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Old 08-10-2009, 12:30 AM   #1
leapinglords
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Default Brewing my first batch, but already looking to modify malt extract brewing.

Hello there,

My buddy and I just got into home brewing. We started off with a pilsner malt extract kit, and things seem to be going smoothly enough with that so far. Our first batch has been sitting in the fermenting bucket for about a week and began bubbling beautifully within the first 12 hours.

With that said, I'm already interested in modifying the malt extract kits to tailor the brew more to my liking. Ultimately, I want to go full grain, but right now it's baby steps until we fully segue into that over the coming months.

If I wanted to add more hop character to a malt extract kit, how would I go about doing that? Reading the label, I noticed that it said to never boil the contents of the kit, only to add the hot water to it in the bucket. Any way we can get around this? In addition, I'm planning to use a better grade yeast next time around and dry hop with Czech Saaz Hop Pellets for an improved bouquet. I would really love to push this kit as far as possible as a means of learning and easing into the full grain process.

Of course, I'll wait to modify until I see how this first batch comes out. We're just brewing it according to the directions.

Thanks in advance, I'm excited about this new venture.

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Old 08-10-2009, 12:40 AM   #2
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What I would do is ask your LHBS about the best pilsener-type non-hopped extract, and use that (either dry or liquid) instead of the pre-hopped kit. It would be just about as easy, the only difference is that you have to boil the D/LME, but you seem to be okay with that.

Partial mash and all-grain are almost as easy, the hard part is the recipes.

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Old 08-10-2009, 01:42 AM   #3
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Congratulations on joining the obsession. Also I want to pre congratulate you on never brewing a prehoped kit again. THAT one is done. Let's move on.

NOW - the next step is doing what Vuarra said. Got with a non-hopped extract with steeping grains and you will start to get real good results and you can tweat to your hearts content.

The problem you run into (only one of the problems actually) with pre hopped extract is you really never know what you get. So you can't tweak knowing that the next kit will be the same as the last kit.

So here is the road

Pre hopped kits - once

Extract with steeping grains - limited amount of malt can be used

Extract with base grains which open an entire new frontier (sometimes called partial or mini mash)

Extract with base grains FULL BOIL - means you will get the most out of your HOPS - partial boils will only give you 1/2 the hops you want (making a good IPA with a partial boil is well . . . . . . . not worth the effort)

All Grain. (not sure of any sub cats as I'm very happy with Full Boil Mini mashing)

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Old 08-10-2009, 10:24 PM   #4
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Thanks guys!

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Old 08-10-2009, 10:40 PM   #5
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yeah, all grain brewing is not hard at all. really no more difficult than baking a cake or bread from scratch, just a little more sanitizing

its more about the equipment, space, and associated costs. a cheap turkey fryer with a big stock pot, a cooler for mash-lauter tun, and a wort chiller is all you really need to brew with grain.

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Old 08-10-2009, 10:46 PM   #6
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I'm assuming this would be a suitable malt to use in my next batch?

Northern Brewer Pilsen Malt Syrup - Malt Syrup - Malt Extract - Ingredients

Will I need any additional equipment for using hops? I'm not certain what to look for.

And finally, as a bit of an aside, which malt extract from Northern Brewer would you guys recommend for a Pale Ale?

Sorry for the inundation of questions, this is all so new to me.

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Old 08-10-2009, 10:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leapinglords View Post
I'm assuming this would be a suitable malt to use in my next batch?

Northern Brewer Pilsen Malt Syrup - Malt Syrup - Malt Extract - Ingredients

Will I need any additional equipment for using hops? I'm not certain what to look for.

And finally, as a bit of an aside, which malt extract from Northern Brewer would you guys recommend for a Pale Ale?

Sorry for the inundation of questions, this is all so new to me.
I think they sell "pale malt extract" which is what I would use for a pale ale. Northern Brewer also sells kits- which have the malt extract, the grains, and the hops already set up for you. They have excellent instructions, and I'd highly recommend that as a way to get started. After that, you can adapt other recipes to the same instructions. Another good one is austinhomebrew.com. They sell "clone recipes" of some of your favorite beers, and include everything in the kit, including instructions. Here's an example from Northern Brewer:
Extra Pale Ale Extract Kit - Extract Ale Kits - Extract Kits - Recipe Kits. They have great instructions, and can really help get you started if you've only ever done prehopped kits.

Also, here's one from austinhomebrew: Austin Homebrew Supply

They also come with excellent instructions, and very high recommendations. I'd really suggest trying a kit like that before striking too much out on your own. Technique matters, and good instructions go a long way to giving you great beer.
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