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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: James Lorden on September 03, 2011, 01:01:23 PM

Title: First extract in years
Post by: James Lorden on September 03, 2011, 01:01:23 PM
Kind of busy this weekend but I want to brew. Decided to make an extract batch tonight. Funny, I am pretty excited, haven't done extract in years. Obviously I'm a much better brewer then I was back when i only did extract so i cant wait to try the results.

Still haven't decided what to make, didn't have time to make a starter so I'm thinking a mild, ordinary bitter, Scottish 60, or dry stout. I think all should be fine as extract.
Title: Re: First extract in years
Post by: ynotbrusum on September 03, 2011, 02:44:35 PM
Same for me - our brewclub is brewing Sunday and I have church obligations in the early part of the morning, so with the later start, I opted to do an extract batch - A pumpkin ale for Christmas.

Kinda excited to see how it goes, too.
Title: Re: First extract in years
Post by: euge on September 03, 2011, 05:33:34 PM
Not in years but I do extract frequently- often when time is a factor. Always comes out excellent. Unlike my all-grain batches. :-[ I got 8# amber right now.
Title: Re: First extract in years
Post by: sparkleberry on September 03, 2011, 05:36:42 PM
i want to make the jump to all grain, but don't have the time or space right now.  i've been brewing extract partial mash beers for two years and have a blast and they keep getting better. 
Title: Re: First extract in years
Post by: kgs on September 04, 2011, 02:51:45 PM
Funny, I haven't brewed for a couple of months and have really missed it, but haven't had the time slot needed for all-grain--just too much Stuff going on. I was pondering extract tomorrow afternoon, especially after being invited to taste a work colleague's first batch, which was an extract IPA that turned out delicious, and made me miss the joys of brewing. (Me: Is this an extract batch? Him: What's extract?)

I could get to the LHBS, but I was thinking of a 2 or 3-gallon stovetop "pantry brew" using what's around, which would be:

A little over 3 lbs DME
Interesting sugars,  including a date palm sugar I've wanted to try
Various flaked grains (barley, oat, rye) that could be toasted and/or soaked to get some graininess
1 envelope Safale US-05 (expires 2/2012, so in good shape)
Hops in the freezer: 1.5 oz Fuggles; 1 oz Amarillo; 1 oz EKG; 2 oz Chinook; 1.5 oz Columbus

Suggestions? There's almost a mild in there, though I might need to cheat and pick up different yeast.
Title: Re: First extract in years
Post by: denny on September 04, 2011, 06:15:43 PM
In the process of helping Northern Brewer develop extract versions of some of my recipes, I've brewed with extract more in the last year than I have in the 10 years before that.  What I've found is that the process improvements I've picked up as I became more experienced, combined with really good, fresh extract, means that these beers are a quantum leap from the extract batches I brewed years ago.  In most cases, you;d be hard pressed to tell them from AG.
Title: Re: First extract in years
Post by: kgs on September 05, 2011, 03:30:45 PM
I've heard that said so so frequently, and it makes so much sense, that I'm going to take one of my favorite all-grain recipes and convert it to a small extract batch--not with pantry leftovers but with good fresh ingredients.

The primary issues that keep me from buying kits (and that in a sense got me into AG brewing) are the quantity and the logistical issues--there are several points in the process where I need to lift and carry a full fermenter, so a little over 3 gallons is my max. I enjoy the recipe-building process as well as the mashing experience, and appreciate the experimentation small batches free me to do, but there are times in the year when I'd be more than happy to skip past the recipe construction, trip to the LHBS, mash, etc., order a kit, and get to the boil. I can get pretty close to that model, thought not quite. (The closest analogy I can think of is my tiramisu: I have made my own ladyfingers, and they're excellent, but I now live somewhere I can buy high-quality ladyfingers, cutting out hours from the production of one of my "company" desserts.)

Title: Re: First extract in years
Post by: ynotbrusum on September 05, 2011, 05:15:02 PM
It sure made for a pretty short brew session yesterday, so we had that much more time to relax with a few - one of the guys had a Sam Adams de-constructed Latitude 48 12 pack, which we split into small glasses so everyone could try each of the beers.  Very interesting comments; that Zeus is one bitter hop and the Simcoe has your nose in the pines, for sure.  My pumpkin ale is bubbling away in my swamp cooler and overall it was a great day to brew.

Back on topic - I think some of the lighter cream ale styles are candidates for extract brewing now that extra light dme is available at my LHBS.  I think Denny said that is has become his standard operating procedure for his cream ales.

It sure would be an easy way to have a house ale always on stock.  But...I will always want to do an AG if time permits - I mean, it's about the hobby, right?

 ;D
Title: Re: First extract in years
Post by: kgs on September 05, 2011, 05:26:03 PM

Back on topic - I think some of the lighter cream ale styles are candidates for extract brewing now that extra light dme is available at my LHBS.  I think Denny said that is has become his standard operating procedure for his cream ales.

It sure would be an easy way to have a house ale always on stock.  But...I will always want to do an AG if time permits - I mean, it's about the hobby, right?

 ;D

It *is* about the hobby -- it's not like I need to do this to find good beer locally! I look forward to my next AG; pursuing the extract path is a workaround to stay in the game and get a little prefab homebrewing joy. A cream ale would be a nice way to go--it's the kind of beer my better half actually likes, which makes it a good choice politically too. ("I made this for YOU...")  I did that once before with a kit (when we lived somewhere that I could logistically handle 5 gallons) and it went over quite well.
Title: Re: First extract in years
Post by: tomsawyer on September 06, 2011, 01:45:57 PM
I've been thinking of procuring some of NB's Munich and Rye LME and making batches with each.  These extracts already have a nice blend of grains including some crystal, and I think you could just brew with them and not have to use steeping grains.

Denny, I know you were involved with the rye, how about the Munich?
Title: Re: First extract in years
Post by: denny on September 06, 2011, 04:06:09 PM
Denny, I know you were involved with the rye, how about the Munich?

Lennie, my involvement with the rye extract was limited to just brewing with it to test it.  No experience at all with the Munich.
Title: Re: First extract in years
Post by: James Lorden on September 06, 2011, 07:46:36 PM
I think one reason why I never do extract batches anymore is because of the investment that I've made in really good all grain equipment.  I feel guilty contemplating extract batches and leaving all that expensive shiney stainless steel that I convinced my wife I had to have in the garage :D

Title: Re: First extract in years
Post by: Joe Sr. on September 07, 2011, 08:09:40 PM
In the process of helping Northern Brewer develop extract versions of some of my recipes, I've brewed with extract more in the last year than I have in the 10 years before that.  What I've found is that the process improvements I've picked up as I became more experienced, combined with really good, fresh extract, means that these beers are a quantum leap from the extract batches I brewed years ago.  In most cases, you;d be hard pressed to tell them from AG.

I'm glad to see that posted, because I absolutely agree.

IMO, many of the flaws that people attribute to extract beers are simply due to the fact that these were some of the first beers all of us brewed.  And if you started oh so many years ago, who knows how old that can of John Bull extract really was?
Title: Re: First extract in years
Post by: James Lorden on September 08, 2011, 03:37:48 PM
I ended up doing a dark mild.  It was pretty funny how unprepared I was to do extract... first, couldn't find a pot that would work.  Ended up using my 15 gallon kettle because I couldn't figure out how to hook up my plate chiller without the QD's on the pot.  Then I had to search all over the house to find a fitting to attach the chiller to the sink (haven't used that part in years).  Then found out that my stove really can't keep 6 gallons of wort at a rolling boil (even with the pot spanning over two burners).

At the end of the day it looks like a nice beer and I should get plenty of yeast for brewing in the upcoming weeks.  Still, I looked like a rookie out there!
Title: Re: First extract in years
Post by: dbeechum on September 08, 2011, 04:21:37 PM
Ha! That matches my experience precisely.

Earlier this year I decided that I need to do an extract batch a year to keep my fingers in it and the muscles built up with the memory of how to do it. After all, hard to answer questions on some fuzzily half-remembered stuff you did years ago.

Man, my extract batch kicked my ass for the precisely the same reason yours did - equipment! I was scrambling around like a fool.

Beer came out excellent though so I did something right. :)
Title: Re: First extract in years
Post by: denny on September 08, 2011, 05:21:27 PM
I'll 3rd that sentiment!  I was also running around trying to figure out what to use for what.  I think the first extract batch I did after my hiatus took a couple hours longer than my AG average.
Title: Re: First extract in years
Post by: euge on September 08, 2011, 09:35:36 PM
I've been thinking of procuring some of NB's Munich and Rye LME and making batches with each.  These extracts already have a nice blend of grains including some crystal, and I think you could just brew with them and not have to use steeping grains.

Denny, I know you were involved with the rye, how about the Munich?

This is the beauty of fresh extract. The amber and dark already have nice mix of grains in them and can be used as is. The hardest thing is figuring out which hops and yeast to use.

If you are having equipment issues a concentrated boil with a cold top up works well. Might not be the best for extra light extract. But it does produce great results with the darker extracts.
Title: Re: First extract in years
Post by: kgs on September 09, 2011, 11:47:49 AM
I'll 3rd that sentiment!  I was also running around trying to figure out what to use for what.  I think the first extract batch I did after my hiatus took a couple hours longer than my AG average.

Any major change in brewing harshes my mellow! especially since my gear is crammed into one bookcase these days.  I feel like I'm unpacking equipment out of those tiny clown cars. For this weekend's batch, I'm lining up the equipment the night before, using a trusty checklist.
Title: Re: First extract in years
Post by: pweis909 on September 09, 2011, 10:45:49 PM
After mashing all my homebrews for 5 years, several factors conspired to motivate me to do an extract hefe last month. Sometimes there is something to be said for a shorter brew day.