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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Extract Brewing > "Only use light malt extract"
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Old 09-19-2010, 03:32 PM   #21
Bob
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Good questions!

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How much difference is there in steeped versus mashed crystal or specialty grain?
Depends. With crystal/caramel and roasted malts, there is virtually no difference. Some other specialty grains - like Victory and Biscuit and Special Roast - will impart some of their flavor/aroma characteristics but none of the gravity potential.

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Is something lost by controlling color and flavor only by steeping specialty grains?
No, not really.

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Through the use of darker extracts are there proteins or other flavor compounds that will be present because the specialty malts were mashed?
Sometimes. Take, for example, Briess Traditional Dark extract. It's brewed with Base Malt, Caramel Malt 60L, Munich Malt, Black Malt. You can mimic this extract with pale extract plus Caramel and Black malts. But you can't get the Munich malt, because Munich malt must be mashed; steeping does positively nothing for Munich malt.

But there's not some sort of magic phenomenon which happens only in the mash that makes specialty malts more flavorful or something.*

Cheers,

Bob

* Okay, that's not entirely true. There are techniques you can use in a mash to affect the contribution of specialty grains. But those techniques involve lessening the total impact (or one facet of the total impact) of the specialty grains, not enhancing it.
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Old 09-19-2010, 05:00 PM   #22
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I would have to assume there is some difference, whether perceptible or not, I can't say. It seems that some of the more complex sugars coming from the specialty malts would be converted, fermented, and, therefore, contribute less sweetness compared to steeping.

I've never brewed an all-grain batch before, but I have made all-grain formulations of my extract recipes in my brewing software by keeping the specialty malt bill the same and replacing light dme with 2-row base until the OG's are the same. It would make a neat experiment although, I don't know if it could be done outside of a scientific lab with factors like mash temp and thickness, lautering rate, etc. making a nearly infinite amount of variables. I suppose you could make two all-grain batches, steep the specialty grains and mash the base malts in one, and mash everything in the other and see what happens.

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Old 09-22-2010, 08:59 PM   #23
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This thread has thoroughly enlightened me.

But now that I've brewed a couple of extract batches using other-than-light dry malt extracts, I'm wondering what, exactly, I've been putting in my beer.

Does anyone know the grains used in Northwestern Extract's amber dry malt extract? I've used it in several batches recently.

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Old 09-22-2010, 09:48 PM   #24
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If you go to their website under ingredients they describe the exract. I believe it is pale, carapils, and munich. How much exactly is as secret as Bush's baked bean...

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Old 09-23-2010, 12:22 AM   #25
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Yeah, you'll find that most of the producers of malt extracts will provide you with information including the grain malt contents of the extracts they produce. You usually will not find any proportions, though. So, even with pilsen and light extracts, there is no way for the extract brewer to know or control exactly what is in their beer. We just do the best with what we've got to work with (until we decide to make the leap to all-grain).

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Old 09-24-2010, 08:58 PM   #26
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There's a good article in the latest Brew Your Own mag covering this exact subject. A microbrewery in Oakland uses only extract and says he uses only light extract as a base for the reasons stated by so many above.

I've brewed all my batches with amber, dark, light, whatever the recipe called for. I'm planning a russian imperial stout right now that I will use only light extract on. There's many ways to skin a cat.

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Old 09-24-2010, 09:07 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob View Post
...unless it's the exact porter you want.

Non-light extracts are ingredients just like any other. Once you figure out what it'll do in your beer, you know enough to use it. Thus, there's nothing at all wrong with using them.

Cheers,

Bob
Thanks. I never bought into this whole thing. I'm making a caramel ale with NB amber extract next. I talked to a NB rep about this. If you think extract beers taste fine, then there's no reason to be afraid of darker extracts.

I've brewed several extract beers without steeping grains, and they tasted great.
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Old 09-24-2010, 10:33 PM   #28
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Is there anywhere else i can read on this subject. It has sparked my interest for more control over my beers as i cant do all grain right now

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