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-   -   AG vs. Extract w/grains (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/ag-vs-extract-w-grains-25219/)

reedequine 03-21-2007 12:50 AM

AG vs. Extract w/grains
As a new HBer, I have been mainly making batches using recipes calling for extract w/ steeped grains with excellent success. I have been seriously thinking of trying all grain. My question is: will a recipe be improved using AG technique and in what way?

gruntingfrog 03-21-2007 01:28 AM

Hopefully you cook, because I'm going to use my spaghetti sauce analogy again.

You can make really good spaghetti sauce by buying a jar of Ragu and throwing in a couple of fresh ingredients like basil, mushrooms, and garlic. It'll be tasty and reliably reproduced. However, you can't closely control the nature of the final product since you're dependent on the Ragu which makes up the majority of the flavor.

By starting from tomatoes, olive oil, salt, and pepper you can precisely tailor the final outcome (if your process is good). It will be difficult to get "just right", and not easily reproduced (that's part of getting your process down) but the possible outcome is well worth the extra effort.

Orpheus 03-21-2007 01:47 AM

I think it really depends...


"In the mid-1980s England's Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA..) taste tested three different beers made from the same full-grain mash[...]Being proponents of full-grain mashing, the CAMRA panel members admitted to being biased against extract-brewed beer. But they found in a blind tasting that they preferred the malt-extract-and-tap-water-based beer over the distilled-water-based brew and found NO characters in the full-grain brew to solicit a preference for or against the extract-based brew." -Papazian, Home Brewer's Companion

Bsquared 03-21-2007 02:00 AM


Originally Posted by Orpheus
I think it really depends...

Exactly...Personal preference, if you just want a good home brew and don't care how you get there, keep extract brewing with steeping grains. I think I had way more brews that stealer when I was extract brewing.

Now that I am AG brewing I get a few that just are "...not right in the head" but the pride that comes form AG brewing, and the ability to have so much more control over the process. And so many ways to screw up!

WOP31 03-21-2007 02:08 AM

While I really like the spaghetti sauce analogy, I have to agree that in the end it is going to be personal preference. I do think that you can controll your final product a little better but I would debate weather you get a better final product with all grain (IMHO). I have tasted some extract beers that rival some of the AG beers I have tasted.


Willsellout 03-21-2007 02:40 AM

I think you can do extract/PM recipes and make killer beers. I want to do AG because it's cheaper once you get the equipment, plus it's fun (I hope)


gruntingfrog 03-21-2007 02:44 AM

I also agree it's all about personal preference which is the nature of my analogy. By starting from scratch, you are taking a risk with each batch. That can either pay off by being exactly what you wanted to create, or it may turn out less than stellar. The extract with steeped grain method is more consistent and can create wonderful beers. So far the best beer I've produced was an extract w/ steeped grain recipe. Hopefully I'll be able to get my all grain process to the point where I can consistently hit my marks.

tdavisii 03-23-2007 02:21 PM

Once you get set up The cost of each batch is a third of extract. Granted it is a little tougher to do but once you get the hang of it you will be fine. So for me id rather spend a third of the cost to have the same quality or even better beer.l

Craig5_12 03-23-2007 02:33 PM

AG also enables you to fine tune your beers. Take the argument of 2-row vs Maris Otter.....I don't think you have a choice when buying extract only, sure you can steep the grains or do a mini-mash, but for full control of your final product AG is the way to go....the bonus is that it's cheaper.

boldone 03-23-2007 02:35 PM

I have noticed enough of a difference that I am sticking with AG. AG forced me to go to a full boil, it makes the brew day more fun and the control factor is very nice. One thing that was happening to me with extract brews was a candy-like aftertaste. I am fairly certain it was the extract caramelizing, but I have not had that taste in my AG brews. Yes, you can do full boils with extract and maybe avoid some of the issues I had, but AG is how I was able to convince myself to get the bigger pot.

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