What can you make with this?

Homebrewing with extract? Share your thoughts here!
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Jack
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What can you make with this?

Post by Jack » 8 years ago

A buddy of mine picked up a pilsner extract kit, some crystal malt, and 500g of light dme and wanted to know about combining them. I told him i have some lme he could use too. Can any of them be added to a pilsner kit? I figured the dme could but can the others, even if it completely changes the style, as long as it's good? I told him i'd help him make it and he can use my fermenting equipment to see if he wanted to get into homebrewing. Any ideas? :?:
I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

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XXXXX
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Re: What can you make with this?

Post by XXXXX » 8 years ago

Since the idea here is to get your pal into homebrewing, I would stick to the DME for this batch.

Making a successful, tasty brew is very important when trying to get others involved in the hobby, and sticking to the recipe as closely as you can gives you the best shot at that.

A brew-in-a-bag all-grain kit would also be a good option.

Just my 2 cents :)
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gmac
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Re: What can you make with this?

Post by gmac » 8 years ago

Depends what he likes. You could add LME to the Pilsner kit and make something that was sort of akin to a light ale. Adding the crystal will give it some sweetness and body but you'll likely have lots of body anyway since you are using all extract. It will give you more of an amber to copper colour depending on how much you use and the lovibond rating (I don't think you mention the # of the crystal). I'm gonna guess the pilsner kit comes with a package of yeast and it's probably an ale yeast (despite the "pilsner' moniker). Assuming so you can ferment it at slightly cooler than room temp (basement) temps and it should be ok without cold fermentation and lagering.

To be honest, you don't really have enough stuff there to go too wrong. Add the LME (does the kit call for sugar? If so, replace that with the same amount of LME) and a 100 -200 grams of the crushed crystal malt to a couple gallons of 155 degree water (65 to 70C or so) and it will be a good start to showing your friend how the process works, how specialty grains are used to add character to the beer and it will make it more "his" beer since you're formulating your own recipe.

Only other thing you may want to consider, and this is not necessary but you may have a better final product if you order some US-05 dry yeast and discard the one with the kit. It's likely a better yeast and probably will be fresher. But, if that's a problem, don't worry about it. Good luck.

gmac
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Re: What can you make with this?

Post by gmac » 8 years ago

I'm sure you know this but make sure he steeps the crystal and removes it if he decides to add a bit. It'll be cloudy if he boils the grain.

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Jack
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Re: What can you make with this?

Post by Jack » 8 years ago

Got some more info: it's a Muntons pilsner with no-name yeast, Muntons light dry spraymalt, and he has no idea what crystal malt but he was told it's a light to medium one (40?). I've only done 3 extract kits and didn't know how to improve them at the time so he's beyond my experience at that stage. After reading everything i've shown him, he's thinking of steeping some grains (3 or 4L of water), using the water from that to boil the extract in the kit for a few minutes, and using the dme instead of the dextrose called for in the instructions. It calls for 1kg of dextrose and he has 500g of dme so i said he'd have to add some dextrose or use some of my lme to make up the difference.
I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

gmac
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Re: What can you make with this?

Post by gmac » 8 years ago

I found my beer got better in stages.
Stage 1, get rid of corn sugar, use LME instead
Stage 2, experiment with specialty grains
Stage 3, ferment at the right temp (low to mid 60's is good for ales depending on the style)
Stage 4, try new yeasts. I'm a huge fan of WLP001 (AKA Wyeast 1056) which is the strain Sierra Nevada uses but there are lots of others out there.
Stage 5, make starters - not necessary with dry yeast usually but if you try liquids, starters ensure the right pitching rate which really helps keep the yeast from being stressed and stressed yeast makes bad beer (unless you want them stressed for a certain style).
Stage 6, go all-grain. You can make great beer your whole life with extracts if you do it right, I just found that my beer improved a lot when I started mashing my own grain.
Stage 7, lastly buy some kegs. It doesn't do a damn thing for the beer but I hate bottling so much I almost quit brewing. Kegs make it all better.

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