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Old 03-30-2008, 12:03 AM   #1
Palmetto33
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Default Transition to a Full Boil

I have been brewing only for a few months now and have produced three beers from extract, the first two a combination of LME and DME and the last all LME. The first was a brown, the second an IPA, and the third a red ale.

Thing is, they sorta all taste the same to me; that twangy character from extract that I've been reading a lot about is so present in them that, other than in their hopping differences, they aren't that characteristic to their styles. By the way the first two only attenuated around 55 and 65% respectively (these are estimates, the exact figures are in an earlier post I had). The red ale got to its FG but for that one I used an Irish Ale WL yeast.

Other thing is, while the beers didn't come out exactly like I had hoped, they are still drinkable, one, and, two, I love the process of brewing. I want to make it better though; want to make it a beer that I like drinking as much as I like making.

So, more to the point of my post, I want to figure out what exactly I need to do to make better beer (from extract right now, but I do see all grain in my future). Here's what I'm thinking:

1. I want to start doing full boils. I plan on going out and buying a turkey fryer kit tomorrow but I am curious as to some of ya'll's feedback on what you use. I am thinking along the lines of an 8 gallon aluminum pot with a burner. This is about the size I've seen available and I think it'd be perfect for brewing a 6.5g starting boil - correct me if I'm wrong, or with any other possibilities (that's why I'm writing this essay - 6.5g starting is somewhat arbitrary as I've seen various amounts for starting boils.

What's the size of your starting boil?
What equipment do you have?

2. I need a Wort Chiller. I am willing to construct one myself but don't know exactly what I need. I was thinking a 50 ft. coil, maybe making a prechiller out of it too, don't know if it's necessary though. So I'd need 50 ft. copper tubing (thickness?) and what else?

3. I need a good recipe for a American Brown ale, and IPA both using all DME and steeping grains. By the way if I bought some DME in bulk,what do you think of Extra light DME? Could I get enough character from the steeping grains to differentiate the beers?

Apologize for the rambling, just trying to do this right. I love this stuff, and this is the place to come to for answers. And any answers are appreciated.

Rob

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Old 03-30-2008, 12:11 AM   #2
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I picked up a turkey fryer at Lowes for 40$ and it is plenty big enough for full boild. It's not SS, rather aluminum, but it'll work. If you can get ahold of a Keg on Craigslist and just buy a fryer I think you'd be better off.

I was just at Home deopt today and 50' of 1/2" copper tubing was 80$!!! I think you can buy a premade chiller cheaper from AHS or Midwest, and all of the fittings are already on there. If you bouil one you'll have to buy all the plumbing and do all the brazing yourself. If you're in Vegas, I can do the brazing for you.

AS for buying the DME in bulk go for it. You can also use it for priming when you bottle.

As for the Extract Twang, I know what you mean. While they are each a different beer with different hops and extracts, you can't help but notice that similar taste they all seem to have. Try to maintain good fermentation temps, good sanitation, and sound practices to keep them as pure as possible. Have you tried anybody elses AG beer yet? I recently tried some for the first time. Alamo Beer sent me some of his Brown Ale and it blew my extract away. I'm not saying you can't make good or even great beer with etract. I'm just saying you can taste a difference.

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Old 03-30-2008, 12:47 AM   #3
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I got my turkey fryer from home depot on sale for around $30. It came with a 30 qt aluminum pot, which is perfect for full boils. I try to be as much of a diy guy as possible, but I opted for the pre-made wort chillers because they ended up being cheaper for me. I think midwest may still have their stainless steel chillers on sale...

As far as initial boil volume, it depends on where you live, and what the weather is like (ie humidity). Some people start with 6 or 7 gallons, and they boil off to 5. I only lose about 1/2 gallon for a 60 minute boil, so I start with 5.5 gallons. I'd recommend starting at around 5.5-6 gal or so for the first time through. After the boil, you can measure how much boil off you had and you'll now exactly how much water to start with the next time.

I'm also kicking around the idea of buying bulk extract. I think NB sells 55lbs packages. I figured I could split that with my homebrewing buddy.

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Old 03-30-2008, 12:53 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeyP
try to be as much of a diy guy as possible, but I opted for the pre-made wort chillers because they ended up being cheaper for me.
You nailed it there. DIY when and if you can.....but being frugal takes precedence in this case.
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Old 03-30-2008, 02:01 AM   #5
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Appreciate the info Mikey and talley. Looks like I'll order a chiller online. Never worked with copper before and don't have that spring loaded bender I've heard about and if it's cheaper, there's no question.

With the fryer, I'm looking to go to Lowe's first cause it's closer. 30 qt is 7.5g, right, so that would be good if they've got it there. In regards to boil size, I'm relatively close to you mikey, I'm in Charleston, SC. Maybe I'll take it down to around 6 g beginning boil. Just don't know how this will affect recipes from Brewing classic styles book I got. I can probablt plug it into Beersmith I'd imagine in order to formulate a good recipe.

Talley, can I assume you do mostly DME and steeping grains? If so, is the quality of the beer noticeably different?

Anyone who has noticed differences between DME and LME, or partial boil and full boil I'd appreciate your input.

Rob

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Old 03-30-2008, 02:08 AM   #6
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You don't necessarily need the bender. You can wrap it around a bucket or a cornie (or any other round object) with the help of a buddy.

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Old 03-30-2008, 03:45 AM   #7
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have you looked at the boxes of copper that comes in a roll? Thats what I got. Its allready rolled. Just take it out of the box set it in your kettle pull the two ends up and bend them over the side of the kettle and clamp a couple clear hoses on them with a portable dishwasher end on one hose to attach to the sink. Not sure of prices now but a few years ago it was way cheaper then a designed chiller and it works great. If I remember correct I had to kinda tighten the roll so it would fit nicely in the kettle but I didn't need a bender. I've also bought aluminum in rolls for other projects, if your gonna brew with aluminum why not cool with aluminum? It should be way cheaper yet. Not sure how aluminum would work but to save some money it may be worth looking into.

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Old 03-30-2008, 04:00 AM   #8
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Haven't looked at the coiled copper yet, will take a look tomorrow at Lowe's and see what I can find. I'll update on the progress. Any further input will be appreciated in the time being.

Rob

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Old 03-30-2008, 12:02 PM   #9
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For copper tubing, check out this link.
DIY Link

I got my copper here, great prices and great service.

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Old 03-30-2008, 01:37 PM   #10
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Let me preface with, I am in no way an expert brewer. I have a few dozen batches under my belt. I do mostly extract with steeping grains and partial or mini-mashes.

I have noticed that when I brought my brewing up to full boil, there was a difference in the way the beer tasted. Less like more of the same, like your talking about.

Next, I do notice that when I use LME the beer has more of that extract taste to it and beers tend to to have some similar characteristics. Using DME helps with a better taste and mouthfeel, in my novice opinion.

Add more grains and adjuncts into the recipie and the beer only gets better.

Now, I know this is a topic covered in many other threads, but I do not like using alluminum in brewing. My first four batches, about 4 years ago were all made in an alluminum pot. All of the beers had this very similar characteristic to them, metallic. Now I know that there are a milllion different explanations for this taste or why it happened from my pot. However, when I switched to Stainless, I no longer had this problem.

Just my 2 cents

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