The Texas Two-Step Extract Method

Extract brewers have something in common with many commercial brewers that they may not know about — both of them have fermenters that hold more wort than they boil in a single brewing session. Most extract brewers boil 2–4 gallons (7.6–15 L) of concentrated wort then dilute it to working strength in their 5-gallon (19-L) fermenter. Often, this is because a large brewpot is a big expense for a beginner or because they make beer on their stovetop and can only boil a limited amount of liquid given the output of their stove.

Commercial brewers take a different approach to filling their fermenters to capacity. They fill their large fermenters progressively over a period of time. Brewers with fermenting tanks larger than their kettle sequentially boil several batches of wort and add them to their fermenter in less than 24 hours. Fermenting tanks are expensive and it’s cheaper for them to brew this way rather than to buy, make space for and maintain a collection of “small” fermenters. There are a variety of multi-fill procedures that commercial breweries use, including a well-known German method called drauflassen. I call my extract brewing method the Texas Two-Step because, as you will see, it’s descriptive and it doesn’t exactly recreate any established commercial multi-fill method (such as drauflassen). The Texas Two-Step method eliminates the problems associated with boiling a concentrated wort and results in better fermentations for homebrewers who do not make yeast starters. After describing my homebrew method for 5-gallon (19 L) extract brewers, I’ll briefly explain how the all-grain home brewer can use a modified method to brew very large batches of beer.

No New Equipment Needed

My new method does not require any equipment beyond the basic set of homebrewing equipment that extract brewers already have. You do need a brewpot large enough to boil 2.75 gallons (10.4 L) of wort, but these can be found cheaply. The only thing you do need is to reserve some time the day after your initial brew day for a second brewing session.

The Idea in a Nutshell

The basic idea behind my method can be summarized in a few sentences. In the Texas Two-Step, you split your wort production into two brewing sessions. On day one, make 2.5 gallons (9.5 L) of wort with roughly half of your malt extract plus all the hops and specialty grains that the recipe calls for. Cool this wort, aerate and pitch one “pitchable” quantity of yeast — either Wyeast’s large smack pack, Wyeast’s “shampoo tube,” White Lab’s “test tube” or a package or two of dried yeast.

On the second day, make the final 2.5 gallons (9.5 L) of wort from your remaining malt extract and add it to the fermenting wort you made the day before. You then finish brewing as you normally would.


The primary advantages of this method are easy to see. By splitting your wort production across two brewing sessions, you can boil your worts at working strength. As such, your wort won’t darken due to caramelization of wort sugars, a common occurrence when boiling a concentrated wort. This will allow you to brew beers as light colored as your extract will allow.

In addition, more hop bitterness is extracted in a working strength boil compared to a concentrated boil. This will allow you to brew hoppier beers, or use fewer hops to get the level of bitterness you are used to. A final benefit is that the first half of your wort effectively becomes a yeast starter for your full batch of beer.

Some secondary advantages became apparent when I made a series of test batches. By only boiling 2.5 gallons (9.5 L) of wort at a time, I was able to get a better boil vigor on my stove than I would have been able to get if I was boiling 3 gallons (11 L) or more. This is good because hot break production is improved in a vigorous, full-wort boil. Also, if I used liquid malt extract (LME) for my wort on day two, I only needed to boil it for 15 minutes. With no grains to steep or hops to boil, wort production goes fast during step two. Plus, if I brewed with a bucket, all I needed to do was open it up and pour the wort in once it was cool — no need to clean and sanitize any equipment.

Disadvantages (real)

The test batches did reveal a couple drawbacks, however. First, and most obviously, you need to have time free on two consecutive days and overall this method takes slightly longer than brewing following normal extract procedures. Secondly, beers made this way can be diacetyl-prone if you don’t follow the instructions (particularly the step two instructions) closely. (Diacetyl is a substance that results in a buttery or butterscotch character in beer.)

Finally, if you want to brew a very hoppy beer (over 50 IBU), you’ll need to boil half your hops during each brewing session and won’t be able to get away with a short boil on day two. You can, however, brew a very dark beer by steeping all the dark grains during step one.

Disadvantages (imaginary)

My biggest concern when I first tried this method was that the pitching rate would be too low. Even though the liquid yeast companies put out “pitchable” tubes of yeast, I always make a big starter (usually around 2 qt./2 L for most ales) when I brew. So, I suspected I would find some of the problems associated with underpitching — including sluggish fermentation, high ester levels and high final gravity — in my experimental beers. To my surprise, the yeast performed fine at this pitching rate. I would, however, recommend using yeast nutrients when using this method. And, for higher gravity beers (above, say, 1.070), I would still recommend making a starter.

Detailed Instructions

Here are the step-by-step instructions for brewing using the Texas Two-Step method. You can use this method to brew any standard extract with grains recipe. However, I’ve also provided a few recipes on page 40.


1. Ingredients If you are using a regular extract-with-grains homebrew recipe, measure out half the amount of malt extract in your recipe. It’s not important to get exactly half, anywhere close will do. In fact, adding a little less (up to 15%) malt extract on the first day may actually benefit your beer as yeast grows faster in lower gravity worts. (The malt extract amounts in the recipes on page 40 have already been divided into two portions.) If your recipe calls for Irish moss or yeast nutrients, divide these into two portions. Measure out all the other ingredients (specialty grains and hops) as specified in the recipe.

If your recipe is for a beer with over 50 IBU, measure out half the amount of hops for step one and reserve the other half for step two.

Take your yeast out of the fridge and let it warm to room temperature as you prepare your wort.

2. Water Add some water to your brewpot. About 1.5 quarts (~1.5 L) of water per pound (0.45 kg) of grains is optimal, but any amount of water will work as long as it is enough to completely submerge your specialty grains.

Any potable tap water is fine for extract brewing. I recommend omitting any gypsum or other brewing salts. Your malt extract already contains minerals from the water used in its production. Unless you know the amounts of these minerals, you’ll just be piling minerals on top of an unknown amount of minerals already present in your extract.

3. Steeping Heat this water to 158 °F (70 °C). Put all of your crushed specialty grains in a steeping bag and steep them for 30–45 minutes. Keep the temperature of your steeping water between 148–170 °F (64–77 °C). When you are done steeping, lift the grain bag out and let it drip into your brewpot for a minute or so. Don’t squeeze or attempt to wring out the grain bag.

4. Dissolving Your Extract Add water to your “grain tea” until your brewpot is filled to the 2.5-gallon (9.5-L) mark and bring this mixture to a boil. Once boiling starts, remove the brewpot from heat and stir in your step one portion of malt extract. Add additional water so that you have 2.75 gallons (10.4 L) of wort in the pot. (Some of this liquid will evaporate during the boil.)

5. Boiling Bring your wort to a boil. Once the initial foam subsides, add all of your bittering hops and begin boiling for 60 minutes. Add other ingredients (other hop additions, Irish moss, yeast nutrients and/or kettle adjuncts) at the time specified in the recipe. You may want to stir your wort occasionally, once every 10 minutes or so. If you do so, use a clean spoon. If you stir during the last 15 minutes of the boil, use a cleaned and sanitized spoon.

For the final 5 minutes of the boil, rest a (clean) lid on your brewpot as loosely as possible. The steam from the wort will sanitize the inside of the lid and keep any microorganisms on the inner lid from falling into your wort and contaminating it during cooling.

6. Cooling After the boil, put the lid on your pot and cool it in your sink. Change the water in the sink whenever it gets warm. Once the pot is cool enough to touch, change the water again and start adding ice. Keep cooling until the pot is cool to the touch.

Cooling the wort adequately is important. If you pitch your yeast into hot wort, you can stun or kill it. So, don’t rush this stage. While the wort is cooling, you can clean up your brewing area or go and do something else. Don’t be afraid to let your pot sit in cooling water, even if it’s for a couple hours, as long as the lid is still on.

If you have a wort chiller, this will shorten your cooling time substantially.

7. Racking Once the wort is cool (preferably under 75 °F/24 °C), transfer your wort to a sanitized fermenter. Either pour it into a bucket or siphon it to a carboy. Either way, leave as much of the debris at the bottom of the brewpot behind as possible. (It won’t hurt if a little carries over to the fermenter.) Aerate the wort by shaking the fermenter until the wort foams. Alternatively, you can inject air or oxygen into the wort if you have the equipment for it. You won’t be aerating during the second step, so don’t skimp on the aeration at this stage.

8. Pitching Pitch (all of) your yeast to this half-sized batch and seal your fermenter. Don’t use any strain of yeast that is diacetyl prone with this method. For example, both Wyeast’s and White Lab’s Irish ale strains can leave a bit of residual diacetyl in the finished beer. So does Wyeast’s Ringwood Ale strain.
9. Initial fermentation Ferment for 12–24 hours at 68–72 °F (20–22 °C), then proceed to step two.


Optimally, step two should occur 12–16 hours after step one. For example, if you brew your step one wort on Friday night, you should brew your step two wort Saturday morning or over lunch. However, you can wait as long as 24 hours to brew your step two wort and this might be the most practical option for many people. (I brewed all my test batches this way.)

10. Boiling Bring 2.5 gallons (9.5 L) of water to a boil. Remove pot from heat and stir in remaining malt extract. Add water until you have 2.6–2.75 gallons (9.8–10.4 °L) of water then boil wort for 45–60 minutes. If you have hops to add on step two, add them at the appropriate time. Also, add Irish moss and yeast nutrients as specified in
your recipe.

As an option, you can use liquid malt extract (LME) for your step two portion of malt extract. Many LMEs have already been boiled, so you can boil them for only 15 minutes or simply hold the temperature over 170 °F
(77 °C) for 15 minutes. To do this, start with just 2.5 gallons (9.5 L) of wort. Add Irish moss and yeast nutrients as specified in your recipe.

11. Cooling Cool your step two wort and add it to your already fermenting step wort. As before, don’t rush the cooling stage. Make sure your step two wort is below 75 °F (24 °C) before adding it to your step one wort.

12. Aeration? When I was researching and testing this method, I got two different answers to my question, “should I aerate during step two?” One source told me to minimize the amount of aeration when blending the new wort into the old wort. This is consistent with commercial practices. If you pour the wort into a brewing bucket, pour as smoothly as possible (i.e. try to get a laminar flow). If you siphon the wort into a carboy, put the outflow end of your siphoning tube under the liquid level in the carboy. A few small splashes at this stage won’t matter, but lots of aeration may cause noticeable levels of diacetyl in your finished beer.

The other source said go ahead and aerate. Diacetyl will be produced, but the larger mass of yeast will reabsorb the diacetyl faster.

After thinking about it and trying it both ways, I came to the following conclusion. If your step one wort is strongly fermenting when it comes time to add the step two wort, don’t aerate. If it isn’t, go ahead and aerate the wort as you did in step one.

13. Main Fermentation Continue fermenting in your primary fermenter for 10 days at 68–72 °F (20–22 °C). Ten days is longer than most ales are kept in primary; but this ensures the beer has sufficient contact time with the yeast so that diacetyl is completely reduced. (If you are impatient, you can take a small sample of your beer and taste it. If you don’t detect diacetyl — which would be very obvious in warm, flat beer — proceed to secondary fermentation. If you do taste diacetyl, wait a couple days and sample again.)

After primary fermentation, rack your beer to secondary and let it condition 3–4 days before bottling. (If this isn’t convenient, it’s OK to leave the beer in secondary for several weeks with no ill effects.)

14. Packaging Bottle or keg your beer as you usually would, condition
and enjoy!

All-Grain Adaptation

All-grain brewers can also take advantage of this basic idea to brew very large batches of beer. Many large fermenters are showing up at homebrew stores that also cater to home winemakers. Whatever your kettle size, you should be able to find a fermenter roughly twice as large.

To brew a batch using a multi-step fill method, simply make two (or more) batches of wort on two consecutive days. Use the same recipe for each brewing session. Once the first batch of wort is made, cool it and transfer it to the fermenter. Pitch enough yeast to get the initial wort strongly fermenting in time for the next wort addition.

Unless you buy two big fermenters, you may have to skip secondary fermentation or perform the secondary in multiple carboys.

A big fermenter could be the inspiration for a fun homebrew club project. If a club bought (or borrowed) a large fermenter, its members could gather with their mash tuns and kettles and hold a wort production party to fill the tank. Once primary fermentation finished, each member would receive one or more carboys of beer to condition at home. Everyone should have a good time . . . everyone except the guy in charge of cleaning the fermenter that is.


Here are seven recipes specifically designed for the Texas Two-Step method. The specific gravity of the first wort is slightly lower than the second to encourage yeast growth. Liquid malt extract (LME) is used in step two to allow a short (15 min.) second boil. Follow the brewing instructions in the article except as noted.

Austin Extra Pale Ale

(5 gallons/19 L, extract with grains)
OG = 1.044–1.047 FG = 1.011–1.012
IBU = 43 SRM = 6 ABV = 4.3–4.6%


1.9 lbs. (0.86 kg) light dried malt extract
0.33 lbs. (0.15 kg) CaraPils malt (6 °L)
0.25 lbs. (0.11 kg) crystal malt (20 °L)
10.8 AAU Northern Brewer hops (1.2 oz./34 g of 9% alpha acids)
2.25 AAU Tettnang hops (15 mins.) (0.5 oz./14 g of 4.5% alpha acids)
1.0 oz. (28 g) Saaz hops (0 mins.)
0.5 tsp. Irish moss (15 mins.)
0.25 tsp. yeast nutrients (15 mins.)
Wyeast 1056 (American Ale) or White Labs WLP001 (California Ale) yeast
3.7 lbs. (1.7 kg) light LME (step 2)
0.5 tsp. Irish moss (step 2)
0.25 tsp. yeast nutrients (step 2)
1.0 cup corn sugar (for priming)

Amarillo Amber Ale

(5 gallons/19 L, extract with grains)
OG = 1.050–1.053 FG = 1.013–1.014
IBU = 54 SRM = 11 ABV = 4.7–5.0%


1.8 lbs. (0.82 kg) light dried malt extract
0.50 lbs. (0.23 kg) crystal malt (40 °L)
0.33 lbs. (0.15 kg) crystal malt (60 °L)
12.5 AAU Centennial hops (bittering) (1.25 oz./35 g of 10% alpha acids)
6.75 AAU Amarillo hops (15 mins.)(0.75 oz./21 g of 9% alpha acids)
2.0 oz. (57 g) Amarillo hops (dry hop)
0.5 tsp. Irish moss (15 mins.)
0.25 tsp. yeast nutrients (15 mins.)
Wyeast 1272 (American Ale II) or White Labs WLP051 (California Ale V) yeast
4.5 lbs. (2.0 kg) light LME (step 2)
0.5 tsp. Irish moss (step 2)
0.25 tsp. yeast nutrients (step 2)
0.75 cups corn sugar (for priming)

El Paso Porter

(5 gallons/19 L, extract with grains)
OG = 1.052–1.056 FG = 1.016–1.017
IBU = 30 SRM = 55 ABV = 4.7–5.0%


1.5 lbs. (0.68 kg) light dried malt extract
1.0 lbs. (0.45 kg) crystal malt (80 °L)
0.5 lbs. (0.22 kg) chocolate malt
0.25 lbs. (0.11 kg) black patent malt
0.25 lbs. (0.11 kg) roasted malt
7.5 AAU Fuggles hops (bittering) (1.5 oz./43 g of 5% alpha acids)
1.65 AAU Fuggles hops (15 mins.)(0.33 oz./9.4 g of 5% alpha acids)
0.25 tsp. yeast nutrients (15 mins.)
Wyeast 1968 (London ESB Ale) or White Labs WLP002 (English Ale) yeast
4.6 lbs. (2.1 kg) light LME (step 2)
0.25 tsp. yeast nutrients (step 2)
0.75 cups corn sugar (for priming)

San Antonio Scottish Ale

(5 gallons/19 L, extract with grains)
OG = 1.055–1.059 FG = 1.016–1.017
IBU = 19 SRM = 16 ABV = 5.1–5.4%


2.2 lbs. (1.0 kg) light dried malt extract
0.5 lbs. (0.22 kg) crystal malt (60 °L)
2.0 oz. (57 g) roasted malt (300 °L)
5 AAU Challenger hops (bittering) (0.67 oz./19 g of 7.5% alpha acids)
0.5 tsp. Irish moss (15 mins.)
0.25 tsp. yeast nutrients (15 mins.)
Wyeast 1728 (Scottish Ale) or White Labs WLP028 (Edinburgh Scottish Ale) yeast
5.0 lbs. (2.3 kg) light LME (step 2)
0.5 tsp. Irish moss (step 2)
0.25 tsp. yeast nutrients (step 2)
0.75 cups dried malt extract (for priming)

Special instructions
Ferment at 60–65 °F (16–18 °C).

Sam Houston Stout

(5 gallons/19 L, extract with grains)
OG = 1.041–1.044 FG = 1.010–1.011
IBU = 34 SRM = 45 ABV = 4.0–4.2%


1.5 lbs. (0.68 kg) light dried malt extract
1.25 lbs. (0.57 kg) roasted barley (500 °L)
9 AAU Progress hops (bittering) (1.5 oz./43 g of 6% alpha acids)
0.25 tsp. yeast nutrients (15 mins.)
Wyeast 1098 (British Ale) or White Labs WLP006 (Bedford British Ale) yeast
3.6 lbs. (1.6 kg) light LME (step 2)
0.25 tsp. yeast nutrients (step 2)
0.75 cups corn sugar (for priming)

Dallas Dubbel

(5 gallons/19 L, extract with grains)
OG = 1.056–1.060 FG = 1.015–1.016
IBU = 18–19 SRM = 7 ABV = 5.4–5.7%


2.0 lbs. (0.91 kg) light dried malt extract
0.25 lbs. (0.11 kg) aromatic malt (26 °L)
1.0 lbs. (0.45 kg) Belgian candi sugar
5.0 AAU Styrian Goldings hops (bittering) (1.0 oz./28 g of 5% alpha acids)
1 AAU Hallertau hops (15 mins.) (0.25 oz./7 g of 4% alpha acids)
0.33 oz. (9.3 g) Saaz hops (0 mins.)
0.25 tsp. yeast nutrients (15 mins.)
Wyeast 1214 (Belgian Abbey) or White Labs WLP530 (Abbey Ale) yeast
4.5 lbs. (2.0 kg) light LME (step 2)
0.25 tsp. yeast nutrients (step 2)
0.75 cups corn sugar (for priming)

Bastrop Schwartz Wit

(5 gallons/19 L, extract with grains)
OG = 1.049–1.052 FG = 1.013–1.014
IBU = 24 SRM = 17 ABV = 4.6–5.0%


2.1 lbs. (0.95 kg) wheat dried malt extract
5.0 oz. (142 g) Weyermann dehusked Carafa III malt
6.25 AAU Styrian Goldings hops (bittering) (1.25 oz./35 g of 5% alpha acids)
0.33 oz. (9.3 g) coriander
0.25 oz. (7.1 g) dried orange peel
0.13 oz. (3.7 g) dried lavender flowers
0.25 tsp. yeast nutrients (15 mins.)
Wyeast 3944 (Belgian Wit) or White Labs WLP410 (Belgian Wit II) yeast
4.3 lbs. (2.0 kg) wheat LME (step 2)
0.25 tsp. yeast nutrients (step 2)
0.75 cups corn sugar (for priming)

Special instructions
Add spices to fermenter three days before bottling.

Generic Recipe Step by step

Step one

Remove your yeast from the refrigerator and let it warm while you are preparing your wort. Place the crushed specialty grains (if any) in nylon bag. Heat up to 2.75 gallons (XX L) of water to 168 °F. Steep specialty grains in hot water for 30 minutes, keeping temperature between 148-168 °F. Remove the bag of grains from the brewpot and let it drain briefly. Heat the grain “tea” to boiling, then remove the brewpot from heat. Add step 1 malt extracts (and adjuncts, if any). Stir thoroughly to completely dissolve malt extract. Return to heat and resume boiling. Once the foam from the early boil has subsided, add bittering hops. Boil for 60 minutes following bittering hop addition. At 15 minutes left in the boil, add flavor hops (if any), Irish moss (if any) and yeast nutrients (if any). Add aroma hops (if any) immediately before turning off the heat at the end of the boil. Cover brewpot immediately after boil and begin cooling brewpot in sink. This may take awhile, but you don’t need to stand over the pot the whole time. Just change the water every five minutes until the pot is cool enough to touch, then add ice to cooling water. (You should have four or five pounds of ice for the final stage of cooling.) Cool the wort until the temperature is below 75 °F. Then transfer the wort to your fermenter. Aerate the wort and pitch your yeast. Hold at 68-72 °F.

Step two

Heat 2.5 gallons of water to boiling. Remove from heat and stir in step 2 liquid malt extract. Be sure to stir in extract completely. Resume heating until wort begins boiling. Boil for 15 minutes. After the boil, cool the wort to 72 °F then transfer it to your already fermenting wort in your fermenter. Do not aerate the wort at this point. Aeration will lead to excessive diacetyl production. Pour or siphon fresh wort quietly into fermenting wort keeping outflow end if racking tube under liquid level of fermenting wort.


Ferment at 68-72 °F for 10-14 days. (Optional: Ferment for 10 days then rack to secondary fermenter and let condition for 3-4 days.) Bottle beer with corn sugar or DME. Let bottle-conditioned beers condition for 10 days at room temperature then refrigerate for 4-7 days before serving.

Generic Partial Mash Option

Replace 1.0 lbs. (0.45 kg) of step 1 DME with 1.85 lbs. (0.83 kg) 2-row pale malt. For step 1, place crushed 2-row pale malt and other crushed specialty grains (if any) in nylon steeping bag. Heat 0.6 gallons (2.2 L) of water to 158 °F and place grain bag in water. Let grains mash by soaking the grains at 148-155 °F for 45 minutes. Lift grain bag out with clean kitchen strainer and rinse with X gallons of water at 165 °F. Add water to make 2.75 gallons. Bring this liquid to a boil, then shut off heat and add remaining step one malt extract. From this point on, the procedures are the same as in the extract instructions.

Issue: October 2003