Over the past year, and four bans on the sale of alcohol, many South African’s have become avid homebrewers. Some have gone the route of brewing beer with ingredients bought from their local supermarket and Googled recipes. There have been varying results, with some people having exploding bottles and some getting seriously sick from fermentations that have gone horribly wrong. But what other alternatives are out there?
When it comes to homebrewing, there are three tried and tested methods. These are extracts, partial mash and all-grain brewing. Each have their pros and cons and some brewers will favour one over the other. But all brewers will agree that extract brewing is by far the simplest, especially for first time brewers.
What is an extract kit?
An extract kit is pre-packed kit of ingredients that you need to make a specific style of beer. These kits include malt extract and the yeast that is used for the beer style. For some beer styles, they can also include dry hops, botanicals, and wood chips.
At Brewcraft, we stock the Mangrove Jack’s pouches. These pouches are cold filled using the latest nitrogen technology, which makes them contamination free and preserves the flavours, giving you consistently great beer.
The Malt: The malt extract in a Mangrove Jack’s pouch uses evaporation by boiling the wort (the liquid during soaking the grains) to evaporate 80% of the water. This reduces the volume of a 23-litre drum to a small pouch, while maintaining the delicate flavours and preventing any unwanted darkening.
The Yeast: The Mangrove Jack's Craft Series Yeasts are propagated and dried using state of the art manufacturing facilities to ensure optimum sterility, superior shelf stability and ease of use.
When using the all-grain method of brewing, a single brew can take an entire day. This method involves soaking the grains (mashing), collecting the mash liquid, and rinsing the grains to extract more sugar (sparging). With extract brewing, this whole process is taken care of and in your pouch. This dramatically reduces the brewing time to a couple of hours.
One of the biggest struggle’s a homebrewer faces with all-grain brewing, is being able to consistently brew a beer. Because so many variables come into play when using an all-grain recipe, even the smallest variation can result in a product that can taste drastically different from one batch to the next. Extract brewing eliminates many of these variables and makes it much easier for homebrewers to produce a beer that tastes the same repeatedly.
One of the most challenging aspects of all-grain brewing is hitting a target gravity. Gravity measures the amount of sugars extracted during the mash and will ultimately affect the alcohol content and overall profile of the finished beer. This requires holding the mash at a precise temperature, with a specific amount of water, for around an hour. Extracts simplify this process and provide a predictable amount of sugars that are then added to water, thereby greatly increasing efficiency.
With extract brewing you don’t need all the extra equipment to boil your mash, heat the water for your sparge and a chill your wort. This is all taken care of in one convenient pouch. This saves not only on costs but also a lot of storage space.
Extract kits are not always considered the “real” brewing by some of the more seasoned brewers but as you can see, they are the ideal solution for many. With the time saving benefits, you can now brew a batch of homebrew in between your Zoom calls and the Family Meetings.