When did you stop extract brewing?

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum:

dnr

Up your IBU!
Joined
Mar 28, 2020
Messages
324
Reaction score
193
Location
CT
I'm still new to this Homebrewing thing. Starter kit came with LME and so I purchased more because that's what I learned with. So now I have a small inventory of LME.

In order to switch to BIAB/all grain/partial grain, I'd have to upgrade to more than just a kettle on my kitchen stove.

I currently don't have a ton of space, no garage, not a great basement, yadda yadda...
I was in the process of buying a house with a dope garage used for motorcycle restoration. That's on hold now.
Thanks, Corona!

Anyhow... When should I begin to upgrade? How long am I able to brew with LME (and maybe steeping grains) before I'm an old loser?

Thanks.
 

THESULLI

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 2, 2016
Messages
93
Reaction score
58
This might sound weird but... I stopped tomorrow. That is when my Brewzilla v3.1 arrives! I am looking forward to my first all grain beer! I don't have an over abundance of space either. That is the main reason I decided to go with an all in one system vs huge production sized setups that some people use. I'm not knocking it. I just could never make it work space wise. I very seriously doubt that I will completely stop making extract beers though. Time and ease of making them seems too convenient to give up completely. While I think all grain is the ultimate end goal for most brewers, I know for a fact that it's not the only way to make amazing beer. A few of my extract beers have been insanely good. If I can make awesome beer using extract (the guy who can barely prepare a bowl of cereal) then anyone can do it.

On a completely unrelated note... What kind of motorcycles do you work on? I work at a Harley-Davidson store and am always interested to learn other riders stories. My garage is in the initial stages of becoming a small woodworking shop. The struggle for space for all of my hobbies is never ending...
 
OP
OP
dnr

dnr

Up your IBU!
Joined
Mar 28, 2020
Messages
324
Reaction score
193
Location
CT
That sounds nice. Goals.

And unfortunately, I don't work on bikes. The guy we were going to buy the house from did. I was going to take it over as my workspace. It just had a good setup for my hobbies; space for tools, counter space, roll up garage door, level cement...

Then I didn't have a job until...3 weeks from now. And the sale isn't gonna work out.

But I am happy you're able to juggle hobbies. So few people do things they love despite small setbacks.
Good on ya.
 

kartracer2

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jul 28, 2009
Messages
573
Reaction score
562
Location
Iowa,(westcentral)
Welcome to the hobby dnr. Don't ever feel you have to move on to more than extract brewing. If you are happy with what you are making then it's OK ! Many are content to stay with extract. You are the only one that can make that decision. Many will tell you that all grain is the only way to make good beer, nonsense. Sure you can dial in every step of the process with all grain but it does not "gar-en-tee" great beer as it also allows you many more places to make a mistake. Keep it simple for as long as you want and enjoy what you create.
Cheers, :mug:
Joel B.
 
OP
OP
dnr

dnr

Up your IBU!
Joined
Mar 28, 2020
Messages
324
Reaction score
193
Location
CT
Thanks! I'm definitely gonna stick with LME for now due to space limitations and lack of equipment and money (considering I'm not working).
I am curious if anyone has, most likely, used different type of LME with steeping grains. A recipe will show a grain bill of 75% A, 12% B, 8% C, 5% D. While it would probably be messy, can't I try to replicate that with LME or DME? Or would it all just be considered base malt?
I had 12lb of Pilsner LME and plan on buying something different after my next Brew.
I'll do some digging, but is this even a thing?
 

letsallgoforasoda

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2020
Messages
45
Reaction score
55
Location
The coldf rainy shores of lake wasington
Thanks! I'm definitely gonna stick with LME for now due to space limitations and lack of equipment and money (considering I'm not working).
I am curious if anyone has, most likely, used different type of LME with steeping grains. A recipe will show a grain bill of 75% A, 12% B, 8% C, 5% D. While it would probably be messy, can't I try to replicate that with LME or DME? Or would it all just be considered base malt?
I had 12lb of Pilsner LME and plan on buying something different after my next Brew.
I'll do some digging, but is this even a thing?

I brewed a kit that had 3 different kinds of lme and specialty grains in it a few days ago.
4.4 lbs. Light Malt Extract Syrup Malt
3.3 lbs. Munich Malt Extract Syrup
1.1 lbs Wheat Malt Extract Syrup
1 lb Amber Candi Sugar
1 lb Dextrose
7 oz Cara Red Malt (Crushed)
6 oz Melanoidin Malt (Crushed)
2 oz De Husked Carafa I Malt (Crushed
 
OP
OP
dnr

dnr

Up your IBU!
Joined
Mar 28, 2020
Messages
324
Reaction score
193
Location
CT
That's quite the heavy brew. How many gallons were you making? 12 lb is almost double what I brew in a 5.5 gallon. 6lb LME and 1.5 lb sucrose.
This was a kit? Everything measured out already, yeah?
 

Age

Member
Joined
May 5, 2020
Messages
5
Reaction score
1
Hi I'm writing an article on homebrew to highlight the weird and wonderful terminology used to describe beer. If you have any coloquial expressions it would be great to hear them - 'hoppy blond, dry & bubbly, rubbery & meaty, any more you can throw my way, please do. I'm loving this amazing venacular community. The more coloquial the better. Thanks, Age.
 

Toxxyc

New and loving it
Joined
Sep 20, 2018
Messages
725
Reaction score
796
Location
Pretoria, South Africa
I don't know if you know Craig on YouTube. His channel's name is "craigtube". He's been brewing for many, many years and still sticks to kits. There's nothing wrong with it, as long as you're happy with the kits.

I moved to BIAB after a very generous friend loaned me a big-ish urn, a grain bag and a hop bag. I loved it so much, he eventually gifted the set to me. The urn is a double-walled stainless steel urn, it holds around 20 litres (maximum) and it was "modded" a bit. Removed the top sealing ring, sprayed it full of expanding foam to insulate it more and then sealed it up again. Now it's the absolutely perfect mash tun.

It has a stainless steel grid-style teapot stand in the bottom to keep the grain bag off the element, so I can adjust the temperature of the mash on the fly (it has a built in thermostat, which is VERY inaccurate but I keep an eye on temps with a probe thermometer). After the mash I sparge in another boiling vessel (a cheap plastic water boiler) and make up my volume in the two, boil both at the same time and get my wort. It's a cheap method and I'm strongly considering "modding" the urn further to make a cheap Grainfather copy. I just need a pump and some pipes. I have a Raspberry Pi and can do the BrewPi software on there, plug it all in together and that's it. Future plans though. Like you said, "thanks Corona!".
 

matt_m

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Oct 6, 2017
Messages
1,361
Reaction score
653
Sorry to hear about the job and house.

I only did 3 or 4 extract batches and one of those got dumped because it never carbonated in bottles. Moving to all grain really isn't difficult with BIAB or one of the all-in-one systems. And it could be done at quite low cost if you make do with whatever you currently have for a kettle, scale down your batch size to accommodate, and use a 5 gallon mesh paint strainer bag which are < $4 for a 2 pack at Home Depot. Buy your grain premilled. Heat your water to strike temp , shut off the heat, mash in, and wrap with a heavy blanket for an hour to maintain temp. After the mash its no different than an extract batch. Without a refractometer you'll be winging it a good bit so that would be a worthwhile purchase to let you dial things in. They can be had as cheap as $17 on Amazon.

The next major improvement IMHO would be to start building your own water profiles. Pick up a small scale (this is what I have) and gypsum, calcium chloride, epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) and baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) which should run under $35 total and last many batches. If you don't have RO water available, buy RO or distilled water at the store. A side benefit, my mash pH since taking this step has been right on and I've stopped measuring the last several batches.

Milling your own grain would be another improvement since you can dial in your crush for maximum efficiency and let you buy your grain in larger quantities. Small mills like the Barley Crusher or Cereal Killer come up all the time in the classifieds and can be driven with a cheap drill from Harbor Freight if you don't want to hand crank.

As economics permit you can scale up your kettle and a purpose made brew bag to fit or buy an all-in-one system.
 

Beerisgud

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2020
Messages
138
Reaction score
111
I did a 1 gal salty lime gose kettle soured for my first all grain batch after a few extract brews. It was a nice way to get started with no extra equipment and get to taste the difference. It was very noticeable to me and have been itching to up my scale so I’m slowly taking stabs at these upgrades. The syrup taste always left my beers slightly heavier and obviously darker. Two extract kits that seemed to stand out from the rest that I would recommend if you find yourself hesitant are NEIPA from brewers best and lemon drop saison from northern brewer. Brooklyn brew shop does 1 gal kits and refills.
 

Jag75

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Mar 24, 2018
Messages
7,114
Reaction score
3,142
Location
Taft
@dnr - you will know when you want to move to all grain. I use a Grainfather because I have a very small space to work with . The electric units like this has a small footprint so it was a no brainer. I started out on kits and cant tell you how many I've done but I can tell you look into Brewersbest . Their kits always turned out pretty good and never had an issue with freshness. You can even look at the recipes and buy the items from your LHBS.
 

letsallgoforasoda

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2020
Messages
45
Reaction score
55
Location
The coldf rainy shores of lake wasington
That's quite the heavy brew. How many gallons were you making? 12 lb is almost double what I brew in a 5.5 gallon. 6lb LME and 1.5 lb sucrose.
This was a kit? Everything measured out already, yeah?
Yeah that one was a pretty measured out kit but you can sub stuff for what they have at your local place and save a few bucks by buying bulk ingredients
 

IslandLizard

Progressive Brewing
Staff member
Mod
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
19,613
Reaction score
9,910
Location
Pasadena, MD
I am curious if anyone has, most likely, used different type of LME with steeping grains. A recipe will show a grain bill of 75% A, 12% B, 8% C, 5% D. While it would probably be messy, can't I try to replicate that with LME or DME? Or would it all just be considered base malt?
Although you could use/mix more than one liquid extract, you'd typically use only one type of LME (as long as it's very fresh), or DME. The best is to use the lightest extract (Pilsner, or lightest Ale) you can get, and steeping grains for color and flavor.
But there are exceptions. Say for an Oktoberfest, you could use 50-70% Munich LME/DME and the remainder Pilsner LME/DME. I don't know if there's any Vienna extract being made (yet).

If you're buying LME in bulk, poured from a (large) 33 gallon vat, make sure it's fresh, and the store has a quick turnover of it. It oxidizes slowly, even more so when opened. That's why most prefer using DME, again the lightest, either Pilsner or Golden Light DME.
If you're buying "cans" of extract, although sealed, their age/freshness is also important. They can hang around in warehouses and on shelves for years...

Re: "grain bill of 75% A, 12% B, 8% C, 5% D"
That could be a base malt (75%), another malt, or adjunct (12%), another malt or adjunct, and/or one or more crystal and/or specialty malts (making up the 8% and 5%).

If that 12% is, for example Wheat malt or flaked wheat, use Wheat DME, which typically contains 50-60% Wheat / 50-40% Barley, so scale accordingly for the wheat content. Similarly, if the 12% is Munich, use Munich DME, which is usually 80-100% Munich based.

Base malts are called that way because they are diastatic. They can at least convert themselves, but usually other malts and adjuncts too while at it.
For example, when you do a mini mash you add enough base malts to the other grains so that the mixture has enough diastatic power (>35 °Lintner) to convert all the grains in that mash.
 

Cavpilot2000

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2017
Messages
1,561
Reaction score
1,107
Location
Boston, Unterfranken
I did extract-and-grains for about 15 years (3-4 batches a year). I switched five years ago when I started trying to make classic (and accurate-tasting) German lagers and realized it simply isn't possible to make them well without AG. I brew a lot more these days though (15-20 batches a year).

Once you get a few kit brews under your belt, I would suggest moving to recipes - that way you can choose fresh ingredients. Then once you get the hang of that, try to create your own recipes or variations on recipes you've brewed. This allows you to get a better handle on what each ingredient brings to the table, which will help you down the road.

Also, DME is generally a little better than LME because it keeps longer. LME can get stale in storage, whereas DME is less prone to staling.
 

Ultryx

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Feb 16, 2020
Messages
151
Reaction score
143
Location
NorCal
I stopped extract brewing on my 3rd brew. Switched over to an all-grain BIAB.

Edit: Extract has it's place, however. I will utilize LME or DME if I attempt any really large beers in the future. I only have a 10 gallon brew kettle so putting 16-20 pounds of malt in it for a full-volume mash isn't gonna happen. I'll still likely go half and half or something like that so I can still use freshly crushed malts.
 

stickyfinger

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2009
Messages
2,250
Reaction score
592
Location
Hudson Valley
it also depends on what you like. if you do a lot of dark beers or sours, you can do extract forever. both taste great as extract brews. if you like very light beers, you might want to upgrade sooner. some people use extract to make pretty good IPAs too. you don't have to go all grain soon, though most of us want to do it for the cool equipment and control and b/c we prefer the flavor of all grain in most brews.
 

Beernik

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2009
Messages
4,137
Reaction score
939
Location
Camano Island, WA
Back in the pre YouTube days...

I bought a video on all grain brewing and it seemed too complicated for me to keep track of everything.

After about 5 years and trying some partial mashes with a bag, I rewatched the video and realized no individual step was complicated it was just a matter of keeping track of them all. That’s when I stepped up my equipment and started all grain brewing.

My sagely advice is unless you are space limited or know what size batches you will want to make forever, take whatever size brews you want to do now and buy equipment for doing double the size. It’s more cost up front but it saves you money in the long run with equipment upgrades.
 

tmorin

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2020
Messages
22
Reaction score
41
My buddy an I stop on Saturday! We both brewed several years ago and stopped. We have recently started back up and have about 5 5gallon batches brewing extract under our belts. We are so excited to start all grain!
 
OP
OP
dnr

dnr

Up your IBU!
Joined
Mar 28, 2020
Messages
324
Reaction score
193
Location
CT
Why didn’t someone tell me that if you brew extract you’re an “old loser”?

I wasn't saying it definitely. I was more asking if that's what happens.

How many adults do you see with training wheels on a bike or a similar analogy? I mean, given my size and space limits, I'm happy to keep up with LME for now. DME seems to be good, but I've found it in 1, 3, 5 and 50 lbs. That's a big jump to save on bulk.
Unless anyone has a good online place to buy?
 

3 Dawg Night

Пу́тін — хуйло́
HBT Supporter
Joined
Apr 14, 2020
Messages
2,022
Reaction score
2,847
Location
Huntsville, AL
I'm a relatively new brewer; my third batch is in the fermenter. After reading up on homebrewing, I decided to start AG from the beginning. I have nothing against extract brewing; I just really enjoy the process of taking grains to beer!
 

ike8228

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2017
Messages
202
Reaction score
82
I am in the process of switching now. I’ve done about 15 batches of beer, mostly kits and used extract in all of them. I tried to always use kits that had steeping grains at least. I did my first partial mash this past weekend. 6lbs of grain 3 lbs of DME and a few lbs of sugars/candi syrup/honey. It went well I think. I hit my target gravity and then some.

I decided I was going to switch because I know/feel grain is the way to go and I would end up there eventually. I also feel (like someone mentioned above) extract is like having training wheels. Like I was cheating in some way. I’ve made good and bad beers with extract so it’s not like I have a reason to stay with it outside of ease. Grain in the traditional sense adds about 1.5-2 hrs to your brew day as well. Extra measuring, heating stages, resting times, clean up etc.

But do what works for you. That’s what I did and found myself switching over. It’s your beer, your money, do what you want. If you like it, then that’s what matters.
 
OP
OP
dnr

dnr

Up your IBU!
Joined
Mar 28, 2020
Messages
324
Reaction score
193
Location
CT
My cousin's lived there for a long time. They were probably my first relatives who would try local craft beer. We would all go to their cabin in Mio and they picked up Bad Frog Beer.
 
OP
OP
dnr

dnr

Up your IBU!
Joined
Mar 28, 2020
Messages
324
Reaction score
193
Location
CT
I was just hoping I could get my cousins to mail me some. One of my favorite beers in CT had to change due to controversy. Gandhi-Bot had to change to G-Bot, but it went away for a long time.
 

Snark_Wolf_Brewing

Snark Wolf Brewing
Joined
May 17, 2019
Messages
1,625
Reaction score
2,514
Location
Jackson, Mi
Bad Frog still sells t-shirts and such, but the actual beer caused so much controversy that the company couldn't afford to fight all the lawsuits that several states levied against them for "bad taste" and "vulgarity". BAD FROG <----webpage here.
 

FswBG

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Aug 1, 2019
Messages
106
Reaction score
86
Location
Michigan
I brewed extract for almost a full year before switching to AG. It really helps you improve your skill and process by not throwing everything at you at once. I am thankful I was able to focus on the cold side and really understand fermentation before jumping into milling grain, mash schedules, pH, and water adjustments.

There's nothing wrong with extract brewing so don't let the strong opinions push into AG too soon. Enjoy the shorter brew days and the learning process. Jumping in feet first into all aspects of brewing robs you of the learning experience imo. RDWAHAHB! :thumbsup:
 

Sebastian Weetabix

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2019
Messages
189
Reaction score
206
Location
Florida's Left Coast
If you really want to brew all grain without so much expense, just do it like the Egyptians did back in the day.
Basket of grain left out overnight, either a small shower or a heavy dew, some wild yeasts and not so presto but certainly changeo, you gots a slightly alcoholic beverage.
And all it took was a basket and some grain.
Easy Peasy!
 

Ollie8000

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
85
Reaction score
52
Location
Vermont
I now do five gallon full-volume-boil all-grain batches on my kitchen stove. For stronger beers I limit it to three gallons to make everything possible. Along the way I did some mostly-grain most-of-the-volume batches. I still do an occasional all-extract or partial mash, depending on the beer and my mood.

I got some great help from people here in this thread, where you can also read a bit about how I made it work.
 

Teufelhunde

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2020
Messages
380
Reaction score
306
I'm still new to this Homebrewing thing. Starter kit came with LME and so I purchased more because that's what I learned with. So now I have a small inventory of LME.

In order to switch to BIAB/all grain/partial grain, I'd have to upgrade to more than just a kettle on my kitchen stove.

I currently don't have a ton of space, no garage, not a great basement, yadda yadda...
I was in the process of buying a house with a dope garage used for motorcycle restoration. That's on hold now.
Thanks, Corona!

Anyhow... When should I begin to upgrade? How long am I able to brew with LME (and maybe steeping grains) before I'm an old loser?

Thanks.

I am still fairly new, but have zero plans to stop....I don't want this to become WORK.....extracts is nice and simple.....have so far purchased pre-packaged kits from a couple on on-line places and the closest (60 miles, I live in the middle of nowhere) homebrew shop. I use dry yeast as well, I want to keep it simple and not super time consuming.....I will be starting to tweak the ingredients a bit as I am learning what I like and what I REALLY like (hard not to like beer).

YMMV

Lon
 
Top