Vanilla Nut Brown Ale

November 18th, 2012 travis Leave a comment Go to comments

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Midwest Supplies about reviewing a brew kit for them.  It’s been a while since I brewed (or blogged for that matter, sorry about that) and I figured why not?  So I asked them to send me their “Hex Nut Brown Ale” kit because I’ve been wanting to do a vanilla nut brown ale like Landmark Brewing used to do (my wife ordered some bourbon vanilla beans so that was my motivation).  It arrived last week and this was what was in the box:

Brew kit contentsIt was Wyeast 1056, (worked like a charm, one of my fears of mail order supplies has always been how will the yeast make the trip, but this was great), amber malt extract, mix of un-crushed grains, priming sugar, a grain steeping bag and directions.

Just some quick review for anyone that hasn’t brewed before, a kit beer is simply a set of supplies that come together and make a pre-figured kind of beer.  It’s not like Mr. Beer kits or anything, this kit requires some of the brewing supplies in a beginners brew kit (here is one from Midwest), but it’s a great way to get started.  I for one have been brewing primarily all-grain beer for the last four or five years, but when I am pressed for time, I like to do an extract brew.  Beer kits are not much different than following a recipe, the only difference is everything is in the box.  The people that come up kit types know their beer so it’s a safe bet and cost effective.

There are basically two different ways to brew extract beer; partial boil or full boil.  This is determined by your personal situation, a partial boil works well for a stove top brewing and does a fine job.  It consists of brewing in a smaller volume (8-12 quart pot) and adding the concentrate into your bucket with cold water.  This acts to get your volume where it needs to be and also cools the mix pretty much to the point of being ready to pitch.

Full boil consists of brewing everything in a pot large enough to safely boil 5 gallons of wort.  The trick here is you have to both have the vessel to boil in and a means to cool the brew.  These chillers can be an expensive addition to a brew buy for someone that is just getting started, but worth it if you intend on brewing long-term.

With me, I have all the supplies for full boil that these instructions are based on that.  Here is my summary of extract brewing steps:

  1. Heat 5 gallons of water to 150-160f
  2. Steep your crushed grains (in the grain steeping bag of course) in the heated water like a tea bag for about a half hour
  3. Remove the grains, squeeze out what liquid you can, pour the malt extract into the pot stirring to ensure that it dissolves into the liquid
  4. Return to heat and bring to a boil
  5. Once you reach a boil, add the first hops (watch out for boil overs)
  6. Continue to boil for an hour adding your second (and third and fourth…as needed) hops at the times indicated by the recipe
  7. Chill, sanitize (your equipment), pitch, and wait

That’s it.  Simple enough.  In the next post I’ll follow up with my notes on the brew day with this kit.  More to come, cheers.

Categories: Brown Ale, Extract, Product review Tags:
  1. January 18th, 2013 at 11:59 | #1

    To do this, add some 2-row pale malt to your recipe. For every pound (0.45 kg) of pale malt, subtract 0.53 lbs. (0.24 kg) of dried malt extract or 0.73 lbs. (0.33 kg) liquid malt extract. When making a 5-gallon (19-L) extract beer, I usually shoot for “steeping” a total of around 2–2.5 lbs. (0.91–1.1 kg) of grains, including base malt and specialty grains. Steep this liquid in 1.5–2 qts. of water per pound of grain (3.2–4.2 L/kg) at 148–158 °F (64–70 °C) for 45–60 minutes. After increasing your boil volume, I feel that doing small partial mashes — which are really just glorified grain steeps — is the technique that will help extract brewers brew better beer. Note that partial mash wort is also typically more fermentable than that of malt extract, which can help if your beers consistently finish at a high final gravity.

  2. January 25th, 2013 at 15:28 | #2

    I like the recommendation, I’ve been feeling like extract/partial mash brewing more and I will be sure to try that technique next time.

  3. February 12th, 2013 at 10:10 | #3

    There are basically two different ways to brew extract beer; partial boil or full boil. This is determined by your personal situation, a partial boil works well for a stove top brewing and does a fine job. It consists of brewing in a smaller volume (8-12 quart pot) and adding the concentrate into your bucket with cold water. This acts to get your volume where it needs to be and also cools the mix pretty much to the point of being ready to pitch.

  4. June 10th, 2013 at 04:50 | #4

    That’s not entirely true. Based upon my brewing technique, using 1 gal of water to 1 lb of malt I actually use fewer hops. Rarely do I ever use over 4AAs in a 5 gal batch with 6 lbs of malt. My Hefe Weizens only use 3AAs. If you do a small boil and add all of the malt then, yes, you get very lousy utilization.

  5. June 12th, 2013 at 00:55 | #5

    Category Spiced Beers Recipe Type Extract Fermentables 4 lbs honey 3 lbs light malt extract Hops 1 oz Brewers Gold leaf hops .5 oz Northern Brewer hops pellets .5 oz Saaz hops pellets Other 6 oz grated ginger Yeast yeast Procedure Use two brew kettles. In the first, add 4 gallons water, honey, and ginger. Maintain at 180 degrees for 45 minutes. While first pot is heating, add malt extract to 3 gallons water in the second pot. Bring to boil. Add 1 ounce of Brewers Gold to boil for 45 minutes. Add 1/2 ounce of Northern Brewer at 30 minutes. When second pot is removed from heat, add 1/2 ounce of Saaz hops and steep. Combine pots, cool, and pitch. I also brewed a second batch with the same procedure, except that I used 8 pounds of honey instead of 4, 1/2 ounce of Northern Brewer hops replaced the 1 ounce of Brewers Gold, and 1/2 ounce of Galena replaced the 1/2 ounce of Northern Brewer.

  6. June 15th, 2013 at 20:13 | #6

    Whether you are just starting with homebrewing, have been brewing for awhile and are curious how others do it or are planning to teach a friend to brew, a picture can be worth a thousand words. If you don’t belong to a brew club or otherwise have the opportunity to sit in on a fellow brewer’s brew day, here’s your chance. In this pictorial guide to an extract brew day, we outline — step by step — one tried and true way to brew beer using malt extract. (Actually, two ways — we include both the “partial boil” method and boiling the full-wort.) Let this outline be your guide to planning, or perhaps refining, your extract brew day.

  7. June 23rd, 2013 at 20:53 | #7

    To do this, add some 2-row pale malt to your recipe. For every pound (0.45 kg) of pale malt, subtract 0.53 lbs. (0.24 kg) of dried malt extract or 0.73 lbs. (0.33 kg) liquid malt extract. When making a 5-gallon (19-L) extract beer, I usually shoot for “steeping” a total of around 2–2.5 lbs. (0.91–1.1 kg) of grains, including base malt and specialty grains. Steep this liquid in 1.5–2 qts. of water per pound of grain (3.2–4.2 L/kg) at 148–158 °F (64–70 °C) for 45–60 minutes. After increasing your boil volume, I feel that doing small partial mashes — which are really just glorified grain steeps — is the technique that will help extract brewers brew better beer. Note that partial mash wort is also typically more fermentable than that of malt extract, which can help if your beers consistently finish at a high final gravity.

  8. August 11th, 2013 at 23:40 | #8

    Fermentables 8–1/2 lbs pale malt 1 lbs mild malt (or Munich malt) .5 lbs crystal malt 1 oz black patent malt 1 lbs dark brown sugar Hops 2 oz Hallertauer hops (60 minute boil) 1 oz Kent Golding hops (60 minute boil) Yeast Wyeast Belgian ale yeast (or culture Chimay) Procedure Depending on your extract efficiency, this beer might come in at SG in mid-1060s or so. This is not intended to be a 1.100 beer! If you can find it, instead of using dark brown sugar, use 1 pound raw sugar crystals (seen at some gourmet food shops, but somewhat expensive). Note the mixture of continental and English hops. As the beer ought to have some body, use a starch conversion temperature of 155-8 degrees F.

  9. October 28th, 2013 at 19:05 | #9

    Yes, it’s a variety of the same stuff you make bread and wine with, though those varieties probably wouldn’t make very good beer. Most brewer supply stores will stock a variety of liquid and dry yeast matched to the type of beer you are brewing.

  10. November 12th, 2013 at 16:02 | #10

    Perfect for the season, this is a favorite beer of mine to brew this time of year, and it’s always good. This is mostly an extract-based recipe, though there is a short mash/rest with the pumpkin and malt. Use this recipe as-is, or as a basis for experimentation.

  11. November 15th, 2013 at 10:39 | #11

    You don’t have to search- there are lots of threads in the beginners forum that show up. It’s actually easier to read them then to post a new thread. Here’s one from a couple of hours ago: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/full-boil-extract-instead-adding-top-off-water-359154/#post4475356 That talks about full boil vs partial boil. Also, keep in mind that by adding the bulk of the extract at the end of the boil instead of at the beginning can really help with the caramelization type of reactions and make the beer taste better.


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