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Old 12-02-2012, 10:38 AM   #1
jamieofthenorth
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Default All Grain or the Highway?

About to brew my fourth all grain batch this afternoon (oatmeal stout), so I'm new to the process. It does take a bit more time but the results make it well worth it and I've had good success so far. I was wondering though, do you guys still brew extract recipes at all, either for the sake of time or simply because the extract fits in with what you want to do? Or are you all grain or bust and never want to look down the barrel of an empty extract can ever again? FWIW, I feel to each their own and hope I'm not stirring the pot (wort?)...but I was just curious.

-Jamie

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Old 12-02-2012, 11:07 AM   #2
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I'm not opposed to doing another extract brew. But, I've been all grain after two extracts and two partial mashes. Never had a need to look back after almost 5 years.

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Old 12-02-2012, 12:59 PM   #3
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Not averse to doing an extract batch at all, but since I've been buying grain in bulk by the sack, shelling out bank for a few litttle tubs of extract just doesn't appeal to me.

I did happen to brew a small 3 gal. extract batch the other day though...My LHBS gives away the 15 gal. LME barrels, and damn if there wasn't like 4-5 lbs of LME left in the bottom, so I figured what the hell and brewed a small batch of "Barrel Rinse Pale Ale".

4-5 lbs barrel rinse superlight LME
scant 1/2 lb C40 steeped in the coffee maker
scant handful (say an ounce) of pellet hops at 60 min, flame out and at 170degrees....OG approx 1.050
no chill in the kettle and pitched 05 slurry after racking a batch to a keg



Peliminary uncarbed green samples indicate success.

Does this make me a bad person, or would my fellow HBT mates done similar?

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Old 12-02-2012, 02:26 PM   #4
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Yeah, I'm with Hammy...I did extract batches for almost a year, then switched to all grain brewing. I didn't like the way my beers were coming out doing extract. There was always this twang I couldn't get rid of..Plus I can do more with All grain..Glad I progressed to AG and would never go back.

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Old 12-02-2012, 02:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamieofthenorth View Post
About to brew my fourth all grain batch this afternoon (oatmeal stout), so I'm new to the process. It does take a bit more time but the results make it well worth it and I've had good success so far. I was wondering though, do you guys still brew extract recipes at all, either for the sake of time or simply because the extract fits in with what you want to do? Or are you all grain or bust and never want to look down the barrel of an empty extract can ever again? FWIW, I feel to each their own and hope I'm not stirring the pot (wort?)...but I was just curious.

-Jamie
Never went back. I did 2 or 3 when I got started about 10 years ago. I don't expect to ever do an extract beer again. I still get a kick out of the mash.
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Old 12-02-2012, 02:49 PM   #6
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I haven't made an extract batch since I started doing AG. I'm not opposed to it, but since I buy grain by the sack it would actually cost me a LOT more to do an extract batch.

Since I have everything I need conveniently set up, it's no problem to just brew an AG batch when I brew. Mashing takes an hour, and sparging takes about 15 minutes when I batch sparge, so making an AG batch takes about 1.5 hours longer (I have to crush the grain). To save 1.5 hours, I"d have to order some extract and pay shipping.

The last time I bought extract, it was over $12 for three pounds. So I'd have to spend about $30 to have the extract. It wouldn't be worth it, to save 1.5 hours out of a day.

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Old 12-02-2012, 02:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilserbrewer
I did happen to brew a small 3 gal. extract batch the other day though...My LHBS gives away the 15 gal. LME barrels, and damn if there wasn't like 4-5 lbs of LME left in the bottom, so I figured what the hell and brewed a small batch of "Barrel Rinse Pale Ale".

Does this make me a bad person, or would my fellow HBT mates done similar?
As long as you bring the LHBS a bottle!
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Old 12-02-2012, 02:54 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Bulls Beers View Post
Yeah, I'm with Hammy...I did extract batches for almost a year, then switched to all grain brewing. I didn't like the way my beers were coming out doing extract. There was always this twang I couldn't get rid of..Plus I can do more with All grain..Glad I progressed to AG and would never go back.
I'm getting a bit of that twang too. I was thinking it was from leaving the beer on the lees in primary for way too long. Switching from LME in recipes to DME (and I go with the extra light stuff) is supposed to minimize the metallic taste of malt extract.

Extract brewing's greatest appeal to me (with 7 extract brews and a MIAB behind me now after a year) is that I can do it maybe five hours so there's less time investment in it. I spent maybe 12 hours on my MIAB because the water/grain ratio was off since my Bayou Classic kettle is taller and thinner (less water loss) then other kettles I see. I'm thinking 1 qt/pound is actually a better ratio for me - easier to top up as I need.

All grain might give greater (ultimate) control over the end product but extract lets me practice on the basics and gives me experience with recipe formulation without having to worry about having an off batch due to poor mashing. A few ABVs have been coming out low with extract and it was worse for the MIAB (though that was a modest Irish Red to begin with).

Mashing isn't the process variable I want to be focusing on right now - more experience with the styles and flavors and smells of malt/hops in a controlled fashion. And a lot of reading.

I built the required equipment for all-grain a few months back but right now I like the experience of extract brewing. Talk to me again in a year and I'll probably be doing entirely MIAB or the full nine yards.

But I do hear that the extra time spent on all-grain is worth it to people. I'm just too slow right now for it to be time efficient for me. At the end of the day, are you content with extract brewing or will you cultivate that interest in all-grain?
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Old 12-02-2012, 05:08 PM   #9
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I've been doing extract since I started back up. I have 8 extract brews under my belt. Since getting a Spike brewkettle I have 3 full boils done. I am completely happy with what I have been producing. I may go all grain. I am flirting with doing a partial mash on my next brew. We'll see how that goes.

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Old 12-02-2012, 05:55 PM   #10
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I've never done an extract batch (not even as a beginner) and I never plan to. AG isn't really that hard, and the results are as tasty as anything else I could find on tap around here. I don't plan on ever using extract except for starters!

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