Brewed a pure extract-and-steep batch today for the first time in forever, a “Shortcut” Brown Ale. It was kind of enjoyable and in a way, I was revisiting the art of making beer from someone else’s wort. My process was much different this time: I have two pots so I could steep in one and dissolve extract in the other. I did a full boil and used a chiller instead of the old fashioned three gallon boil, chilled with ice water in the sink. And I’m going to control the fermentation temperature in my fridge, recently free of laters. So here’s the boil:
The last extract batch I did was a kit the local homebrew shop asked me to brew as a test. But it was a partial mash. And it came out wonderful. This time I really did it mostly the old-fashioned way. Oh, and I’m breaking in the new Speidel fermenter, a 7.9 gallon HDPE jug with an oversized airlock and a valve so I can let gravity drain my wort into the secondary fermenter.
Keys to good extract brewing: Fresh extract. The Brew Hut goes through a lot of it so I’m reasonably sure theirs is fresh. Good grains and a good crush to get the “good” from the steeping grains. A full boil helps, gives you less kettle caramelization and better hop extraction than a concentrated boil. The rest is the same as with all brews: Sanitation, a good boil, long enough to drive off any DMS, a quick chill and pitching good, healthy yeast in the proper volume at the proper temperature.
One more thing before I go, the Chihuly-esque glass art at Sweetwater Brewing. A local guy did it from bottles, so everything is brown. Still, it’s a nice piece for a brewery.