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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > The AG Fantasy
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Old 04-19-2007, 04:13 AM   #21
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I think this week is my AG anniversary. I went partial mash for one run after 9 extracts, then AG ever since and have never looked back.

Yes, you are going to need to make and buy more equipment. But if you can afford to, you will actually save yourself money in the long run. I can do 5 gallon batches for right around 12-14 bucks on avg. And I dont want to start a debate, but Im much more satisfied with my AG beers. Maybe because Im more experienced now, maybe its the AG who knows.

heres my 5 gallon setup. Its a cell phone picture, so sorry about the size/quality. The only extra piece of equipment i have that you dont see is a 4 gallon ceramic canning pot (14 bucks) for my strike/sparge water. Thats a standard 5 gallon converted Igloo, and a 9 gallon SS pot (which was my biggest investment) Nothing fancy but it works very well. But its addicting though. Im building my 10 gallon setup slowly but surely.

And lol, but you have us to guide you. What more could you possibly ask for???



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Old 04-19-2007, 04:15 AM   #22
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Man, I really want to go AG. Wish I had the space/money.

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Old 04-19-2007, 05:25 AM   #23
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Default Chicken stock

As a chef/homebrewer, the best example of extract vs. all grain I can think of is chicken stock. At work I make and use chicken stock from scratch whenever I can. If maybe I don't have the time to make fresh broth, I'll use chicken base. while the fresh chicken stock is superior in flavor, it's nice to have a good substitute at hand when you need it.
Yes, all grain beer is better because you have more control over the malt bill, over the mash schedule and sparging. But, if you don't have almost half of a day to do all that (making fresh stock), extracts will do you just fine.

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Old 04-19-2007, 05:40 AM   #24
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Its a hobby, and all grain is just more fun if you can give more time. Yes, it is cheaper in the long run, and you have COMPLETE control. But, the difference comes in how far you want your hobby to go. Have fun day dreaming!

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Old 04-19-2007, 02:09 PM   #25
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Plus, doesn't this look like more fun on a Friday night than just openning a can of syrup?

...not that there's anything wrong with that...

grain_bill_1.jpg

grain_bill_2.jpg


Honestly though, I'll do extracts/PM's in the winter when it's impossible to be out in the garage.

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Old 04-19-2007, 02:39 PM   #26
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Here's a couple of my hard-earned cents...

I started out, like most, doing extract/steeping. Not too far into it, I started attempting some small partial mashes. Eventually, after about 10 batches, I gave up extract and went exclusively partial mash. About the same time, it started getting cool, so I felt confident ordering liquid yeast. I also bought an aerator kit.

This was about the time when I saw the biggest up tick in quality.

When I was given a 50-liter SS MLT, I started upping the grain:extract ratio in my PM's. The quality kept getting better, as my control and experience with mashing increased. Then, I thought, I've been mashing for awhile, and adding smaller and smaller amounts of extract...why not try AG? And so I did.

The verdict? There was no magical transformation there. I don't see a huge practical difference between a PM with a high grain:extract ratio, and an all-grain recipe. I believe, honestly, that it's more of a principled difference...an ideological one.

And so, given that I like to do 2 batches side by side when I brew, and given that I have three 32-qt kettles, my latest game plan for brew days has been to do one PM and one AG. That way, I can split the AG wort up into two kettles for a good boil-down before I combine them for the actual boil...all the while, the PM is boiling right next to it.

So, before this post gets too long, I'll come to my conclusion on the matter: what matters most, in my experience, is that you have a large proportion of your sugars from the mash. The difference between a mostly-mash and an all-grain is imperceptible to me in all but abstract principles. Malt extract is still a staple for me, even after 33 batches. It allows me to make the high-gravity brews that I crave without an absurdly long boil time (due to huge strike and sparge water volumes), and also allows me to do PM's and AG's side by side until I buy a 10-gallon kettle.

And, most importantly, after 33 batches, my best so far (Dark Horse Stout v1.0, Smoked Porter, Hop Beatdown Double IPA) all have extract in some proportion or another. That should tell you something. The stout was my last extract/steeping batch, and a beautiful beer. So just remember, great beer can be made with extract---but eventually, adding syrup or powder to water and fermenting it just gets a little...pedestrian. That's my opinion, at least. I love this hobby, and the best part about it is making up my own recipes. Given the small selection of extracts, (and given that extract-y cider taste), mashing is the logical path after awhile. I won't knock extract (like some have already done), but just say that going partial mash and all grain is probably where you'll end up.

Lastly...now that I have a grain mill and a 55lb sack of gleneagles maris otter, I'll probably be doing a lot more AG and using a lot less extract, given how stupidly expensive the stuff is.

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Old 04-19-2007, 03:01 PM   #27
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Evan, here-here. Well said...well spoken.

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Originally Posted by Evan!
I'll probably be doing a lot more AG and using a lot less extract, given how stupidly expensive the stuff is.

And there is a big part of it. Between harvesting yeast and using larger quantities of all grain, I can do 10 gallons of my SWMBO Slayer Belgian Blonde this weekend for around $24.00.

plus shipping....damn shipping...
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Old 04-19-2007, 03:25 PM   #28
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Well it's good to know my fantasies aren't too far from reality! The 9 gallon brewpot, wort chiller, and cajun classic are in the mail. My mash system is sitting on the floor next to my mountains of research. Looks like I'm defending my thesis on the 30th, my birthday, and celebrating with my first AG brew!! What a day that will be.

Thanks for all the feedback. I'm so excited for AG... I almost can't sleep.
-Ben

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Old 04-19-2007, 09:49 PM   #29
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I'm glad that I'm not the only one who has trouble sleeping over brewing!

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Old 04-19-2007, 09:58 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BierMuncher
Evan, here-here. Well said...well spoken.


And there is a big part of it. Between harvesting yeast and using larger quantities of all grain, I can do 10 gallons of my SWMBO Slayer Belgian Blonde this weekend for around $24.00.

plus shipping....damn shipping...
Are you east or west of the mississip? I guess, if you're in St.L, you're west. Sux. Listermann.com is awesome, cuz they have free shipping east of the Mississippi for orders over $35.
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.planned:
•Scottish 80/- •Sweet Stout •Roggenbier
.primary | bright:
98: Moss Hollow Soured '09 72: Oude Kriek 99: B-Weisse 102: Brett'd BDSA 104: Feat of Strength Helles Bock 105: Merkin Brown
.on tap | kegged:
XX: Moss Hollow Springs Sparkling Water 95: Gott Mit Uns German Pils 91b: Brown Willie's Oaked Abbey Ale 103: Merkin Stout
98: Yorkshire Special 100: Maple Porter 89: Cidre Saison 101: Steffiweizen '09 (#3)
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