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The Beer Circle » Brew It Yourself » Novice Homebrewer: Converting All-Grain to Extract

Novice Homebrewer: Converting All-Grain to Extract

For my most recent homebrew, I was looking to make a chocolate stout, preferably using the locally produced Wilbur Chocolate in Lititz, PA. To my surprise, I was able to find a recipe entitled Wilbur Bud Chocolate Stout, but alas, it was a 12-gallon batch, all-grain recipe. Thanks to a simple search, I found some great advice on how to convert such a recipe.

Here are the main rules of thumb to help with converting:

1. Convert the base malt in the recipe to a equivalent amount of extract by taking the base malt and multiplying by 0.75 (i.e. 1 LB base malt = 0.75 LB malt extract).
2. Adjust the beer color by using a lighter color SRM or Lovibond in the specialty grains.
3. Match the bitterness by adding some more hops into the recipe – easy rule of thumb is ~20%.

First, I adjusted the batch size proportionally to a 5-gallon all grain recipe. Then following the recommendations of the aforementioned link, I converted the Pale Malt into the corresponding amount of Liquid Malt Extract required. I adjusted the color by altering the Caramel Malt to 60L, and rounded up the hop portions I had proportionally decreased from 12 gallons. Below is my final result:

Boiling the converted Wilbur Bud Stout recipe

Boiling the converted Wilbur Bud Stout recipe

  • 5 lb Pale Liquid Malt Extract (3.0 SRM)
  • 1 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L
  • 1 lb Chocolate Malt (350 SRM)
  • 1/2 lb Roasted Barley (300 SRM)
  • 1 oz Northern Brewer Hops [8.0%] – 60 min
  • 1/2 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.8%] – 20 min
  • 1.25 oz Wilbur Milk Chocolate – 15 min
  • 1/2 lb Lactose – 15 min
  • 1 tsp Irish Moss – 10 min
  • 4 oz Wilbur Cocoa Powder – 0 min
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract – 0 min
  • 1 pkg Dry English Ale (White Labs WLP007)
  • 1/2 oz Chocolate Extract

OG: 1.048
FG: 1.012

  1. Steep grains (Caramel and Chocolate Malt, Barley) at 150-165 F for 20 min
  2. Bring to boil, add LME
  3. Follow hop schedule, 60 minute overall boil.
  4. Pitch yeast, 2 weeks Primary, bottle with Chocolate Extract.
The final result: Three Headed Dog Stout

The final result: Three Headed Dog Stout

This was obviously my first time attempt at this, so I had no clue how well the end result would turn out. I was pleasantly surprised a month later (when I tasted my first bottle) that it turned out half-decently. It is very dark, as you can see in the photo. I got a higher finishing gravity than I expected, but judging by the foamy head, it did a lot more during bottle conditioning to make up for it. It tastes of milk chocolate with a dark stout undertone.

I’d enjoy any feedback or suggestions I should take into consideration next time I convert a recipe!

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Written by Kenton Martin

Kenton is a Southeast PA native who began diversifying his beer tastes alongside many of The Beer Circle writers at Zeno’s beerfests in State College, PA. He continues to live in the area and is an avid follower of the local microbreweries – going so far as to try his hand at brewing himself. Initial results have been very successful. Find Kenton Martin on Google Plus

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