1 Posted: Wednesday, January 04, 2017 11:25 PM

So what's the difference? Apart from hops?

Very curious about this because I'd like to save some money, obviously AG is the next logical step, but that's a few dollars worth of equipment away, and I'd really just like to understand things better.

Short version:

Why shouldn't I use bulk extract, instead of extract cans?

2 Posted: Thursday, January 05, 2017 12:11 AM

Main difference would be that extract in a sealed tin or foil pouch is pasteurized, and shows a date of manufacture or best before date, whereas repackaged bulk LME in a plastic tub won't. Bulk might not be of the same quality or freshness, but that depends; in a blind taste test it might be difficult to tell the difference. I use bulk LME with my kits and it seems to work fine. Just heat it, to pasteurize it.

Some folks say that DME tastes better than LME, and that LME can taste “tinny.” Not sure myself. If you are using it to add to a kit, which is tinned, I'd go with whatever is cheaper.

If you use all bulk LME and bitter it yourself, you get to pick which bittering hop to use. Some people claim to be able to taste the Pride of Ringwood hops that Coopers uses for bittering in all of their kits and don't like it. I believe they also use it to bitter their commercial brews, but I am not sure. Their commercial brews are well regarded.

Cheers,

Christina.



3 Posted: Thursday, January 05, 2017 12:21 AM

You're basically right, the only major difference between kits and extract is that the kits are hopped extract.

Storage would be the biggest issue with bulk extract, especially the liquid stuff. Once opened it probably should be used up pretty quickly. It is always recommended when using half a tin of LME to cover the rest of the tin with gladwrap, stick it in the fridge and use it within a few weeks. I'm not sure if this applies to bulk LME and if it doesn't, why not.

Dry extract is a bit easier in this regard. I buy it in “bulk” for yeast starters, 2kg at a time, and it lasts me about 7 or 8 starters. It just gets left in its bag, wrapped up with a rubber band on the bench.

The only issue with bulk extract, whether it be liquid or dry, is that whenever you mix up a wort from it, the whole lot really should be boiled for sanitation reasons*. This isn't needed when you're just using small tins or packets for each batch. You only boil a few litres to add the hops.

*Perhaps some of your issues could be solved by a proper boil rather than simply pasteurising it, Christina .

4 Posted: Thursday, January 05, 2017 4:40 AM

Otto Von Blotto:

*Perhaps some of your issues could be solved by a proper boil rather than simply pasteurising it, Christina .


Which issues Kelsey? Do you mean phenolic flavours with US-05?

Cheers,

Christina.

5 Posted: Thursday, January 05, 2017 6:07 AM

I'm just trying to understand the kit process, as in what I'm actually doing….

If I do a CPA kit, essentially I'm just mixing 1.7kg of LME, with 1kg LDM, yeast and water?

To ask another way, if I boil approx 3kg LME with some hops, add water and yeast, is it unreasonable to expect a drinkable beer?



Could you explain “proper boil” Kelsey? Does that mean the entire wort for a set duration?

Cheers

JP

6 Posted: Thursday, January 05, 2017 6:46 AM

ImaginativeName:

If I do a CPA kit, essentially I'm just mixing 1.7kg of LME, with 1kg LDM, yeast and water?


Not quite, the 1.7kg can also has bittering hops. But you were right in your first post, and I think you typo-ed here - there is no fundamental difference between a can of malt extract, and a Coopers can, other than the hops.

To ask another way, if I boil approx 3kg LME with some hops, add water and yeast, is it unreasonable to expect a drinkable beer?


That is extract brewing, and it is completely reasonable to expect a drinkable beer. Frankly, it doesn't end up much cheaper - but you can tailor the malt and hops to taste MUCH more than you can with a kit.

Kit/can = Coopers makes the malt extract, Coopers adds/boils the hops, and packages it all together
Malt Extract = Coopers makes the malt extract
Extract Brewing = Coopers makes the malt extract, you add/boil the hops
All grain = You make the malt extract, you add/boil the hops

7 Posted: Thursday, January 05, 2017 7:15 AM

The typo you're referring to, where I said “bulk extract”?

Not a typo, I'm referring to the 25kg buckets of LME, not LME cans, which you're right, would not work out much cheaper, in fact would probably not be cheaper at all after hop additions.

8 Posted: Thursday, January 05, 2017 7:25 AM

ImaginativeName:

The typo you're referring to, where I said “bulk extract”?

Not a typo, I'm referring to the 25kg buckets of LME, not LME cans, which you're right, would not work out much cheaper, in fact would probably not be cheaper at all after hop additions.


I get you now. I got mixed up when you started mentioning the 1.7kg CPA kit and missed the hops, and missed that you were really talking about bulk extract vs canned extract.

Yeah, answer given very well above: freshness. The only way to buy lots of malt and ensure it is going to stay fresh is to buy dry malt extract. But DME is more expensive than liquid malt, so you're back to square one.

9 Posted: Thursday, January 05, 2017 7:50 AM

I'm terrible at explaining myself most of the time.

Freshness was the first possible issue that popped up when I first started sniffing around, but I think if I plan this, I can do it, I have 5 FV's, if I brew in 4 of them, that's 12kg in one go, leaving 13kg in the bucket.

Let's say it sits in the bucket for 2 weeks, I wonder what condition it would be in at that point?

10 Posted: Thursday, January 05, 2017 7:55 AM

ImaginativeName:

Let's say it sits in the bucket for 2 weeks, I wonder what condition it would be in at that point?


Two weeks in the fridge would be absolutely fine. But with 4 FV's running twice in a row, I'd be much more concerned about your liver!

11 Posted: Thursday, January 05, 2017 9:03 AM

Hahaha!

I'll have to work on some other flavours with a “best before” date further into the future than my favoured hoppy PA's

12 Posted: Thursday, January 05, 2017 9:47 AM

ChristinaS1:

Otto Von Blotto:

*Perhaps some of your issues could be solved by a proper boil rather than simply pasteurising it, Christina .


Which issues Kelsey? Do you mean phenolic flavours with US-05?

Cheers,

Christina.

Possibly, yes. I remember you did have some contamination issues previously as well. I just feel it would be safer in regards to possible contamination to boil all the extract used in a recipe rather than simply pasteurising it, if it is being stored in bulk for periods of time. These possible contaminants won't make us sick, but they might lead to funny flavours in the beer.

IN, yes a ‘proper boil’ would mean mixing up the whole wort and boiling it in its entirety. If you're gonna go to that length, you might as well just brew AG because that's about the size pot you'd need to do it. If you are doing hop additions, there's little point in mixing up all the extract in 3 or 4 litres of water and boiling it because the SG would be way too high and you'd get hardly any hop utilisation. In this instance, you'd only add a portion of the extract (about 100g per litre) at the beginning, and throw the rest in at the end of the boil.

13 Posted: Thursday, January 05, 2017 10:03 AM

Otto Von Blotto:

ChristinaS1:

Otto Von Blotto:

*Perhaps some of your issues could be solved by a proper boil rather than simply pasteurising it, Christina .


Which issues Kelsey? Do you mean phenolic flavours with US-05?

Cheers,

Christina.

Possibly, yes. I remember you did have some contamination issues previously as well. I just feel it would be safer in regards to possible contamination to boil all the extract used in a recipe rather than simply pasteurising it, if it is being stored in bulk for periods of time. These possible contaminants won't make us sick, but they might lead to funny flavours in the beer.

IN, yes a ‘proper boil’ would mean mixing up the whole wort and boiling it in its entirety. If you're gonna go to that length, you might as well just brew AG because that's about the size pot you'd need to do it. If you are doing hop additions, there's little point in mixing up all the extract in 3 or 4 litres of water and boiling it because the SG would be way too high and you'd get hardly any hop utilisation. In this instance, you'd only add a portion of the extract (about 100g per litre) at the beginning, and throw the rest in at the end of the boil.


I agree, if we're talking BIAB, the effort is pretty much the same thing, but the price is not.

Looks like I'll be moving to AG.

14 Posted: Thursday, January 05, 2017 11:39 AM

Yeah, the equipment for BIAB can add up in cost, but the ingredients are cheaper than extract. I think it cost me around $600-$700 when I got my system, but I bought a grain mill as well as the urn. It's certainly paid for itself in savings on ingredients in the nearly 4 and a half years I've had it though. Most batches cost around $20-$25 for the whole ingredients, sometimes a bit less than that.

Cheers

Kelsey

15 Posted: Thursday, January 05, 2017 12:22 PM

Well the thing about buying this kind of stuff, is that it retains value, so they actually pay for themselves sooner than you realise.

The logic I'm employing here is that you could sell that stuff and probably get around 60-70% of what you paid, so in essence you only need to recoup the depreciation with your brewing, then it's budget boutique beer bonanza boyyyyy!!

16 Posted: Thursday, January 05, 2017 12:28 PM

Imaginative Name you could well be the quickest transition from beginner brewer to AG at this rate.

Certainly keen!

How many brews u put down now and in what time frame? As a comparison I've been constantly brewing since 16 April 2016 and have completed 16 full-size (20-25L) batches. You'll be overtaking me in no time

17 Posted: Thursday, January 05, 2017 12:52 PM

I can't help myself, I'm not really in any great rush, it's just that once I get interested in something, I need to understand as much as I can about it.

Initially I was happy to see this year out using kits, but I've been considering the cost lately, so that's motivation to level up, I figure kit to BIAB isn't a monumental step, I'll only be following the path laid by others anyway for a while.

I've only done 4 brews, I'll be putting down another 4 this week, and I've been experimenting with fermenting ciders in the bottle, similar to what Ruddy shows in his video.

I think I got my coopers kit about 6 weeks ago? Maybe 8? Picked up a few more 2nd hand FV's, a bunch of bottles, got around 6 dozen tallies for about $20, many of them from the 70's, score.

I'm having go at harvesting Coopers yeast, and I'm planning on harvesting from my own batches, going to construct a backyard separatory funnel which will make yeast washing a breeze, exciting times.

18 Posted: Thursday, January 05, 2017 1:58 PM

Certainly a fast transition! AG isn't all that difficult, especially with BIAB. The main difference other than making the wort from grains instead of a tin of goo is the time it takes. My brew days usually take around 5-6 hours, taking into account heating the mash water, doing the mash, bringing the wort to the boil and boiling it etc. but it's a fun process and I'd never go back to extracts now except in the instance of not having time to pump out an AG batch.

One thing I'd suggest is at first just brew. Take the required measurements, but don't worry a bout all the water chemistry and pH and all that crap. Just learn and master the basics first, then move on to the more advanced stuff.

Still haven't sold any equipment yet although I did give away a couple of hundred bottles when I moved to kegs about 18 months or so ago.

It took me about 10 months to move from kits through extract to AG, but in my case the only thing that caused me to take that long was money for equipment. I reckon I would have switched at about 5 or 6 months if I could have bought the equipment at that stage.

Cheers

Kelsey

19 Posted: Thursday, January 05, 2017 2:26 PM

id get kegs before going all grain.

20 Posted: Thursday, January 05, 2017 2:27 PM

For sure, will be keeping things simple by just concentrating on 2-3 recipes for a while and doing it by the book, just to get the processes down pat.

My palate will take time to develop, so I would not yet be able to appreciate the subtle differences pH levels would have on the finished product.

Anyway, I need to make some money to pay for equipment, and although I'll be doing it on the cheap, it will still take a little while before I can get started.

JP

Edit: That wouldn't make sense for my budget, kegs are something I'll get into later.