quick question re: extract brewing

Homebrewing with extract? Share your thoughts here!
Ericb697
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Joined: 8 years ago

quick question re: extract brewing

Post by Ericb697 » 8 years ago

I am now on my third batch of home brew, one thing that I have noticed is not enough head for my liking....in the beer. I am not super technical in my process. I usually brew the beer as per the directions on the can, pour it into my carboy cap it and rack it into the secondary when the yeast stops working (no sign of bubbles rising). Then I bottle it when it looks nice and clear. I am using 300ml bottles and prime the bottles with a priming solution made of this "Boil 3/4 cup of corn sugar (4 oz by weight), or 2/3 cup of white sugar, or 1 and 1/4 cup dry malt extract in 2 cups of water and let it cool." from this site " http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter11-4.html ". The beer tastes great! but does not seem to be real carbonated (in comparison to commercial beer). When I pour into a glass or mug, pouring right into the bottom to TRY and get head...in the beer, I get MAYBE 2-3mm of foam that quickly dissipates. I am using kits from the real canadian superstore and corn sugar. Would using a hydrometer to time racking fix this? or any other suggestions to increase carbonation?

Thank you

Eric

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Sixstring78
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Location: Colchester, Ontario

Re: quick question re: extract brewing

Post by Sixstring78 » 8 years ago

I'd get a hydrometer, not to fix you lack of head... in your beer, but to help determine when fermentation is finished. Watching for the bubbles to stop isn't very accurate.

I've never bottled my beer so someone else with more experience might want to chime in, but perhaps you could add a bit more sugar to your priming solution.
And maybe try a different kind of beer kit.
I brewed a few of the coopers kits, and they all had a great creamy head.

If you're able to, find a old fridge and convert it to a kegerator. Much less time spent kegging vs bottling and you can carbonate your beer more to your liking/beer style.
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Ericb697
Posts: 31
Joined: 8 years ago

Re: quick question re: extract brewing

Post by Ericb697 » 8 years ago

I plan on getting one soon, along with a bottling bucket, within the next week or two! At this point, living with my parents, kegging is pretty much out of the question. I hope to buy a house before summer is over and all grain/kegging equipment is going to be following closely! When using the hydrometer, how long after putting it in the primary do you normally take the second reading?

thanks

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Jack
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Location: Grafton, Ontario

Re: quick question re: extract brewing

Post by Jack » 8 years ago

The first 2 extract kits i made i just followed the instructions. After learning a few tips from the guys on this site, my 3rd kit was much better. I was told straight up to basically toss the instructions out. The main things i learned were to bring the extract to a boil for 5-10 minutes and add some fresh hops. Using dme instead of corn sugar makes a huge difference as far as the head goes. Try and get some better yeast than the kits provide, and ferment at a little lower temp than they suggest. Also, not to bother racking to a secondary fermenter, just use a hydrometer to judge when fermentation has stopped and either bottle then or leave it for a few more days first. And Sixstring is definitely right, kegging is WAY better than bottling.
I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

Ericb697
Posts: 31
Joined: 8 years ago

Re: quick question re: extract brewing

Post by Ericb697 » 8 years ago

Sorry, I forgot to mention, the last two kits i DID boil for 10 minutes, I will order some hops for the next batch, any rule of thumb for what kind of hops for a particular kind of beer? I will also get some DME and a hydrometer. As far as taste goes, Im quite pleased with what I have brewed other than the carbination and lack of head but there is always room for improvement

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Jack
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Location: Grafton, Ontario

Re: quick question re: extract brewing

Post by Jack » 8 years ago

You could just check out a recipe list for whatever kind of beer you're making, like this one:
http://www.tastybrew.com/
I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

birvine
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Location: Cochrane, Ontario
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Re: quick question re: extract brewing

Post by birvine » 8 years ago

I would suggest that you primary for 3-4 weeks before adding the priming sugar and bottling. Even more if it is a really big beer. Once bottled, let the beer sit in a warm room for another 3-4 weeks to make sure they are fully primed and ready to go. Then put them into your fridge and let them cool down for a full 24 to 48 hours.I think this might help.

About the hops, different types of beer use different types of grains, extracts and/or hops. You can add just one type of hop or a blend of a few. You can also add them at different stages of the boil or even later on in the fermenting stage (this is called dry-hopping).

A really good reference to consider is Palmer's "How to Brew" which outlines a number of good brewing tips and techniques, plus a list of recipes that show you some hop ideas for particular styles of beer.

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SunyJim
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Re: quick question re: extract brewing

Post by SunyJim » 8 years ago

In general the longer I age my beer in the bottles the better the head gets.
I use coopers drops up until now, so I don't have to use a bottling bucket. I find at 2 weeks it's very large bubbles and quickly dissipated. At 1 month or 6 weeks the bubbles are small and dense and I have head or at least lacing down the glass for the whole beer.

Just a side note, you found beer kits at Real Canadian Superstore? Like the loblaws/no frills Real Canadian Superstore?!

SunyJim
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Re: quick question re: extract brewing

Post by SunyJim » 8 years ago

LDME would probably give better head than sugar. But racking doesn't do anything, in fact John Palmer in the latest edition of his book, doesn't even recommend moving to a secondary anymore. The autolysis thing was way overblown from bad yeast in the 80s, and the risk of oxidation from moving the beer, plus the added effort to clean and sanitize another vessel just is too much work for no reason. Beer is fine in the primary for a month or so, the yeast settles out regardless of the container, and it is still viable as we can tell by secondary fermentation in the bottle, or washing and reusing the yeast

Ericb697
Posts: 31
Joined: 8 years ago

Re: quick question re: extract brewing

Post by Ericb697 » 8 years ago

Thank you for the tips re: the ldme and leaving it in the primary. And yes, the real canadian superstore that I work at in leamington ontario, sells beer kits. They only have 2 draught kits left right now and serveral wine kits.

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