Many homebrewers start brewing with extracts. It provides a great way for new brewers to get their feet wet while keeping the equipment and time investment lower. I have written more about the benefits of this here.
Recently I’ve spent some time helping out some non-brewer friends that are working on a product offering for beginning homebrewers. I’ll be posting more about that as it becomes reality. As a part of this they wanted to give brewing a try to make an extract batch of beer.
After they acquired a basic equipment kit, a Lemon Coriander Weiss Extract Beer Kit, and some StarSan we got together on a Saturday a bit more than a week ago. We wanted to make the recipe with little more than the contents of the beginner’s kit so we decided on a partial wort boil on the kitchen stove.
Following the example of some friends who make some very fine extract beer and given that the beer is supposed to be rather light in color I decided that boiling all the extract for the full sixty minutes was not the thing to do.
- We boiled about three gallons of water for ten minutes, chilled it in an ice bath, and set it aside in a sanitized bucket for later. Most instructions that I’ve read don’t list boiling the top off water in their steps but I’m a fan of doing it this way. This serves the purpose of sanitizing the water as well as breaking down the chlorine.
- We brought two gallons of water to a boil and then added about 1/4 of our extract.
- We boiled this low gravity wort for the standard sixty minutes adding hops when instructed by the recipe.
- At the end of sixty minutes we took the pot off of the hot burner and added the rest of the extract.
- The hot wort was left to sit for about ten minutes to pasteurize it.
- We chilled the wort in an ice bath and then racked it into the primary fermenter.
- Then we filled the fermenter to five and a half gallons with the water we set aside at the beginning, stirred the wort aerate it, and pitched the yeast.
When wort is boiled, amino acids chemically react with sugars causing the color of the liquid to darken. This is called a Mailliard reaction. This effect is worse when boiling a highly concentrated wort. In the procedure above we added some extract at the beginning of the boil. It is generally believed that some sugar in the water enhances hop extraction. The majority of the extract was added late in the boil to minimize the Maillard reaction resulting in a beer that is the desired color.
If you search the Internet for “late extract method” you’ll find many articles detailing this. Some have you put the extract in with fifteen minutes to go to improve sanitation. Some have you put it in at flameout and let the hot wort sit before cooling. I recommend you try both and see what works for you.
I’m interested in doing some side by side comparisons of a full versus partial wort boil and late extract versus a full 60 minute boil in the future and comparing the results in the final product.