Extract-only recipes for storage.

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TNAndy

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I'm still thinking about long-term storage of (premixed?) ingredients for an ale or two. For the sake of simplicity, I'd like to use exclusively dry malt extract(s). Let's assume I'm growing my own hops, so at least those will be fresh. I haven't solved the yeast problem yet, but let's tackle one thing at a time.

I've got a freeze dryer, a FoodSaver vacuum packaging system with Mason jar attachments, and a supply of oxygen absorbers. I've got Mason jars in various capacities: Half pint, pint, pint and a half, quart. It would help a lot if I knew the density of dry malt extract so I could recalculate the recipe using volumes rather than weights. I've got Tattler (plastic) jar lids with rubber gaskets rather than metal lids that can rust. I'm still hunting for stainless steel, regular mouth bands (rings) at anything approaching a decent price.

What I'd like to do is pour the DME from the jar (more likely jars) directly into the boil, add some bittering, flavor, and aroma hops, siphon it into the fermenter. I'd add enough water to fill the 5 gallon carboy, let it cool, pitch the yeast. I've got several carboys so a secondary fermentation is no problem. When it's finished fermenting, I'll add a half-pint jar of DME for carbonation and bottle in pint flip-top bottles.

I don't want to use cans of liquid extract; I've seen too many swelled cans in the local homebrew shop. Swelled cans make me very nervous, even if they're just hydrogen swells, so that rules them out for long term storage. I'd prefer to not bother with grains or malt. Dry malt extract only to keep it ultra simple.

I'm not necessarily going for the very best beer you ever tasted. Pretty good is good enough. My wife likes light colored beers. I like nut brown ales. Can you suggest recipes for those? I'd like to buy some 50 pound bags of DME before the price goes up. In order to know what to buy, I need to choose the recipes. Alternatively, have you ever tried brewing 5 or 10 pounds of light or dark extract (and hops and yeast) by itself just to see how it turns out?

Thanks in advance for any advice or experiences you can share.
 

RM-MN

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Dry malt extract is hygroscopic so any opened container will end up with a solid cake of DME, hard to break apart and slow to dissolve so unless you are so remote that getting fresh DME is difficult, buy in smaller quantities and store any left over DME in a sealed container.

Malt extract can make just as good of beer as any other way of making it but your choices of the beers produced are more limited as you get the mix of grains that the producer makes. Take a look through Briess' list of malt extracts as they tell you a lot about the grains used. They also have a recipe tab at the top that will give you some sample recipes.

 
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IslandLizard

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I only use DME for yeast starters, but go through quite a bit.
So I split a 50# bag of Pilsen Light DME at a group buy with another homebrewer. It's stored in 2 "half" buckets (3.5 gallon "salvage" buckets) that have a screw-on lid with a rubber o-ring in the groove. They're air tight.
For on-hand use, I scoop a few pounds out into a ziplock freezer bag and store that bag inside another food bag that's Oxygen impermeable. I always squeeze as much air out as possible.

2 years later, the DME, both in bucket and bag, is still a loose powder, no clumps. Smells and tastes fresh as it should.

have you ever tried brewing 5 or 10 pounds of light or dark extract (and hops and yeast) by itself [...]
In my extract years I always used steeping grains appropriate for the style or did mini/partial mashes. The bulk of fermentables was indeed from DME or later, very fresh LME, poured into a double, heavy duty plastic bag at my homebrew store. I always checked the batch date on the barrel.
 
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TNAndy

TNAndy

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Dry malt extract is hygroscopic so any opened container will end up with a solid cake of DME, hard to break apart and slow to dissolve so unless you are so remote that getting fresh DME is difficult, buy in smaller quantities and store any left over DME in a sealed container.

Malt extract can make just as good of beer as any other way of making it but your choices of the beers produced are more limited as you get the mix of grains that the producer makes. Take a look through Briess' list of malt extracts as they tell you a lot about the grains used. They also have a recipe tab at the top that will give you some sample recipes.

Um, yeah, that's why I plan to use vacuum sealed Mason jars.

Thank you for the link.
 
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TNAndy

TNAndy

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I only use DME for yeast starters, but go through quite a bit.
So I split a 50# bag of Pilsen Light DME at a group buy with another homebrewer. It's stored in 2 "half" buckets (3.5 gallon "salvage" buckets) that have a screw-on lid with a rubber o-ring in the groove. They're air tight.
For on-hand use, I scoop a few pounds out into a ziplock freezer bag and store that bag inside another food bag that's Oxygen impermeable. I always squeeze as much air out as possible.

2 years later, the DME, both in bucket and bag, is still a loose powder, no clumps. Smells and tastes fresh as it should.


In my extract years I always used steeping grains appropriate for the style or did mini/partial mashes. The bulk of fermentables was indeed from DME or later, very fresh LME, poured into a double, heavy duty plastic bag at my homebrew store. I always checked the batch date on the barrel.
What percentage of the final quality of the beer do you think resulted from the steeping grains? In other words, if you left them out, how much difference in the final product would there be?

I'm starting to think I'll just have to try it and see. I wonder if there's a chart or formula that computes how much alpha acid is needed for X pounds of DME.
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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if you left [the steeping grains] out, ...
Basic Brewing Radio's "Hop Sampler" process brews IPA-ish (single hop) beers using just DME.

Briess Traditional Dark DME is roughly 1/2 munich, 1/3 base malt, 1/7 Crystal 60L, and a "pinch" of black malt. Blended with base malt, it could make a reasonable "dark"-ish ale.

There are probably additional recipes in the "No Boil NEIPA" recipe threads from late 2019.
 

IslandLizard

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What percentage of the final quality of the beer do you think resulted from the steeping grains?
100%!
Because steeping grain makes the beer, the beer it is.
Similar to all grain, where you'd brew anything, from the Palest Ale, Ambers, Browns, Porters, to the darkest Stout, with (lightly kilned) Pilsner or Ale malt by adding a variety of toasted, roasted, caramel/crystal, and/or specialty malts, appropriate for the style or the beer you have in mind.

Many beer styles can be brewed using the same, common malt extract such as Pilsen Light DME (Pilsner Malt based) or Golden Light DME (Ale Malt based) by just including a selection of steeping grains. Even the darkest Stout can be brewed from light extracts with the appropriate (steeped) dark roasted malts and grains.
 

bwible

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I'd like to buy some 50 pound bags of DME before the price goes up.

Smart move in my opinion. Anybody who is light on grain should be buying it NOW. We’ve been warned food shortages are coming, and that no doubt includes grains, I just bought (4) 50 lb sacks, not DME but grain.
 
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