Malt v sugar in beer
A can of beer concentrate by itself will create a beer of about 2% alcohol. Something therefor needs to be added to it to create a beer with more body and alcohol. Many people add a kilo of sugar, table sugar or dextrose, but while this does add alcohol it adds nothing else. Beers are not made from sugar, they are made from malt!
Series 1 Packs
Our Series 1 Packs contain malt extracts to add alcohol plus body, color, flavor, aroma and head retention. The Packs contain a small amount of sugar to slightly dry out the beer so the hops in the can of beer concentrate are not “drowned out.”
While you could dump the contents of a Pack straight into the fermenter, a much better way is to dissolve the sugar/extract mix in two litres of cold water and simmer the solution for five to ten minutes. This makes the fermentables (malt and sugar) easier for the yeast to consume and also sterilises them.
We recommend using a 4L or slightly larger pan. Add two litres cold water, place on moderate heat. Add the contents of your Pack in three or four lots to the water, stirring a couple of times in between to dissolve the extracts and sugars. When the mixture begins to simmer you will notice a scum begin to form. When this darkens, skim it off. Once the surface of the mixture is clear of scum it will stay clear.
When clear, turn the heat up a bit and simmer the mixture briskly for 5 minutes (15 minutes is better.) While the mixture simmers, add the contents of your can of concentrate to the fermenter and fit lid and airlock. At the end of the five minutes put the lid on the pan, wait a second or two, then turn off the heat.
Take the pan to where the fermenter is, remove the lid and pour your two litres wort into the fermenter, mix well with the concentrate, then top up with cold water etc, as described in the Introduction.
Not really harder than making a “kit and kilo” beer, but far superiour results.
When making beer from a can of beer concentrate and a kilo of sugar you would expect a Final Gravity (FG) of 1006. When using a Series 1 Pack you will get an FG closer to 1010. The reason for the higher FG is that the malt in the Pack is only partly fermentable.
Now that you are making beers with more flavor we suggest you reduce your priming a bit. With less fizz the lovely flavor of your beer will come through more strongly.
Ways to reduce the priming
Use one ‘Carbonation Drop’ or use a stubby measure of sugar per longneck, half a teaspoon of sucrose etc. Even better is to prime with dry wheat malt extract which will great aid in improving head retention.