Here you will find some of the frequently asked questions that have been answered. If you can't find what your looking for here, contact us and ask us a question. One of our brewers will get back to you. Be aware, support sometimes go to the xtreme in answering questions.
Xtreme Question: What is the strongest brew that you can make?
Xtreme Answer: A homebrewer can make beers that are 10 to twelve percent without too many problems. Beers up to about 8% are gennerally easy to make on a regular basis. Beyond that fermentaion times grow longer, normal beer yeast will not generally ferment well beyond 8%. A second yeast must then be used to continue the fermentation to the higher alcohol value. Fermentation aids such as yeast nutrient or yeast energizer are used as well as increased oxigenation of the beer is needed. Dogfish Brewery and Sam Adam's are two breweries that frequently make beers in the 20 percent plus range. Last years Dogfish World Wide Stout came in at 18% but in previous years it has been as high as 23%.
Xtreme Question: Do you have any ideas on making cordials?
Xtreme Answer: There are a few ways to make cordials or liquers. Generally you steep the fruit in alcohol to extract the flavor, strain the solids and let the it sit until clear. Rack and sweeten to taste with a sugar syrup. You can use a neutral alcohol like vodka or make your own alcohol. You can also use a flavor extract which is added to the alcohol and then sweetened to taste. We do stock a booklet that gives further explainations and has recipes for different liquers.
Xtreme Question: Is your "Crab Beer" beer of the month recipe available in a "kit" form and, if so, can it be mailed?
Xtreme Answer: We do have the Crab Beer available as a pre-made malt extract kit. It can be mailed.
Xtreme Question: Why do you say not to squeeze the grain bag? I've done that for years. Perhaps I should stop? Do you ever sparge the grains? Also, why do you recommend pre-boiling for 5 mins before adding the bittering hops? Would love to see more of your recipes. Ken Zinn Zinn's Brewing Hockessin, DE
Xtreme Answer: Squeezing the grain may extract some of the tannins in the husks which may adversly effect the final taste of the beer. If you have always squeezed the grain bag, you may want to try not squeezing one time and see if you notice any difference. I don't sparge the specialty grains when doing extract brews. I think you get all the essence out of the grain as the water is heating without sparging. I preboil a few minutes to make sure the boil rate seems right before adding my bittering hops.