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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Extract brewing: does everyone buy kits or does anyone buy the materials separate?




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Old 01-07-2013, 01:39 PM   #41
eyebrau
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My first batch was a kit, and its the only kit I ever used. I don't plan on going back. I thoroughly enjoy the process of recipe designing. I've been all grain for a couple years now (partial for the really big beers), and haven't done an extract only in a long time. Not a problem with extracts, more of a problem with the price tag.

I deal with the open bags often since my LHBS only sells 1lb min, but I try to plan my brews accordingly. For example, I made a standard bitter recently or which I used a half pound of crystal 60, and intentionally included that crystal 60 in my next batch (English barleywine). I also tend to try to design my brews to use a full pound of any given grain when I can... Neither method is perfect, though, and I've been known to have fractions of a pound sitting in my freezer.



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Old 01-07-2013, 01:48 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BorealBrewer
When I want to make something quick and easy, extract-based kits are great. One of the LHBS here makes some good ones.

Otherwise, AG or extract, I like blending my own recipe, which means buying malts, grains, hops, and otherwise separately. Not so much about saving money, more about making the beer I want to make.

IMHO, it's a trade off between time and $$$. I've made some batches recently from malt I sprouted and kilned, and hops from the backyard. Besides time (which was considerable...it took a few weeks to make the malt!) my biggest expense for those brews was the package of yeast. AG is more effort than extract - but cheaper.
I was thinking about trying to malt my own barley but was having trouble finding a supply of malting barley. Do you have a link to a store that has it?


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Old 01-07-2013, 02:28 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by rodwha View Post
I'm OK with keeping milled grains for a little while, but not so much for hops. If I'm going to split up a pack of hops I will schedule the next brew day within a week as I'm uncertain as to how quickly they will fade.
Yeah, I think my next brew is going to be a hodge podge of hops. I have a bunch of 1/4 oz. or less bags in my freezer now and I want to use them before they deteriorate completely. Probably do a real simple grain bill and then just start dumping hops. What I have is so across the board, who knows how it will taste.
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Old 01-07-2013, 02:28 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyDoctor

That can be interesting as well. Making a brew soon called "inventory ale" to us up the leftovers from 1lb packs as well as leftover hops.
That's what I do, put em all together and see what comes out. Made some interesting beers and some complete flops as well.
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Old 01-07-2013, 05:11 PM   #45
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I've done 4 extract batches so far. The first two were kits (clones of Merlin's 80 shilling ale and celis white). The third was my own recipe, an attempt to clone Captain Lawrence Freshchester Ale. After 2 weeks in bottles, it's not even close to CL, but it is still pretty tasty...closer to a Sierra Nevada. The fourth was a clone kit of Green Flash West Coast IPA that is fermenting now.

I'd say if there's a beer you want to clone, there's no shame in using a recipe that somebody has already put together for you. The owners of my local brew shop have published 3 books with hundreds of clone recipes that they will gladly make into a kit on request (if they don't already have it in stock). On the other hand, it's fun to try to make your own recipe if you don't mind that your brew might not be quite what you were shooting for.

I'm planning on sticking with the kits unless I decide there's something I want to try that isn't available in a kit from the local shop (like the Captain Lawrence).

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Old 01-07-2013, 05:24 PM   #46
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I made 2 kits in the beginning that were a flop. I borrowed 2 recipes from online, and then found a brew calculator and have created my own with a little help from people here. Some had been great, most have been good, only 2 have been less than good. But I still haven't poured them out.

I'd still prefer to make my own, though I have a clone of Arrogant Bastard to bottle today. Sometimes you just want something specific.

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Old 01-07-2013, 05:45 PM   #47
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FWIW, when I decide to design a recipe, I use forums like this one to find threads of other people designing to that style, look at not only what they end up using, but all the advice people give them on it. I also use the BJCP style guide to find out what ingredients are used for style. Also, if you don't necessarily know what will taste like what, I find that is where the clone recipes really come in handy. Read through a bunch of ones that you can simultaneously taste the original beer, and you can learn what provides what taste.

The one piece of advice that I wish I would have listened to earlier is "keep it simple". I did too many brews where I counted on adding flavors, fruit, all sorts of random additions. While most of them turned out, and while I learned more about the brewing process while doing them, I never really learned what the different types of grain can provide. That's why my second most recent brew was an ordinary bitter - used only Marris Otter, A little bit of crystal 60, Northern Brewer hops, and S-04 yeast. Paid more attention on the style, how to design a recipe to style, what's expected of the style, etc.

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Old 01-07-2013, 05:50 PM   #48
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I do AG now, but originally I did 3 extract batches.

I only did a kit once. The other times were with my own recipes. I would usually get one of the lighter malt extracts and then steep specialty grains for different styles. I also bought different hops and yeast for different beers.

I would suggest building your own recipes for extract as opposed to the kits. It worked well and I would get pretty good damn beer doing so.



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