Add malt extract or short brew?

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Random Badger

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I have here a Bulldog Brews Premium IPA kit 1.75kg that is supposed to produce 23 Litres of 5.5% beer. Reading the instructions it says to add 1.5kg of sugar, which seems excessive to me. My first thought was to instead add a combination of malt extract and sugar, but now I'm thinking that this might drown out the hops a bit and perhaps just adding less water would be better to maximise the IPA character. Using what I have available (i.e. no extra hops on hand to add) which option gets your vote?

1) Make 23 Litres using 1.2kg of Mangrove Jacks Pure Malt Enhancer and 0.5kg of brewing sugar; or

2) Make 20 Litres using 1kg of brewing sugar.

The second option does work out cheaper per litre/pint.
 

labrewski

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Option 1 for me better quality with malt
 

obscure

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Adding sugar in high amounts will tend to produce a fairly thin beer it adds alcohol and little else(one can kits I suspect suggest it because it helps with the whole only 20p a pint or similar marketing).

Personally I would agree with labrewski and go with option 1.
 

Tanglefoot

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I've done this kit twice, in fact I am halfway through a barrel of a batch I made with .5kg light DME,
1kg dextrose and dry hopped with Chinook.

First time I used all dextrose, can't say it made a huge difference.
If anything the DME takes the edge of the pleasant dry bitterness which is one of the things
I like about this kit.
Dry hopping is more beneficial to give it a lift.

I would'nt use the MJ pure malt enhancer, I recently made the MJ American IPA with it and the result
was too malt heavy overpowering any hoppiness.
Some kits I've done are balanced better with all dextrose. Youngs Scottish heavy was another one
which didn't benefit from additional DME for my taste, making it over sweet/less bitter.

For reference, here's my current Bulldog Premium IPA - going down easy :beer1:
IMG_2021-03-03-19-08-56-079.jpg
 

Random Badger

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Option 1 for me better quality with malt
Adding sugar in high amounts will tend to produce a fairly thin beer it adds alcohol and little else(one can kits I suspect suggest it because it helps with the whole only 20p a pint or similar marketing).

Personally I would agree with labrewski and go with option 1.
Thank you for the feedback. Either option does effectively increase the malt content over the official recipe. I was thinking that option 2 should still end up at around 5.5% but have more body and flavour by taking out 0.5kg of sugar and 3 litres of water.
 

Random Badger

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I've done this kit twice, in fact I am halfway through a barrel of a batch I made with .5kg light DME,
1kg dextrose and dry hopped with Chinook.

First time I used all dextrose, can't say it made a huge difference.
If anything the DME takes the edge of the pleasant dry bitterness which is one of the things
I like about this kit.
Dry hopping is more beneficial to give it a lift.

I would'nt use the MJ pure malt enhancer, I recently made the MJ American IPA with it and the result
was too malt heavy overpowering any hoppiness.
Some kits I've done are balanced better with all dextrose. Youngs Scottish heavy was another one
which didn't benefit from additional DME for my taste, making it over sweet/less bitter.

For reference, here's my current Bulldog Premium IPA - going down easy :beer1:
This is the knowledge I need!

So based on your experience would you actually recommend using the full 1.5kg of brewing sugar and making 23 litres? ashock1

I don't have any hops to add so I am even more tempted to go with option 2 now (taking out 0.5kg of sugar and 3 litres of water) especially as the other beer I am looking at making will definitely be much more dark and malty.
 

obscure

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I've done this kit twice, in fact I am halfway through a barrel of a batch I made with .5kg light DME,
1kg dextrose and dry hopped with Chinook.

First time I used all dextrose, can't say it made a huge difference.
If anything the DME takes the edge of the pleasant dry bitterness which is one of the things
I like about this kit.
Dry hopping is more beneficial to give it a lift.

I would'nt use the MJ pure malt enhancer, I recently made the MJ American IPA with it and the result
was too malt heavy overpowering any hoppiness.
Some kits I've done are balanced better with all dextrose. Youngs Scottish heavy was another one
which didn't benefit from additional DME for my taste, making it over sweet/less bitter.

For reference, here's my current Bulldog Premium IPA - going down easy :beer1:
View attachment 42487
An interesting point ‘thinness’ is subjective I rather enjoyed the Youngs Heavy kit made with malt extract due to the sweet malty flavour so it’s very subjective.

But yes dry hoping the kit could give some nice flavour (worth adding Crossmyloof do 25g hop tea bags which are excellent for this).
 

Tanglefoot

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This is the knowledge I need!

So based on your experience would you actually recommend using the full 1.5kg of brewing sugar and making 23 litres? ashock1

I don't have any hops to add so I am even more tempted to go with option 2 now (taking out 0.5kg of sugar and 3 litres of water) especially as the other beer I am looking at making will definitely be much more dark and malty.
As obscure says above it's subjective based on relative tastes.
You're over thinking it, probably wont make a huge difference in my experience of this kit.
More important to have basics down - temp control, sanitation etc.
It's easy to dry hop and makes a big difference, I'd start with that.
 

Didge

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You will find some excellent technical advice here but when it comes down to matters of taste then only you can decide what feels best. Plus, what feels best may vary over the seasons.

If you have a spare FV then I would suggest option 3, splitting the batch in half and doing both options, one in each FV. It would be an interesting experiment, and would provide you with a like for like comparison for future reference.
 

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