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Old 07-02-2013, 01:07 PM   #11
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Many things contribute to "extract twang."

1) Using old ingredients. If the LME you're using has been sitting on an unrefrigerated store shelf for a long time, maillard reactions will begin to occur. This will lead to beers that are darker in color than expected, as well as off-flavors. If you buy liquid extract, make sure the place you buy it from has a rapid turnover rate. This will ensure that the extract you buy is fresh. If you're not sure how old it is, then use dry extract. It holds up over time much better. Refrigerate your liquid extract.

2) Adding extract to your pot while it sits on the burner. DO NOT add your extract while your brewpot is sitting on the burner. Remove the pot from the burner, then add your extract and stir it in until you know it is fully dissolved into the water. Liquid extract tends to sink to the bottom of the brewpot. If you add it to the pot while it is on the stove or burner, you run the risk of scorching your wort, or creating more of the aforementioned maillard reactions.

3) Adding all of the extract at the beginning of the boil. This is a common mistake made by newbies that isn't their fault. Many books and kit instructions tell you to add all of the extract at the beginning of the boil. BIG MISTAKE! A concentrated boil leads once again to those maillard reactions. Your beer will have that undesirable cooked extract flavor. Use the extract late method. Add a third, to half of the extract at the beginning of the boil, then the remaining in the final 15 minutes of the boil, or at flameout (I prefer flameout). This will greatly improve both the color and the flavor of your beer.

4) Use a sound recipe. I love when people formulate a recipe that starts with 2-3 lbs of steeped crystal malt, along with all amber or dark malt extract. Then when their beer tastes funky, they blame the extract. There's nothing wrong with using darker extracts, but you have to consider what is in them if you're going to use them. Amber and dark extracts already have crystal malt in them, so if you're going to add more crystal malt to them (and often when using these extracts, you do not need to), do so sparingly. No more than a pound, and even then know that your beer is going to be pretty malty. I know most people advocate using only light extract, and getting your color with steeping grains. It is a sound practice, and it gives you more control over your beer. However, if you know what a darker extract will add to your beer, then there is nothing wrong at all with using them.

5) Not chilling your wort quickly. After the boil, you should get your wort cooled, and your yeast pitched into it as soon as possible. A wort chiller will help you accomplish that. You can buy one, or build one yourself. Rapid wort chilling after the boil made a huge difference in the quality of my beers.

6) Poor fermentation control. This is one of the most crucial steps to brewing great beer. You must do your best to ferment your beers under 70 degrees (unless you're brewing Belgian). It's difficult to do in the summer. If you can use a spare fridge, then you've got it made. If you don't use a swamp cooler and a forgiving yeast strain, as another poster mentioned.

Sorry for the novel.

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Old 07-02-2013, 02:40 PM   #12
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Extract twang is a cooked extract sort of flavor mainly from using too much or all of the extract at the beginning of the boil. Mailard reactions give that sort of flavor. The extract will darken as well. I use late extract additions with all but about 2lbs in 2.5-3.5 gallons of water for the boil.
Other off flavors come from under/over-pitching yeast,high ferment temps,shocked yeast from temp fluctuations or pitching rehydrated yeast too warm into wort more than 10 degrees cooler. These things take normally produced fermentation by products & raise ther PPM levels to where they can be smelled or tasted.

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Old 07-02-2013, 05:52 PM   #13
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@CrookedTail thanks

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Old 07-09-2013, 10:43 AM   #14
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Cheers crookedtail, I am just starting to get into modifying kit beers and there is some great advice here I have tried to follow for a grolch esk kit mod I am currently putting down.

A couple of questions:

If you are adding the remainder of the extract in the last 15 minutes of the boil, how long are you boiling for? The book I have only suggests boiling for 15 minutes?

When is LME considered to old to risk using? is it ok up to the used by date? or is there rule of thumb that one is best off brewing x amount of time before the used by date?

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Old 07-09-2013, 12:38 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bregiz View Post
Cheers crookedtail, I am just starting to get into modifying kit beers and there is some great advice here I have tried to follow for a grolch esk kit mod I am currently putting down.

A couple of questions:

If you are adding the remainder of the extract in the last 15 minutes of the boil, how long are you boiling for? The book I have only suggests boiling for 15 minutes?

When is LME considered to old to risk using? is it ok up to the used by date? or is there rule of thumb that one is best off brewing x amount of time before the used by date?

What kind of kits are you using? I would only use a 15 minute boil if you're hop-bursting the beer. In other words, you're adding a lot of hops in a short boil. Beers typically go through a 60 minute boil (all-grain brewers sometimes do 90 minute boils). If you add all of your extract at the beginning of the 60 minute boil, it's going to darken considerably. That's why you should add only a portion of it at the beginning, and then the rest at flameout.

Your second question depends on the environment the extract has been sitting in. If it's refrigerated, extract can last a pretty long time. If it's in a warm temp setting, I'd say no longer than a couple of months. If you're buying from a local shop, ask the store owner how long it's been sitting there. I'd probably be more inclined to buy dry extract instead of liquid at a small local store. If you're buying online from a place like Northern Brewer, Austin Homebrew, or Midwest, they turnover LME very quickly. So the extract you get from them is probably only a few weeks old.
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Old 07-09-2013, 02:35 PM   #16
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Just for the sake of clarity,here's the wiki on mailard reactions; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maillard_reaction
This is how darker colors & other flavors happen.

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Old 07-10-2013, 03:55 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrookedTail View Post
What kind of kits are you using? I would only use a 15 minute boil if you're hop-bursting the beer. In other words, you're adding a lot of hops in a short boil. Beers typically go through a 60 minute boil (all-grain brewers sometimes do 90 minute boils). If you add all of your extract at the beginning of the 60 minute boil, it's going to darken considerably. That's why you should add only a portion of it at the beginning, and then the rest at flameout.

Your second question depends on the environment the extract has been sitting in. If it's refrigerated, extract can last a pretty long time. If it's in a warm temp setting, I'd say no longer than a couple of months. If you're buying from a local shop, ask the store owner how long it's been sitting there. I'd probably be more inclined to buy dry extract instead of liquid at a small local store. If you're buying online from a place like Northern Brewer, Austin Homebrew, or Midwest, they turnover LME very quickly. So the extract you get from them is probably only a few weeks old.
I used a coopers european lager kit. It came for free with my brewing kit (brought second hand) so I thought I would give it ago (probably not the best idea in hind sight) They guy said he had had it for about a year, and I doubt it would have been refrigerated. It was however before the best before date.

I boiled about two thirds of it (was to heavy with my pour) for about 20 minutes along with half of a #15 coper tun brew booster, before adding the remaining of both and returning to heat for about 5 minutes (it never got back to a boil) Then I simmered 10G of hallertau pellets for two minutes before allowing to stand for 10 minutes and then strained into the extract batch, squeezing out all liquid that I could.

added that with some not quite cooled boiled water to the fermentor to 22L and put it in the fridge to cool. 18 hours later I was finally down to 22 degrees, and pitched the lager yeast after starting it in 100ml of cooled boiled water and a teaspoon of brew booster scraped from the walls of the packet.

wort is still in the fridge cooling, where I hope to stabilise it at about 13 degrees

Guess we will see how the results go, but any advice on how to improve my procedure would be greatly appreciated and received with open ears
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Old 07-10-2013, 04:22 AM   #18
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Pitching lager yeast at 22*C is much too warm and is likely to produce some off flavors.

You would have been better off chilling the wort to about 10*C prior to pitching even if that meant putting it in the fridge for some hours. I did a lager (Maibock) today and chilled my wort down to 6.6*C (44*F) before transferring to the bucket, bubbling O2 and pitching. It's currently in the fermenter fridge at 8.9*C (48*F).

Many of those who complain of "extract twang" and can't wait to jump into AG need to take a look first at improving pitch and fermentation temp control. Extract batches can taste great if you do late addition and control temps.
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Old 07-10-2013, 05:43 AM   #19
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yeah I wondered if I had pitched a little too early for the lager.

Is 8.9 degrees C not a little on the cold side? the Saflager s-23 packet suggests that 12 - 15 degrees C is optimum. It also suggested that two packets would be needed for pitching at lower temperatures, which I did not have. I appreciate your advice on this subject.

Should I be ignoring the packet and going for lower temperatures? I was going to continue to cool to about 13 degrees or so, But could always go lower if it is advisable.

It is taking a lot longer to cool then I had expected!

@BigFloyd, when you say you chilled the wort before transferring to the bucket, do you mean that one should cool the wort before transferring to the fermentation chamber and topping up with any extra water? (if one is not able to boil their wort at full volume)

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Old 07-10-2013, 11:48 AM   #20
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Yes. Chill the wort down,then strain into fermenter & top off with cold water that's been in the fridge a day or two. Stir roughly 5 minutes to mix well & aerate a lil more.

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