Extract Brewing

Extract brewing is the form of brewing used by most new brewers. Extract brewing involves the use of concentrated Malt Extract in the brewing process. The use of malt extract lets the brewer skip the mashing process, and move directly to the boil and fermentation steps. Extract brewing takes considerably less time and equipment than All Grain brewing. In extract brewing,Malt Extract is added directly to the brew pot and boiled together with Hops to create a sweet liquid called wort for fermenting. You can make very high quality beer using extract brewing, but it does not offer the full range of ingredient and process variations that are possible with All Grain brewing.

Extract Brewing Steps

The extract brew process includes the following steps:

  • Water is added to a brew pot and heated
  • Specialty whole grains may be steeped in the brew pot while heating to add color, flavor and body. See the heading on steeping grains below.
  • Syrup malt extract or dry extract is added to the water to form a sweet wort
  • Hops are added, and the wort is boiled for 45-90 minutes
  • Cold water is added to bring the volume up and the wort is cooled to room temperature as quickly as possible
  • Yeast is added, and the beer ferments for 7-14 days
  • Priming sugar is added to the finished beer and it is bottled or kegged for consumption

Steeping Grains

Extract brewers often steep grains before the boil to add color, flavor and body to the beer. Unlike mashing, steeping does not add any fermentable sugars to the brew, but the addition of steeped grains can provide a large variety of flavors and colors to your extract brew. The steeping process is done before the boil. Grains are typically put in a steeping bag and immersed in the brewing water. The water is raised to 150-170 F and held for 30 minutes. The grain bag is then removed, and malt extract and hops added to the resulting tea to continue with the normal extract boiling process. Be aware that not all grains are suitable for steeping. Many malts like pale malt, munich malt, wheat malts, some specialty malts as well as most flaked ingredients must be mashed to impart their full body and flavor.

All Grain

All grain brewing is the advanced process used by commercial and Craft Brewers to create commercial beers. With a little bit of equipment and time, the homebrewer can create all-grain brews as well. The main difference between all-grain and Extract Brewing or Partial Mash brewing is that in an all-grain brew, the entire volume of unfermented beer (called wort) is created by mashing crushed Malt and running hot water through the grain bed in a process called lautering.

All Grain Brewing Steps

All grain brewing includes the following steps:

  • Crushed malts are mashed in a separate mash tun by heating them with either hot water (an infusion mash) or an external heat source. The grains are held at a temperature of 148-158 F for 45-90 minutes to allow sugars to be converted.
  • The heated grains are lautered by running hot water through them and using a screen filter to extract the hot liquid called wort
  • Hops are added, and the wort is boiled for 60-90 minutes
  • The wort is rapidly cooled and siphoned into another vessel for fermentation
  • Yeast is added, and the beer ferments for 7-14 days
  • Priming sugar is added to the finished beer and it is bottled or kegged for consumption