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Favourite Kit And Extract Brew - Looking For Recommendations

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timobriennz

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Wahoo! First post! Hello everyone, my name is Tim and I'm a new home brewer. I started home brewing a couple of months back and have successfully created a stock Munich Lager (came with the fermenting starter kit) and for my second brew I tinkered a little bit with a Blackrock IPA kit by adding in some hops via a hop tea.

I then discovered this forum and the wealth of ideas and information about home brewing. I've downloaded the awesome Kit & Extract designer and I've purchased John Palmer's How to Brew so I reckon I'm well set for a long and enjoyable future in making home brew. The trouble is... where to start? There are so many options! While I eventually see myself migrating to a BIAB or AG process I'm quite content with the K&K process at the moment. I like most beers so I'm a bit paralysed by indecision as to what to brew next so I thought I would throw it open to the group to see if you have any favourite beers you've made that you would recommend?

I've been playing with the spreadsheet and like the idea of an Amber Ale, Brown Ale or another (improved) IPA. Thanks in advance.
 

Salt

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Hi Tim, welcome to the forum and the world of Homebrewing...I assure you, you will not look back.

Im from NZ also, and was, not that long ago, in the same boat as you. I have recently upgraded to AG!

I found this site extremely helpful...wealth of knowledge and advice.

You've followed the first steps that I did, which was How to Brew and the K&K Spreadsheet recipe designer. Good on ya!

My recommendations - no particular order;
- Use fresh ingredients. Always check dates on cans etc.
- Ditch the instructions on the can...and the yeast
- Get a better quality yeast from your LHBS...store it in the fridge
- Start using Hops. Buy the 100g packs, use what you want and store them in a container in the freezer. Stay away from finishing hop bags...
- Control your Ferment Temps. Keep it as consistent as possible. If you dont yet have temp control, them somewhere in your house that stays a fairly constant temp. 18-20deg for Ales. Keeping it constant is important.
- A good sanitizer is important. I used to get a cheap no-rinse from Pak n save..it was shit and affected my beers flavour etc. Get StarSan no Rinse. Best move i've made. BrewersCoop have it and it lasts for ages.
- Ditch the sugar, try BrewBlends, but preferably use Dry or Liquid Malt in addition to your Branded Kit.
- Or Ditch the Kit all together and simply use all Liquid or Dry Malt Extracts and use the designer to ensure you hit targets etc...


The best Extract Beer I made was Neil's Centenarillo Ale, simply delicious for an extract beer. You may be hard pressed to get Amarillo atm however. Also Dr Smurto's Golden Ale is a good place to start. Again Amarillo, but you can sub the hops for other US or NZ Hops, such as Cascade, Motueka etc.

Coopers Kits are pretty good, whilst I used to also use the Muntons Conossiours range...bit more expensive but better for it.

Soak up all the info...mine might not be the best, but these are the areas that helped me.

But most of all - Have fun! You should enjoy the process - if you make half decent beer at the end of it all, well then thats the bonus. If its a great Beer, even better!

Cheers and Beers
Mark
 

timobriennz

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Thanks Mark! Being a craft beer fan it was only a matter of time before I convinced myself '"how hard can it be" to actually produce some enjoyable beer :p

I'll take a look at those recipes you suggested. I'm fortunate that I have an under-stairs cupboard which maintains a temperature of 18-20 year round (good for storing wine too!) so at least I don't have to worry too much once the brew is in the fermenter. Thanks for the pointer re the sanitiser, I've been using SodiumMet and was wondering if there was a better option.

I'll let you know how I get on!
 

Eyelusion

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Welcome,
You've come to the right place. Everyone here is very helpful and I personally have found it a great place to gain a wealth of knowlegde. Enjoy brewing :)
 

Arghonaut

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I've come back to extract brewing as i cant justify the time AG brewing requires. My best recipe by far is a 10min APA. The idea is you dont do a bittering addition, you add all your hops at 10 minutes remaining in the boil, allowing you to get a huge upfront hop flavour. The best bit about doing it with extract as opposed to AG is you only need to boil it for 10 mins. I reckon its a great next step from kits, you will get a great tasting craft beer, it is really simple to make, and it can be done in under an hour.

For a 20 litre batch, 2kg of LDME, 250g of wheat DME(for a nice fluffy head) and 400g of dex to give an O.G of around 1050, use Ianh's spreadsheet to adjust for whatever volume batch you do and whatever ingredients are readily available. (ie liquid instead of dry extract etc) You can sub carapils for the wheat dme, or add in 100g of crystal malt if so desired.

Then aim for around 40 IBU's in a single hop addition at 10 minutes. Any combination of citrusy american hops works great(cascade,centennial,chinook,citra,simcoe,amarillo etcetc), as well as some Nz hops. Try cascade first up, you can get a pound for around $10 from suppliers in the US, look in the retail section.

Use US-05 yeast.

My method is:

Night before - pre fill my fermenter with 15 litres of water, place in my fridge to chill it to 4 degrees. If steeping any crystal, i put in on now to cold steep overnight in a pot with a few litres of water.

Brew day:

Fill pot with just over 5 litres of water. Add in 500g of DME to bring gravity to around 1040. Bring to boil, once a steady boil is reached, add in all the hops. I put mine in two or three hop bags, depending on the volume of hops needed. Boil for 10 mins. Slowly add in the remaining DME & Dex over the last minute or two. Once it has boiled for 10 mins, turn off. Leave to sit for another 10 minutes, then place the pot in a sink full of cold water. After another 10 minutes or so, add to the fermenter full of 4 degree water. This should bring you to around 18 - 20 degrees. Sprinkle the yeast on top, into the fermenting fridge and away you go. Usually finishes at 1012.

By chilling the wort this way, the hop flavour is unreal, beats any no-chilled BIAB apa's i have made. You can adjust the volumes easily, just balance the amount of cool water with the amount in the boil, use an online calculator to see what temp you need to bring X litres of wort down to before adding to X volume of 4 degree water to get it around 20 degrees.

If you like hoppy ales, this will beat any kit you can do hands down, and will hold its own against most AG beers of the same style. You can make it in under an hour and dont need any expensive equipment. I always have one of these on tap, great home brewed craft beer for minimal effort with minimal gear.
 

RobboMC

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The best K&K recipe I've found so far is
to add a can of Morgans Caramalt to a kit of Muntons Yorkshire Bitter
and keep the volume to 20 to 21 litres.

Looks too simple to be any good, but makes great beer really easily.

Lots of good people here will encourage you to boil in extra hops, steep grain and
end up mashing your own grain. All great advice but go there in your own time.
 

Diggs

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Cheers Arghonaut, I'm going to give this one a shot for my next batch.

I'm aiming to go to BIAB or AG at some stage and this seems like a good step inbetween.

Using IanH's sheet the FG came in a bit low so I upped the LDME and dropped the Dex a little (using 100gm of Crystal), used Chinook to get to about 33IBU.

All look/sound good?

Sorry for hijack! Cascade Mahogany Porter has been my best so far, using DDME. Also got a good beer out of the Coopers European Lager kit.
 

ianh

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Hi Tim and welcome to the forum, glad you are making use of the spreadsheet.

A couple of personal things I found was that I liked all malt beers much better than those containing sugar or dextrose and I would include either some wheat malt or Carapils or both in all my beers.

In my opinion the best extract beer I made was an Irish red, mind you it was cold contitioned for 4 weeks at 0C, then bottled conditioned for 6 months before drinking.

For 23 litres
1.8 kg Light Dry Malt
0.5 kg Wheat Dry Malt
0.25 kg CaraAmber
0.25 kg CaraAroma
0.20 kg CaraRed
0.20 kg CaraPils
20 g Northern Brewer hops boiled for 60 mins for 21 IBU
US05 Yeast

Whilst I use Starsan in kegs I still use 1.6g per litre of bleach and 1.6g per litre vinegar for sanatizing my fermenters.

cheers

Ian
 

timobriennz

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This is all good stuff! I can sympathise with the time restraints - with two kiddies under three and a full time job finding the time to get right into the detail can be difficult. To paraphrase RobboMC all in good time.

I like the sound of the 10 min APA recipe which Arghonaut shared... I'll have a play in the sheet to see what I come up with.

Has anyone brewed an American Brown Ale, or an Amber Ale from a kit?
 

Arghonaut

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Cheers Arghonaut, I'm going to give this one a shot for my next batch.

I'm aiming to go to BIAB or AG at some stage and this seems like a good step inbetween.

Using IanH's sheet the FG came in a bit low so I upped the LDME and dropped the Dex a little (using 100gm of Crystal), used Chinook to get to about 33IBU.

All look/sound good?

Sorry for hijack! Cascade Mahogany Porter has been my best so far, using DDME. Also got a good beer out of the Coopers European Lager kit.
Aslong as the OG is still around 1050 thats fine, i find most software over predicts the fermentability of extracts, i tend to finish a couple points higher then they predict. One thing i do is to turn on the hop concentration factor in the spreadsheet, especially if going for around 33ibu, as you wouldnt want it much lower then that. The first one of these i did i aimed for 35 ibu and didnt allow for the HCF, and it was still good, but not as great as when i aimed for 40ibu with the HCF on. Experiment and see what works for you though!

Never done one with only chinook, but i love what it brings in combination with other hops like cascade, a great piney, resinous, spicy backbone. I'd go for it, should be great.
 

timobriennz

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Thanks again guys - off to the home brew shop down the road to pick up a few supplies. Will update when I have more questions no doubt!
 

mwd

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I've come back to extract brewing as i cant justify the time AG brewing requires. My best recipe by far is a 10min APA. The idea is you dont do a bittering addition, you add all your hops at 10 minutes remaining in the boil, allowing you to get a huge upfront hop flavour. The best bit about doing it with extract as opposed to AG is you only need to boil it for 10 mins. I reckon its a great next step from kits, you will get a great tasting craft beer, it is really simple to make, and it can be done in under an hour.

For a 20 litre batch, 2kg of LDME, 250g of wheat DME(for a nice fluffy head) and 400g of dex to give an O.G of around 1050, use Ianh's spreadsheet to adjust for whatever volume batch you do and whatever ingredients are readily available. (ie liquid instead of dry extract etc) You can sub carapils for the wheat dme, or add in 100g of crystal malt if so desired.

Then aim for around 40 IBU's in a single hop addition at 10 minutes. Any combination of citrusy american hops works great(cascade,centennial,chinook,citra,simcoe,amarillo etcetc), as well as some Nz hops. Try cascade first up, you can get a pound for around $10 from suppliers in the US, look in the retail section.

Use US-05 yeast.

My method is:

Night before - pre fill my fermenter with 15 litres of water, place in my fridge to chill it to 4 degrees. If steeping any crystal, i put in on now to cold steep overnight in a pot with a few litres of water.

Brew day:

Fill pot with just over 5 litres of water. Add in 500g of DME to bring gravity to around 1040. Bring to boil, once a steady boil is reached, add in all the hops. I put mine in two or three hop bags, depending on the volume of hops needed. Boil for 10 mins. Slowly add in the remaining DME & Dex over the last minute or two. Once it has boiled for 10 mins, turn off. Leave to sit for another 10 minutes, then place the pot in a sink full of cold water. After another 10 minutes or so, add to the fermenter full of 4 degree water. This should bring you to around 18 - 20 degrees. Sprinkle the yeast on top, into the fermenting fridge and away you go. Usually finishes at 1012.

By chilling the wort this way, the hop flavour is unreal, beats any no-chilled BIAB apa's i have made. You can adjust the volumes easily, just balance the amount of cool water with the amount in the boil, use an online calculator to see what temp you need to bring X litres of wort down to before adding to X volume of 4 degree water to get it around 20 degrees.

If you like hoppy ales, this will beat any kit you can do hands down, and will hold its own against most AG beers of the same style. You can make it in under an hour and dont need any expensive equipment. I always have one of these on tap, great home brewed craft beer for minimal effort with minimal gear.
Looks great what quantity of hops did you use I am about to order the ingredients to have a go at this one guessing you need quite a lot if you stick to 10min additions
 

Arghonaut

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Looks great what quantity of hops did you use I am about to order the ingredients to have a go at this one guessing you need quite a lot if you stick to 10min additions
Depends entirely on the AA% of the hops. Anywhere from 80g - 200g. Usually around the 130g mark. Just put the aa% of your hops into ianh's spreadsheet/your brew software of choice and adjust till you hit around 40 ibu's.
 

mwd

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Thanks for that I have a load of Simcoe of unknown AA% so will have to make an educated guess. I am aiming at a nice APA/AIPA hopefully turn out in a similar style to Punk IPA. Love that brew nice and hoppy with a malt aftertaste.
 

Arghonaut

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Thanks for that I have a load of Simcoe of unknown AA% so will have to make an educated guess. I am aiming at a nice APA/AIPA hopefully turn out in a similar style to Punk IPA. Love that brew nice and hoppy with a malt aftertaste.
Yeah just use the average aa for the variety. The above recipe has a fairly dry finish, for a bit more malt cut the dex down to 100-200g and make up the difference with more ldme and 100 - 150g of your favourite med or light crystal.
 

roverfj1200

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Had to reply here after I just tried the brew I bottled 2 weeks a go.

A easy and uncomplicated recipe.

Can of CPA
1.5kg Morgan extra pale malt
Dry hopped with 10 POR and 10 Tattanger
US-05 yeast

Now fermentation was allowed to finish and the brew dropped to 2 deg.
It was then that the dry hopping was done.
a week at 2 deg with the hops in and it was bottled in stubbies'

At only 2 weeks old and chilled well I rolled the stubbie and turned once on end.. Pale ale style ..
Even as young as it is the aroma and hop favour fills the mouth and tingles the palate.

I sense and know that 1 or 2 weeks more conditioning will enhance this beer so much.

In the next week I will put down this beer with the coopers yeast..CAN NOT wait to try that one.

Cheers
 

roverfj1200

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Had to reply here after I just tried the brew I bottled 2 weeks a go.

A easy and uncomplicated recipe.

Can of CPA
1.5kg Morgan extra pale malt
Dry hopped with 10 POR and 10 Tattanger
US-05 yeast

Now fermentation was allowed to finish and the brew dropped to 2 deg.
It was then that the dry hopping was done.
a week at 2 deg with the hops in and it was bottled in stubbies'

At only 2 weeks old and chilled well I rolled the stubbie and turned once on end.. Pale ale style ..
Even as young as it is the aroma and hop favour fills the mouth and tingles the palate.

I sense and know that 1 or 2 weeks more conditioning will enhance this beer so much.

In the next week I will put down this beer with the coopers yeast..CAN NOT wait to try that one.

Cheers
Forgot to mention was bulk primed with 80g of dex for 23L to keep the sediment down..

Cheers
 

mwd

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I've come back to extract brewing as i cant justify the time AG brewing requires. My best recipe by far is a 10min APA. The idea is you dont do a bittering addition, you add all your hops at 10 minutes remaining in the boil, allowing you to get a huge upfront hop flavour. The best bit about doing it with extract as opposed to AG is you only need to boil it for 10 mins. I reckon its a great next step from kits, you will get a great tasting craft beer, it is really simple to make, and it can be done in under an hour.

For a 20 litre batch, 2kg of LDME, 250g of wheat DME(for a nice fluffy head) and 400g of dex to give an O.G of around 1050, use Ianh's spreadsheet to adjust for whatever volume batch you do and whatever ingredients are readily available. (ie liquid instead of dry extract etc) You can sub carapils for the wheat dme, or add in 100g of crystal malt if so desired.

Then aim for around 40 IBU's in a single hop addition at 10 minutes. Any combination of citrusy american hops works great(cascade,centennial,chinook,citra,simcoe,amarillo etcetc), as well as some Nz hops. Try cascade first up, you can get a pound for around $10 from suppliers in the US, look in the retail section.

Use US-05 yeast.

My method is:

Night before - pre fill my fermenter with 15 litres of water, place in my fridge to chill it to 4 degrees. If steeping any crystal, i put in on now to cold steep overnight in a pot with a few litres of water.

Brew day:

Fill pot with just over 5 litres of water. Add in 500g of DME to bring gravity to around 1040. Bring to boil, once a steady boil is reached, add in all the hops. I put mine in two or three hop bags, depending on the volume of hops needed. Boil for 10 mins. Slowly add in the remaining DME & Dex over the last minute or two. Once it has boiled for 10 mins, turn off. Leave to sit for another 10 minutes, then place the pot in a sink full of cold water. After another 10 minutes or so, add to the fermenter full of 4 degree water. This should bring you to around 18 - 20 degrees. Sprinkle the yeast on top, into the fermenting fridge and away you go. Usually finishes at 1012.

By chilling the wort this way, the hop flavour is unreal, beats any no-chilled BIAB apa's i have made. You can adjust the volumes easily, just balance the amount of cool water with the amount in the boil, use an online calculator to see what temp you need to bring X litres of wort down to before adding to X volume of 4 degree water to get it around 20 degrees.

If you like hoppy ales, this will beat any kit you can do hands down, and will hold its own against most AG beers of the same style. You can make it in under an hour and dont need any expensive equipment. I always have one of these on tap, great home brewed craft beer for minimal effort with minimal gear.
I have just bottled my version of this and can confirm it makes a fine beer still green but I have downed two bottles yeast haze and all.
Recommend anybody intending to have a go at extract to do this one. I used Briess extract with 250g Carabohemian steeped. Hops used were Simcoe Chinook and some Galaxy I had to get rid of. Could have done with a bit more hop for my taste and I screwed up the volume slightly and ended up with about 23.5litres. Nice easy drinking beer in its present form.
 

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