Extract Ingredient Kits
Extract kits with specialty grains takes homebrewers to the next level. Instead of using a canned kit that is already pre-hopped and infused with the grains that make that style of the beer, extract kits come with unhopped malt extract, hops and specialty grains. Many homebrewers consider this the best way to make beer as it doesn't require a great amount of time, yet making the beer is more fun and challenging. With extract kits, homebrewers get to really cook the beer.
Extract kits with specialty grains come in many styles, from light American to Irish stouts. Because every style of beer has it's own hops and hopping schedule, each kit has its own set of instructions.
Specialty grains add flavor and color to beer. They come in a wide range of flavors and colors. The more common ones being crystal malts and dark malts such as chocolate and black patent. Every style of beer has it's own combination of specialty grains, which are steeped at a particular temperature before bringing the water to a boil. Specialty grains must be crushed prior to steeping.
To brew an extract kit with specialty grains, you will need a pot that can hold 3 gallons of water. Follow the basic steps below to make a great tasting beer!
1. If your kit came with a Wyeast liquid yeast, remove it from the fridge and activate it by breaking the nutrient bag that is inside the package. Try to do this 3-5 hours before you pitch your yeast.
2. Sanitize your fermenting bucket, lid & airlock.
3. Heat 2-3 gallons of water to the temperature specified in the instruction, usually 150°-160°. Place the specialty grains in the muslin bag that is provided in the kit and steep for 30-45 minutes, depending on the recipe. Remove the grains and bring the water to a boil.
4. Stir in the unhopped malt and stir to dissolve. Bring back to a boil.
5. Add hops according to the hopping schedule. If the kit came with a hop bag, place the hops in the bag. It will help reduce the amount of sludge that is created. Hops are generally considered bittering, flavoring or finishing/aroma hops. They can be the same variety of hop but the amount of time they are boiled determines what kind of hop they are to the recipe. Bittering hops tend to be added at the beginning of the boil. Flavoring hops are added when there is 15 to 30 minutes left in the boil and finishing/aroma hops are added at the end of the boil.
6. Cool the wort (wort is what we call unfermented beer) as quickly as possible. Placing the brewpot is a sink full of ice water is very effective. Once the wort is cooled to at least 90° (80° is better) pour it into the sanitized fermenting bucket. Add cold water to bring to the desired volume. Most extract kits make 5 gallons of beer (48-50 12oz bottles). Be sure to let the wort splash as you pour to help oxygenate the wort.
7. If you have dry yeast, open the yeast packet and sprinkle on the top of the wort. There is no need to rehydrate the yeast or to stir. The yeast will rehydrate as it sinks into wort. If you have a liquid yeast, gently shake the package and open carefully. Pour intot he wort. There is no need to stir.
8. Place the lid on the fermenting bucket and fill the airlock halfway with water and insert it into the grommet on the lid. You should start seeing activity in you airlock with 12 to 48 hours. This lets you know that your beer has started fermenting. Be sure to ferment at room temperature, between 65° and 72°. As the beer continues to ferment, the airlock will start showing less and less activity, indicating that the yeast is nearing completion of the fermentation process. The beer is usually finished fermenting in about a week.
9. Once the airlock show now activity for a few days, you are ready to bottle. You will need to sanitize your bottling bucket, racking tube, tubing. bottle filler and bottles. The bottles are easiest to sanitize in the dishwasher using the heated dry cycle. If you do not want to use the dishwasher, a bottle tree is recommended to allow the bottle to drain and dry.
10. At bottling time, a small amount of corn sugar (also called bottling or priming sugar) is added to the beer in order to give the yeast enough food to carbonate your beer in the bottle. For a 5 gallon batch you will need to dissolve 3/4 cup of corn sugar in about a cup of water on the stove. Let it boil for a few minutes to kill any bacteria that may be present. Cool 5 minutes and pour the corn sugar into the bottling bucket.
11. Using the racking cane and tubing, transfer the beer from the fermenting bucket to the bottling bucket. The bottling sugar will mix with the beer as it is transferred. (To start a siphon, the fermenting bucket must be elevated above the bottling bucket. Fill the racking cane and tubing with water placing your thumb on the end of the tubing. Insert the racking cane into the fermenting bucket, being careful not to disturb the sediment at the bottom of the bucket. Place the other end of the tubing into the bottling bucket and remove your thumb from the tubing. The gravity will start the siphon and will start the transfer of your beer.)
12. Remove the tubing from the racking cane and place it on the spigot that is on the bottling bucket. Attach the bottle filler to the other end of the tubing. The bottle filler has a valve that allows you to fill your bottles without having to stop the flow of beer from bottle to bottle. Open the spigot and place the bottle filler in the beer bottle. Press the filler on the bottom of the bottle to start the flow of beer. Fill the bottles till the beer is about to overflow. When you remove the filler, the amount of volume that is displaced is the proper amount that you need to ensure your beer will carbonate properly.
13. Cap the beer with bottle caps that have been boiled for a few minutes on the stove.
That's all there is to it! Keep your beer stored in a dark space at room temperature for 2 weeks. Before placing all of them in the fridge, cool one down and make sure that the carbonation is satisfactory. If it is, start drinking! If not, let sit another week or so and test again.
Beer will continue to improve for several weeks so if you can muster the willpower, wait a month or two and you will be rewarded.
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