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Brewing classic styles conversion

I’m looking to do my first beer not from a nb kit so I picked up Brewing Classic Styles per the recommendatsosa of some other homebrewers, not realizing all the recipes are based on full 7 g boils, with 6g into primary. They do give a brief description of how to convert to extract 3 g boil, but I have a few questions if any one can provide some insight.

  1. They discuss decreasing the amount of extract to add early. But the way they write it, it sounds like you add it during the steeping of specialty grains, that doesn’t seem right. I assume you do you steep, then add the first bit of exact when you ramp up the boil, and add the rest at the end as they recommend?

  2. Speaking of the steep, is it the same 20 min as the nb kits have you do?

  3. Why is it 6g to primary instead of 5 g like the NB kits? Doesn’t that run quite the risk of blowing the top off on the bigger beers?

I need to do a little more understanding of their of conversion formula, but overall, these look great once I get the conversion figured out. Would beersmith help with this?

1: Do as you have been.

2: Do as you have been.

3: Maybe they have a 7g conical? Hard to tell.

Beersmith/BeerTools will make the conversions easy. Also look at the free program Qbrew. You can enter the ingredients, then note the OG. Replace the 2row with LME/DME until the OG is reached. Then scale the recipe to the volume you want.

  1. Right. Steep your grains and remove them, add a some extract when you start going for a boil, the rest at then.

  2. When I did extract with grains I did 30 minutes. Shrug… don’t think that makes a difference. The NB folks know what they are about do you are good there.

  3. JZ talks about this somewhere. Maybe in the book but I might have heard it on his brewing network show. The idea for him is to end with 5 gallons of beer. If you start with 5 gallons going into the fermenter then you end up with about 4 to 4.25 gallons going into the bottle or keg. I think ideally you end up with 6 gallons at the end of the boil, then put 5.5 gallons into the fermenter (he leaves behind .5 gallon or so of the cold break and trub, which is not totally nessessry). During ferementation some may blow off (if you are using a blow off tube), when you rack you will leave some behind, and when you bottle there will be a little left. My personal experience is that I end up with .5 gallon less when I package then went into the fermenter. I do 4 gallon batches and end with right around 3.5 or so gallons.

Easy enough on the first two. I think regarding the 6g vs. 5g, I’ll stick with the normal 5g into the fermenter at first and see how it goes. More concentrated I suppose, so I’ll need to make sure I have a good enough starter, and then would likely just be a little high on ABV. What other problems might that create?

Think I’ll get a tool to help with the conversions anyway just to see if I need to decrease the extract to specialty, etc. ratios. I’d like to keep the beers as close to style as possible.

Otherwise I guess I now have a reason to buy a new bigger pot!

It’s usually good to stick with what you are comfortable with, in end the size of your batch doesn’t matter much as long as you make the necessary adjustments. There are many good brewing programs out there and most to a great job (Beersmith, Beer Tools, Promash, etc) and they all have some sort of free trial. I use Beersmith myself and really like it. One thing to look for in a program is a “scale recipe” function. When I use a BCS recipe (which I do a lot) I enter it into Beersmith as is… 6 gallons at the end of the boil, etc. Then use the scale recipe function to make the batch smaller. Does all the work for me, which is great because I suck at math. :mrgreen:

Good Luck!

Cheshire Cat’s response about the 6-gallon post-boil volume is spot-on. That’s pretty much what I do so that I end up with 5 gallons of finished beer to the keg. And, 5.5 or even 6 gallons in one of the 7.9-gallon fermenting buckets has worked fine for me for years without a blowoff tube with only a couple exceptions - most notably Denny Conn’s Rye IPA fermented with WY1272.

I target 5.5 to 6 gallons post boil, but don’t worry as much about the volume as I do hitting the desired gravity. I monitor gravity (actually Brix) during the boil with my refractometer and make adjustments with burner heat or small water corrections as necessary to hit the target gravity at the end of the boil.

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