Ask Mr. Wizard

Extract Addition times


Patrick Louie • San Francisco, California asks,

I’ve read that with the Texas 2-step and late extract methods that you will get better extraction of hop bitterness if the wort is less dense. Also, from the late extract method, it sounds like the full 60-minute boil isn’t necessary for most malt extracts . . . just the last 15 minutes to sanitize it before cooling the wort. So my question is: Can you hold off the addition of malt extract (in an all-extract or partial-mash recipe) until the end of the boil? And then, taken to an extreme, can you just boil the hops in plain water in some smaller volume (like 1 gallon or 3.8 L) in an all-extract recipe, or does something else in the wort (like pH levels) play a part in extracting bitterness from hops?

The root of my question is whether or not I can boil less wort, as this would require less energy to maintain a vigorous boil with a normal kitchen stove.

This question really shows me how homebrewers have changed since the early days of the legal homebrewing movement in the United States. The early pioneer homebrewers in the mid to late 70s
Response by Ashton Lewis.