I know some people have asked me about extract versions of my all-grain recipes. In the future, I will do my best to remember to post an extract version of the recipes I post. In the meantime, I wanted to put up a post about converting recipes and how I convert any all-grain recipe to extract. That way readers can double check my math if they wish (and call me out on it!) or you can use my method to convert any recipe you see on the web yourself.
First off some personal philosphy:
While not an original thought, I agree with many others on this simple premise: Formulate all your extract recipes using only Light Malt Extract. Once you have brewed enough extract beers from kits and you start to formulate your own recipes, using only light extracts makes good beer sense. Primarily, it will standardize the base malt flavor profiles in your beers, which will lead to predictable results each time you brew. Secondly, it gives you a lot more control over the flavors you get because you are controlling all the specialty malts and grains yourself. Lastly, it will make it a hell of a lot easier to convert that recipe to all-grain should you go that direction some day. It’s a lot easier to convert 10lbs of DME to ~16lbs of pale malt grain than it is to convert 10lbs of dark DME to who knows how many pounds of pale malt, crystal malt, chocolate and black patent malt; for example. Dark dry malt extract (DME) is made with a combination of the malts I mentioned above, but it’s according to some maltser’s recipe.
OK…on to the calculations. (I have two methods for doing this the first is more “accurate”, the second is “good enough” for the first pass.)
First off, keep all the specialty malts the same in any recipe you wish to convert to extract. It will be a good starting point for the most part.
Next, you need two pieces of critical information the total pounds of base malt (usually Pale malt, Marris Otter, Munich Malt, Pilsner Malt, etc. etc.) and the extract efficiency. Most of the time I assume 70-75% efficiency when formulating recipes. This number should be given by most completed recipes but it may not be available for a recipe that hasn’t been brewed yet. Multiply the pounds of base malt by 37PPG (point per pound per gallon, this is the typical PPG for base grain). That equals the total points of extract assume 100% conversion and recovery. You need to convert that total points to actual points but multiplying that last number by the percent efficiency (as a decimal).
Example: 10lbs base malt * 37PPG is 370 total points. The actual points is going to be 259 (370*0.70=259).
In 5 gallons, that would yield an expected OG of 1052 (259/5gallons= 51.8)
So what you need is 259 points of extract from DME or LME (Liquid Malt Extract). For my calcs, I use an assumed 44PPG for DME and 37PPG for LME. Just divide the total points needed by the points per pound of DME or LME.
259 points is ~5.8lbs of DME (259/44PPG)
or 259 points is 7lbs of LME (259/37PPG)
Use that much calculated extract, and steep the same amounts of specialty grains as you would with a normal extract kit.
Look for the anticipate OG of the recipe you wish to convert (don’t even look at how much base malt there is). Multiply the OG points by the batch size to get the total points of extract. For example, 5 gallons of 1.050 beer would contain/need 250 points worth of extract (5 gallons*50 [from 1050 OG]=250)
Simply divide that number by the PPG of DME or LME as I did at the end of method #1.
Again, use that amount of extract and steep the specialty grains as you would a normal extract kit.
This method is less accurate but easier to deal with. I often use this method if I want to just get a quick idea how much extract to buy or I want to quickly convert a recipe for someone. It is the best way to easily get a total amount of extract (DME or LME) without worrying about efficiency in the all grain brewers mash. The only draw back to this method is that you will end up with a slightly higher OG because this method ignores the contribution of gravity points to the OG. But that is relatively small contribution, and if you plan to rebrew a recipe to tweak it (I recommend that approach) then you can change the extract values then.
I hope that helps with converting recipes. If there are questions or challenges to my method of converting, post them as comments and I will address them or attempt to clarify the methods as needed. (Hopefully this post won’t turn into an excuse to forget to post the extract version of each recipe I put together in the future)