How do I lighten an extract brew?

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by Robtobfest, Jul 14, 2013.

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  1. Robtobfest

    Robtobfest Initiate (0) Oct 21, 2009 Connecticut

    I already have the ingredients as I told the homebrew store guy what I was looking for. So I have some extra light dme . I have heard about late additions and also lowest boiling point to lighten. I'm brewing a low ABV hoppy pale. Do you guys have any other suggestions on how to keep the colors like this possible on this extract with steeping grains? thanks for any help here Rob.
     
  2. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (1,992) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
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    Don't steep any grains. They will add color. But why are you so concerned about keeping the color light?
     
  3. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Poo-Bah (2,572) May 21, 2010 Texas
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    You can add some of the extract later in the boil, which will theoretically help with reducing malliard reactions and keeping the color lighter. I used to add my extracts in phases throughout the boil. In all practicality tho, you are unlikely to really be able to do much about the color of an extract beer when you're already using extra light DME. The color will be determined by the extract itself, and by your choice of steeping grains. Use the lightest crystal malts you can, that will also help.
     
    billandsuz likes this.
  4. billandsuz

    billandsuz Devotee (489) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    the answer to your question is basically, you don't.
    late extract addition will help, a little, maybe, but it will screw with your hop utilization. this could be more of a concern than the color. expect your bittering to be more than if you simply followed the recipe. assuming it is a decent recipe and your system is typical.

    extra light DME is the best thing to use. and it will not produce too dark a color.
    Cheers.
     
    jreindl likes this.
  5. utahbeerdude

    utahbeerdude Devotee (403) May 2, 2006 Utah

    Boiling as big a volume as possible (so that you add as little as top-off water as possible at the end) will help keep the color light. Darkening happens more ready in a higher gravity boil. If you must do a partial boil, due to kettle size, then adding half the extract near the end should help to keep things as light as possible for any given recipe. Chris Colby (IIRC) wrote an article or two in BYO a few years ago on this.

    Below is a paragraph from this web page. As mentioned at the end of the paragraph, it looks to be the October 2004 BYO issue.

    "The extract late method can be seen as a way to split the differences between the previous two methods. As with the concentrated boil method, the brewer can steep his own specialty grains and boil his own hops in some dissolved malt extract. However, in the extract late method, half or more of the malt extract is withheld until at or near the end of the boil. Either the late extract is boiled for the final 15 minutes of the boil or steeped in hot wort for 15 minutes after the boil. Because less heat is applied to the malt extract over the course of the brewing session, the wort produced is lighter in color than that made by the concentrated method. Also, because the gravity of boiled wort is lower, hop utilization is improved. In short, you can brew lighter-colored beers that exhibit more hop bitterness (or the same amount of bitterness from fewer hops) compared to beer made with the concentrated boil method. (See the October 2004 issue of BYO for experimental proof.)"

     
  6. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Poo-Bah (2,572) May 21, 2010 Texas
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    A full boil, or as much of your wort into the boil as possible (i.e. as little top-off water as possible) has benefits beyond color, and will seriously improve your beer in general. Use two pots if necessary to facilitate a full boil. Obviously you'd need to split up the hops into both pots, cool both pots, etc, but it's worth it.
     
  7. mixed_master7

    mixed_master7 Initiate (0) May 16, 2012 Florida

    Any idea if hop utilization will be better this way?

    I.E. you can use one to bitter more and the other for floral and get more of a pronounced taste from both? Instead of using one pot and adding all the hops at different times?
     
  8. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Poo-Bah (2,572) May 21, 2010 Texas
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    I think that you'll get the best hop utilization from a full boil. That means you will get better utilization than if you top off. If you split the boil into two pots, I would expect that you'd get maximum utilization by splitting the hops up proportionately to the boil volume of each pot and adding them according to the hops schedule of your recipe*. I don't think there would be any benefit to splitting up different hops to different boil kettles (but that could possibly lead to decreased utilization**).

    *caveat: I'm extrapolating a bit here from what I know.

    **for instance, if you split 6 gallons equally into two pots, but put all the bittering hops in one pot, and all the flavor/aroma/late hops in the other, I would expect you to get less utilization overall, particularly on the bittering hops side, because you'd have only half the boil volume for your bittering hops (and half for your flavor/aroma hops). Utilization takes place during the boil (or while the wort is hot during the steep phase), so you can't boil all of one type of hops in a lower volume, then add up volumes later and get the same result. You have to also split the hops equally between boil volumes.
     
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  9. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (1,992) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
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    It's true.
     
  10. mixed_master7

    mixed_master7 Initiate (0) May 16, 2012 Florida

    Makes sense when you put it that way. Thanks.
     
  11. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Initiate (0) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    Use Pilsner DME or extra light DME...that should keep it light without any steeping grains OR with steeping grains in a 15 min steep.
     
    JackHorzempa likes this.
  12. Robtobfest

    Robtobfest Initiate (0) Oct 21, 2009 Connecticut

    Thanks guus! I can do a full boil. For a five gallon recipe do i start with 6 gal water?
     
  13. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (1,992) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
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    Your boil-off rate will be unique. It will mainly depend on the configuration of your kettle and vigor of the boil. My rate is about 1.25 gallons per hour. If you don't know your rate, it might be worth putting a known volume of water in your kettle, boiling for a certain amount of time, then measuring what's left to calculate how much boiled off. Extrapolate to 60 minutes to get your gallons per hour.
     
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