Have you ever had a delicious beer and wondered how it was made? In the following article, we will discuss anyone trying
The 10 most important tips you should know before brewing your own craft beer.
Compared to whole grain brewing, extract brewing is seen by some as a simplified process. Extract brewing omits a major step in whole-grain brewing (wort) and takes less time to brew.
However, whether there are broader differences between extract brewing and whole grain brewing is up for debate. In fact, extract brewing has its own set of challenges compared to whole grain brewing, which the whole grain brewing process does not encounter.
1. Know yourself (and your brewery)
If a craft brewer wants to brew consistently good quality craft beer, the brewer should know the details of his brewing system and how they affect the brewing process. You can get this information by consulting your friends when choosing brewery equipment. If you’ve brewed an extract version of a beer from your friend’s brewery or a beer you like, taste your beer versus a whole-wheat or commercial beer with a friend, observing and recording the different tastes each time. Find out what factors affect craft beer color, bitterness, malt and yeast quality. Once you have this knowledge, you can use it to make adjustments to your craft beer issues.
2. Increase wort volume
A bigger improvement to the brewing process by most extract brewers is to boil a larger volume of wort. Home brewing books from a long time ago advised extract brewers to boil 5 gallon (19 liter) batches of malt extract with as little as 1.5 gallons (5.7 liters) of water. While this is convenient, it comes at a price. Boiling a thick wort will darken the wort and severely limit the bitterness of the hops. No matter what volume is called for in the brewing recipe, you’re going to boil the wort in a larger volume that you can control.
3. Other factors that cause the wort to darken
The amount of boiling is not the factor that darkens the wort, there is another factor that may be the darkening of the wort: the caramelization of partially dissolved malt extract. When the brewer stirs the malt extract into hot water, the malt extract does not dissolve immediately or evenly. Even though it appears that the wort extract has dissolved, some small “spots” remain in the extract and remain very intact. These “spots” will sink to the bottom and caramelize there. Therefore, you need to stir the extract for a while even if you don’t see any undissolved extract.
4. Fresh Extract
Although most extracts are used in dry form, a large amount of functional substances may be lost during the drying process, so some relevant components may be lost in the final extract. Using fresh extract maximizes the power of the extract to bring more beer flavor and character to the beer. Therefore, choose fresh extracts as much as possible for extract brewing.
5. Use Special Grains
Compared to partial mash or whole grain brewing, extract brewing limits the unique malt flavor in beer. One way to overcome this limitation is to add special grains to the wort.
Your extract is made from base grains (also called base malts). The extract provides the sugars that turn into alcohol during fermentation. You can adjust the color by adding flavors like chocolate or coffee, add or reduce bitterness, and even adjust the acidity of the final beer with special grains.
During the extract brewing process, you can steep these grains in hot water to make a “grain tea”. But it needs to be removed before adding the malt extract to the wort. Using special grains allows you to try new malts and add unique flavors to the original craft beer.
6. Added sugar
Another major difference between whole grain brewing and extract brewing: Whole grain wort made from grains is always easier to ferment than wort made from extracts. Early Beer Kits solve this problem by combining malt extract with fully fermentable sugars to produce dry beer. However, due to the largely negative reaction to pale American beers in the early days of Meringue Brewing, there is something that any home brewer would think of, or shy away from, including making them add additives like sugar to craft beers.
Using some sugar (sugar cane or corn) in place of a portion of the malt extract in your brewing recipe helps if the eventual high gravity is a big problem for you. Almost every homebrewing expert tells brewers to use a darker, less fermentable malt extract in place of sugar, which all styles of beer can use. If your brewing recipe ends up with more than 10% sugar, consider adding yeast nutrients to craft beer. Note that when you add sugar to the extract wort, the color of the craft beer may lighten slightly.
Using some sugar (sugar cane or corn) in place of a portion of the malt extract in your brewing recipe helps if the eventual high gravity is a big problem for you.
Boiling at a lower wort density can go a long way towards improving the bitterness of the extract brew. Therefore, extractive brewers should do everything in their power to get the most out of hops.
While it is convenient to have hops in a bag, this reduces the amount of bitter substances (acids) extracted from the hops. It is recommended to use loose hops to add to your brewing tank. If you let the wort sit in your brewing tank for half an hour after cooling, the sludge will settle to the bottom and you can suck clean wort out of it. Also, any hop particles and residue left inside the jar needs to be removed when boiling.
Consider adding a small amount of neutral, high-acid hops to your beer as well as normal hops to increase the bitterness of your craft beer. Hops typically contain about 16% acid and do not have a strong varietal character. If you want your beer to be more bitter, you can add hops to the beer, which will increase the bitterness of the beer without changing the hop character of the beer.
8. Cool down
Boiled wort will carry a lot more heat than you might think, and will require bringing the wort down to the temperature needed for fermentation in a relatively short period of time. Also, during fermentation, yeast undergoes metabolism and generates a lot of heat. If the temperature cannot be controlled within a certain suitable range during fermentation, the beer may develop irreversible off-flavors. Using a wort cooler can cool the wort to the temperature required for fermentation at the fastest speed and keep the fermentation temperature within a suitable range. If you are interested in this area you can read our “” article.
Malt extract is a concentrated wort that contains everything that wort contains, including dissolved minerals. Any minerals in the diluted water (unknown amounts of minerals) are added to the extract. Always use soft water (even distilled water) for extract brews unless you have a good reason not to. Adding a little calcium to the boil can be a good thing in some cases. However, if you try to add salt to the brewing water to make “”, you will end up with “” water due to the minerals already present in the malt extract. It is recommended that you use carbon to filter your city water.
After making the wort, the yeast turns the wort into beer during fermentation. In order to brew better beer, you need to provide three conditions for the fermentation process: enough yeast strains, suitable fermentation temperature and enough ventilation. One of the conditions is something that most extract brewers can improve, either making a yeast starter or getting enough yeast from a previous fermentation to add to the fermenter. The second condition can be accomplished with the cooling and glycol system mentioned in the article above. The third condition is generally satisfied.
The advantage of extract brewing is its simplicity and the fact that it can be brewed in a relatively short period of time and does not require extensive specialized equipment. Improving the flavor of your craft beer doesn’t necessarily mean spending more time brewing or buying a lot of new equipment.
If you can follow the advice in the article, you can brew a better and more delicious craft beer in the same amount of time.