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Old 02-23-2011, 11:08 AM   #1
Dawgbrew
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Default All grain vs PM brewing

I am finishing up my first brew which is a Whisky Stout that I got from a Brewer's Best Kit. This was a PM. I got into brewing b/c it's fun and I would like to make "good"/not award winning beer. My question is... can I continue to make "good" beer and never move up to All Grain brewing?

Also, I've been told by my local Brew Store to stay away from these kits b/c they use old ingredients and buy their "fresh" stuff. Once again, I'm no expert and probably couldn't tell the difference b/w the 2. I like the convenience of the kits, but am I really missing out on the freshness of the store bought stuff?

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Old 02-23-2011, 11:14 AM   #2
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I am new to brewing also but have loved doing partial mash kits. The all extract seems a little boring to me. This summer when I have more room outside to do all grain I plan on trying some. The partial mashes I've gotten from austinhomebrew.com smell great and more importantly taste great too. Sounds like your local place is just trying to drum up business. I would believe the larger online places would turn over their ingredients faster than my tiny local shop. Just my .02.

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Old 02-23-2011, 11:17 AM   #3
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There are people that will say you can indeed make award winning beers with extract. If you like the partial mash and don't want to move to all-grain, then don't move to all-grain!

As for kits, I prefer buying the ingredients a la cart because it is often cheaper that way, and it gives me the option to make my own recipe. I don't know about the freshness of kits; I only used one once and it was the PSA from BB when it was introduced, so I knew it was fresh.

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Old 02-23-2011, 11:44 AM   #4
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An option to kits is the Brew Builder Brewmasters Warehouse. You can put in recipes you find here on HBT or anything you like. Plus there are a ton of choices in the recipe section. AG, PM and extract. They are custom pulled and ground so you know they are going to be fresh.

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Old 02-23-2011, 12:06 PM   #5
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The Brewers Best Whiskey Barrel Stout kit is not a partial mash, it's an extract kit with steeping grains. None of the ingredients in this keep require a mash, only a steep. I confused these two for a while when I started and thought these kits were partial mash too, but they're not.

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Old 02-23-2011, 12:10 PM   #6
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what is the difference? Thanks

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Old 02-23-2011, 12:19 PM   #7
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Steeping of grains extracts only flavor and non-fermentable sugars and typically is done in 150-165 degree F water. There is no starch conversion and this was your roasted barley, caramel 90 and dark chocolate malts.

Mashing requires you to soak the crushed grains (base malt like 2-row) at a very specific temperature (say 152 for 45-90 minutes) and it involves the extraction of complex starches and diastatic enzymes, which then convert the starches into simple fermentable sugars over the 45-90 minute period. Mash temperature affects how fermentable the wort is, with lower temps being more fermentable (thinner, more alcohol and drier) and higher temps being less (higher body, sweeter beer).

Almost all of your fermentable sugars came from the malt extract in the kit.

Try doing a search here on base malts vs. specialty malts as well as diastatic power.

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Old 02-23-2011, 12:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawgbrew View Post
My question is... can I continue to make "good" beer and never move up to All Grain brewing?
Hell yea. Look into a fermentation chamber / some way to keep the fermenting beer at a nice steady temp. Pitch an appropriate amount of good heathly yeast... bottle (or keg, if you're lucky) on time.... it'll be the best beer you've ever made.


Quote:
Originally Posted by FAJ View Post
There are people that will say you can indeed make award winning beers with extract. If you like the partial mash and don't want to move to all-grain, then don't move to all-grain!

As for kits, I prefer buying the ingredients a la cart because it is often cheaper that way, and it gives me the option to make my own recipe. I don't know about the freshness of kits
Very good points. You can get DME and hops in bulk, and re-do the kit recipes if you want... or make something of your own design.


Doing extract batches will really allow you to concentrate on your yeast and fermentation. You will certainly make not just 'good' beer, but GREAT beer.
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Old 02-23-2011, 01:04 PM   #9
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There's some truth to what your local guy was telling you. You never know how long a BB kit has been sitting on a shelf. The grains are already crushed and they, along with the hops and yeast tend to go downhill when not refrigerated.

Places like AHS will build your kit when you order and you'll get fresher ingredients.

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Old 02-23-2011, 01:06 PM   #10
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what is AHS?

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