Some (hopefully) basic q's about my first brew.

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Ciliatus

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I am in the prep stages of attempting my first home brew. While being patient and putting together all of my equipment, etc., I have been reading obsessively and watching many, many videos on the process. I feel like I have a reasonably good grip on how and why the process works the way that it does. I realize that my plan is a bit more than most people take on for their first brew, but I'm already bored with the idea of an all-extract brew, despite not having tried one on my own yet.

My original plan was to follow this Two Hearted extract clone recipe:

1 lbs. Briess Caramel 40°L
9⅓ lbs. Gold Light LME
1 oz. Centennial (60 minutes)
1 oz. Centennial (20 minutes)
2 oz. Centennial (5 minutes)
1 oz. Centennial Hops
1 pkg. Wyeast #1084 Irish Ale Yeast (with basic starter, ½ cup light DME, 750ml H20)

... Using the "late addition" technique for the last half of the extract, and (at least) a 3.5 gallon boil.

Then, while reading some info originally printed in BYO (referenced here https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f37/10-tips-better-extract-brewing-100861/) I have decided to replace some of the extract with grains. So, my question is, can I use ~4lb. of pale malt to replace 2.9lb. of the lme? In other words, can I only use two (3.3 lb.) cans of lme, and replace the remainder of the malt with the steeped grain wort?

Now, I completely realize that, as a rookie, I should be applying the "KISS" method here, but I'm just not content with that. I've read Palmer's How to Brew cover to cover, not that I understood every single sentence, along with Mr. Papazian's Bible. I know that I have an enormous amount to learn, but I want to go ahead and start off jumping off the "medium dive".

Thanks in advance.
 

Captain Damage

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For your first beer, just use the extract. Base malt has to be mashed, not steeped. The processes are similar, but distinct. You'll have enough to worry about. For your first couple of beers you should concentrate on sanitation, process, sanitation, workflow, sanitation and watching for boilovers. Oh, did I mention sanitation? Once you get a couple of good beers under your belt, then step up to mashing and other more advanced techniques.
 

unionrdr

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I second this. In the beginning,it's better to use extract & get a process down that works well. Then when you get comfortable with that,then step up to partial mash. I did so for 2 years with various combos of extract malts,liquid & dry,various hops,more hops,different hop combinations. Different extract combinations.
I'm still working to get steady mash temps. Working with varying grain combos. There's a lot more even to partial mash than there seems to be.
 
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Ciliatus

Ciliatus

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Thank you for the advice. I understand the basic of the mash reasonably well, despite accidentally using the word "steeped". I get the idea of where the temps should be, and why, and for how long. The protein rest, proteolytic and diastatic enzymes, Alpha-amylase, Beta-amylase, etc. That being said, even if I take your advice and go the simple route, I'm still curious about the answer to my original question for future reference. I am a knowledge junky and have been eating up info for the last several years as a pretty dedicated beer geek.
 

DrunkleJon

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Firstly welcome.

Secondly, you can trade out extract for grains if you properly mash them, otherwise you will not hit your target gravity and will have a smaller beer. There is no set "You must start here" level of brewing. Otherwise all of us would have the LBK's in their closets. There are even those here that skipped the extract stage entirely and started wth All Grain. Do what you feel comfortable with. Yes, you will probably bendfit from starting with extract, stepping up to Partial Mash, then AG if you so desire, but part of the fun of this hobby is the whole 'I made it myself' feeling.

LME usually can be swapped out with base malts. You may lose a little character, as most extracts are blends of a few grains, but you should be pretty close.

Welcome to the addiction.
 

unionrdr

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Firstly welcome.

Secondly, you can trade out extract for grains if you properly mash them, otherwise you will not hit your target gravity and will have a smaller beer. There is no set "You must start here" level of brewing. Otherwise all of us would have the LBK's in their closets. There are even those here that skipped the extract stage entirely and started wth All Grain. Do what you feel comfortable with. Yes, you will probably bendfit from starting with extract, stepping up to Partial Mash, then AG if you so desire, but part of the fun of this hobby is the whole 'I made it myself' feeling.

LME usually can be swapped out with base malts. You may lose a little character, as most extracts are blends of a few grains, but you should be pretty close.

Welcome to the addiction.
Trading out grains for extract isn't an even trade. There are conversions for this on the calculator sites. While there isn't any official "start here" sign in your face,you don't jump into the deep end BEFORE you learn to swim. Don't get in over your head & be stuck when no one's right there to help you.
I can't remember how many times I've seen folks wanna keep hammerin away at something they messed up trying to fix it & only makin it worse.
Learn first,make sure you know what you're doing before you spend the time & money trying. Never mind the percieved "cool crowd" that brews AG & kegs. F'that.
 

Yooper

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Sure, you can do that. Using a bit of grain to replace the LME is fine, and it's not harder than using just crystal malt grains.

In general, use 1 pound of grain to replace .75 pound of extract. So it would take about 4.5 pounds of grain to replace 3.3 pounds of extract.

Get a big grain bag, or two or three of them if you can only find medium sized once. You want the grains nice and "loose" in the bag. Don't pack them in. Make sure they are crushed.

Using 1.5-2 quarts of 165 degree water per pound of grain, mix the bag(s) of grains into the water. Stir thoroughly to make sure all the grains are wetted. Stir again, and check the temperature. You want to be between 150-155 for an hour. If it's too hot, stir some more. If it's too cold, add a little boiling water. Stir some more! Then cover and cover it with some towels or a sleeping bag or place it in a warmed (but turned off!) oven for 45 minutes to an hour.

After that's over, put the grains in a colander and hang them over your brewpot. Pour 170 degree water over it, up to your boil volume. Pour to rinse all the grains, you can even turn the grain bag over and spread it out to rinse it all.

Bring that up to a boil, set the timer for 60 minutes and start your hops schedule.

After your timer hits 0, take the pot off of the heat, and the LME, stirring well. Then cool to under 70 degrees, add to your fermenter, add water to hit 5 gallons, and then add your yeast.

That's it! Easy, and it takes just a couple of minutes longer than a straight extract batch. If you can bake a box mix cake, you can do a PM batch!
 
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