Originally Posted by JMU_Alumn08
excellent. on top of the extract called for, how much grains (I guess in weight) should you use? I'm assuming too much would screw up your gravity..
That depends - if you're just steeping specialty grains you won't get a large amount of gravity points from them, mostly flavors and colors. Typically steeping recipes call for up to 1-1.5 lbs but it depends on the recipe.
If you're doing a partial mash with base grains as well as specialty grains, then you reduce the amount of extract proportional to the amount of grains you're mashing (and their expected gravity contribution). The ratio I use is 1 lb of grain = .75 lbs LME or .6 lbs DME. As an example, if you have an extract recipe that calls for 6 lbs of LME and you decide to mash 2 lbs of base malt along with your specialty grains, you reduce the LME amount by 1.5 lbs (2 x .75 = 1.5). I usually shoot for a 4-5 lb grain mash because that's what my 2 gallon cooler can handle.
As to the liquid vs dry debate, I prefer bulk liquid extract because it's cheaper and I find it more convenient, I bring my own container and they dispense whatever amount I want for the recipe I'm doing. No measuring for me - all I have to do is dump it into the kettle. They sell a lot of it so I know it's fresh. I'm lucky to have a great LHBS only a couple of miles from me - if I had to order it online or store it though, I'd use dry extract instead - I've not been impressed with canned liquid extract.