Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by Beerme124535, Jun 17, 2017.

  1. Beerme124535

    Beerme124535 Initiate (165) Jul 30, 2016 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    im new to homebrewing but i want to learn as quick as i can, what are the best tips and tricks you have learned from; extract kits, partial mash and all grain brewing kits. i personally plan on getting extract kits and growing from there, [depending on money i have] i know a fair amount about hops, im very curious about yeaast and theyre different types and different flavors or feels they can bring!
    If you have any insight to bring it would be greatly appreciated!
  2. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,397) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    First, read "How to Brew" if you haven't already. Either the free online edition at www.howtobrew.com or better yet the more up to date print version available at Amazon and other places.

    Second, since you're starting with extract batches, I'll plagiarize directly from a BA legend (but alas inactive on these forums of late). @Homebrew42's Extract Brewing Tips:

    First of all it's important to realize that good quality, fresh extract alone can brew fantastic beer as long as your recipe formulation and brewing technique are good. One of the best beers I've ever brewed, extract, all grain, or otherwise, was an abbey singel that was nothing but pilsen DME, a little table sugar, a touch of hallertauer, and wyeast 1214. I've brewed show stopping English bitters with nothing but Muntons extra light DME, a touch of crystal, some goldings, and wyeast 1968. And nothing is more popular than my simple extract hefe, which is nothing but 6 lbs of wheat DME, an oz of noble hops, and wyeast 3068 (it doesn't get any easier than that, and it's a great beer).

    if you want to brew great extract beers, the following guidelines are imperative:


    I can't stress this enough. If you're doing concentrated boils, you're never going to produce flawless beers, no matter what else you do. If you're brewing 5 gallons of beer, you MUST start with at least 6-6.5 gallons of wort, and this is ESPECIALLY true for very pale colored or very hoppy beers. Late extract additions are helpful for those who do concentrated boils, but they're not a sub for a real FULL wort boil.

    2) Use only high quality, extra light, light, or pilsen extracts, and I much prefer dry extracts over liquid, as they tend to be fresher and lighter in color.

    Every extract beer that you brew should be based on either extra light DME, or pilsen DME. When an all grain brewer builds a recipe, they start with a pale base malt and work from there, even for the darkest beers, and a great extract brewer should do the same. Extra light extract is nothing but basic good quality 2-row, and a touch of carapils, while pilsen extract is 100% pilsner malt, and either of these are a fantastic slate on which to build any amazing beer. If you want to brew beer like an all grain brewer, then you need to think like an all grain brewer and build your recipes from the ground up.

    3) Use only FRESH extract!

    Don't buy extract kits that have been sitting on a store shelf for who knows how many millennia. This is especially true with liquid extract, which has a much shorter shelf life than dry and tends to darken and taste stale over time. This alone is a good reason to completely avoid liquid as far as I'm concerned. And try to find a retailer that moves their product and always has fresh inventory. For example a larger online homebrew supply may be better at providing fresh products than your stagnant local shop.

    4) Do NOT scorch your extract.

    This is yet another reason why I prefer DME over LME, as DME floats while LME sinks to the bottom of the kettle. If you decide to use LME however, remove the kettle from the burner and FULLY dissolve your extract before putting it back on the heat.

    5) Know which grains can be steeped and which can't.

    The only grains that can be steeped are crystal/caramel/cara malts, and roasted grains like chocolate malt, roasted barley, and black patent malt. EVERYTHING else really needs to be mashed. Doing things like trying to steep oatmeal or munich does nothing but load up your beer with unconverted starch, which is not doing your beer any favors. If you want to include other grains in your extract beers, then do a mini mash, NO exceptions.

    5) DO A FULL WORT BOIL! Partial boils kill beer. Seriously.

    6) Keep your yeast happy at all times.

    It's very important to pitch healthy yeast in adequate numbers, and use yeast that's appropriate for the style. Many extract kits come with a packet of generic "ale yeast" that is typically of low quality. You're never going to brew a fantastic English bitter with an old, stale packet of characterless "ale yeast". Get familiar with handling liquid yeast strains and making starters, and pay attention to proper pitching rates and proper fermentation temperatures, as both are extremely important for producing high quality beers devoid of off flavors.

    7) Never ever rush your beer.

    Great beer takes time, and most beers will benefit from spending some extra time in the fermenter and in the bottle. This means at least 2-3 weeks in primary before either bottling or moving to secondary, and if you're bottle conditioning give your beers at least 6-8 weeks in the bottle and you're sure to see a great improvement.

    And for shit sake, get yourself a bigger kettle! That, along with getting some decent ingredients, are the best things that you can do for your extract beers.

    And don't let anyone tell you that you can't brew great beer with extract, because that's BS. Some of the best beers that I've ever brewed were extract beers, no question.
  3. MostlyNorwegian

    MostlyNorwegian Zealot (551) Feb 5, 2013 Illinois

    VikeMan got right to the meat of it.
    How to Brew has the answers you will have a question about at every level of your homebrewing journey.
    Complete Joy of Homebrewing by Charlie Papazian is another one. It's a much breezier read, and probably still has some goofy pictures in it from previous eras. But it is also hugely informative
    Designing Great Beer is like an anchor if you want to be a serious brewer.
    Radical Brewing by Randy Mosher is the sailboat where you can thumb your nose at all of it and still make great decisions in making great beer. Deep into it history reading as well. Easily my most referenced book for brewing.
  4. Tebuken

    Tebuken Disciple (326) Jun 6, 2009 Argentina

    YEAST book is a great source of information in regards this matter.

    This forum is fantastic source of information as well, there are many good brewers here willing to help and advise new brewers as you are.Anytime you have a doubt feel free to search here through old posts and if you do not find what you are looking for then you can post a new thread with your required information.

    Welcome aboard Sr.
    Mothergoose03 and Beerme124535 like this.
  5. Beerme124535

    Beerme124535 Initiate (165) Jul 30, 2016 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    Thank you all for the help it is much appreciated!
    Tebuken likes this.
  6. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (740) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    RDWAHAHB...relax, don't worry, and have a homebrew...research/read the basics and savor the journey.
  7. Mothergoose03

    Mothergoose03 Poo-Bah (2,204) May 30, 2005 Michigan
    Premium Member

    EvenMoreJesus and Tebuken like this.