I’m a rookie brewer and I’m looking for a simple way to make a porter using our host’s or maybe another dark LME. Any ideas? I did one with 6 lbs of LME dark, 1 lb of DME, and 1 oz of fuggles (60 min). That’s it. It was okay but a bit boring to me.
Steeping grains are your friends…
Believe it or not, a lot of extract brewers use light DME for all of their recipes. The color/roast flavor comes from the grains that you steep.
Thanks for the response! A good point. In the long run, I think that’s the primary way I want to go. I’d like to be able to do both, if possible. Plus I have some of this on hand.
I’ve also been making some SMaSH beers. That’s been fun,tasty, and I think I’m learning some stuff.
I agree with the previous poster. If brewing with extracts I would never use anything other that the light extract and use steeping grains for color and any specialty grain additions. There are two main reasons for this: one, if you start using the darker extracts you really have no idea what they did to get the extract darker (and you have therefore just lost control of your recipe) and two, one day you will want to go to all grain and it’s very easy to convert an extract recipe to all grain if you used only light extract but difficult if using the darker extracts.
Let’s say you made a great beer using a dark extract and through no fault of your own drink it all up (surprisingly this has been known to happen). Somebody who tried said great beer then suggests you enter it into a contest because they are convinced you can win due to it’s greatness. Your supplier has switched the brand of dark extract you used unbeknownst to you and in your ignorance brew the beer thinking you used the same ingredients but alas, it tastes different. Little did you know that the second brand of dark extract used a different dark grain to make the extract and also included some crystal malt to get the color. Now you are screwed as they say and that great beer is but a fleeting memory destined to live only in legend. Now, one of the great things about home brewing is that there really is not the requirement to be consistent as is the case in the commercial brewing world but it sure would be nice to be able to come close if you hit upon a winner, right?
Thanks for another really good answer. And as I’ve learned, using steeping grains is so easy anyway.
I do like to know what I’m putting in there! That’s one reason that I’ve made a few SMaSH beers. It’s time to order some more light extract.
And although I have not brewed with extracts for more than 15 years now it is my understanding that you can find light extracts made with specific base grains (like German pils malt, English Maris Otter, American 2 row etc). If for instance you fancy making an English Brown Porter I would suggest using an extract made with Marris Otter. You will then get the nice English bisquet flavor the better English ales exhibit. Just something to think about, it will make your beers that much better (because after all if all we want is quantity we could just drink Natty Light, right?).