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Extract taste


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#1 porter

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Posted 24 July 2021 - 07:48 PM

I probably haven't had an extract beer in at least 15 years. I'm teaching a friend to brew and did a paired batch with my batch on the Anvil, all-grain, and the batch for the friend with DME/steeping specialty grain on my old propane burner/keggle setup. The friend had been watching me brew AG for several sessions but I thought demonstrating a different technique would be interesting, and they could have their own batch of beer to bottle and keep.The beer is a SNPA clone (using the recipe from SN's website). My batch came out very much like SNPA, maybe better in actuality. The extract beer is perfectly drinkable, but I was amazed by how prominent the, well, extract flavor and aroma is. Definitely darker, sweeter, maltier, less clean tasting despite using pilsner DME, though this beer did have more boil off, so ended up more concentrated and closer to 6% than 5%. It's not bad, but the AG beer is definitely better/cleaner, and they almost don't taste like the same beer. The extract flavor overwhelms the Cascade hops while they come through bright and clear with the AG beer.

 

Probably not surprising to any of you, but I just haven't had extract for a long time. Maybe 2005 was the last time I brewed with extract as a primary fermentable. Hopefully comparing the flavors will push the friend towards AG. I think next time we will do the friend's batch as a 3 gallon stove top BIAB AG to show another possibility for AG without dropping $$$ on initial investment.

 

I do always keep a pound or two of light DME for missed OGs or occasionally for stronger beers (though I don't brew those often anymore). 


Edited by porter, 24 July 2021 - 07:49 PM.

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#2 Mando

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Posted 24 July 2021 - 07:58 PM

Are there not other factors at play? I haven't gone back but I suspect I could make a really good extract beer now that I have more knowledge and a better process.
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#3 porter

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Posted 24 July 2021 - 08:03 PM

Are there not other factors at play? I haven't gone back but I suspect I could make a really good extract beer now that I have more knowledge and a better process.

 

Well, this is obviously not at all a proper experiment because of the difference in gravities. Still, the extract beer tastes obviously different in character, not just more concentrated. The recipes, yeast, hops, fermentation temperatures etc. were all the same. 

 

Had this not been a paired brew and just the extract brew I wouldn't have been as certain.

 

The carbonation in the bottles came out well - I was a little worried about setting my friend up with bottle bombs. It ended up sitting in primary for a month.


Edited by porter, 24 July 2021 - 08:06 PM.

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#4 Mando

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Posted 25 July 2021 - 06:22 AM

What was the process for the extract beer like?

DME or lme?

When did you add it in the boil?

Stepping grains?

Did you pay attention to the water on the extract beer?

Were the fermentation conditions the same?

How about the cold side handling and sanitation?
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#5 HVB

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Posted 25 July 2021 - 06:48 AM

I did extract NEIPA a year or so ago and it was one of my favorites beers that year. I did a normal 30 minute boil and water treatment along with the rest of my all grain process with no issues. Was the extract old? Did you add it at 60?
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#6 Mando

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Posted 25 July 2021 - 09:52 AM

What was the process for the extract beer like?

DME or lme?

When did you add it in the boil?

Stepping grains?

Did you pay attention to the water on the extract beer?

Were the fermentation conditions the same?

How about the cold side handling and sanitation?

 

I'm just asking these questions because you probably would have much better practices than your bud if he handled some parts of this process.  also since you probably never really spent a lot of time upping your extract beer game like you likely have on your AG beer game it's possible there are factors you could help with in the extract batch.  most people seem to move to AG after some number of batches and never look back.


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#7 porter

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Posted 25 July 2021 - 11:27 AM

Pils DME (ordered from Ritebrew the week before brewing) at the beginning of 30 minute boil, exact same recipe, sanitation practices same/done by me, same fermentation location, etc.

The taste really reminded me of my early extract beers. Not bad, just a particular taste. Prior to this, I would have been disposed to think of "extract beer" flavors as misattributions; now I'm not so sure.
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#8 Mando

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Posted 25 July 2021 - 11:40 AM

Pils DME (ordered from Ritebrew the week before brewing) at the beginning of 30 minute boil, exact same recipe, sanitation practices same/done by me, same fermentation location, etc.

The taste really reminded me of my early extract beers. Not bad, just a particular taste. Prior to this, I would have been disposed to think of "extract beer" flavors as misattributions; now I'm not so sure.


Hmmm... That removes some variables for sure. Did you do anything to the water?
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#9 porter

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Posted 25 July 2021 - 11:53 AM

No, our water doesn't really need anything. It's very soft. Sometimes I will use some gypsum for IPAs, but that's about it.
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#10 Mando

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Posted 25 July 2021 - 12:45 PM

No, our water doesn't really need anything. It's very soft. Sometimes I will use some gypsum for IPAs, but that's about it.

 

Since I started using bru'n water I think I've only not done something to the water one or two times.  Porters/stouts are the only beers that I can possibly do that with but even with those I usually add baking soda and then gypsum and/or CaCl just to add calcium and some "pop".

 

Do you use any calculators for your water?  I'm not sure it's really possible to have a water that works for all styles without adjusting at least for pH but then also for flavor like you do for your IPAs.  but for sure if it's working for you it's working for you.  a lot of things may have an optimal range but I may not be able to tell the difference either way :P


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#11 porter

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Posted 25 July 2021 - 01:08 PM

My mash pH is always good. I spent a year playing around with calculators and adding salts to everything but I didn't find it to make any tangible difference. My beers come out good with our without the salt additions. I may have convinced myself on the gypsum for hoppier beers but haven't done a split batch. Sometimes I will use the recommended salt additions in the Anvil handbook which is a pretty good starting point.

Anyway, that's beside the point, as these beers used the same water (no additions).
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#12 HVB

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Posted 25 July 2021 - 01:26 PM

Same yeast and fermentation schedule?  

 

You said the extract was sweeter, were the FG's different?


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#13 porter

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Posted 25 July 2021 - 01:44 PM

Yep, all the same. The extract batch had a OG of 1.060 vs 1.050 for AG, due to faster boil off on propane. So I knew the extract beer would be sweeter, but this seems like a fundamentally different character rather than a concentration issue, and it reminded me of my extract beers back in the day. I suppose in addition to the extract it could have to do with caramelization in the kettle with the more concentrated wort.

Guess it could be the yeast, but these were two relatively fresh packets of US-05. Never had any problems with that yeast.

I never check FGs anymore, unless for a specific reason. I tend to do long primaries, rarely brew beers over 9%, and I don't care what the exact ABV is, so to me it's not actionable.
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#14 Mando

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Posted 25 July 2021 - 01:58 PM

do manufacturers still add sucrose or something to DME to account for less fermentability?

 

also is 30 mins the minimum recommended time for DME?  could you possibly add some at 30 min and then more closer to the end of the boil?  I haven't gone back to DME so I don't know much about current best practices there.


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#15 Mando

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Posted 26 July 2021 - 12:50 PM

just another thought....

 

when I add my DME when making starters I boil the water, take it off the heat and then get the DME completely dissolved before putting it back on the heat.  is this similar to how you do it?


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#16 porter

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Posted 26 July 2021 - 09:17 PM

No, I slowly stir it in over 2-3 minutes.
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#17 Mando

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Posted 27 July 2021 - 04:55 AM

I wonder if brewtan-b might help reduce whatever it is you are detecting from the DME. Have you tried it before? I use it on all of my AG beers (unless I forget).
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#18 porter

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Posted 27 July 2021 - 09:55 AM

I am late on the brewtan-b train. Never tried it. Will have to remember to add it to my next ritebrew order.
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#19 Mando

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Posted 27 July 2021 - 10:21 AM

I'm not sure if they carry it. It seems to be fairly limited in terms of availability. I might have bought it from Williams??? I can't remember now.
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#20 djinkc

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Posted 27 July 2021 - 04:37 PM

It's been a while since I thought about this.  If I remember correctly hot break can knock out isomerized alpha acids if hops are added before the hot break.  That's already done with with extract.  And along with others I have tasted some outstanding extract brews.  I'll stick with AG since it's cheaper and maybe better on average depending on the brewer.

 

Ever seen someone open a 50# bag of DME to split?  Awesome mess


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