So, I was brewing distracted, which I will never do again, did everything right...except I didn't remember to add the big jug of liquid malt extract to the wort, or hopped water in my case! You would think it was my first batch. At least then I would have an excuse. I added it, brought it to a boil added my last amount of hops and turned it off. Should I just throw it out and start over or will it be ok?

3 Answers 3


Your hop utilization (bittering) will be off, but don't throw out the beer. You have the huge advantage of extract beer already having been boiled to remove DMS, etc. Consider it an experiment and keep going.

On the plus side, you'll be able to add some insight to this question.

  • Thanks. I went ahead and pitched the yeast and it seems to be fermenting just fine. Who know, maybe it will be awesome. Jul 24, 2011 at 23:08
  • If there was no malt at all (no extract or specialty grains) in the boil, just water and hops, then there's a chance you'll get really weird flavors from the hops. A lot of people experiment with making hop teas, and they usually are terrible when made with just hops and water. Let us know how it turns out.
    – GHP
    Jul 25, 2011 at 15:49
  • @Graham Well he added the extract but the timing was off Jul 27, 2011 at 15:54
  • @ joe phillips, sounds more like he boiled the hops in the water and then added the extract with the final hop addition. I think that's why graham is concerned with the flavors.
    – brewchez
    Jul 28, 2011 at 12:26
  • Well, we will soon know a little more. I will probably bottle in a week or so and will taste it at that point. Cross your fingers! Aug 8, 2011 at 0:52

Late additions of malt extract are actually a normal thing, although usually there will be a base wort that has some malt going. This is going to affect 2 things: First, the late addition can improve hop utilization. Secondly, the extract won't darken so much from the cooking time, and will result in a lighter beer. A google search of "Late Extract Addition" will return a number of pages covering the topic. So RDWHAHB, your beer is probably going to be A-OK.

  • I'm hoping for A-OK lol! We'll know soon. Aug 8, 2011 at 0:52
  • I bottled a couple days ago. Gravity reading was 1.012ish and it tasted great! I really don't think my forgetfulness hurt anything. phew Sep 1, 2011 at 15:50

You'll be fine if you had SOME extract in the boil (even if it were just steeped grain extract). You need some malt for the hops to isomerize.. you can not just boil them in plain water.

You will get a higher bitterness out of your beer because of the late malt additions. This is good if you were making an IPA. If you were making a lightly-hopped beer, the extra bitterness will knock it out of style guidelines. Maybe the beer will be too bitter to be enjoyable, but it could also be better this way (really!).

FYI - What you did by accident, I have done deliberately. Occasionally, I need to do a "partial boil" where the batch size is LARGER than the pot (you add top-off water to the fermenter). A drawback to this approach is loss in hop utilization efficiency. HOWEVER... that inefficiency is completely offset by adding half of your malt in the last 10 minutes of the boil. Basically the less dense your wort, the better utilization you have during the boil. I normally do a full boil, but once in a while I will squeeze 10 gallons into a 7.5 gallon pot. :-)

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