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Old 02-07-2013, 03:20 PM   #1
HopHeadGrady
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Default A message to extract brewers.

I hope this does not come across the wrong way to some, as that is not my intention. I am by no means a beer snob and enjoy the hobby for what it is. If you brew something you like, thats all that matters.

I have been absent here for about a year as I experienced with different ways to brew. I started with Kits, went to Mash Extract and then to AG (BIAB). I joined a thriving local brew club and thats when things really took off. Up until then I had been playing with extracts and just getting beer flavored drink and crap after tastes etc. I did about 20 different beers, and found 1 or 2 decent recipes but they still lacked flavor and fullness of beer. I was about to give up when a fellow brewer told me to come by and sample his 6 taps of AG brews.

Simply stated, I was floored. I can say if it wasn't for me joining the club and tasting AG, I would have quit the hobby as the extract beer wasn't for me. Again, this is just me. I tried fecking with my water and all sorts of stuff and nothing helped.

Ok, where am I going with this? About 2 months ago it was very cold up here so I couldn't do any AG brewing in my garage. I decided to cash in a gift cert on two Muntons Premium gold kits. I decided to make them bone stock. I did not boil them, they are pre hopped. I added it to boiled water in the fermenter, followed instructions to a T from here. No hop teas or anything.

Well I tapped one and the beer is absolute filth. I am not sure why Muntons sells this crap. I tasted my other Muntons kit too and it as well has that caramel, extract and weak hop oil taste. Its a 1 out of 10.

I am not saying all kits are garbage, but I just cant drink the Craig Tube Kool Aid. Anyone thinking about giving up without trying AG should really try that first. It will sway you back. I guess I shouldn't be shocked at the lack of quality, especially since I have done 50+ AG brews since my last kit.

I should have put my gift cert from LHBS into a bag of 2 row. What a waste.
Sorry if this comes across as a rant, but I was expecting a little more than this with the kits. I knew they weren't going to be that good, but I didn't know it would turn out to be filth.

As for the fermentation, it too was terrible. OG 1055 FG 1022..... I fermented in the same room as all my other beers. I rehydrated the crap yeast they send too. The only good thing is the beer is super clear. It looks good sitting on the bar, decent head etc, then you take a sip and it's like "Hmm this doesn't taste like beer". It like comparing Tang to fresh squeezed OJ IMO. Its just not real tasting.

Both extract kits are going down the drain when I get home. Never again.
IMO Extracts are excellent to get you started and used to the process, thats about it. I am not referring to some of the Northern Mash Extract Kits etc as I haven't drank them yet. Just the canned stuff at my LHBS.

I would rather just do a Festa Brew next time... You get 23L of wort in a box...


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Old 02-07-2013, 03:30 PM   #2
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I brewed my 1st Cooper's kit that came with my micro brew kit stock. It came out pretty good,but really needed flavor hops imo. I started on the 2nd brew onward using 3lbs of Munton's DME in the boil & 2-6oz ofhops,depending on the style I was turning it into. So I was really using the cans as a base. Comes out much better with late extract additions & rehydrated yeast. Different yeast have been interesting as well.
I've since gone to partial mash. As soon as I get a couple more things,hopefully local,I can use a recipe from a member to turn the Cooper's Heritage Lager into a slightly smoky German dark lager. Will need a "micro mash" with the rauchmalt. I'm looking forward to this one.
My point is,I use them for what they can be, Not what they are.


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Old 02-07-2013, 03:35 PM   #3
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Your big problem is the comercial extract kits. Munttons,Brewers Best,Coopers etc. Die hard extract brewers dont use this stuff. If i do a kit it is a custom kit from say Moorbeer. My extract brew is as good as any all grain. No twang, no sweetness.

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Old 02-07-2013, 03:37 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HopHeadGrady View Post
Sorry if this comes across as a rant...
Dude! This is the internet! You're supposed to rant!!! Just try being a little offensive and self righteous next time

I feel your pain though, ive made some very good extract kits, all from norther brewer. But sometimes I'd order kits with the best intentions and they'd sit on a shelf for 6 months. The liquid extract doesn't age well and when you combine that with a partial boil and aged, though refrigerated, yeast... the results were less than stellar. I fell into a 2 year non brewing rut that lasted until the smell of the Solemn Oath tap room drove me screaming back into the hobby last October.

Now this being said, simple recipes, DME with ~ 50% of it added at the 15 min mark and a good yeast starter has left me with my best extract partial boil recipes. I've recently graduated to full boil partial mash (all grain can wait until spring) but the last batch i made with the late addition method just described is a sweet stout that tasted awesome going into the bottle a week back. FWIW I've never brewed with pre-hopped extract for some of the reasons you describe above.

Hows the BIAB method workin' for ya? I'm still debating whether to convert a cooler or order one of them fancy a*s bags folks on here sell - neither my wife or me can sew worth a damn.
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Old 02-07-2013, 03:38 PM   #5
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BE Brewer - Yeah, thats what I am thinking. I mean when I mashed some grain, added some light DME etc I was able to get something half decent. But as soon as a can of pre hopped extract comes into the mix, everything goes downhill. Northern doesn't ship to Canada and getting those mailed up anyway would be very expensive. I find it Ironic a company called Northern Brewer does not do business with the North. The shipping usually equals the kit price. Yeah I know, thats my problem for living in Canada... haha.

TSU - I wonder how long my Kit was on the shelf too. I think they must use hop oils in the kit. Def has a different taste than what I am used to. 5 out of 5 buddies gave the Muntons the drain pour... I remembered I made a mash extract using one of these cans last year and it wasnt so bad. This time however, bleh.

BIAB was meant as a cheap way to get into AG before going 3V etc. I haven't bothered though since BIAB is coming along so good. At my clubs last malt split my beer finished in the top 5 of 25 beers (4th). I am not fixing something that isn't broke. I do tweak my water a bit though. BIAB is perfect for me. You just need a LOT of water up front. I brew 30L batches from a 50L pot. I have lots of little tips n tricks now :P

Union - Yeah, you need to customize your brew when using extracts in order to make something half decent. I wasn't expecting excellent beer here by any means, just low grade drinkable beer. Its not even that though which is why Im a bit frustrated.
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Old 02-07-2013, 03:39 PM   #6
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While I won't totally discount what you are saying, it is somewhat a disservice what you are putting out there can can be somewhat discouraging to those interested in getting into this hobby/obsession.

Most people will agree that the pre-hopped kits or no boil kits are pretty crappy but there are many other proven kits that use fresh ingredients, specialty grains and good yeast that prove to be good, if not great beers. Many of these kits do not prove to be great, not because of the kit but the new brewer making it and the short comings they have in their process.

In fact, if you go through many of each year's GABF medal winners in each category you will find some of the best beers were in fact extract recipes or had extract as part of the recipe. Many of which have been written up in Zymurgy over the years.

Just my .02
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Old 02-07-2013, 03:42 PM   #7
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It all comes down to using the best and the most fresh ingredients. Some of those cans of pre-hopped extract can be YEARS old. The yeast is usually always shot. I bet if you got them fresh, with good yeast, the results would be a lot better than what you're reporting.
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Old 02-07-2013, 03:42 PM   #8
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ALL GRAIN VS EXTRACT SNOB THREAD!!!

Just kidding...but just to clarify: You used 'crap' yeast, no fermentation temperature control, no boil, and you expected great results? I've had and made absolutely delicious Extract brews. Reminds me of a saying "Play stupid games, win stupid prizes"

I'd try again if I were you, with an extract kit from a big homebrew website that turns a ton of extract orders from bulk LME. Forget the prehopped stuff too. Get after it and let us know what you think!
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Old 02-07-2013, 03:43 PM   #9
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I'm relatively new to brewing and did a 100% extract my first time out. I would agree that I was a little disappointed with the outcome. It was a Coopers Kit and was relatively light, as it aged it got better. However, it never got to where I had hoped. Currently I'm waiting on my 2nd batch to complete fermentation. This batch was part extract. I hope that it comes out better as the first.

These things being said, I appreciated your comments regarding AG. This is where I hope to get to with my brewing in the next year. The only thing I would say is please, for my homies, don't pour out your fermented water. There are needy sober people in this world that drink the likes of BL, ML, etc. and would be happy to take it off your hands.
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Old 02-07-2013, 03:45 PM   #10
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My LHBS also has his AG on tap, and it is awesome, I do PM's now, but yeah extracts do suck, but the key is adding a little extract at the boil start, and the rest at flameout, it rids of the twang, but not 100%....


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