2. Extract Brewing


Malt Extract
Malt extract is concentrated brewer’s wort and comes in two forms:

1. Dry Malt Extract (DME)      or     2. Liquid Malt Extract (LME)

Malt Extract is also available in a range of different blends. Here is a list of the main types of malt extract:

Dried Malt Extract – Light                    Liquid Malt Extract – Light
Dried Malt Extract – Extra Light               Liquid Malt Extract – Amber/Medium
Dried Malt Extract – Amber/Medium          Liquid Malt Extract - Dark
Dried Malt Extract – Dark                           
Dried Malt Extract – Wheat                        

Specialty Grains
Using steeping grains will add flavour and colour to your extract brews. Most speciality grains have already been mashed. Mashing is the process of converting the natural starch in the barley kernel into sugar. These grains are then kiln dried. As the grains are dried, the sugars inside caramelise, or crystallise. This is where the name crystal malt comes from.
The Lovibond scale is used to rate how much colour these grains will add to your beer. Certain grains like roasted barley or chocolate malt are not mashed or malted, they are simply burnt. The very dark grains are rated at 300+ Lovibond and give off a rich roast character. Other grains are lightly toasted, like the biscuit malt. These grains often give off a nutty taste. Steeping grains will add body and unfermentable sugars to your beer. Flaked grains must be mashed and should not be steeped. The roasted unmalted grains are solely for colour and flavour, whereas the malted varieties can make some contribution to the fermentable extract and strength of the brew.
The main types of specialty grains available are listed below:

·    Light/ Dark Medium Crystal
·    Amber
·    Brown
·    Chocolate
·    Pale Chocolate
·    Black
·    Aromatic
·    Biscuit
·    Rauchmalz
·    Melanoidin
·    Roasted Barley


Hops are used primarily as a flavouring and stability agent in beer. Hops contain several characteristics favourable to beer, balancing the sweetness of the malt with bitterness, contributing flowery, citrus, fruity or herbal aromas, and having an antibiotic effect that favours the activity of the yeast over less desirable microorganisms. Many different varieties of hop are available to the homebrewer and are generally split into three catagories:

·    Aroma Hops
·    Bittering Hops
·    Dual Purpose Hops

The yeast used in beer making converts the sugar in the wort to Co2 gas and more importantly alcohol. There are two main forms of yeast available to the homebrewer.
Dried Beer Yeast and Liquid Yeast Both categories contain a large range to choose from to suit all styles of beer such as lagers, ales and stouts.


The same basic equipment (see starter kit) is used in extract brewing as is used in kit brewing but you will also need the following:

The above boiler is an Electrim Boiler capable of boiling 5 gallons. It has a temperature control, element and thermostat and is well suited to extract brewing. The bin also has a tap onto which a hop strainer can be attached.

Hop Strainer
Fits to the back of the tap inside your Electrim Mashing bin and works by straining the wort as it leaves the bin.

Muslin Bags
Muslin bags are used to hold the specialty grains during steeping.

Wort Chiller
This is an immersion chiller, which fits all boilers, and works quickly to cool the wort thus greatly reducing the risk of bacteria entering your wort during a long cooling period. Connect one hose to the cold water supply using an appropriate adaptor and the other hose into a drain or sink. Ensuring the chiller is clean, place it in the boiling wort, so that the copper coil is submerged, for the final 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and start to run cold water through the chiller.


The following is based on a simple pale ale recipe:

3kg extra light DME
230g Crystal malt (Crushed)
34g Cascade 6.5% AA at 60 minutes
17g Cascade 6.5% AA at 30 minutes
1 Teaspoon Irish Moss at 15 minutes
17g Cascade 6.5% AA at 1 minutes
Yeast Safale 05

This recipe is based on 22 litres in the final fermenter.

Water Treatment
The quality of your beer will largely depend on the quality of the water you use. Tap water will contain varying degrees of Chlorine and this may affect the taste of your beer. Chlorine can react with the malt to produce a TCP taste in your beer.

You can treat your water to remove chlorine by filtering it with a Carbon Filter or adding a crushed Campden tablet. Campden tablets neutralise the chlorine and prevent it reacting with the malt.


We use 3 litres to steep the grains and a further 3 litres to wash them. This amounts to 6 litres. On my system I lose 3 litres during the boil to evaporation and to dead space with the electrim boiler in the 1 hour boil. Place 19 litres in the boiler and start the heat. While you are waiting for your water to boil you can get your ingredients ready. Weigh out your grain, hops and the rest of your ingredients into separate containers. As you will be adding your ingredients at different stages during the boil, it is recommended that you lay them out in the order they will be added.

Water in boiler = 19lt
Water from steeping = 6lt
Loss = 3lt
Total in fermenter = 22lt

Steeping Your Grain

Steeping the grain is done to extract sugar, colour and flavour from the grain. This extract will be added to your brewing water before the boil. Heat 3lt water in a saucepan to 70 degree C. Place your pre-weighed crystal into the grain bag and place in the saucepan. The temperature should drop to around 67 degree C. Hold the temperature here for 30 minutes, use a cooker if necessary to bring temp back up. While this is steeping have the other 3 litres of water heated to 70 degrees. At 30 minutes remove grain bag and pour off liquid into boiler. Sparge the grain bag through with the second 3 litres of water. Use a colander/ sieve for this. Pour this rinse into the boiler.

With the addition of these 6 litres to the boiler you now have the start volume you require and you are ready to start the boil.

The Boil

Add the Malt Extract
Turn off the heat on your boiler once you have got a rolling boil. Now add your malt extract (3Kg) a little at a time and stirring as you go. Once you have added all the malt extract you can turn on the heat again. Adding the extract direct to the boil may result in a boil over and a mess.

Bring the wort back to the boil.

Add the hops
Add your bittering hops and start the clock. This is your 60-minute hop addition. Soon after this hop addition the hot break will occur. The wort will foam and rise up rather like. Stir this material back in as briskly and gently as possible. The hot break is the proteins coming out of solution, as they are bounced about by the boiling wort they collide, stick together and become so big that they can no longer go back into solution.

This recipe calls for a hop addition at 30 minutes. At 15 minutes add the Irish moss. The Irish moss Irish moss improves precipitation of proteins during the wort boil. Whirlfloc tablets or protofloc can be used in place of Irish moss. At this stage place the wort chiller into the wort. The boiling wort will sterilise your wort chiller. At 1 minute the final hop addition is added. This is the aroma hop addition.

Cooling the Wort

Once the boil is complete, turn on the water to the coils of the wort chiller. This will cool the wort, usually in around 30 minutes. The quicker the wort can be cooled, the quicker you can add your yeast, the less chance of infection. Secondly, cooling quickly will cause more proteins to come out of solution. If these proteins remain in solution they are liable to cause a ‘chill haze’, a haze usually only apparent when the beer is in your fridge. It will clear again once it warms up and is purely cosmetic, it won’t affect the flavour of the beer.


Addition of yeast and fermentation is dealt with in detail in the kit brewing guide.

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