Return to extract brewing

Discussion on brewing beer from malt extract, hops, and yeast.
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Return to extract brewing

Post by Rookie » Sun Jun 24, 2018 4:50 pm

Do to circumstances it looks like I may have to go back to brewing with extracts. Anyone else having to do the same?
I'm just here for the beer.

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Re: Return to extract brewing

Post by Kev888 » Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:03 pm

Several years ago, circumstances meant that I went back to extract briefly; mixed feelings about it really.

Brewing experience is not wasted, so they were notably better than my original extract brews some decades ago. And still superior to much of the mass-produced commercial beer around, so not to be sniffed at by any means.

But after grain brewing for so many years, I found it was unsatisfying to come back to. In my hands at least, it wasn't as good as my grain brews, and the lack of mash control plus the extra expense of ingredients were frustrating. Plus, if you get into steeping special grains etc, not really all that convenient either.

If you've already become proficient in grain brewing and need to reduce things down, then (for me anyway) BIAB is perhaps hard to beat. Or if ultra-convenience is the aim, then the better kits are probably as good as extract, and more convenient.

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Re: Return to extract brewing

Post by Paddington » Tue Jun 26, 2018 9:16 am

I found doing 10 litre brews made it easier to fit a brew in if time is your problem. 2 x cheap 14 litre stockpots, one turned into a mash tun with some camping mat and a tap, the other is the boiler. No need for a tap on the boiler, I can just pick it up and pour the wort through a sieve into the FV. No need for an HLT as the water volumes are manageable with a kettle if you're batch sparging. It meant I got the chance to do lots of brews and have a good choice in store. You'd get the money back on buying the stockpots pretty quickly because DME is very expensive.

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Re: Return to extract brewing

Post by darrellm » Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:57 pm

Yes - kind of.

I did Extract for a long time before going AG, I don't know why but the quality of my AG never lived up to the expectations of getting a better beer for all the additional time taken doing the mash, getting the water up to temp and then cooling. I felt a bit underwhelmed to be honest.

So I went back to a kind-of halfway house: I do half-AG half-Extract with a small-volume boil. I typically do 15-17L brews, sizing my recipes to use up a full 1kg DME with the rest AG. I mash in a large stockpot, dunk sparge, then do the boil on the hob in a 15L pan. I used to add the DME in at the end but more recently I've started adding it in at the start, so that it doesn't drop the temp mid-boil and interrupt the hop schedule. I'm not scientific, guess I boil about 10L and then top it up in the FV with cold water - this reduces the cooling time. I can honestly say this method is producing consistent, great beer - much better than my AG and my previous Extracts. It might not suit the purists but it works for me :D

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Re: Return to extract brewing

Post by Top Cat » Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:48 pm

I think you have a few choices that will depend on the time you can/wish to afford.
After a long sabbatical from home brewing I started again a few years ago with the intention of extract kit brewing to start and moving up the stages to ag. To my surprise the better quality liquid malt extract kits such as the festival range give you a decent drink. No sugar is required initially as it’s all malt extract and you even have hop pellets to dry hop during fermentation. You can obviously fine tune the recipe to your taste. Very quick but I found you needed to give the beer more time to condition to reach its peak. Using dme steeping and boiling I think will give you a bit more versatility but I couldn’t lose the extract ‘twang’
When using these methods for pale ales. If you do have a little more time, consider darrellm’s way as that’s how I used to brew in the 80’s, it’s a very good compromise, but I find, I suppose like most purists, ag wins for quality hands down if you have the time!

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