I grew up being exposed to homebrewing at a young age, allowing me to develop a passion for the industry early on. Throughout college I brewed with kits but the quality of the kits back then were nothing like they are today. During college, I started working at Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company as a Hospitality Intern and Tour Guide. I loved just being in the brewery and giving tours and I knew that I wanted to stay in the brewing industry. This job lead me to several other jobs, including working with a Miller Brewing distributor and most recently with Anheuser-Busch and Wisconsin Distributors. In my free time, I continued to homebrew on the side. For the last six plus years, I have been a devoted all-grain homebrewer and in the last four-to-five years brewing or assisting in 50 all-grain batches.
For the most part, I had hands-on learning with a local brewer in the Fox Valley region; but also, self-taught learning the hard way of what works well and what doesn’t work so well. So, when I started at Briess, I was ecstatic when my first few weeks of training included brewing with the Briess Technical Team in the Briess Pilot Brewery. The first brews we experimented with were extract brews. Being an avid all-grain brewer, I was a little hesitant of brewing with liquid and dry malt extracts. Much to my wonder, I was impressed with the quality, color, flavor and consistency the extracts offered in each brew.
It was fascinating to comparatively brew liquid and dry extracts alongside each other. We brewed all kinds of variations from all liquid extract brews to all dry extract brewers, to mixtures of liquid, dry and grain. Each extract brew offered a clean, crisp malt flavor that was compatible with the desired styles we were brewing. I discovered how combinations of malt extract can contribute to compelling flavors and colors profiles not thought of before. The liquid and dry extracts opened the door to more creativity and possibilities to experiment with.
Benefits of Extracts
While brewing with extracts, the benefits became self-evident. One of the biggest benefits is it is a huge time-saver because you don’t have to mash in, Briess has already done the mashing for you. Another benefit is you can add the exact amount you want to your brew and experiment with different amounts and combinations. Both the liquid and dry extracts offered slightly different flavors for the same styles of extracts.
I also picked up a few tips during the training. I discovered when brewing with liquid extracts, it is helpful to pour the extract into your brew with a ribboning effect or where it folders over into itself time after time. This helps with consistency. Additionally, you want to be sure to stir frequently so that the liquid extract does not coagulate at the bottom of the pot.
When brewing with dry malt extract, you want to keep in mind that when dry extract is added to boiling temperature water the boiling can become more vigorous resulting in boil overs. Once you have brought your water to a simmer (about 195°F) you will want to slowly pour the dry malt extract in and not all at once or large clumps of dry extract will occur. Our technical services division contains tremendous talent, allowing Briess to experiment with our specialty malts and continue to push the limits.