Extract Brewing starts with an un-hopped liquid malt extract. The extract is a pre-made syrup from the process of converting the starch in malted grains to sugar and boiled down. For 5 gallons of finished beer you will want to use at least 8 lbs. of un-hopped malt extract syrup. The amount will depend on the desired style of beer.
Malt extracts can be found from light to dark and used in any combination to achieve the style of beer that is being brewed. At this point the extract is mixed with hot water, boiled with hop additions, cooled and allowed to sit with yeast for a period of time. Malt extract adds fermentable sugars which yeast eat and produce CO2 and ethyl alcohol as by-products.
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EXTRACT BREWING PROCESS
Extract Brewing should not be viewed as inferior to brewing with all-grain, it is merely easier. It takes up less space and uses less equipment. National competition’s can be won using extract brewing. The reason to move from extract brewing to Partial Mashes and then to All-Grain is to be more creative and combine different malts and hops for an endless amount of flavors and beer styles. Most home brewers using the extract brewing process will be using the partial boil method on top of their kitchen stove which is described below, if you want to do a full boil process you would start with 6 gallons of water in an 8 gallon brewing kettle on an outdoor burner that is capable of generating enough heat to boil the contents.
- Boil and set aside 3.5 gallons of any good quality drinking water. Do not use distilled water, there are no minerals and nutrients for the yeast.
- Into a large stock pot (approx. 12 quart) put 2.5 gallons water and bring to boil.
- Once the water is boiling, remove it from heat and add malt extract. This avoids scorching the malt on the bottom of the pot after it is added. Be sure to mix and dissolve completely before returning to heat!
- Place the pot back on the heat and bring it to a boil. At this point, the mixture is called wort (pronounced wert). Wort is a term for the unfermented beer.
Adding Pellet Hops
Variances in hop additions can dramatically alter a beer recipe. If you are new to brewing and want assured results, follow the hop addition schedule from a recipe. As you become more experienced you may want to change up the quantities and times for different results to adjust to your liking.
- Add the first, bittering hop and begin timing the sixty minute boil. You will want a vigorous boil, but watch for boil-over’s.
- Add finishing hops, flavor at 30 and 15 minutes from the end of the sixty minute boil.
- Aroma hops are added in the last 5 to 0 minutes of the boil.
- If the wort starts to froth up dramatically towards the top of your kettle, immediately cut the heat and fan.
- After 60 minutes shut down the boil and cool.
Anything touching the beer after this point needs to be clean and sanitized!
- After the boil, the wort must be cooled to yeast pitching temperature (65-80 °F) as quickly as possible. Do this by immersing the pot in a cold water bath with ice cubes such as a sink, bathtub, or plastic tub. Be sure to keep the lid on the pot while cooling to prevent any potential contaminants from getting in.
- Yeast is highly temperature specific. Yeast varieties not only thrive in particular temperature, they can only exist in particular temperatures ranges. Temperatures too hot will kill your yeast and too cool will cause them to go dormant and stop working.
- Now is a good time to sanitize anything that may come into contact with the wort. Any elements introduced to the wort will compete with the yeast and may result in off flavors and an undrinkable beer.
Now that you have cooled your wort, you will need to transfer it to a fermentation vessel. The brewing term to transfer is called “racking”. Let the cooled wort stand for 15 minutes or so to allow the trub to settle to the bottom of the kettle. The trub is the hot break, hops and cold break. When racking, your filled container must be at least several feet higher than the empty vessel that you intend to fill.
Racking to Fermenter
For a 6-1/2 gallon plastic bucket:
Pour wort into the sanitized primary fermenter (plastic bucket) that you have already made a 5 gallon mark on, add your boiled wort and approx. 3.5 gallons cold water up to your 5 gallon mark. More or less water may be added to achieve this mark. Your beer is now highly susceptible to contamination so remember to sanitize all equipment coming into contact with it.
If you want to record the gravity of your beer this is the time to use your hydrometer. This mixture should stabilize at room temperature and be ready for pitching your yeast. Snap down lid onto bucket. Place a sanitized rubber stopper on to the sanitized airlock and insert the stopper into the bucket lid. Fill airlock half-way with water. This allows CO2 gas to escape without letting in the bad things.
For a 6.5 Gallon Glass Carboy:
Add 2 gallons of cold pre-boiled water into the sanitized primary fermenter that you have already made a 5 gallon mark on, this will prevent cracking due to thermal shock when you pour your hot wort in. Now, funnel in your hot wort directly into the cold water taking care not to allow the hot wort to run down the sides as it may crack the carboy. Next, add more cold water up to your 5 gallon mark. Your beer is now highly susceptible to contamination so remember to sanitize all equipment coming into contact with it.
If you want to record the gravity of your beer this is the time to use your hydrometer. This mixture should stabilize at room temperature and be ready for pitching your yeast. Place sanitized airlock into rubber stopper and insert into the mouth of the bottle. Remove the top of the airlock and fill half-way with water. This allows CO2 gas to escape without letting in the bad things.
How to Start a Siphon
When racking or bottling, you cannot start a siphon by sucking on it or you will contaminate and sour the batch with bacteria from your mouth. All parts of the siphon (Racking Cane, tubing, and cutoff valve or Bottle Filler) need to be sanitized, especially the inside.
After sanitizing, leave the siphon full of sanitizer and carefully place the racking cane in your beer. Release the clamp/valve or your clean-and-sanitized thumb and allow the sanitizer to drain into a jar.
Make sure the outlet is lower than the fermenter, or you will drain the sanitizer into your beer. As the sanitizer drains, it will draw the beer into the siphon and you can stop and transfer the outlet to your bottling bucket or bottles. Thus you can siphon without risk of contamination.
An easier way to siphon is to use the Auto Siphon.