This past Christmas my brother-in-law’s family bought me an extract kit as a gift. It was a milk stout kit from Blackstone Valley Brewing in Rhode Island (recipe below). While very thoughtful gift, iy wasn’t something I was expecting. I mean, I don’t do extract anymore. With occasional parti-gyle when I do big beers I don’t use extract at all. Let me tell you something up front, I enjoyed it so much.
First and foremost, the entire brew day totaled 3 hours. That was from when I first started filling my kettle until the time I finished clean-up. All-grain brewers can attest that their days are, at a minimum, 5 hours and that’s with all the prep happening the days before.
This was a, “one pot” brew too! I didn’t have to lug out my HLT, mash tun, both my burners, pump, and big keggle. Since I didn’t use them all I didn’t have to clean them. I just used my $23 8 gallon tamale pot that I typically just use as a HLT (hot liquor tank, AKA hot water container for sparging).
I realized that I was able to compress the day as well by filling up my kettle with about 2.5 gallons of water and heating it up in the house on the stove. While that was heating on the stove I eye-balled the volume of water I thought I would need to “top off” the wort after my specialty grains were done steeping. I put that water on the stove, turned up the heat all the way and went about my business. I know the “extra pot” takes about 45 minutes to get boiling when I make pasta, so that worked out well. When it got the kettle water to 160 degrees I put my steeping grains in, put the lid on and shut off the heat.
As the grains were steeping and the other water was heating up I had 45 minutes to do other things. I went outside to get my propane burner and tank. I also got the rest of my ingredients and got some hot water prepared to loosen up my LME.
I also checked online to see if I was missing something from my memory, because this was working out so well. My memory (in this case) was still in tact, because I didn’t miss anything.
Once my 45 minutes was up, I took out the grains and added my LME and gave it a good stir. I moved the kettle outside and fired up the burner to get a boil going. I then took the boiling water off the stove and topped off the kettle water. This helped raise the temp while getting my water to the right level. 55 minutes after putting my steeping grains in the kettle a boil was happening. At this point in an AG process I’d be doing my first runnings. At this point I was boiling!
The hot break happened real fast and I tossed the 60 minutes hops in a paint strainer bag and clipped it to my kettle. My DIY hop strainer set-up was too big for this kettle. I had one more charge of hops, and other boil additions around 10 minutes and that was it. My wort chiller put the wort to pitching temp in about 10 minutes. This had a lot to do with the fact that my ground water was very cold.
I put the wort in the fermentor, pitched the yeast and started cleaning up. That was no problem whatsoever because I had so little to clean.
And that was it, start to finish done in 3 hours. It just started fermenting and I won’t have a chance to taste this anytime soon (have a lot in the pipeline) but I was able to make another 5 gallons of beer all before lunch. Had this been an AG day, I would have been out there until at last mid-afternoon.
While the beer was brewing I called my brother-in-law to tell him how much I was enjoying making this beer.
I hope this has inspired you AG brewers to try an extant batch and remember how easy it was to make and remind you of when you first started brewing beer. I had a blast doing it and hope you will too!
Name: Milk Stout
OG: 1.055 – 1.065
FG: 1.012 – 1.018
- 3# Dark DME
- 3# Dark LME
- Steeping grains
- 0.75# Chocolate Wheat Malt
- 0.5# Caramunich 1 Malt
- 0.25# Roasted Barley
- Boil additions
- 1 oz Bramling Cross @60
- 1 oz East Kent Goldings @ 20
- 0.5# lactose @ 15
- 1 tsp Irish moss @10
- Yeast: US04
Thanks to Charlie at Blackstone Valley Brewing for allowing me to post the recipe.