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Old 10-28-2006, 01:22 AM   #1
Mike-H
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Default What is the science of an extract? Combinations?

My question is a little hard to explain. Looking at AHS website, there are only maybe 6-8 different types of extracts that ship with all of their kits and clone kits. All of their clone recipe's come with one, or a mixture, this would give a finite number of possible combinations. It would seem that you are just trying to get "close" to the actual beer when doing a clone brew with extract because of these finite number of extracts. Now, if you went all grain, you could possibly duplicate the exact ingredients, that you could not possibly do with extract right? I know that the grain steeping attempts to add the specific grain flavor to the beer, but you are still brewing the majority with a base extract. I guess i'm asking, can we really duplicate a beer when brewing with extract, to me it would not seem possible.....?? I think all we're doing is making slightly different versions of beer with the same extracts (and different yeasts, hops etc...). Would like to hear insight on this, and i'd love to be shown wrong on this topic because I enjoy extract brewing.

-Mike

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Old 10-28-2006, 01:34 AM   #2
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I am VERY new at this and I would think with all-grain you could actually clone the recipes, but with extract your not really doing a clone, just something close

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Old 10-28-2006, 01:58 AM   #3
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All-grain also allows much more control to match a recipe. For instance, one example would be mash temperature. By varying mash temp you can control the fermentabilty of the wort, thus defining your FG and mouthfeel/body of the beer. With extract you can't do that.

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Old 10-28-2006, 03:31 AM   #4
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You can duplicate any beer with extract and specialty grains (or perhaps I should say a small mash). Then there is Williams Brewing, they carry a dozen extracts and have kits for even more. Don't forget, there are a limited number of grains as well.

Matching a commercial beer isn't a matter of matching the exact recipe. A good example is Austin Home Brew's Rogue Mocha Porter clone (mini-mash). The grain bill is simpler, the hops are different, the yeast is different. The beer's the same.

Personally, except for RMP, I don't do clones. I originally made it for someone else. Now I make it for myself because I like it better than any other porter recipe I've made.

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Old 10-28-2006, 04:18 AM   #5
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The extracts are made from the same grains used in all grain recipes. In the same context that David used, you are going for the same flavor, not the same recipe. Steeping grains, mixing extracts, hop additions at different times, different yeasts. It is a lot of combinations. I think with some beers, it is a waste to do AG, you can do a partial mash, or a mini mash. If the beer is about hops, why waste your time extracting wort from whole grains?

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Old 10-28-2006, 04:56 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean
The extracts are made from the same grains used in all grain recipes. In the same context that David used, you are going for the same flavor, not the same recipe. Steeping grains, mixing extracts, hop additions at different times, different yeasts. It is a lot of combinations. I think with some beers, it is a waste to do AG, you can do a partial mash, or a mini mash. If the beer is about hops, why waste your time extracting wort from whole grains?
Wow, there's a loaded set of statements! Extract brewing certainly has merit - a lot of merit. Also, you can come remarkably close to duplicating commercial recipes with extracts and adjuncts alone. Extract is a bit limiting in that you can't control the process by which the majority of your fermentables are obtained. The combination of grains, mash temperatures, rest times, and mash techniques all contribute to the flavor and body of the resulting beer. These are variables you do not have control over when you do an extract brew. To play devil's advocate, if you are doing a partial mash, it could be said that you are wasting time mashing such a small amount of grain when the same amount of time and same techniques could net you an all grain brew with infinitely more control. I'm not disagreeing entirely, but you are disregarding a lot of the benefits of an all grain brew.

I will, however, disagree completely with the idea that "beer is about hops." Certainly not! If beer were only about hops, we would never use grain, we'd just make hop tea and add some vodka. Hop flavor and bitterness must balance against malty sweetness and adjunct flavors. The choice of hops and their amounts can often make or break a recipe, but hops are NOT what beer is all about.
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Old 10-28-2006, 05:26 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuri_Rage
Wow, there's a loaded set of statements! Extract brewing certainly has merit - a lot of merit. Also, you can come remarkably close to duplicating commercial recipes with extracts and adjuncts alone. Extract is a bit limiting in that you can't control the process by which the majority of your fermentables are obtained. The combination of grains, mash temperatures, rest times, and mash techniques all contribute to the flavor and body of the resulting beer. These are variables you do not have control over when you do an extract brew. To play devil's advocate, if you are doing a partial mash, it could be said that you are wasting time mashing such a small amount of grain when the same amount of time and same techniques could net you an all grain brew with infinitely more control. I'm not disagreeing entirely, but you are disregarding a lot of the benefits of an all grain brew.

I will, however, disagree completely with the idea that "beer is about hops." Certainly not! If beer were only about hops, we would never use grain, we'd just make hop tea and add some vodka. Hop flavor and bitterness must balance against malty sweetness and adjunct flavors. The choice of hops and their amounts can often make or break a recipe, but hops are NOT what beer is all about.
I suppose I should have said "if the recipe is about hops, one might get the same results from using an extract, and some steeping grains to get your basic medium.?"

For example: one of the Dogfish Head IPAs -- It is about the hops, not the malt.

In regards to your devil's advocate re. it is irellevant, as we are talking about extract brewing, which has its merits. And can lead to AG brewing if the individual wishes to persue it.
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Old 10-28-2006, 05:59 AM   #8
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Apologies for the misunderstanding regarding hops intensive recipes.

The rest of my post seems quite relevant to the topic at hand, though you may disagree with my opinions. He asked for insight - I offered.

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Old 10-28-2006, 11:15 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike-H
My question is a little hard to explain. Looking at AHS website, there are only maybe 6-8 different types of extracts that ship with all of their kits and clone kits. All of their clone recipe's come with one, or a mixture, this would give a finite number of possible combinations. It would seem that you are just trying to get "close" to the actual beer when doing a clone brew with extract because of these finite number of extracts. Now, if you went all grain, you could possibly duplicate the exact ingredients, that you could not possibly do with extract right? I know that the grain steeping attempts to add the specific grain flavor to the beer, but you are still brewing the majority with a base extract. I guess i'm asking, can we really duplicate a beer when brewing with extract, to me it would not seem possible.....?? I think all we're doing is making slightly different versions of beer with the same extracts (and different yeasts, hops etc...). Would like to hear insight on this, and i'd love to be shown wrong on this topic because I enjoy extract brewing.

-Mike
Extracts are just condensed wort. There aren't very many types because there aren't many types needed. Most beers are made with most of the grain being a certain base malt (usually 2-row barley), then some other small amounts of specialty grains added for flavor. Your malt extract is just a wort made with the base malt, then boiled down to a syrup or dried to a powder. If you have a recipe that uses 8 lbs of 2-row malt and 2 lbs of crystal malt, you will get basically the same beer using 6lbs of liquid malt extract and 2 lbs of crystal malt. The only difference, as was pointed out, is that when you make your own wort from base malt, you have more control over the variables.

But really, the thing to keep in mind is that you can pretty much make almost any beer using just light male extract. The specific characterisitcs of the beer don't come from the base malt, but the hops, specialty grains, adjuncts, yeast, etc.
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Old 10-28-2006, 05:35 PM   #10
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Thanks all for your insight. It really cleared up a lot for me. I have much more confidence in my extract brewing now

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