Yesterday was a great day. I had an awesome day at work, got to go hang out with a couple of cute kids, and noticed a home brew shop was right on the way home. In light of this, I figured it would be as good a day as any to do my first extract brew! I stopped by the home brew shop and put together an ESB from the top of my brain, using only a calculator, my knowledge of malts and hops and a piece of paper. When I got home though, I did end up swiping BierMuncher of's hop schedule from his Red Hook Clone (but I did use different hops). Anyway, here is what I came up with:

Amount Item Type % or IBU
4 lbs 3.2 oz Pale Liquid Extract (8.0 SRM) Extract 86.60 %
8.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt - 30L (30.0 SRM) Grain 10.31 %
2.4 oz Special B Malt (180.0 SRM) Grain 3.09 %
0.31 oz Fuggles [6.00 %] (60 min) Hops 9.6 IBU
0.31 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.70 %] (30 min) Hops 7.8 IBU
0.31 oz Fuggles [6.00 %] (20 min) Hops 6.4 IBU
0.31 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.70 %] (5 min) Hops 2.0 IBU

Beer Profile  
Est Original Gravity: 1.057 SG
Measured Original Gravity: 1.055 SG Est Final Gravity: 1.015 SG Measured Final Gravity: ? Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.55 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 3.25 % Bitterness: 25.8 IBU Calories: 128 cal/pint Est Color: 13.6 SRM Color:

I used Nottingham dry yeast. Overall the brew went great. I really enjoyed the simplicity of the process, it took less than half the time of an all grain brew and I had way less of a mess to clean up afterwards. If it tastes good, I'm going to continue to brew them every once in a while for easy beers or on days that I really just don't feel like doing a full fledged mash. Anyways, heres a step by step on how to brew a batch of brewski's from extract!


For this particular brew I wanted to do a 90 minute boil, so I heated up 3 gallons of water, aiming at eventually boiling it all down to about 1.5 gallons.
I couldn't find exact numbers or calculations or much info at all about how much water I should be using, which was a little annoying, so I ended up just guessing. In the end I hit my gravity though (which I think is impossible NOT to do on an extract batch), so I guess it was fine. Anyway, just stick the water on the stove and turn on the heat!

There is no reason whatsoever that anyone should be doing an extract batch without using at least SOME specialty grains. The ratio of added awesomeness to added time and difficulty is so in favor of stepping grains that one would really just be shooting themselves in the foot by not doing it. If you can make tea, you can steep grains. If you can't make tea... well, you can make beer, but it probably won't taste very good.

As soon as you put the water on the stove, dump your grains into a mesh or muslin grain bag,
tie off the top, and stick em in the water. Let them sit in the water, stirring frequently, until the water gets to 200 degrees. 
When the water reaches 200 degrees, take the grains out and let them drain in a bowl,
then give the bag a good squeeze to get all the deliciousness out. Dump what you got back into the kettle.


This is the part that kind of blew my mind. I kept staring at the little container of extract, or concentrated wort, and thinking about how much trouble I go through sometimes just to get to this spot. 
In 3 seconds I am completing what usually takes me upwards of 2 hours in preparation, cleaning, mashing, sparging and more cleaning. I would be lying if I said it didn't feel good.

Anyways, mix the extract into the boil pot. Do it SLOWLY, it will try to clump together at the bottom, and the last thing you need is scorched extract in your brew. You now officially have wort.
Why do I look so huge in this picture...


When the wort heats up to a good boil, set your timer for 1 hour and throw your bittering hops in! For this recipe, it was .31 oz of Fuggles. 
There are an endless variety of hops and schedules. Literally endless. Its my favorite part of both building a recipe and brewing. Generally, your brew will get its bitterness from hops that boil for 30 minutes and longer, its hop flavor from hops that boil from around 7-15 minutes, and hop aroma from boiling for no more than 10 minutes, usually less than 5. The world is your oyster, so be creative! My boil was for 90 minutes, but usually you only need 60 minutes. 

The rest of the process after the boil is the same as in my first HOW TO BREW BEER post, which can be found HERE. SPOILER ALERT, you end up with something like this this:
Using extract requires considerably less time, initial investment in equipment, and really less all around knowledge of beer and brewing itself. If you really don't want to drop the extra money on an all grain setup, this is a good alternative. I started with all grain and by no means regret it, but to each their own! There have been award winning beers brewed from extract, so in most cases you should be able to get great results with extract brews.

So thats that. I hope you had as much fun reading (and brewing) as I did writing (and brewing). O, and even if I never end up brewing another extract batch again... the extract container makes a great stand for drying out my sanitized carboys ;)



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