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Ingredients have arrived - I'm ready to go ahead with my latest brew. All those which I have done thus far haven't been perfect for a variety of reasons (admittedly probably my own fault as I've tried different methods/techniques as I've been learning).

So I'm trying to establish a reliable extract brewing method, from boil-to-bottle, encompassing everything which I have done so far and what I've been advised/read on here and other sites.

This particular brew for which I will use this method is as follows:-

23L batch. 10L boil. Safale US-05 11.5g

Fermentables:-

5kg light liquid malt extract (0.25kg of which is late addition @ 15mins.)

100g Dextrose

Bittering:-

75g Apollo hops - 60min boil - 19% AA

Flavouring:-

25g Apollo hops - 30min boil - 19% AA

25g El Dorado hops - 30min boil - 14.1% AA

Aroma:-

75g El Dorado hops - 15min boil - 14.1% AA

Predicted Properties:-

Original Gravity: 1.063 Final Gravity: 1.012 ABV: 6.75% IBU: 103.99

Method

N.B. I'm omitting 'obvious' things like sterilisation here:-

1) Bring water to a rolling boil, remove from the heat and add required amount (add all if doing no late additions) of fermentables and stir until full dissolved. Ensure that none is stuck to the bottom of the pan.

2) Return to a rolling boil and add the amount of hops as and when desired.

3) Flameout. Remove from heat and cool as fast as possible to near pitching temperature ASAP as to avoid bacterial growth etc.

4) Add additional water content to reach the desired fermentation volume. (As an addition/replacement for step 3, this water can be cooled as much as possible to aid in reducing the temperature of the wort.

5) Pitch yeast evenly when the wort is at a temperature slightly lower than ideal fermentation temperature. When fermentation commences, the yeasts' exothermic reactions will raise the temperature further until optimal temp. is reached.

6) Seal the FV and monitor fermentation. When complete, turn off heat source.

7) (A subjective step) Leave in primary for xx days (I usually go for 2-3 weeks in the primary, including the fermentation period.)

8) Once conditioned, cold crash the FV in a bath or suitable container for approx. 48 hours prior to bottling to aid in yeast drop out.

9) Prime bottles, add beer, cap, store in warm place for minimum 2 weeks to condition and carbonate.

10) Drink.

Thoughts? Comments? Additions? Experiences? - All welcome. I want to make this one top notch!

  • it would be great if you could say what problems you had before. – Pepi Jun 4 '15 at 0:31
  • namely (for, now at least, obvious reasons) - homebrew.stackexchange.com/questions/13413/… also I have never been able to get past a pretty prominent overarching yeasty taste that makes most of my beers taste a bit 'Belgian' if that makes sense... – Phizzy Jun 4 '15 at 7:43
  • I'd suggest asking another question about flocculation, bottle conditioning, etc. It seems that you've got too much yeast in your beer when served, but this question is already too broad. And the other question, didn't state that 'yeastiness' was a problem. – Pepi Jun 4 '15 at 14:58
  • To be honest at the time I didn't consider it a problem, it didn't taste unpleasant, was more just unexpected for the style I was aiming for. I will ask a new question! – Phizzy Jun 4 '15 at 15:19
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Your recipe looks pretty good, but I agree with Sneftel. Add all of your LME to the beginning of the boil. There are chemical things (hot break, protein breaking down, etc) going on that require the 60 minute boil time. That said, you really ought to think about adding some adjunct grains to give your beer mouth feel and body (and color). Generally, you'd put the crushed grains in a grain bag (open mesh cloth sack), tie is closed and steep in 170 degree Fahrenheit (77 C) water for 20 minutes.

Reason for cooling quickly

In general, bacteria live and thrive in the 40-140 degree Fahrenheit (4 - 60 C) temperature range. The quicker you get your wort to pitching temperature and the yeast pitched, the less chance of a bacterial infection. The yeast will compete with the bacteria and provide a CO2 rich environment that the infecting bacteria can't live through. This is also the other reason for boiling your malt.

  • Thanks for your reply. A question though - my LME is preboiled and then reduced so already has hot break material removed no? That's why I originally stated the 15 mins. malt addition at the end, just to aid in extracting AA and other hop properties. – Phizzy Jun 2 '15 at 19:18
  • LME is a very high sugar concentrate and the only thing that bacteria like better than making you sick is high sugar areas. Unless you're brewing in a hospital operating room and following sterile procedures, you'll get bacteria in there. #3 said that you want to add it at flame out. Bad idea. Quit possibly, the easiest to follow instructions for extract is included in the Brewer's Best kits. brewersbestkits.com/recipes.html – CharlieHorse Jun 2 '15 at 19:40
  • @Phizzy You sure about that? It would be weird for LME to come preboiled. Malt extract is concentrated in a vacuum concentrator, not by boiling. – Sneftel Jun 3 '15 at 6:52
  • Turns out I was receiving conflicting information from the supplier and producer of the LME. The producer says it's done under vacuum and not boiled so as per the recommendations from both of you I will do full 60min boil with all the malt. Not too fussed about the colour change at this stage. As I'm aiming for a high IBU I'm hoping the malt being present in the full boil won't affect this too much. – Phizzy Jun 3 '15 at 12:15
  • With 3 ounces of a hop of 19% Alpha Acid, you'll have plenty of IBUs. In fact, your malt won't effect this negatively. If you tried boiling straight hops and water, you wouldn't get the desired affect anyway. I might be wrong, but I believe that part of the reason for the bittering is how the flavor components in hops interact with the sugars in the malt. Admittedly, I haven't don't the research or seen any research on this, but experience tells me that hops boiled in water is bad. – CharlieHorse Jun 3 '15 at 13:46
1

Adding the malt extract at the very end of the boil is not going to go well, as there won't be any opportunity for the hot break proteins to denature and precipitate out. (Hell, it might not even sterilize properly.) And starting the boil with no extract is unusual, and likely to reduce hop utilization. Honestly, late extract additions are sort of a fiddly, perfectionist thing, and I wouldn't suggest doing them until you're more confident in your process.

Most of the other stuff looks fine, although a whole month in primary is overkill, and (depending on the beer and the yeast) mmmmaybe running the risk of autolysis.

  • So of my 5kg LME, how much and when would you add to the boil (roughly speaking)? I'm looking to have a damn bitter beer here mind, ruination style. Obviously would like the balance however. – Phizzy Jun 2 '15 at 16:16
  • I'd add all of it at the beginning. If I absolutely had to complicate things, I'd add half at the beginning and half 15 minutes before the end. – Sneftel Jun 2 '15 at 16:21
  • Hi Sneftel, please see my comment to the below answer! – Phizzy Jun 2 '15 at 19:19
1

I feel like you're putting too much emphasis on recipe, and not enough on technique. Happy yeast, and cleanliness, are the main differences between professional beer and homebrew.

But I'll say two things about the recipe:

  • What do you know about your extract? Is it intended for a strong hoppy beer?
  • Holy crap that's a lot of hops!

On to technique:
Boil all of your water. You can do this the day before if needed. It will kill bacteria and remove chlorine. Campden tablets do this too.

Revive your yeast according to the instructions on the pack - don't just throw them in the wort. Better still, make a starter. The healthier they are going in, the better job they will do at the end (when it really matters). Also be aware that the first kick of fermentation will be a lot stronger, the last guy that follow that advice never got the stains off the ceiling. Use a blow off tube.

Oxygenate the wort, or oxygenate the starter of yeast, for the same reason in the previous paragraph.

What is your 'ideal fermentation temperature'? Anything above 20C is a mistake with that yeast. Below 15 is probably bad too.

You shouldn't need to cold crash after 2 weeks (or longer) in primary. That yeast might be a little slow to drop out, but homebrewers usual have no problem with it. Also, it's less stress for the yeast that will condition your beer.


Edit: Disregard my previous comments about water, the extract should already have the needed mineral in it. Or at least some minimal amounts of them.

  • Thanks for your comments Pepi! My aim here was mainly to clean up my boil technique (and make sure the rest was okay) - you may have seen in the previous comments that up until now I've boiled with no malt at all, with varying degrees of success. I'm looking forward to doing my next one properly this weekend. A lot of hops yes. I may learn it's too much but all part of the learning curve :) – Phizzy Jun 3 '15 at 15:25
  • As for my water, I live in north yorkshire - nice soft water, but I will boil it before hand and was planning on using bottled water to top up to fermentation volume (mainly to save on time and energy as I'm just doing this on my hob!) I take ideal fermentation temp to be midway between the range stated on the US-05 packet, not sure off the top of my head but I have a thermostatted submersible heater to control this. Thanks for the point about coldcrashing - are you saying that because of the time in the primary that the yeast will drop out anyway? Any need for irish moss or equivalent? – Phizzy Jun 3 '15 at 15:28
  • When reviving yeast - is it okay to do so in an open top container exposed to the air? Not something I've done before! – Phizzy Jun 3 '15 at 15:31
  • Yeast should drop out by themselves after fermentation, it's obvious if your fermenter is clear. I don't use any finings, but you should ask some local brewers what they do, water chemistry can affect this. – Pepi Jun 4 '15 at 0:44
  • If you wort gets exposed to air, then it's fine for the yeast to be exposed too. But not for too long. Give them a few minutes in the cleanest water you can get (distilled is best) before you add them to the wort. The point here is not just to feed them, you are actually reversing the freeze-dry process. – Pepi Jun 4 '15 at 0:47

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