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How to do a partial boil extract brew

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Bounce

Jaded Bohemian
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This is the kit that I won in the recent raffle (thanks).

So this is the content of the kit



2 cans of Liquid Extract
1 bag of mixed grains (type not specified)
1 bag of hops marked 60 min (variety not specified but HBC website suggests Mt Hood)
1 packet of Safale US-05 yeast
1 whirlfloc tablet
1 muslin bag
Instruction Sheet



So, initial thoughts...
  • As others have said, putting the other bags inside the grain bag saves packaging but it does make a bit of a mess when getting the bits out.
  • All these HBC Extract Kits seem to come with US-05 yeast. Maybe the yeast supplied should be a bit more tailored to the beer style or maybe give the buyer a choice of yeast like some other extract kit suppliers (e.g. Brew UK).
  • I would like more information on hop varieties, gain types, AA etc. as I like to note everything down (but maybe that's just me).
  • The instructions are a bit basic but no problem for me as extract + grains is my preferred brewing style at the moment (but I know I'll have to go AG soon :roll:).
  • I'm looking forward to trying this beer as it's different to my usual mega hopped American IPAs that I normally brew. This one only has about 38g of bittering hops and no other additions so it will be different.
OK, so lets do this. I noticed that the other reviews of the HBC extract kits were done as full volume boils using boilers. I tend to do a partial boil as I've only got a 21 litre pot and our kitchen hob isn't very good so I prefer to get a good boil with a smaller volume. I'll go through the process in a bit of detail here as anyone with a small pot wanting to move on from kits could use this method as you can get off with boiling as little as 6-8 litres of wort so no huge pan required.

First thing was to add the muslin bag to my collection of dry hopping bags as I've got a grain bag and sweep up the spillled grain caused by unpacking the kit :D

So kettle on, grain in bag and about 2-3 litres of water in the pot at 70C. Dump the grain bag in the water and lid on.



This is going to sit for 30 min with the occasional "teabag dunk" motion. I'm also occasionally checking the temperature and adding a bit of heat to keep the temp around the 67C mark.

Not much to do for 30 min so have a beer (home brew American Wheat in this case)



And at the same time, the fermentation bin, paddle, glass thermometer, paint straining bag and turkey baster are soaking in VWP. I use Star San for bottling and general sterilising but like VWP for this job (note the Dr Nefario gloves for working with this stuff)



Also while I'm waiting, I'm sitting the first can of extract in some hot water to soften it. This is my first time using liquid extract as I generally use dried as you can use an exact quantity and it's a bit cheaper.



OK. Timer has gone for the 30 mins. Sparge time with a second pot, a colander and 2 kettles (about 3 litres) of water at about 80C. And give the bag a squeeze. I'd like to do this over the big pan to save washing another pan but the colander falls into the big pot :x. I need to get a wider colander.



The runnings go back in the big pot along with the first can of extract which is rinsed out with a can full of hot water. This is where I burned myself on the hot can :rofl:.

Hob on full power and wait ages for this liquid to get to a rolling boil.

Hooray! We are boiling, so add the hops and start the 60 min timer



This is where this kit gets a bit boring. There is only the 1 hop addition at 60 min. I'm used to watching the timer and throwing various amounts of different hops in at different times but this one just needs to boil. So I'm having another beer at this point. It would be a great first extract kit though as there is very little to go wrong here.

But this is the partial boil method so there is a couple of things to do. When the boil started, I was also sitting the second can of extract in hot water.

With 20 min to go in the boil, I bung in the second can of extract, again rinsed out with a can of hot water (but I didn't burn myself this time :D)

With 15 min to go, the whirlfloc tablet gets added. I've never used finings before so I'm interested to see what this does.

Timer goes for the 60 min. Flame out. The pot gets stuck in the sink with a running cold tap to chill it (I've not got round to building my immersion chiller yet).



BUT there are 2 more advantages to the partial boil method here..
  1. We are only chilling 6-8 litres of liquid rather than 23.
  2. We are going to add cold water before we pitch the yeast so we only need to get the wort down to 30 odd degrees.
While the wort is cooling, I've rinsed the fermentation bin and the other bits and bobs.

So we have cooled the wort, so dump it into the bin though the paint straining bag



Now we top up to 23 litres (ish) with cold Edinburgh tap water. The best buy I ever made was blue food grade hose (available by the metre from Amazon). It fits hozelock connectors and I use it for topping up, filling buckets etc.



Check temperature is correct for pitching, aerate the wort like mad with the paddle and pitch the yeast. Then give the yeast a good stir.

Job done!



Hopefully you weren't too bored with that but I thought this kit was a good chance to cover the partial boil extract plus grains method.

In conclusion, I'm looking forward to trying the finished product in a few weeks as it's a different style for me. As I said, I thought it was a bit boring to make but that's probably as I'm used to this style of brewing and used to working a bit harder.
 

tcz_8127

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Just joined the forum after buying an HBC extract kit as a 'step up' from basic kits. This kind of basic guide is exactly what I was looking for, so thank you!
 

wheazy_joe

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Thanks for this very detailed post, I have one of their kits waiting to do (my first step up from coopers kits) and only have a small pot (something like 8 litres) so this is a big help.
 

Bounce

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I reckon you should just about get away with an 8 litre pot for this - but watch out for it boiing over and making a right mess of your hob :-)

It will depend on how much steeping grains are in the kit you have. As was pointed out on all the reviews of the HBC Extract Kits, the same instruction sheet goes into each kit. This says to use about 2 litres of water to steep the grain plus about another 2 to sparge. But as someone who got the stout/porter kits pointed out, these kits have a lot more grain so you would need more volume for the steep and sparge.

With somehting like this Red Ale or an IPA or Pale Ale, you will be fine as there isn't a huge amount of grain.

I guess once you start down the extract path, you will be treating yourself to a bigger pot anyway.

Tell me how you get on.
 

MyQul

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@wheazyjoe as Bounce says if your pot isn't big enough you may risk boil over (and then a good tongue lashing by er indoors). Cover your hob with tin foil and cut a hole for the gas ring. Then if you do get a boil over you can just remover the foil with the burn on wort and throw it away.
 

Covrich

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I think if you're going to do a lot of partial mash's and extracts I would consider a bigger pot, that said from personal expereince it is a slippery slope so do think before you buy (as in you may not want to buy then buy something again after)

I bought a 15 liter pot for extract and I said to myself I would treat myself to an extract once every 2 or 3 brews and do kits inbetween.. As it was I never did an extract again (or kits) I did a few partial mashes and then in AG.. my 15 liter pot is sort of redundant however I keep it to put my milled grains in a day or two before cook day and it saved me when my electric boiler was faulty..

So think about it before you buy something and regret it.. because believe me when you start to step up you realise the improvements you don't want to go back only forward
 

Racinsnake

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Great stuff very informative.
Il bet a pint someone will be along soon to comment on you connecting a hose to a mixer tap.
Doh!! :rofl:
 

Simonh82

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I'm interested to see that you top up your wort with cold water directly from the tap. I've just done my first extract brew and topped up with pre-boiled and cooled water. This was a pain as it takes time to boil and cool large volumes of water and I underestimated how much I would need due to the amount of wort retained in the boiled hops. This means I was about a litre under my target volume.

I thought that using tap water would be a contamination risk. Obviously you can sterilise the hose and tap but you have no control over the water itself.

It would be so much easier if I could just top up from the tap but I don't want to risk my beer if there is a significant chance it will become infected?
 

Bounce

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I've never had any issues with infections or off tastes (I guess I'm asking for it now :pray:). I'm in Edinburgh so the water is soft and tastes good from the tap - I guess if you are in a hard water area or an area where the water is highly treated then it might be a different matter. Note I'm using food grade hose and I did a brew last night where I sprayed the end of the hose with Star San to be safe. I have thought about sticking the top up water in another FV and treating with a campden tablet but it does seem to be OK as it is.
 

Simonh82

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That's interesting to know. I would love to not have to faff around with boiling and cooling gallons of water when I already have to worry about boiling and cooling gallons of wort (I think a wort chiller will be on the cards soon).

If you use a campden tablet do you need to leave the water for a day or so before using it in the wort and pitching the yeast? When I made cider (my first foray into homebrew) the advice was to wait a day or two before pitching the yeast as the campden tablet could retard the yeast.
 

MyQul

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That's interesting to know. I would love to not have to faff around with boiling and cooling gallons of water when I already have to worry about boiling and cooling gallons of wort (I think a wort chiller will be on the cards soon).

If you use a campden tablet do you need to leave the water for a day or so before using it in the wort and pitching the yeast? When I made cider (my first foray into homebrew) the advice was to wait a day or two before pitching the yeast as the campden tablet could retard the yeast.
I make concentrated AG wort and just top up/dilute straight from the tap and never had any problems.

iirc campden tabs take a few mins to work and again I've never had problems using a campden tab in the dilution water then pitching the yeast within about 30 mins or so of topping up
 

Simonh82

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Thank you, that's really useful information to know. I think you tend to use campden tablets in higher concentration with cider (1 tablet per gallon) which potentially retards yeast and kills some bacteria.

I'll be pleased if I don't have to boil and cool all the water that I use.

I'm going to bottle my first brew next week after 2 weeks in primary and will get on with another one straight away.
 

MyQul

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Thank you, that's really useful information to know. I think you tend to use campden tablets in higher concentration with cider (1 tablet per gallon) which potentially retards yeast and kills some bacteria.

I'll be pleased if I don't have to boil and cool all the water that I use.

I'm going to bottle my first brew next week after 2 weeks in primary and will get on with another one straight away.
Yes, that's a lot higher concentration than beer. I use half a crushed tablet per 23L
 

Pete9586

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Makes it a lot easier for me with pictures rather than just reading loads. Very detailed and well written in my opinion and has given me the confidence to try it.
Thanks.
 
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