IBU): 24.0
    Brewhouse Efficiency (%): 68

    Grain Bill
    ----------------
    1.000 kg Dry Malt Extract - Light (41.15%)
    0.900 kg Maris Otter Malt (37.04%)
    0.200 kg Brown Sugar, Light (8.23%)
    0.125 kg Chocolate (5.14%)
    0.125 kg Crystal 60 standard (5.14%)
    0.080 kg Torrified Wheat (3.29%)

    Hop Bill
    ----------------
    11.0 g Challenger Leaf (8.5% Alpha) @ 60 Minutes (Boil)
    14.0 g Challenger Leaf (8.5% Alpha) @ 15 Minutes (Boil)
     
  12. Jan 22, 2018 #12

    Druncan

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    Hi Terry, Great write up. I do add my hops slightly differently by using an induction pressure cooker (I have a 15l Italian one that is fantastic) on my 3kw buffalo hob to make hop tea. I use less than the normal quantities of hops(so it's cheaper!!) in a muslin bag with about 2l boiling water then get up to pressure/simmer and 10-15mins just maintaining the temp (I put towels over to insulate it) I add most of the liquor to the LME and top up with boiled water water, heat to 75*C to sanitise and then gently transfer to my speidel 30l FV's bottom feeding with cold water from the tap to balance (20-25*C) my re-hydrating yeast temps. Take OG/adjust, PH/PPM and taste test - I may add the last hop tea if It needs more bitterness. Then seal and do the shakey-shakey for 1 min to aerate. I have blow off tubes into jugs with StarSan. This is a hop tea link; https://beerandbrewing.com/use-hops-tea-to-enhance-flavors-in-your-beer/
     

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