kombucha extract
For a lot of home brewers using liquid malt extract to brew beer verges around the sacrilegious. For devotees towards the art of brewing the best way to home-brew is full grain mashing and by using extract you're compromising your values as a home brewer. But let's face it extract brewing is how most of us cut our home-brewing teeth so perhaps it is unwise to be too critical. Evidently it of the well made extract comes with some massive advantages over full grain mashing and that's what I would like to examine in the following paragraphs.


What's malt extract?

The easiest response is that liquid malt extract is concentrated brewers wort. Wort may be the name brewers share with the sugary liquid that's fermented to make beer. Producers of liquid extract will typically mash in exactly exactly the same way as a brewer, utilising the identical garbage, equipment and procedures, the sole difference is that instead of take the wort and ferment it, being a brewer would do, an extract producer concentrates the wort by vacuum evaporation. Consequently wort of 20% solids and 80% water concentrates to 80% solids and 20% water. This provides a very viscous liquid product which could be packed for brewing beer at home. Essentially many extract producers are commercial brewers in their own right therefore the wort will probably be brewed and hopped in the usual way but instead of diverting the cooled wort towards the fermentation hall it is evaporated instead.


Which are the features of using extract to brew?

Because liquid extract is a concentrated sort of brewers wort the beginner home-brewer simply has to add water and yeast in addition to their first brew is on the move. Thus extract brewing is an excellent entry point into the fascinating hobby that's home-brewing. No technical brewing experience is needed but extract brewing may be developed making more complex because the home-brewers skills and confidence improve.

Very little equipment is required so the start-up pricing is minimal. In essence you will need a bucket for fermentation, some bottles, caps and a corker and you can get going. Contrast this with full grain mashing and you may understand the attraction.

However, to me the advantage of extract brewing is one of time. It may sound lazy to express it but may I want to brew a good beer that isn't time-consuming. Extract brewing gives you that. Believe me when I say you can get a home-brew extract to the fermenter and yeast put in lower than Half an hour. You won't have the ability to beat by investing in full grain mashing and the results are often just as good.

Do you know the disadvantages?

The main problem with using extract kits is you have no or limited control of the beer which you produce. Essentially your beer will almost always be somebody else's interpretation of a particular beer style. If we see that argument more intense we could see that not only have you been bound to somebody else's interpretation of the beer you might be also stuck with any poor brewing practice the extract producer employs. Now before I get myself into trouble with the home-brew extract producers I am not saying that they will knowingly attempt to produce a bad quality brewers extract but, a few of the common faults related to extract for example stuck fermentations, hazy beers, colour variability can be quite a consequence of the raw materials and operations they use. However, in recent years home-brew kits have improved significantly, I believe it's gone together using the growth in the craft brewing sector. Since the craft brewing sector has grown and be more and more innovative therefore the home-brew extract producers have responded. It has led to the growth in home-brew kits which are licensed versions of craft brewed beers including the Woodfordes, Milestone and St Peters selection of homebrew kits. This development has meant that the grade of extract has significantly improved because there aren't many craft brewers who'd want bad quality home-brew kits damaging the reputation of their beer brands. The kits that bear the an advertisement brewer such as Woodfordes or St Peters undergo a comprehensive testing process before the brewer will allow the kit to be removed in the marketplace. Furthermore there are a few quite interesting kits on the market which allow you to tinker with all the recipe letting you tailor the kit in your own particular tastes. These kits come with the basic malt extract, coloured malt and hop pellets.

Finally below are a few simple extract brewing tips.

Always record the batch quantity of the extract that you employ. If you encounter any issues the batch number is important whenever you enter into any correspondence using the manufacturer.

Don't merely add the water volume that is suggested within the instructions. Usually the home-brew extract should be at 80 brix but could be between 79.5 to 81 brix. Thus adding exactly the same amount of water for an extract at 79.5 or 81 brix gives a very different starting gravity. Instead add a proportion of the water volume suggested then measure the gravity using a hydrometer. This protects over diluting the extract.

Record everything of your brewing, maintain a brewing diary or log book. Such things as starting gravity, final gravity just how long the beer popularized ferment are important and relevant details that will help to boost your brewing and so are good brewing practice.

For advanced extract brewing try to find basic unhopped malt extracts and use these being a base for developing your own beer recipes. This can help develop your brewing skills bridging the gap between kit and full grain brewing.


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