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I am sorry for the long thread, but I am digging the net for few days now and did not find such a "tutorial", so I will built my own and want to share it.
I will be happy you comment/correct me, and I have some questions at the end.

So I brew few amber ale from extract kit (very successfully) and want to try something new.
I want to brew wheat beer with honey, and wish it will be as clear as possible (I know wheat beer should get the haze, but I am trying something here :)

I am using this recipe with small amount of changes. my steps should be:

  1. Heat 21 Litre (5.5 Gallon) of water to 70 C (155F)
  2. Take the flaked wheat and oats, put it in a steeping bag and steep the grains for 30 minutes
  3. Take out the bag of grain and wash it with small amount of water at 80C (175F) - few times with ladle - not squeezing the bag.
  4. Get to boiling point
  5. Add the DME once the water is boiling and mix it.
  6. Add hops for 60 mins (the only one in this recipe)
  7. In the last 15 mins add the immersion chiller for sanitizing.
  8. Add Honey and orange peel
  9. Add whirlfloc tab
  10. After 15 mins turn the flame out.
  11. Start chilling
  12. Rehydrate the yeast with 110 ML (4 oz) - 40C (105F) of the wort for 15 minutes.
  13. Once the wort is 24C (75F) whirlpool it and start siphoning it to the primary fermentation without trub as you can.
  14. Stir the wort to add oxygen
  15. Take OG value
  16. Add the rehydrated yeasts
  17. Close, add the airlock, and put it for few days in 22C (70F)
  18. After the bubbles in the airlock are at much lower rate (±5 days), take gravity value once a day.
  19. After 2 days with no change transfer it to secondary (slowly, not to oxygen).
  20. Take FG value and calculate ABV
  21. Give it another ±10 days.
  22. Cold crash for 3 days at 2-3C (35-37F)
  23. Boil 2 cups of water and add 220g (7.7oz) of corn sugar (calculator). Let it cool to 25C (77F)
  24. Add it to the priming bucket, and slowly siphon the beer from the secondary (without trub as possible).
  25. Bottle it.
  26. Give it another 2 weeks at 22C (70F)
  27. Cold it to 3C (37F) 24 hours before drinking.
  28. Enjoy

What do you think about the process and steps?
My questions for perfectly understand the process are:

  • Full boil or partial boil? I read a lot of pro and cons, but if I understand correctly, clearer and tastier beer will be a result of full boil wort.
  • Should I use Gelatin after transferring to secondary for clearer beer? or will the affect be very tiny and not worth it?
  • What will happens if I will use Lager dried yeasts instead of Ale, will it be clearer? of course I will use Lager fermentation rules (temperature, diacetyl rest, lagering). in general - can Ale or any other beer can be made with Lager yeasts?
  • Should I use DME or LME? If I am understood correctly, DME will give me lower SRM, right? any other differences?
  • Will late adding the extract (DME or LME) will help the beer to be clearer or lighter in color?

I know it is not common to publish such a huge detailed question, but I wanted to gather it all in one place for the new brewers as well.

Thanks in advance.

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    I have tried gelatin in a secondary (fermentation temperature) and it has not worked well. It only worked well when I used it on chilled beer. I think you need to have the beer cold for the protein (haze) to be coagulated and bind to Gelatin and drop clear... You said you could lager, does that mean you have an extra fridge? You could maybe get your beer very cold after it is done, then add gelatin. – freshop Aug 16 '17 at 5:08
  • Yes, I had extra fridge (My parents replaced theirs so I took it :) ) and I connected external thermostat to it. – gabi Aug 16 '17 at 6:27
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    Maybe I'm grumpy, this isn't really a post for this site. This is a question and answer site for questions that have a "best" answer. This would work real well on homebrewtalk for instance. IMO, you've done a good job of capturing the process. – uSlackr Aug 17 '17 at 0:38
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    The process looks fine, regarding the questions, people have given it a good go at answering it, so I will leave it open. – Mr_road Aug 20 '17 at 5:40
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IMHO there is too much "all grain brewing tehcnique" being used in an extract brew process.

There is no particular need to steep the grains at 70C. They are providing some flavours and body to the final beer, The grains are not malted so have no diastatic power to convert starch to sugars - as standard barley malt might do. Flaked wheat might help in head retention and flaked oats can give the brew a "creamy taste". Both will contribute a higher final gravity but not a higher ABV. it is quite possible to add these grains to a extract brew but IMHO not much. I would use these as very minor additions. Rinsing the grain bag before/on removal is probably unnecessary but it will not hurt the brew per se. Normally allowing it to drain naturally for a minute will suffice.

There is no need to boil the malt extract with the hops. Hop extraction may well be more efficient without the malt extract and the use of extract will probably be more efficient if not caught in all the hops. Just omit step 5. Add the extract to the fermenting vessel with some boiling water to help pasteurise and dissolve it.

I prefer a "partial boil" say 25% of the final volume but that is only for convenience as adding 75% cold tap water to a very hot "hop tea" and extract in the fermenting vessel allow the wort to be quickly cooled and aerated in one go. Without any need for wasting extra water and using extra equipment. For a 24 L brew I tend to boil the hops in about 5 L of water in a large stock pot.

Steps 13/14 can be combined by pouring the very hot hop liquor into the fermenting vessel via a sieve. That will catch the hops and aerate the wort in one go. That may be difficult with 24 litres but quite easy with 5 or 6L. Hence my preference for a partial boil.

Step 19. "Oxyphobia" seems to be endemic in some brewers. Yeast can handle oxygen quite well and in many years of brewing I have yet to make "oxidised" beer. Commercial brewers who bio-filter their beer (or otherwise sterilise it) seem to have more problems with their brews in this respect.

It could be argued that steps 20 and 21 should be swapped. Wait until the end of fermenting and then take the FG. That is why it is the Final Gravity.

Step 22 - the cold crash. If you have a big fridge then this could be done. But the yeast should clear anyway, so no need to be too dependant on this stage. This is a rather modern elaboration in home brewing.

Step 23 - are you attempting to make champagne :). I would recommend no more than 150g of glucose in 24L of brew and that will turn out like a fizzy lager.

Questions raised:

I always prefer a partial boil. IMHO my beer is very clear and very tasty. YMMV

Do not use Gelatin. You can try but IMHO is is a bad method that adds nothing.

Lager yeast can be used in many brews. Lager is beer that is stored (German:"lager") at a cool temperature. It is usually brewed at a lower temperature too. Ale yeast can brew at low temperature. Not usually as efficiently, but it works. If you are making brews with wheat and oats then it might be better to use an ale yeast. But you're the head brewer....

DME can be fun dissolving - it gets very sticky very quickly near hot water. LME is easier to stir in without clumping and comes in nice sterile tins.

Not boiling the extract will tend to make the beer lighter.

I may come back and revise this long post! Good luck. Phew, "czas na pivo".

  • Amazing comment, I will try to summarize it: - Grains: We are steeping at 70C only malted grains, and because the wheat and oats is not malted there is no reason to steep at 70C. wheat and oats will increase the gravity, but not with sugar that the yeasts can process so the ABV will not increase. - Hops: boil it separately with clear water and add it to the final wort at the fermenting. - Do partial boil. - Do not use gelatin. - use less priming sugar. - LME is easier to use, and if using do not boil, just add it as is to the final wort (as VERY late addition :) . – gabi Aug 16 '17 at 20:20
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    A good summary. Malted grains are usually "mashed" at about 65C for an hour or so. Non malted grains (eg roast barley) can be steeped in hot or cold water, as preferred. LME is probably easier to use and there is no need to boil it. It is possible to boil it and some prefer to do so - but it is not necessary. It is only necessary to boil the hops. Water strained from any steeped grain (wheat oats) can be boiled with the hops as a means of sterilising it. Strain the "hop tea" into a fermenting bin. Add the LME and use some boiled water to rinse. Dilute with cold tap water. Pitch yeast. – barking.pete Aug 17 '17 at 5:09
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    "Hop extraction may well be more efficient without the malt extract..." there is mixed evidence in the literature around this, it seems from recent research that high gravity worts may hamper extraction, but lower gravity worts seem to increase it over plain water alone. – Mr_road Aug 20 '17 at 6:05
  • @Mr_road can you give any links to that research. I am very interested in this topic. – GrainMother Aug 23 '17 at 6:09
  • I haven't done an extract brew for several years, but when I did, I did late addition/partial boil, however, unless something has changed, the recommendation was to use 15-25% of the extract for the entire boil, adding the remaining 75-85% at the last 15 minutes (or even at flame out). – Wyrmwood Aug 23 '17 at 15:16
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  1. Take the flaked wheat and oats, put it in a steeping bag and steep the grains for 30 minutes
  2. Take out the bag of grain and wash it with small amount of water at 80C (175F) - few times with ladle - not squeezing the bag.

This will not work. You will need to do a real cereal mash, using pilsner or lager malt, so that the flaked wheat and oats are converted. To do this, you must be able to crush the malt, or obtain crushed malt in any other way.

Since you are using a steeping bag, you could maybe also use crushed wheat malt. But I have no experience using bags, so someone else could possibly add more information about this.

So, first thing to confirm for yourself then, is that you understand the conversion process from starches to sugars in malted and unmalted grains.

  • Thanks, are your comment is specific for flaked wheat and oats? in other words - do you say any flaked grains should be mashed? – gabi Aug 16 '17 at 8:45
  • Just found this: "Starches do not have cell walls. They are relatively small molecules and they need to be converted by the enzymes in a mash or mini-mash into sugars that the yeast can ferment. Simply steeping flaked wheat and oats will add unconverted starch that will not be fermented and will probably make the beer cloudy. If you add a pound or two of 2-row (or even wheat malt if you'd like) to the steep, the enzymes from the base malt will convert the starches from the wheat and oats. Just be aware that you may need to remove some of the malt extract since it will add gravity to the wort." – gabi Aug 16 '17 at 8:54
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    @gabi: You really need to do a mash. However, you can use your steeping bag for that. You haven't said the amount of flaked wheat and oats. So, you need pilsner malt. You must be able to buy it crushed or be able to crush it (an old manual coffee-mill can be used if you have access to one). Then you mix this with the oats and the wheat flakes. Then, gather up your water in a ratio of 3 times water to 1 time the total weight of the malt and the flakes. Heat this to 70° C, then steep your bag with the crushed malt and the flakes. – chthon Aug 17 '17 at 6:38
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    @gabi: not really. It only becomes a mash when crushed base malt has been added to it, so that starches become converted to sugars. Steeping is done with roasted or caramelised malts. They cannot convert starches to sugars, but can be dissolved into water. – chthon Aug 18 '17 at 7:09
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    @gabi: Well, it helps with coloring, but freshly steeped grains also impart a more fresh taste to your complete beer. It also depends on the extracts: there are very generic extracts (like just light or medium LME or DME), but you have also very specific extracts (e.g. for a wheat beer or a porter). With the former and some steeping, you are able to create your own recipes. With the latter, you would probably ruin the recipe, unless the producer added instructions for steeping some specific grains to get a better taste. – chthon Aug 18 '17 at 10:28
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Steps 1 and 2: I second what chthon said about the grains, you need a base malt.

You can skip steps 20 and 21 if you are using finings, just add to primary then wait a couple of days; finings are often not needed with ale yeasts they flocculate very well. I have often, waited 3 days after FG has been reached for the yeast to settle out, then primed the FV and bottled straight from there, saves a huge amount of cleaning and you can use the secondary vessel to be doing another primary fermentation and have more beer.

If you are making a traditional lager then conditioning the the secondary is authentic, but for an ale, I would always allow the conditioning to be completed in the bottles, and ignore the secondary all together, unless I was specifically making an aged ale.

Also 27. I wouldn't cool an ale to 3C before serving, I would allow it to warm up a little or the richness of the malt and the esters from the yeast will not be able to be made the most of. I would chill it in the fridge, then allow it wo warm up for 10 min before serving you will notice a far rich flavour and better aromas if you do this.

Also, talking of aroma, I would add a little hop at flame out and a little more 3-5 days into fermentation to fill out the aroma, even an amount as small as 12g/0.5oz for each of these additions will make a huge difference to the aroma of the ale.

  • What will happens if I will use Lager dried yeasts instead of Ale, will it be clearer?

Not really both flocculate well and generally drop out of suspension quickly.

  • Will late adding the extract (DME or LME) will help the beer to be clearer or lighter in color?

Adding your DME or LME later in the boil will reduce the amount of oxidation/caramelisation that occurs reducing the darkness of the finished beer, but also diminishing the richness and potentially affecting the extraction of alphacids from the hops.

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