Extract Brewing

Extract Brewing

Here we will be covering not all grain brewing but a simpler method of brewing which utilizes malt extracts. Extract comes in powder or syrup form and since it is the end product of mashing grains, it removes the need for the more expensive equipment required to do so. No one should start brewing by jumping into all grain, it's just not a good idea. Like with any hobby, it's best to start small before you dump a bunch of money into equipment that only a seasoned hobbyist could appreciate and use efficiently. Rather than getting frustrated with something more complicated, try out extract brewing first. if you love it, then you'll find plenty of information here to help you expand upon your new found skills and passions - all grain brewing will be in your future, I promise!

Keep it Simple and brew an ale, lagers add more complexity and often require more equipment. If you want to really have a stress free brew that will almost definitely turn out great, brew a light to medium body, red ale - the color and medium sweetness will hide most imperfections a first brew will inevitably have. There are plenty of places out there to find easy extract recipes but my recommendations would be to check out the one below:

6 lbs Extra Light Dried Malt Extract
1 lbs CaraRed
8 oz Biscuit Malt
4 oz Crystal 120 L
4 oz Chocolate Malt
1 oz Northern Brewer Hops (60 minutes)
.5 oz Willamette Hops (30 minutes)
Irish Moss (15 minutes)
.5 oz Willamette Hops (5 minutes)

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If this is Your First Brew then you'll need some materials as well, checkout this post over here with lots of links to all the stuff you need. Make sure you buy the ingredients and the gear at the same time - MoreBeer.com gives you free shipping on almost all orders of $59!

Ignore all the other crap you've heard and all the worries you might have, it will be fine. It helps to have a beer while you brew, but don't be an lush - you are going to need at least half your wits about you for this.

Steep the grains, using a muslin bag, in 3.5 gallons of 155 F water for 30 minutes to extract some color, body and flavor. Remove the grains and discard. Note: DO NOT squeeze the grains, that will let out far too many tannins, just let it drain on its own.

Add water to bring the volume back up to 3.5 gallons and bring the pot to a near boil and whisk in the extract until dissolved, we don't want any on the bottom of the pot. Bring the wort (unfermented beer) to a boil while watching for boil-overs. If things get crazy, lower the heat and allow the tempest to calm before you bring it back up to a rolling but not too vigorous boil.

Once you have a solid boil, get out your timer, add the first addition of hops and set your countdown for 60 minutes. Each hop addition will be added on time according to the ingredients' list. Hop additions can cause foaming, so make sure to keep an eye on the pot.

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After the hop schedule is over and the 60 minutes are up, cut the heat and cool the wort as fast as you can. If you have a chiller, use it, if not, put the kettle in some snow or a sink full of ice water. If you really have no way to cool the wort, just keep it covered to keep out bacteria. While cooling do make sure to not let anything unsanitized get into the pot, you want this beer clean.

Once it has reached about 75 F, gently pour or siphon the wort into your sanitized bucket, doing your best to keep out the gunk that has settled on the bottom of the pot. After the transfer is complete, add the yeast. Cover the bucket, put on the air-lock and store it in a completely dark place, cover it with a shirt for good measure. Wait two weeks and bottle it.

You've got beer, well done.