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FAQ: INGREDIENTS QUESTIONS
Do you need to refrigerate the ingredients until brew day?

The yeast is the most important ingredient to refrigerate once you receive your order. Hops should be refrigerated after a couple days if they're left out at room temp. Hops can be frozen and will last for 2-3 years still preserving their freshness. Malt extract should be left at room temperature until brew day up to 1-2 weeks. Liquid Malt Extract can can be refrigerated but will become rock solid which requires a hot water bath to thaw out or 24 hours at room temp to re-liquify. Dried Malt Extract should be stored at room temperature. Any grains in a paper bag should be used within 2-3 days for optimum freshness especially if they are pre-milled. Grain stored in plastic bags will last a couple months un-milled. We suggest double bagging to prevent oxidation.


What is specific gravity yield of your Liquid extracts?

All of our liquid malt extracts yield about 1.035 gravity points per pound of malt extract per gallon of water. For example if you used 5 lbs of extract in a 5 gallon batch it would yield a 1.035 starting gravity. Another way to think of it is that for each pound of liquid extract someone adds to their recipe they are adding 7 pts of gravity. In a 5 gallon batch: 5 lbs - 1.035 6 lbs - 1.042 7 lbs - 1.049 8 lbs - 1.056 9 lbs - 1.063 10lbs - 1.070


Can I simply double the recipe ingredients for a five gallon batch?

Quick answer, Yes. Long answer, No. When designing a recipe that is generic for 5 gallon batches, you have to take some liberties at guessing what style of boil the brewer practices. Based off of that, sometimes there is a fair amount of bittering hops used as partial boils (5 gallon kettle or smaller) don't absorb iso-acids that well as the density of the liquid is higher (more sugar per liquid volume when boiling). The same batch boiled with a full volume boil (8 gallon kettle or larger) will taste slightly different, usually a little more bitter, but not too much. However, if you double your recipe ingredients to make 10 gallons you will tend to have a little too much bittering for the style you are brewing. Many batches you won't taste the difference. A recipe like an IPA, start to get a little to bitter as they use a bunch of hops in the bittering addition. We suggest cutting the bittering hops by 10-15% based on your taste if you plan on doubling your boil volume for brew day. Keep the flavor and aroma additions the same per the recipe.


How do I read a malt analysis?

We provide malt analysis on our web page to give you an idea of the different values. We receive malt every week. Unfortunately, we cannot update the analysis to cover every batch. This would take using all of the previous malt before we brought new malt into the building to make sure we did not mix up a bag hear or there. The most useful numbers are the DP, color and protein. The DP will tell you how much adjunct you can add and still convert all of the starch to sugar. The color will help you decide on the final color of your beer and the protein can help you with haze issues. For a well written guide to malt analysis look at: http://www.brewingtechniques.com/bmg/noonan.html


What is the specific gravity yield of your Dry Malt Extracts?

All of our dry malt extracts yield approximately 1.045 gravity points per pound of malt per gallon of water. For Example: if you used 5lbs of extract in a 5 gallon batch it will yield a 1.045 specific gravity (SG). Another way to think of it is that for each pound of dry malt extract someone adds to their recipe they are adding 9 pts of gravity. In a 5 gallon batch: 5 lbs - 1.045 6 lbs - 1.054 7 lbs - 1.063 8 lbs -1.072 9 lbs - 1.081 10lbs - 1.090


How can I store my bulk grain?

You want a positive sealing food grade container that will keep both bugs and moisture out. Our 6 gallon, food-grade buckets are a good solution to storing un-milled grain for 2-3 months. We recommend using a tup-a-wear container that has a rubber seal preventing any oxygen exposure.


How do I convert an extract recipe to an advance all grain recipe?

Being that there are all kinds of recipes out there we often get asked how to change a recipe to match the way they currently brew. This can be fairly simple actually, but there are a few variables that change for each individual. You can look at the situation two ways, first, if you use Promash (or similar software) and the recipe publishes what the Original Gravity (O.G.) is then you can replace the base malt with extract, or vise versa to get the same original gravity. The second way is to approximate how much sugar one can generally expect out of that type of Base Malt and reverse engineer to make it work with how you usually brew. Base Grain malt to Liquid Extract Malt is usually a 20% difference, meaning if the recipe calls for 10lbs of 2-row, you can replace this with 8lbs of our Ultralight Liquid Malt Extract. If you prefer Dry Malt Extract, you would use 20% less than the liquid, so that would equate to 6.4lbs of the DME.


How do I add fruit flavor to a homebrew recipe?

This is an interesting experiment to do. One of our close friends did a test with raw raspberries and entered them into a competition to see what the results would be. He chose a fairly neutral beer to start with, we wish he did an American Wheat, but he chose a brown ale instead. He used the Raspberry fruit flavoring, Raspberry puree, and fresh Raspberries. He brewed a 10 gallon batch of the beer and split the batches into 3 carboys. He added the puree (a little less than one can to 3 gallons) right to the carboy as it is sterile in the can, he froze the fresh raspberries and then let them thaw then blanched them quickly to kill any bacteria (the ice that forms punctures the cell walls of the fruit to let the yeast in) and let the last one ferment without anything. He then added the flavoring to that one when he bottled. The results: Fresh fruit - had the least Raspberry character to the finished product. Also had a lot of issues with the seeds and some off flavors due to the seeds themselves. Puree - Most complex flavor, no off flavors as there are no seeds, but didn't taste like raspberries per se as when you take the sugar out of a fruit (fermentation) the flavor changes a lot. Great beer, didn't have a real raspberry kick though. Flavoring - The most like raspberry flavor in the wheat. Not a real complex flavor, but tasted just like raspberries in a beer. We suggest blending fresh fruit and puree after fermentation to get the best of all worlds. If you need more aroma, add a hint of fruit flavor extract.


Can I combine two different yeast strains?

Yes! That's the art side of personal brewing. Creative brewers may combine strains to achieve unique new, personalized flavor profiles. Experimenting is a natural step in the process of crafting one's own series of Signature Beers. For example, a mellow-tasting Hefeweizen can be produced by combining California Ale yeast with Hefeweizen yeast.


What is the shelf life of White Labs yeast?

Quick Answer: 4 Months Long Answer: Yeast is a living organism. As such, it needs to exist in certain conditions to survive. Dry yeast can stay alive for about one year, but yeast in liquid form-even though it's superior in taste and performance is more perishable. After 30 days in the vial, the viability (the percentage of living cells) of White Labs yeast is still up at (75-85%), which is very high for liquid yeast. Yeast that is harvested after a homebrew fermentation will typically have a viability of less then 50% after 30 days. White Lab's high viability of yeast cells is due to the very robust health of the yeast entering the vial as well as the excellent nutrient content of their proprietary liquid added at packaging. Yeast used after four months is usually still fine, but a better strategy is to create a yeast starter to avoid a long lag time between pitching the yeast and the onset of wort fermentation.


Why is liquid yeast better than dry yeast?

While the quality of dry yeast has greatly increased in the last decade, pure liquid yeast strains predictably make the best beer. Here's why: Basically, it comes down to four major brewer benefits: 1) Extremely High Quality, 2) Extremely Large Selection, 3) Extremely Sterile Characteristics, and ultimately, of course, 4) Better Tasting Beer! For these reasons, and more, virtually all the world's commercial breweries use the liquid form. Liquid yeast are scientifically grown (cultured) under strictly sterile laboratory conditions. This means you're assured that the yeast are pure - never contaminated with bacteria or "wild"? yeast. Liquid yeast are also in far better "health" when compared to dry yeast. That's because liquid yeast do not require any kind of drying process which always introduce damaging bacteria. Modern liquid yeast cultures also offer a much wider selection than do traditional, dry yeast. Twenty-five beer styles can be made from the liquid yeast cultures we offer. In fact, many beer styles can only be made with liquid yeast. For example, you can choose to make beer styles where the yeast define the flavor, such as German Hefeweizen and various Belgian-type Ales.


How long can you store yeast using your Deluxe yeast growing kit?

About 1+ years on a slant and 6-12 months on a plate before you have to redo your slant or plate. Yeast can be kept indefinitely but you have to 'transfer' them to new agar after awhile as agar will dry out with time.


How should I store my hops?

Store them in the freezer in their original oxygen barrier packaging.  If you open the hops try to remove all air from the bag and store hop bag in zip lock back in the freezer. Other ways to store hops such as using vacuum sealers or vacuum jars are great but require the purchase of additional equipment and supplies.


Obtaining Malty Aromas

Q:   I’m trying to achieve a rich, malty aroma in my beers that rivals that of such beers as Ayinger Maibock, Pilsner Urquell, and Anchor Steam. I know decoction works well, bur is there an easier way to come close? Different types of malt, perhaps? Different types of yeast?

 

A:   In my experience, you can get the malty aromas and flavors of the classic German lager styles without resorting to a decoction mash. As you say, using a “malty” yeast strain, such as Wyeast #2308 or #2124, is vital. So is the selection of high-quality specialty malts, especially the highly kilned and caramel malts used in the dark lagers.

I have been able to brew excellent pale lagers, including Maibocks, using a simple infusion mash, domestic two-row brewers base malt, imported highly kilned and/or light caramel malt, noble aroma hops, and German lager yeast strains. I have been less successful with the darker beers; the flavor and aroma were right, but in many cases the beers suffered from a grainy, tannic character that made them taste rougher than the German examples. I attribute the difference in smoothness primarily to the mash method.

One exception — a couple of years ago I brewed an Oktoberfest that was a lautering disaster. I milled the grain too fine and got a stuck mash. I had to do the whole number with it, including a long, slow vorlauf followed by a two-hour sparge. The extraction rate was nonetheless terrific, the wort was crystal clear (this I expected) and in addition, it was the smoothest batch of Oktoberfest I have ever made in a brewpub (this I did not expect). My experience suggests that a longer, more intensive mashing and wort clarifying process — whether it includes boiling or not — may help to remove some of the tannins from the wort and result in a smoother beer.

All of this in turn leads me to suggest that you might want to investigate a RIMS (recirculating infusion mash system), or at least a RIMS-style mash, for some of your German lager beers. Fortunately, BrewingTechniques published two articles on the subject in the last issue. I am still skeptical about some of the alleged benefits, and I worry about the dangers of hot-side aeration; nonetheless, RIMS may prove to be a better alternative than simple infusion for those brewers who lack either the patience or the time or, in the case of commercial brewers, the equipment to go the decoction route.