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Old 10-31-2008, 11:26 PM   #1
JoshEnjoysBeer
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Default Quick questions for the new brewer...

Hey folks. Love your forums and your advise. I've been trolling now for probably three months! I'm just starting brewing and have a quick question for you. I'm using a hand-me-down 3.5 gallon glass carboy as my main fermenting vessel.

I've got everything I need to start my very first extract beer: a 3.75 pound can of John Bull Pilsner extract and a 5 pound bag of dextrose that the can says to use. The can's instructions are for a 5 gallon batch, I'm only planning on making 3.

Now that you know the setup, let me ask you a couple questions.

If I skip the sugar, which I've heard can water down the beer or give it off flavors, and use just the malt extract only, do any of you have any idea as to what ABV I would end up close too? I know it would probably be a wee bit on the weaker side, but I don't mind drinking a couple beers and not be 100% buzzed.

Secondly, if I did add the sugar, how much would I need to add to get about 5% ABV?

Lastly, while I would like to follow the given recipe, if I decided to order some DME, how much would I need to add to get a 5% or 6% ABV?

Thanks in advance and I appreciate the help. While I'm at it, are there any others who brew in 3 gallon carboys?

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Old 11-01-2008, 12:39 AM   #2
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From general guidelines, that's too much sugar (way over a 1:1 ratio) for a decent beer. You would probably be best off using just the can in a 3 gal batch, witch would yield a reasonable ABV (off the top of my head).

What about hops? Yeast? Specialty grains? And if you are trying to make a true pilsner, the fermentation will need to be done at low temps with the pilsner yeast.

Let me go goof around with beersmith and see what kind of numbers you can get with what you have. Are you open to getting more ingredients from a local brew store? Do you even have one nearby?

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Old 11-01-2008, 01:02 AM   #3
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Thanks for the help but sorry about the confusion. The can doesn't say to use 5 pounds of dextrose, but I think 2kg. I bought extra sugar for priming and what not, haha.

As for hops and yeast and specialty grains, the extract is pre-hopped and comes with yeast. This is my first beer and I plan on sticking to the recipe for the most part.

Also, in order to stave off any questions like this in the future, I plan on getting BeerSmith ASAP. Although if any of you know the numbers off the top of your head and beat me to it, thanks.

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Old 11-01-2008, 01:06 AM   #4
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Here's what I pulled out of Beersmith:

If you use just the 3.75lbs of extract in a 3 gal batch, you should hit about 1.046 OG, 1.012 FG, and about 4.4% ABV.

Here's what I'd do assuming there's a local brewstore:

Go there and buy:

1 oz cascade hops (about $3)
.5 lbs of grain (something like crystal malt 10L) (maybe $1)
a grain bag (around $1)
Depending on what you have for yeast, maybe also get a good packet of yeast like Safale s-05 (Under $2)
This will cost under $10.

Put a rag in the bottom of a pot and put your can of LME in, and then fill close to the rim and heat this. This will get your LME up to temp without burning it.

Steep the grains in the bag in 2 gal of water at about 160 for about 30 min. This can be done while your water is getting up to temp, just not at full boil.

Remove the grains and throw them out (you can probably keep and re-use the bag).

Get this to a full boil and add half of your hops, then watch for a boil over! Start a timer at 60 minutes when you do this.

At fifteen minutes add your LME to the boil. It may take a few minutes to get back to full boil, but that's OK.

When the timer says 10 min, add the other 0.5 oz of hops.

When the timer goes of, cool your wort in a sink full of cold water, or with the cooling method of your choice.

When the wort gets to about 80 degrees, top of to 3 gallons with cold water. This should take your wort to about 70 degrees. Aerate (mix) well and take a hydrometer reading if you have one.

Put into carboy, pitch yeast, and add a blow-off tube.

Wait!

The extra ingredients will really help, and you may want to adjust the hops if your extract is hopped. If the extract is hopped, and/or you don't want to get more ingredients, don't worry about it! Just brew 3 gals with the LME and enjoy. It will still be ok.

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Old 11-01-2008, 01:21 AM   #5
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Quick edit, I just flipped through The Complete Joy of Homebrewing by Papazian, and I believe he recommends no more than 10% sugar if you do use it at all in a beer.

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Old 11-01-2008, 01:23 AM   #6
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Wait a sec... did MellowToad just do a follow up as the OP, JoshLikesBeer?

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Old 11-01-2008, 02:00 AM   #7
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I wanted to change my name...

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