Homebrew Question: Extract Kits Versus All-Grain?

I cracked into my latest homebrew last night, a clone of Bells Two Hearted Ale, and I have to say it kind of sucks.  It’s not awful like the Wheat I brewed last year, but it’s deeply mediocre.  It has me questioning why I bother brewing beer at all – why put so much time and effort into creating something I really don’t like?  

Every beer I’ve brewed so far has been from a Northern Brewer extract kit, and each has had a “taste” to it – an unpleasant bitterness that is out of balance with the malt backbone.  I’ve brewed a porter, a wheat, and a pale ale, and each have shared this trait.  It doesn’t seem to be a hop thing; they just all have a nasty undertaste.  I’ve heard great stuff about Northern Brewer, so I don’t think it’s a quality issue.

When I shared my frustration with my wife last night (in the form of an “I quit”), she had what seemed like a pretty good suggestion – stop brewing with syrup and pellets and go all-grain.  Most everyone (except for Zac) says that going all-grain makes a world of difference, so this might be just the thing I need to make beers that I actually want to drink.

But do I really want to spend the money to find out? I think going all-grain is going to cost me another $250 or so, which isn’t the end of the world, but do I really want to sink the extra dollars into something I’m thinking about giving up on?

So here’s my question to all of you experienced home brewers – do you think going all-grain will allow me to make beers that I truly enjoy, or is the difference subtle enough that it won’t solve my problem?  Or perhaps I’m barking up the wrong tree – maybe it’s something else I’m doing wrong that’s making my beer taste like crap.

Any insights are deeply appreciated.

Thanks.

-Jim

.

.

.

 

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , ,

Categories: Beer, Home Brew, Home Brewing

Author:Jim

Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

Join the Madness

Like beer? Like whiskey? Like goofing off? Follow Us!

71 Comments on “Homebrew Question: Extract Kits Versus All-Grain?”

  1. Don
    March 7, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

    Maybe if you didn’t let the dog “help” at bottling time? Just a thought… 😉

    • March 7, 2011 at 12:51 pm #

      Aw, come on now, Don. She’s a poodle – they’re quite capable animals and German to boot!

  2. johnking82
    March 7, 2011 at 12:51 pm #

    Go All-Grain. Hands down. Much more satisfying and I think, you can taste the difference.

    It shouldn’t cost you that much more either, one should be able to build a cooler mash-tun for less than $50 including all the parts. Typically, I can get my grain, hops, and yeast for around $35 bucks.

    I think all-grain gives you more options, and to me, it makes me feel like I’m really making the beer from my own two hands by using an all-grain set up.

    One thing to consider is that clones are not 100% the correct recipe. There is gonig to be some error. Maybe the wrong grain bill percentages, maybe their is a bacteria issue, or maybe you just weren’t damn patient enough. When you think a beer is ready to drink, give it another 3 weeks. Patience is key in homebrewing.

    Or just make a really big beer where the ABV covers up any off-tastes.

    • March 7, 2011 at 12:56 pm #

      Well the pale ale that set me off is the one I bottled last week, so you might be onto something with the whole patience thing, John! Still, i can taste how it’ll improve, and it still won’t match up to my standards – but at least I’ll be able to drink it all.

      I have a big Belgian Dubbel and an Imperial Stout in fermentation right now, and I think both (especially the stout) will be fine, given the big ABVs.

      • johnking82
        March 7, 2011 at 1:05 pm #

        Go hide your box of IPA bottles…no way is it ready after a week. Try it again in 3 weeks. You won’t lose much hop presence so no big deal there. I’ve gotten to the point I don’t even try a beer after two weeks because it’s usually a wash and not ready.

        Yeam Imperial Stouts need a good amount to age. One thing I do when I bottle, is I take a handful of bottle and put them away so they won’t be touched for 6 months. So from the day I have the first one a month after bottling, I can tell the taste differences.

        Patience is key though, when you think it’s ready…it’s not. On my site, I usually write what date I first drink my bottle and if they are good then or not, typically they arent until a month later.

        • March 7, 2011 at 1:21 pm #

          I have plenty to try later, and it’s certainly drinkable now. But all in all – good advice. It’s tough to judge a beer so young.

  3. johnking82
    March 7, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

    Oh and with every good beer I brew, there is always a bad one. Think about it like this, your mother had a good son (you) and then there is Don.

    • March 7, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

      🙂

    • Don
      March 7, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

      HAY!

  4. March 7, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

    I love the results I get from all grain brewing, but I made some amazing beers during the years that I was an extract brewer. I’d suggest trying to troubleshoot your beers before you try taking it to the next level and adding a whole bunch of new variables with all grain. Whatever you are doing incorrectly now is likely to follow you.

    Your best ally in homebrewing is developing a great palate, or a finding people who do. Since I don’t think of my palate as being all that spectacular, I lean on others. Let the experienced members of the your local homebrew club try your beers and get their thoughts. You can submit your beers to BJCP certified competitions, too. The feedback from those trained judges can be really useful.

    Brewing with someone else and comparing methods can help, too.

    Hit up some experts. Everyone has had to tweak their methods, and even the best baseball players and golfers need to change up their stance.

  5. Peter at simply beer
    March 7, 2011 at 12:58 pm #

    Jim, you do tend to get a “common” flavor from using the same type of extract (light for example). At least that is what I found. Going “all-grain” is as expensive as you want it to be. There are several other methods besides the traditional that can be less expensive, such as brew in a bag method among others. I have a very inexpensive setup, you are more then welcome to run a test batch on it to see if upgrading is what you want to do.
    You may want to try a kit from Midwest to see if you get better results although they might be from the same company. Are you using liquid or dry malt extract?

    • March 7, 2011 at 1:01 pm #

      Thanks for the offer, Peter. I’m using liquid extract, and have used several different types as I’ve gone (golden, darker, wheat, etc.) so that might not be the common thread. Maybe ‘ll try to source a kit elsewhere.

  6. Filippo Garavaglia
    March 7, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

    All grain “fo’ shizzle”!

    • March 7, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

      Well when you put it like that… 🙂

  7. March 7, 2011 at 1:17 pm #

    Try buying a bottled water if you are using tap. You might have a high concentration of a certain mineral in your local water that maybe affecting it. My local water has ridiculous amounts of chlorine in it and I feel like I can taste it.

    • March 7, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

      Thanks, Adam. I’m using Poland Spring, so I think that variable’s covered.

  8. brewner
    March 7, 2011 at 1:23 pm #

    my suggestion, find a friend that has the ability to brew 10 gallons all grain. decide on your recipe, split the batch, see what you think. no equipment purchase necessary.

    • March 7, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

      Hey, that’s pretty smart. I’ve been on the fence about all-grain anyway, so maybe that’s an easy way to get my feet wet.

      • March 7, 2011 at 3:21 pm #

        A-hem… Jim, I brew 10-gallon batches. 🙂

        • March 7, 2011 at 3:59 pm #

          Nice! I can do 15 in my pot, but I can’t move that kind of weight around without pumps. I try to be smart and do only 5 gallon batches, so I can lift and pour the wort when it’s done. That’s how I aerate – pour my 3 gallon boil into my bottling bucket and top it off to five gallons, and then pour it back and forth a few times between the two to get the air in there. Couldn’t do that with 10 gallons.

      • brewner
        March 8, 2011 at 3:55 pm #

        i’m actually doing that on my next brew with a new brewer. all it really means is he does the heavy lifting and mash tun cleaning.

        • March 8, 2011 at 4:03 pm #

          Hooray for brew slaves!!

  9. March 7, 2011 at 1:24 pm #

    If you consistently have the same funky taste, it could be your water. I’ve only done extracts, and I’ve been very happy with my results

    • March 7, 2011 at 2:20 pm #

      I dunno – it’s poland spring – ever brew with that?

  10. ray larkin
    March 7, 2011 at 1:35 pm #

    Hey Guy, had the same problem when I started. Most likely it’sd just a water thing, get a cheap charcoal filter and a hose connecter for your faucet, it will most likely get rid of thebitter issue. fermentation temp is real important, too, so maybe think about some sort of temp control for the future. My beer used to frustrate me as well, I guesss sometimes still does, but I’ve nailed a couple lately so there’s hope! Ray.

    • March 7, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

      Thanks, Ray. I’ve only used Poland Spring – I wonder if that’s the issue. I’ll have to look into it.

  11. Aubrey
    March 7, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

    Jim, great homebrews can be made with extract. Don’t give up yet.

    If you stick to extract, here are five HUGE things you can do to improve your beer:
    1. Do a full-wort boil (or as big of a boil as possible). May require buying a larger kettle. You’ll get much better hop utilization.
    2. Steep grains along with the extract. This adds complexity to the malt profile.
    3. Use an Activator “smack pack” for OGs up to 1.060 and starters for anything bigger. DO NOT USE DRIED YEAST, ever!
    4. Use Dried Malt Extract (DME) instead of Liquid Malt Extract (LME); or, in the least, steer clear of LME from a can. DME is easier to use, has a longer shelf life and is more stable. If you go with dried, just remember to adjust the quantity, as DME is 20-25% more concentrated than LME.
    5. Make sure you’re santizing well.

    Keep in mind, even though all grain provides the potential for better beers, it also creates more opportunities to screw things up along the way.

    cheers,
    Aubrey

    • March 7, 2011 at 2:23 pm #

      Trust me, I don’t need a bigger kettle! 😉

      I’ve also had a grain to steep with most brews and I’ve been using smack packs, so that’s good. I haven’t considered using DME, so I’ll put that on the “to-do” list.

      I’ve also been sanitizing well (i think) and have been leaving the StarSan (or whatever it’s called) bubbles in the carboy as instructed. I wonder if that’s skewing the taste.

  12. ray larkin
    March 7, 2011 at 1:43 pm #

    Actually chlorine will give a “medicine” taste but to high of some salts and other minerals are what usually sharpen up the hops profile, and many times these are not corrected in bottled wwater as the are not as noticeable just in water its a reaction with the hops.

    • March 7, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

      Hmmm…next batch I’ll brew with tap – we have excellent water in our town.

  13. March 7, 2011 at 1:55 pm #

    I am going to agree, to me most extract kits have a ‘extract taste’ to them that I just don’t like. Mind you, I have had some amazing extract beers, but I think that your control of more of the variables is your largest benefit for going all-grain.
    If you have access to a local home brew club, check them out and trying brewing with them first, before making the step to all-grain if you’re leery.

    • March 7, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

      Thanks, Angela. I’ve got some local folks who brew all-grain, so perhaps I’ll pick their brains and make them taste my crappy beer. Poor them! 😉

  14. gilmore
    March 7, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

    When I first started brewing I used the ingredients that came with the kit I was given as a gift. I brewed two more extract batches before moving on to all grain. Two reasons were a curiosity of what actually goes into beer and not knowing exactly what was in the extract kit components. In the extract kits that contain roasted grain, that goes right into the boil. I know not all will agree with me, but I prefer to mash my base malt and specialty malts.

    short answer: punt the kits

    • March 7, 2011 at 2:26 pm #

      I think I’m almost there. My favorite part of kit brewing is steeping the specialty grains – it feels like I’m actually making beer, not pouring syrup into a kettle.

  15. Ben
    March 7, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

    As others have said, the change may remedy your problems, but it’s possible that other factors are in play that would not be corrected by the switch. If you’re not controlling your fermentation temperatures, or you’re not using proper sanitation methods and appropriate water profiles, a switch to all-grain will not help you. Those issues can only be fixed by a great attention to detail and commitment to the process. Still, the only way to find out is to make the switch.

    However, I’ll offer another (albeit highly unorthodox in relation to the other comments) suggestion: If you’re not feeling super-excited about the prospect of diving into all-grain, maybe you’re right, and it’s not for you. For most brewers, the leap to all-grain isn’t something they do to remedy a problem… It’s something they do because the desire to do so is too strong to resist. To make the switch because you feel obligated probably isn’t the greatest reason in the world, and you may end up regretting the investment. Judging by the fact that you’re asking the internet community whether or not you should switch might be an indicator that the burning desire isn’t quite there. The only person whose opinion should matter is your own! Like any hobby, home brewing is something you should do because you love it, not because you feel forced to do it. Just be honest with yourself about whether or not you want to make the commitment to buying all-grain equipment. If you do, that’s fantastic, and I’m sure you won’t regret it! Still, if you don’t, there’s no shame in that… There’s just no reason to continue a hobby that isn’t bringing you the joy you would like it to bring.

    I only tell you this because I can tell that you’re an avid craft beer fan, and there’s no way that if you stopped home brewing, you’d stop drinking quality beer. Knowing what goes into brewing beer is a great way to truly appreciate a great brew, but not everyone who is a craft beer fan HAS to brew. After all, if every craft beer fan brewed their own, the great commercial craft brewers out there would suffer! Keep us posted on what you decide to do, but make sure to remember that it’s YOUR decision, not ours. Good luck!

    • March 7, 2011 at 2:28 pm #

      Thanks for the perspective, Ben. I’ve always figured I’d go all grain, but as I haven’t had great success brewing with kits, my confidence is wavering a bit. I love to brew, and I’m very interested in all-grain, but the plan was to master extract first and then move on. So far that hasn’t happened – I’m just wondering if moving on would make things better.

      Anyway, great advice and a unique POV. Much appreciated.

      • Bill Bennett
        March 9, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

        You can always come by my house for a brew day. That will answer all of your all grain questions. One thing to mention upfront about all grain, most of your day is spent cleaning (or at least it feels that way:) ). This is definitely something to take into consideration.

        • March 9, 2011 at 1:16 pm #

          So you’re inviting me by to clean? Well played sir!

          Drop me a line the next time you guys are brewing. I’d like to see what’s involved.

  16. Carmen
    March 7, 2011 at 3:16 pm #

    Here’s something I’d like to try with the free time I don’t have: Malting my own grain. Given my love of petey, smoky, Scotches…and fine espresso, there’s something extremely satisfying about the idea and control of malting your own grain and then toasting it to the specs you want. You simply can’t beat it for freshness, and the level of control you have is immense. At that point, you have the whole process in the palm of your hands except for fresh hops.

    • March 7, 2011 at 3:54 pm #

      I think I’d be okay choosing and combining grains – like making granola at Whole Foods. If I’m struggling getting extracts to taste good, imagine how I could screw up malting!!

  17. Randall
    March 7, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

    I believe in my short time of brewing that Ben’s first paragraph might hold the key for you. The temps throughout the process are very important to getting a good beer without off flavors. Also I compare the all extract/all grain to fresh/frozen ingredients. One is more processed then the other. This is not to say that you can’t make a great beer from extract. I for one am not an all grain brewer and I have won and placed in many competitions including a third in nationals. I classify myself as a partial masher. I use from six to nth pounds of grains in my beers and then add extract to get the sugar levels to what I want for the beer. I also do something called dunk sparging or bag mashing as it is know some places. I use a bunch of muslin socks to put about a pound of grains in each one and place them in the water to mash. Then at the end of mashing in I “dunk sparge” by literally dunking each bag six or seven times in the wart to get all the yummy flavors and sugars out. The I add extract in the boil. You might want to try this method as it avoids having to get all the extra equipment for all grain and you get a lot of the same results. My wife is very happy as I do not have a bunch of brew stuff taking up space!
    Most of the comments have hit on it here though. Going to all grain will make things more complicated. Playing around with what you do now is most likely the key.
    Hope that helps.

    • March 7, 2011 at 3:57 pm #

      You’ve sparked an idea – maybe my next batch should be a full five gallon boil. This way I can use the thermometer that’s built into my brew kettle (it’s up too high for 3.5 gallons or less), which will allow me to be more mindful of temps. Right now I monitor two temps – boiling and not boiling!

  18. March 7, 2011 at 3:27 pm #

    I wonder if freshness is a factor with your syrups. Northern Brewer is in the Midwest, and you’re in Jersey. DME should stay fresh longer.

    Before I went all-grain, I made some wonderful beers with extract. No issues with either syrups or with DME. When I did use syrups, I used the bulk syrups from the 55 gallon barrels… never from a can.

    As for equipment… check craigslist. Also, you can convert coolers into a mash tun and a HLT. No need to go nuts spending money. Sure, you’ll spend more on equipment initially, but then you’ll save money on ingredients… grains are much cheaper than extract.

    • March 7, 2011 at 4:01 pm #

      So far I’ve used bottled liquid extract (not canned) and figured powder was inferior. Don’t know why I thought this, but it sounds like I was wrong about it.

  19. Matt
    March 7, 2011 at 3:34 pm #

    I switched from extract to all grain about 6 months ago. It has made a HUGE difference in the quality of my beer, but I think it’s due to more than just having fresh grain.

    – Fresh grain – extract typically has a lot of unfermentables leaving beer sweeter than intended. This is especially true of LME
    – Full wort boils – concentrated wort caramelizes leaving beer sweeter than intended
    – Ability to customize base malts and mash all the malts together

    In addition I’ve been much more attentive to fermentation temperature. All of these things combined has taken my beer from just like you describe with the extract twang to beer worthy of my fridge and friends.

    • March 7, 2011 at 4:02 pm #

      Hmm…I’m not really monitoring fermentation temps at all. Right now I’m just happy if it’s a-bubblin’. Something else to think about.

  20. NicM
    March 7, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

    I’m hoping to make the jump to all-grain at some point this year, but a few of my extract beers have come out so well (hefe, saison, and cherries in the snow) I don’t think I’ll bother changing them. In general my lighter beers come out far better then the dark beers and other homebrewers I’ve talked with said the same thing. I would suggest brewing some more lighter extract beers, maybe one a friend has had success with, and make sure it’s the issue isn’t with your process. You really should be able to brew a good beer with extract.

    • March 7, 2011 at 4:03 pm #

      Sounds that way, Nic. I think I have to look at my whole process and up my game at every step before I start going all-grain. I think there’s lots of room for improvement.

      • Don
        March 7, 2011 at 4:15 pm #

        Yes there is!

  21. Marshal
    March 7, 2011 at 10:37 pm #

    I brewed this same kit a few months ago and agree with you. I just don’t think it’s that good.

  22. March 8, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

    I haven’t had time to follow this thread, but I’ll throw in my two-cents. The biggest difference price-wise comes in the initial investment in equipment. All-grain is cheaper, ingredient-wise. All-grain gives you more control over the malt profile, but that’s about it. I brew hoppy beers and those often come out as good or better than my all-grain counterparts.

    IMHO, you’re doing extract all wrong. Figure out how much liquid extract goes into a brew and replace it with the same amount of dry. Then, it’s all about the hops. Get that right and you’re set.

    I have nothing against all-grain. In fact, I respect all-grain brewers a ton, but I don’t have the time to do all-grain. I brew extract and like what I brew.

    • March 8, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

      I think the next step is a full boil with DME. I’m curious to see what that’s like.

      Now I just need a quick-fermenting recipe. Any suggestions?

      • David
        March 8, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

        I think this is the right move – as Ben said earlier (he posted a great response), it’s probably something in the process that’s going wrong and not necessarily the fault of extract. Going all grain, while certainly beter, is not going to fix the beers if sanitation or fermentation temps are the issue. When things are working, try something completely different – don’t buy a kit, find a recipe online, something simple, with DME and pay close attention to water, sanitation, and fermentation temps and see what happens. Use good yeast, do a starter, and really baby the beer. Doesn’t mean all grain is out of picture, but I look at this extract game as an opportunity to get better and better, it’s a practice run for all grain, in a way.

        • March 8, 2011 at 1:41 pm #

          I think you nailed it David. I’m gonna reevaluate every step (especially kettle temps) and see what improvements I can make before I take the leap to all grain.

          This has been like a therapy session for me- I’m ready to brew more beer!!

        • Don
          March 8, 2011 at 1:45 pm #

          Sure you don’t wanna make some Whine?

        • March 8, 2011 at 1:52 pm #

          No, you’ve got that covered, bro.

        • Don
          March 8, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

          Oh, this is like therapy…Its been so cathartic to have you all come to my inept brewing rescue…Pleeeeeeese help meeeee.

        • March 8, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

          Somebody’s feisty today!!

        • Don
          March 8, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

          And someone else is getting in touch with their feminine side. 😉

  23. Dave
    March 8, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

    All grain gives you the control but, it is also another process to screw up.

    Fresh good quality extract will make very good beer.

    Extract brewing takes less time than all grain.

    I agree with an earlier comment that aging beers can do wonders.

    J.Z. goes on and on about pitching the right amount of viable yeast, using a starter and using fermentation control as the most important step (after good sanitization).

    I use distilled water because my thought is all the needed minerals are in the extract.

    For a 5 gal batch, I boil 1 gal of water with a small amount of extract and hops additions for 60 min. On another burner I bring 4+ gal of water to boiling. After 60 min I dump the 1 gal into the 4+ gal. I add the remaining extract to the 4+ gal. Boil for 1 min continously stirring. If needed I add more extract or boiling water to hit my OG. This minimizes carmalizing the extract.

  24. hoptical_allusions
    March 10, 2011 at 12:06 pm #

    I vote for all grain. My first beers were syrup based, and I thought they were kind of dull and unbalanced. I started trying to partial mash pretty early, and partial mashing is a GREAT option because you can get the benefits from the grain without having to do a lot of equipment hunting. I also quickly learned that using a good liquid yeast greatly improves the beer (I ranch mine. there are 2.75 liters of yeast in my fridge right now).

    I have a strong aversion to spending money, so I figured out ways to brew all grain without buying much of anything. I found that I could effectively mash up to 10 lbs of grain in a collection of large muslin/cheesecloth bags in my old bottling bucket. It takes 5-10 deg F above mash temperature to get things to work right with the setup in my experience. After racking the mash water to the bucket, I put a lid on it and wrap it in an old blanket and let it mash. To sparge, I would completely drain the contents, and refill it with an appropriate volume of water at around 175 F, let that sit for around 20 minutes and then drain that out. The grain should not be packed too tightly in the bags, probably about 1/2 to 1/3 full. It worked great for 2-3 years until I became tired of dealing with the muslin bags, bought myself an angle grinder and built 3 kettles out of old kegs (grinder — $40; kegs — $25 ea.; burner — $50; mash fittings — $25?; worth every penny) . Now, I brew in 10 gallon batches, which takes just about as long as a 5 gallon batch, but it gives twice the beer. I’m convinced that you do not need to buy new equipment to give it a try.

    I’m also convinced that crash cooling with an immersion chiller and using a big propane burner has at least made the brew day easier, if not improved my beer.

    While I believe that other people can make great syrup based beers, I couldn’t get what I wanted out of syrups.

    Go All Grain!

    • March 10, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

      Very cool DIY approach.

      I’ve been doing partial mash, steeping specialty grains in my water before adding the syrup and I agree it adds flavor and nuance to the beer. I also have been using smack packs of liquid yeast, which have worked well.

      I think my next step is to get an immersion chiller to crash my beer properly – all the snow has melted here!

      Thanks for all the info – I’m baby-stepping my way to all grain.

  25. March 10, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

    I agree with most of the comments on here about the difference between syrup and dry malt. Dry malt beats syrup any day; some syrups also contain hop essences. You can also substitute dry malt for bottling sugar, I like the head much better with it, and the carbonation is less soda-poppy.

    I also endorse using grains at the beginning of the boil before adding the extract and hops; just be sure that it’s a grain that already has its sugars converted like crystal malts. It provides much more character than using extracts and hops alone.

    And finally, believe it or not, adding as little as a teaspoon of gypsum to the water before the boil can improve the taste as well.

    • March 10, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

      Gypsum? I’ll have to look into that.

      I’m on board with the dry malt idea. I think my next brew will be from a recipe I get off the net that uses dry malt. Maybe a nice pale ale.

      Now I just gotta find a place with good recipes…

      • March 10, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

        I don’t completely understand the chemistry myself, just the results, it has to do with water hardness and acidity. Also, its mainly for English style ales. From what I’ve read, you’re just imitating the type of water found in England, but that may or may not be true.

        A good place for recipes is Charlie Papazian’s The New Complete Joy of Homebrewing. I started there following his recipes and then branched out creating my own recipes. He includes a number of reference tables listing the basic ingredients and their quantities for various beer styles.

        Good Luck!

        • March 10, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

          Good tip – I already own the book!

    • March 10, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

      I’ve heard that about the gypsum. One of these days I’ll remember to do that. All of these ideas would greatly improve an extract brew for sure.

      • March 10, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

        I wonder what it is about gypsum that makes a difference. I know nothing about it, which isn’t rare. 🙂

        • jake
          March 30, 2012 at 1:03 pm #

          A good spot to go on the net is hopville.com there is over 100,000 recipes on there.there also is a beer calculator on the Website…pretty awesome!

  26. farley kid
    July 7, 2012 at 9:16 pm #

    Had the same problems with extract and went all grain and my wort never tasted better , I use filtered water and 5.2 stabilizer and a 5 gallon boil then empercool with a wort chiller. And like every one else temp is critical and time is important. I bottle 22 ounce bottles but bottle a 6pack of 12 ounce for testing

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Problem with Having a Beer Tap in the House « Beer & Whiskey Brothers Blog - March 9, 2011

    […] beer in question is the Pale Ale that (according to Don) I’ve been whining about not being very good.  In its defense, I only gave it week to carbonate because I was so eager to […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: