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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Suggested Improvements for 3rd Extract Batch?
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Old 03-22-2009, 05:12 AM   #1
xinunix
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Default Suggested Improvements for 3rd Extract Batch?

I am getting ready to brew my third batch. First was a smoked porter which is finally starting to taste really good, second was an Irish Red which I will be bottling in a few days. I haven't made my mind up on the third yet but looking at a hoppy porter or an ESB. All are extract kits from my LHBS with specialty grains, I think my LHBS has really good kits from what I can tell, fresh ingredients and good recipes. I have learned a ton from this forum and I am documenting the key lessons as I go, so far:

1) Be patient, let the yeast do their job at each stage of the process
2) Always remember it is REALLY hard to screw up a beer so badly that it needs to be dumped, if ever in doubt, refer to rule 1
3) Focus on your process, dial in a solid process to consistently create great beers
4) Clean and sanitize thoroughly, don't cut corners
5) Control fermentation temps (just bought a chest freezer and Johnson Controls controller, I can already tell this is going to make a huge difference in the quality of my beers from the first batch which I did at room temp to the second which I did at a consistent 65 degrees ambient in the freezer)
6) Leave beer in primary for at least 2 to 3 weeks, secondary is optional but something I will probably continue to do
7) Leave beer in bottles for at least 2 to 3 weeks before drinking (aside from the experimental tasting exercises )

For my third batch I am looking to continue to make incremental improvements, especially to my process so I am looking for advice for how to take my extract batches to the next level. Please don't respond with "move to all grain", someday when my kids are grown up and out of the house (I have a 2 year old and a 1 year old so that will be many years from now) I may do that but now I am lucky to find time to brew an extract, I know I don't have the time to do AG nor the equipment so I am going to be an extract guy for a while and have no issues with that.

I am curious about things like late extract addition to boils, steeping grains before adding extract (so far I have been following instructions on my recipe kits which say to dissolve extract then add specialty grains and remove when boil is achieved), etc.

I am thinking my next improvements will be:

1) Steep specialty grains before adding malt extract (any details you can offer around how to best do this would be greatly appreciated, should I steep at a certain temp for a certain period of time?)
2) Late extract addition (not really sure what this means?)

Any others or additional suggestions on these that you would be willing to share would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 03-22-2009, 06:15 AM   #2
uwmgdman
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1) Steep at 155F for 30-45 minutes.

2) Late extract addition. Add a portion of the extract with 15 minutes remaining on your boil instead of all at the beginning (sometimes 1/2 or more). However beware by adding a large portion of your extract late, your boil will be less concentrated and the same amount of hops will lead to more efficient bittering (more bitter beer), so you may need to reduce your 60 minute hop addition accordingly.

I think the two things you mention are two great places to start to improving your extract batches. The other thing would be to do a full wort boil. So you'll be boiling 5.5-6.0 gallons of wort. Most stoves can't boil that much wort so you'd need a turkey fryer and have to boil outside. In which case you'll also need a wort chiller. So there are some expenses involved here.

Until you want to a full wort boil, those two things you mentioned will be a great place to start. Sounds like you'll be making some good beer, have fun!

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Old 03-22-2009, 01:23 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uwmgdman View Post
1) Steep at 155F for 30-45 minutes.
That long? Really? I thought 15 minutes or so?
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Old 03-22-2009, 01:35 PM   #4
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I'm a little surprised by the steeping of grains at 30-45 minutes. For the most part steeping just adds color and flavor. I don't think you need to steep past 30 minutes (I do 20) for specialty grains themselves. Now if you added some high enzyme malt (2-row, pale...) then you're entering partial mash territory and that leads me to my suggestion...


If you happen to have a second large pot you might want to try your luck at Deathbrewer's stovetop partial mash method. Outside of the second pot and use of a large bag to hold the grains there isn't much else you need to buy in terms of equipment. OK...so perhaps you don't need to do this for your 3rd brew since you're happy with your LHBS's extract kits and you seem to have a firm foundation of extract brewing knowledge. But perhaps someday, long before your kids are out of the house, you'll be able to further improve your brews with partial mashing.

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Old 03-22-2009, 01:47 PM   #5
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I steep my grains for 30 mins as well. I would defintely recommend adding extract AFTER steeping. Also, I dont know if anyone has mentioned this on this forum, but a trick I learned is when you are adding your malt extract, kill the flame, it will help prefent boil overs.

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Old 03-22-2009, 01:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danorocks17 View Post
I steep my grains for 30 mins as well. I would defintely recommend adding extract AFTER steeping. Also, I dont know if anyone has mentioned this on this forum, but a trick I learned is when you are adding your malt extract, kill the flame, it will help prefent boil overs.
And burned LME on the bottom of the pot... ALWAYS remove the pot from heat, or remove the heat from under the pot, when adding LME.

DME is less of a problem, but I still kill the heat to be safe.
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