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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Extract Brewing > Noob question - why can't I brew JUST with pale malt extract, at least for starters?
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Old 09-18-2012, 07:24 PM   #11
markowe
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Originally Posted by sweetcell View Post
i assume he's asking this because no one ever write here on the forum about brewing with extract only. if you were to read the recipes posted here, you would be forgiven for thinking that beer can't be brewed with extract only. markowe, let us know if this is wrong.

regarding adding sugar: depending on your final gravity and the taste of the resulting beer, adding some sugar might be a good idea. but again i'd try to make a batch without any and see how that ends up. you can add sugar to your second batch, if needed.

do you have a hydrometer? that is probably the most important piece of equipment you can acquire. it will answer your question "how much extract should i use?" (answer: use as much as needed to achieve your desired Original Gravity, say 1.045).
You got it in one - not just here on the forum, but just about everywhere. I just can't find a bog-standard "recipe" (yeah, I know it's not rocket science) for a simple brew like I described. I will be using a hydrometer, yes, I have winged it up to now, but sure - it's just, I guess I was after a ballpark figure to aim for, I don't have any idea of what sort of FG to expect or what to start from.

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Originally Posted by sweetcell View Post
if you can get a sack of 2-row then i'd look into all-grain brewing - much more interesting than extracts (or at least you could do a combo, some AG and some extract). this forum also has lot of info about roasting your own grain.


depends on the extract. if it is indeed similar to "standard" liquid extract, 8 pounds for a 5 gallon batch should is about what you're aiming form. that should give you an OG of 1.058, and depending what yeast you use and how well the fermentation goes you would end up with a beer with 5.5 - 6% alcohol. use less if you don't want a beer that strong, but i wouldn't go much higher than 8 for a first batch. and if your extract is different from "standard" brewing extract (more or less fermentables), then where your beer will end up is anyone's guess.

BTW, are you Serbian, or an expat?
Oh, definitely, down the line I intend to buy a big old sack and roast up what I need - someone else in the thread linked to a site which I have also seen on my travels, with all the instructions you need for making speciality grains. I mean, it's just a case of having an oven thermometer and keeping an eye on things. Though I understand home roasting never quite comes out like the commercially-produced stuff. I am pretty sure I will quickly move on to partial and all-grain very quickly. I just want to get the very basics right and see what my baseline flavour is. Your 8 lb/5 gallons roughly tallies with what I was thinking, but I guess I will go and tinker with one of those brewing calculators. This stuff does give percentages of maltose, dextrose, fructose etc. so that might be another way to get a rough idea.

I am both half-Serbian and Brit expat, work that one out

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Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
If that's the case you'll be alright.

I just started roasting my own malts last year using THIS guide. He even shows how to make crystals and special b, by partially starting the conversion process and then roasting the grain with the sugars present.

This was medium amber roasted iirc 30 minutes at 350 degrees.



That guide also shows you how to make sweetmalts too, not just malts that add color.
*nod*, that's the guide I've seen too, looks all too simple really. Yes, it adds another step to the whole process, but I guess makes it that bit more "your own work". Plus I would just roast up a few kg of several different types, it's not like you have to do it every time.

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Originally Posted by Homercidal View Post
Many people make SMaSH beer. Single Malt, Single Hop. Nothing wrong with a base malt only beer. It will still be beer and there is a great chance that it will still turn out very tasty, even without crystal malt or roasted malts. Just depends on what YOU like.

BrewerinBR and I made up a SMaSH IPA once with wort from Bells that they said was "only 2-row" and Chinook. Tasted great.

Sometimes simple is better.
Right, I'm sure it can be, and like I say, I want to see what my basic flavour is before I start experimenting with anything more complicated. I know of only a few other people in these parts who have tried brewing with this stuff and the verdict has been inconclusive.

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Originally Posted by mredge73 View Post
Also, Do you have a source for hops and yeast?
These are as essential to make beer as grain is.

Edit: looks like I am late to the party with the roasting grain thing
The more the merrier But I totally agree, I am going to get a 40kg sack of malt in (around $22 ) and see what happens. Hmm, I just discovered that they refer to it as "Pilsener malt" - hmm, kind of not surprising as all the beers round here are basically generic European lager-type beers. I am kind of leaning towards British-type ales - another possible problem, not sure how well those Pilsener grains lend themselves to creating different speciality grains.

As for hops and yeast, ha, another good question - yes, I have plenty of yeast brought over, mostly S04, which ought to keep me going. Hops are a little tricky - there used to be great fields of them until the foreign breweries took over and started importing them. I have found hops in the form of tea, which I have already tried in a previous batch and which gave a nice bitterness though were a bit lacking in taste - can't identify them right now. Will probably get those brought over in dry form (can't beat 'em, join 'em). Brewing hops are still sold here, but only in dirty great sacks, costing the earth

Thanks for all the tips!
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Old 09-19-2012, 04:29 AM   #12
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There are several recipes that are essentially brewed with just pale malt and light bittering hops. You will end up with something similar to bud light depending on your yeast. If you look at Austin homebrew low cal kit it is pale malt, corn sugar and hops. The popular cream of 3 crops recipe is similar but it has three types of sugars but none of them really add taste. You may even be able to find the other ingredients for the recipe at a grocery story.

If you search for bud light or miller light clones you will find several recipes that are almost entirely pale malt.


If you brewing something that is mostly pale malt I would try to keep the starting gravity below 1.050. the alcohol content will be much more noticeable in a very light tasting beer.

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Old 09-19-2012, 08:59 AM   #13
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There are several recipes that are essentially brewed with just pale malt and light bittering hops. You will end up with something similar to bud light depending on your yeast. If you look at Austin homebrew low cal kit it is pale malt, corn sugar and hops. The popular cream of 3 crops recipe is similar but it has three types of sugars but none of them really add taste. You may even be able to find the other ingredients for the recipe at a grocery story.

If you search for bud light or miller light clones you will find several recipes that are almost entirely pale malt.


If you brewing something that is mostly pale malt I would try to keep the starting gravity below 1.050. the alcohol content will be much more noticeable in a very light tasting beer.
Sounds like a plan, thanks. I imagine that a very light beer will also increase the risk of dodgy/off flavours being noticeable. Well, that's what I want to do though, start as basic as possible so I know all the variables. Now just for my ginger wine and my cider to free up my primaries..!
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Old 09-19-2012, 02:04 PM   #14
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You will end up with something similar to bud light depending on your yeast. If you look at Austin homebrew low cal kit it is pale malt, corn sugar and hops.
i suspect his beer will have more malt flavor that bud light. budweiser is made with a lot of corn adjunct, which adds little taste and lightens the color. going all pale malt will result in a more flavorful and darker beer. throw in some actual hops and you've blown bud light out of the water.
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Old 09-19-2012, 02:25 PM   #15
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i suspect his beer will have more malt flavor that bud light. budweiser is made with a lot of RICE adjunct, which adds little taste and lightens the color. going all pale malt will result in a more flavorful and darker beer. throw in some actual hops and you've blown bud light out of the water.
Fixed it for you.....
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Old 09-19-2012, 02:59 PM   #16
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Fixed it for you.....
d'oh. of course it's rice. i knew that. thanks.
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Drinking: a farmhouse with ECY08 & brett blend, wet-hopped harvest ale x 2, second runnings dark ale with vanilla
Fermenting: (nothing active)
Aging: imperial chocolate stout, sour cherry mead, oud bruin & a few other sours, acerglyn, a BDSA
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Old 09-19-2012, 03:07 PM   #17
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You might want to check www.brouwland.com too and see if they ship to Serbia. All the grains, extracts, hops and yeast you'd want!

Good luck!

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Old 09-21-2012, 12:25 AM   #18
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following. keep us posted on your results. this is a great thread. just follow all the basic rules; sanitize, pitch healthy yeast in good quantities, control your ferment temps, drink everything in one sitting....wait, that's not a rule! Looking forward to hearing about this as you go.

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Old 09-21-2012, 08:25 AM   #19
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You might want to check www.brouwland.com too and see if they ship to Serbia. All the grains, extracts, hops and yeast you'd want!

Good luck!
I had someone else recommend them to me as well. I am just not sure of the viability of having things like grain delivered abroad - postage will double the cost and I am not even sure Customs here will allow "foodstuffs" to be imported. Something I need to check into, but I have already had some yeast go astray before, and haven't tried again since...


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following. keep us posted on your results. this is a great thread. just follow all the basic rules; sanitize, pitch healthy yeast in good quantities, control your ferment temps, drink everything in one sitting....wait, that's not a rule! Looking forward to hearing about this as you go.
Ha, well, I will probably only do a gallon for starters, so drinking it in one go might be doable, with a friend at least (been a while since I drank a gallon myself, it has to be said ).

Thanks for all the advice, I WILL come back and update this thread, it's only fair, and will probably need some pointers too. It might take a little while though, I have a load of apples waiting to be turned into cider, and a ginger wine that's no ready for bottles yet. Just planning ahead here - beer is my main interest, this other stuff sort of popped up for seasonal reasons! To be continued...
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Old 09-22-2012, 03:10 AM   #20
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Since hops is a problem you might want to try using some herbs and spices which may be more readily available to you. Check out the book "the home brewers garden" by denis fisher hops has a few functions but certain qualities that the hops imparts to your brew can be approximated such as bittering with endive... hops is relatively new in the history of beer. As to grains, any fermentable sugar will produce beer though the flavors will vary wildly. Since you have a maltster ag is prob your best bet.

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