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First Time Extract Brewer

Hey guys, I know this might seem a little backwards, but I really have only ever done All Grain, and am only now after about 7 years, planning on trying some extract brewing in the evenings.

Obviously the process seems fairly straight foreward, but I just had a few questions before I get started.

  1. How long is the steeping process? I have read about 45 min but are there other time frames?

  2. How much grain should I use? Lowest amounts / Highest amounts ?

I’m going to be doing 19l batches in a 18.5 l pot. Mostly low gravity session beers, like bitters and stouts for my nytrogen system.

my first recipe will likely be an ordinary bitter around 1.040 or so (3.9%)

here is what I have so far

2 Kg DME (light)
500g Marris Otter
300g Carastan (30L)
200g Carapils / or maybe some wheat instead

That’s a total of 1kg of grains - how would you adjust the amounts to get the most out of the steep. Don’t know if that is too much Carapils or not.

Steeping the grains will just extract flavours and colours, not convert starches and extract sugars. Are you doing partial mash? Marris Otter requires mashing.

There are a few ways to steep grains. When I did extract I steeped them for about 20 minutes in 160F water. I think it was 1/2gal of water to 1lb of grain. I think 20% was about the max grains you’d want to use, if I remember correctly. The amounts you have seem a bit high. You’ve got about 4.4lbs of grain, so I think you wouldn’t want to go much past .9lb at most. You might be able to use .4 carstan and .4 caraplis (although the effectiveness of carapils if debatable). I don’t have any experience with carstan, though.

Go Leafs!

Actually I think it would only be 2.2 lbs of grain. Then the 2 kg of extract.

I can do a partial mash - would not be a problem. I guess if you only get flavor then the Carapils would be useless here.

So if I were to do a true extract brew, I would only tend to go with the specialty malts like the carastan in this case?

Screw it then, I’ll just do a mini mash in the bag, then boil with the extract.

I think extract brewers use carapils for head retention, but some debate if it really works. And yes, a “true extract” would be just specialty grains.

If you mash all that, you’ll get a higher OG. Maybe up to 1.050. Not a problem, unless you want to keep it lower.

I do want to keep the OG a little lower, but I’m not too picky. If I’m going to mini mash anyway, I might just bring the extract down a bit.

My preference would be to do the all-grain int the bag deal, but I do want a full 19-23l batch, not the 11.5 that the BIAB would get me with my smaller pot.

So I figure if I mash about half the grain, then top up with extract it should get me to the same place. The idea here is just to save as much time as I can, and get more brewing in.

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