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Old 04-27-2013, 04:16 AM   #1
llgriffin
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Ok dumb question... I've been reading a lot of threads about extract brewing, I've started a couple batches just with the cans of malt (kits I guess?) would this be considered extract? I'm just wondering what the next step up would be as this brewing is pretty un-involved. Looking for something a little more to-doa bit

 
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Old 04-27-2013, 04:22 AM   #2
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Yep. Those cans are filled with LME... Liquid Malt Extract.

The next step would be partial-mash brewing and it's easier than you think! You take a small amount of grains and do a smaller version of the mash that all-grain brewers do. When I started, I did it in my spaghetti pot in the oven. You'll do the mash, collect the runnings in your brew kettle. Then you sparge and collect those runnings in your kettle. Then boil, add your hops, etc and then add enough extract to make up for the small mash you did. You'll fine it greatly expands the variety of beers you can do.

Oh, and for the extract... ditch the cans. Pick up some fresh, bulk LME or use DME. The canned stuff can be horrible.
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Old 04-27-2013, 04:29 AM   #3
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^^^ What he said. Cans can sit on shelves for awhile. I usually use DME, Dry Malt Extract or the liquid from NorthernBrewer in the little jugs, cuz they have high turnover and its fresh.

Check them out as well, they have some really good mini-mash or partial mash kits and their instructions are second to non.
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Old 04-27-2013, 04:43 AM   #4
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In all likelihood, you're using HME, which is pre-hopped liquid malt extract in a can.

Your next step up is to try to do a beer from LME/DME which are unhopped extracts. This would involve steeping some crystal and other specialty grains, doing a 60 minute boil with hop additions plus adding the extract. You can make some quite tasty beers that way so long as you pitch and ferment at the proper temps.
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Old 04-27-2013, 04:57 AM   #5
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Partial mash is great and easy as are small volume all-grain batches, and there's no reason the OP shouldn't jump into them. But let's not, for the sake of thoroughness, skip over the standard range of extract brewing.

If there are just cans of malt and no hops, than the extract you are doing is pre-hopped extract and you are simply mixing it with water and fermenting.

The "next" level is to use basic non-hopped extract, either liquid malt extract (LME) or dry malt extract (DME) or a combination thereof and to boil and to add your own hops and learn when to add the hops at the right time.

This usually also involves steeping ground "specialty grains". (This method is sometimes called "extract with grains" but usually this grain steeping is assumed to be part of extract brewing.) Before boiling and adding your hops or your extract, you steep ground grains in a sack like a teabag. Then you bring the flavored water to a boil and add your hops and extracts.

(Partial-mashing and extract with grains differ in that with partial-mashing you are mashing/steeping (soaking in water and extracting) "base" grains which provide fermentable sugars. In extract brewing you are only steeping (not as "intense" as mashing) "specialty" grains for flavor but which do not release significant amounts of fermentable sugars. [I probably just botched a half-dozen technicalities and logistics but that's how I always viewed it.])

Extract brewing can actually get elaborate. It differs for partial-mash and all grain however in that all (most; someone more knowledgible than me can probably explain better) fermentable sugars come from extracts (i.e. some-one *else* mashed the grain and got them out). With partial-mash or all-grain, you are extracting some or all of these sugars yourself.

Or you could simply jump right into partial-mash or small batch all-grain. It's standard to "work up to" by doing "extract with grains" for a while but it's by no means required. Then again it's be no means required that you move away from extract brewing either.
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Old 04-27-2013, 05:02 AM   #6
llgriffin
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Ok I understand now. The stuff I'm making is all pre hopped and whatnot. Where do u guys usually get the ingredients for your brewing? Online? I'm not sure I can buy local which makes things a bit more challenging

 
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Old 04-27-2013, 05:32 AM   #7
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You can buy them online. I buy from my local brew shop and have never bought on line but people swear by northern brewer.

What you should do. (I hate the word "should" but....) What you should do is buy an "ingredient kit". This is a set of ingredients and instructions for a specific recipe. The ingredients usually include (if its an extract recipe): an amount of LME, an amount of DME, some ground specialty grains, pre-measured amounts of the different types of hops you will need, yeast, and priming sugar. The are a *huge* step up from "instant beer in a can" but a large step lower from writing your own shopping list.

If you want to try all-grain, you can get one-gallon or five gallon all-grain ingredient kits from Brooklyn Brew Shop and these are rather easy to use. (Well, the one gallon kits are. 5-gallon all grain is only difficult in that the equipment to do such a size is a bit unwieldy.)

====
To give you an example of what I'm talking about here is the second beer I ever did. (The first was a Mr. Beer pre-hopped American Classic which I felt, like you, was kind of hands off.) This is a plug for my local brew shop which has been very good to me. (Don't know how they are online though.) Shameless plug. There are other places to get kits including some where you can indicate whether you want dry or liquid yeast.


.... and here's a google on "home brew ingredient kits" so you can see you really have a *lot* of options.
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Old 04-27-2013, 05:51 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by llgriffin View Post
Ok I understand now. The stuff I'm making is all pre hopped and whatnot. Where do u guys usually get the ingredients for your brewing? Online? I'm not sure I can buy local which makes things a bit more challenging
Buying online is just fine, but if you let us know what town you live in we can probably track down the nearest brew shop for ya.
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Old 04-27-2013, 12:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by llgriffin View Post
Ok I understand now. The stuff I'm making is all pre hopped and whatnot. Where do u guys usually get the ingredients for your brewing? Online? I'm not sure I can buy local which makes things a bit more challenging
That's what it sounded like.

I'd suggest looking at some of the extract ale kits from places like Northern Brewer and MoreBeer. You will learn some new techniques and can make some really good brews. I just last night finished off a keg of ESB that was a MoreBeer extract kit. It was a sad moment because that ESB was absolutely delicious.

Get your temp controls solid before jumping into all grain.
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Old 04-27-2013, 01:06 PM   #10
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To get your feet wet,I suggest getting an extract with steeping grains kit. When steeping crystal &/or specialty,color grains,water amount isn't as critical as partial mash or all grain. But you'll get a taste of what mashing will be like. Here's some links to brew supply sites;
http://morebeer.com/
http://austinhomebrew.com/
http://www.brewersfriend.com/
http://www.rebelbrewer.com/
http://us.diybeer.com/
http://www.farmhousebrewingsupply.co...?idCategory=21
http://www.leeners.com/
http://www.midwestsupplies.com/
http://www.northernbrewer.com/
http://store.homebrewheaven.com/storefront.aspx
This about covers it. As you progress,I have many more links to various calculators,sites for assorted bits & peices,off flavors,etc. These should help you locate the nearest one though...
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