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Old 01-09-2013, 03:27 PM   #51
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As others have mentioned, there is also the added cost of additional equipment, such as the aforementioned thermometer, as well as a scale (for weighing grains), mill (for milling grains), campden and fermcap tablets, irish moss, gelatin or isinglass, a chiller capable of cooling 5.5 gallons of wort rather than merely 3 gallons, a mash tun, possibly an outdoor propane burner, and a bigger boil kettle. But those don't really add much in terms of difficulty - merely expense. To me, the only hard part is nailing that mash temperature.
But hold on, there you go again (the royal "you"). Do I really need all that stuff? Or do I just need a big pot, a big grain bag and a thermometer? I can brew beer without tablets, moss, gelatin, isinglass, a chiller, a mash tun, and a burner. I don't even need a grain mill. What you're referring to is the stuff that comes later when you realize how to refine your own process and save some time. Which is what we're all constantly doing anyway, no matter what end of the spectrum we're at.
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:38 PM   #52
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Kind of makes me ask how man kind brewed beer when tools such as thermostatically controlled burners, thermometers, and water conditioners were not available, oh wait I know they just did, they built a fire and used sound judgment and common sense. Brewing beer can be as involved and technical and or simple as one needs or wants it to be. In the end if the results are what you want then you have succeeded, if they are not then you will either give up or make the necessary adjustments.

Me being a beginner to the all grain world, I'm going to jump feet first, ask questions and learn along the way, I'll probably brew some really good beers as well as some bad ones, as long as I have fun then I've seceded.

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Old 01-09-2013, 03:48 PM   #53
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In the pre-prohibition days, brewing was done by women as part of their usual household activities, using equipment that they had in their kitchens.

After homebrewing was legalized in 1978, men came along and added complex process and equipment, within the tolerance of whatever their wives allowed them to have.

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Old 01-09-2013, 03:57 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by zippyclown

But hold on, there you go again (the royal "you"). Do I really need all that stuff? Or do I just need a big pot, a big grain bag and a thermometer? I can brew beer without tablets, moss, gelatin, isinglass, a chiller, a mash tun, and a burner. I don't even need a grain mill. What you're referring to is the stuff that comes later when you realize how to refine your own process and save some time. Which is what we're all constantly doing anyway, no matter what end of the spectrum we're at.
+1 to this. As it is with most things, the entry point to AG brewing is relatively low. With less than $100-200 in equipment additions, most extract brewers can make the switch to AG. A non brewer wanting to start with AG could spend a little more and go from 0 gear to a decent AG set up.

I started brewing in the days when Papazian's first book was the dominant home brew text. It wasn't until I also brought his home brewing companion that I really wrapped my head around AG. But these days, with the Palmer book, the Internet, and forum sites like this one, its pretty easy to get into AG quickly if that's the way you want to go.

My gadget hoard has grown over time, although not because I needed the bling to make good beer. But because I wanted some of the gear to help me fine tune my beers, and some of the gear to shorten or simplify my brew day.

My wife and I have a closet obsession with zombie and end of the world movies. After watching them, the conversation will often turn to "how would you make beer in the wake of the zombie apocalypse?" When I put my mind to it, I realize I could actually ditch around half of my current brew house and still make beer in a pinch given access to ingredients.

And after reading a recent issue of BYO, a lot of the mystery around making your own malt is gone as well.
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Old 01-09-2013, 04:49 PM   #55
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Great presentation Denny. To the point, simple and fun.. That's what brewing really is!
Thanks! My motto is "the best beer possible with the least effort possible while having the most fun possible!".
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Old 01-09-2013, 05:51 PM   #56
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The only pieces of equipment that separate an all-grain brewer and an extract brewer is a mash tun and a good accurate thermometer. Most brew kettles already come with thermometer installed so you can get away with that - I do. A mash tun is as simple as buying a cooler and installing a bazooka screen with a ball valve assembly. You should be able to do that for less than $100. The other equipment like a chiller can be bought later. You do not need a grain mill or gelatin or irish moss. As with everything in life you can make it as simple and complicated as you like. I try to tell people that if you can make oatmeal you can handle all grain.

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Old 01-09-2013, 06:27 PM   #57
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My first batch was an extract wheat beer while I was still assembling my all grain equipment. It turned out horrible. Maybe 1-2% alcohol. I drank a quite a bit of it and then only blew a .012 on my breathalyzer. I know I should dump it to make corny keg room for the other three that I have in the final stages of fermentation. However, my all grain batches have been great and I love drinking them.
How did you use extract and miss your OG by that much? Extract, when measured correctly in the correct volume of water will yield a very reliable OG.
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:30 PM   #58
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In the pre-prohibition days, brewing was done by women as part of their usual household activities, using equipment that they had in their kitchens.

After homebrewing was legalized in 1978, men came along and added complex process and equipment, within the tolerance of whatever their wives allowed them to have.
LOL at the last sentence, but I think the equipment change and the improvement in homebrew quality were simultaneous and it had nothing to do with the gender of the brewers.
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:47 PM   #59
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I was an extract brewer for a bunch of years. Then I walked into the LHBS and asked the guy for suggestions on a recipe for all grain IPA, not realizing it required a separate setup from what I had. In front of several people in line, he laughed and started lecturing me on the equipment and the time involved, etc etc. "You just can't suddenly decide to brew all grain!" he hollered. Most of the people in line were laughing hysterically at me. I seem to remember even a man's german shephard laughing as well. I will never forget that sound as long as I live. I blacked out for the remainder of the hazing but do remember screaming "FEET DON'T FAIL ME NOW" as I sprinted from the store.

After 2 years and 4 Anothony Robbins courses, I decided to revisit, and have been all grain ever since.

And looking back now I have to ask WHAT'S THE BIG FRIGGEN DEAL?

I skim over the message boards and it confuses me. People seem scared or imtimidated by the concept. It's like these people are deciding whether or not to have another child. I see the YouTube videos... 30 minutes of a guy trying to explain in great length how to convert a 10-gallon igloo cooler to be a mash tun, which by the way is pretty much all you need (hmm that took me under 10 mins using a wrench and a valve I bought online). Then there's the 60 minute step-by-step guide on how to fabricate your own false bottom ($15 on Amazon). A 3 month course on the chemistry of water you'll need to take before you can make an IPA (you trying to win a beer competition or make some good beer for your friends?).

Always been confused about all that.

Ok, bye!

zc
chin up! you leaned something, nothing wasted. now go get a mesh bag large enough to fit your pot and do a 3 gallon BIAB ALL GRAIN brew.
simple as shallowing your favorite brew! check the BIAB sticky in this topic menu.

GD
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Old 01-09-2013, 07:24 PM   #60
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The only pieces of equipment that separate an all-grain brewer and an extract brewer is a mash tun and a good accurate thermometer. Most brew kettles already come with thermometer installed so you can get away with that - I do. A mash tun is as simple as buying a cooler and installing a bazooka screen with a ball valve assembly. You should be able to do that for less than $100. The other equipment like a chiller can be bought later. You do not need a grain mill or gelatin or irish moss. As with everything in life you can make it as simple and complicated as you like. I try to tell people that if you can make oatmeal you can handle all grain.
A ball valve is unnecessary. I actually found I like the cheap nylon valve I use better than ball valve. And a hose braid is cheaper than a Bazooka. If you do full boils, you definiteley need some way to chill it.
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