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Old 03-20-2007, 10:12 PM   #1
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Default All Grain: What is the advantage?

I've been reading a lot on the techniques of all-grain brewing but I've not really come across anything which gives a good reason for why you should go all-grain. Is it mainly just wanting to really feel like you've produced you own beer, or can you actually produce a better beer or types which cannot be produced with extract+specialities.

I don't really feel the desire to do more of the work myself (though I can understand why some people do), but if I can make a better beer by going all-grain then I'd consider it.

Any words of wisdom?



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Old 03-20-2007, 10:15 PM   #2
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Unprecedented control over flavor, color, mouthfeel, and everything in between.



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Old 03-20-2007, 10:25 PM   #3
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And, it's cheaper. Crushed grain is about $1/lb. I used 8 pounds today, plus some specialty grains for a batch. Now, you might have to make quite a few batches to recoup the investment. I paid about $100 for my MLT. I had all the other equipment already. Still, the Brewer's Best kits were about $25-35 each.

I can brew ANYTHING now. Extract, partial mash, AG. I'm going to be making my first foray into using rye when I make the 777 brew.

And, I have to reiterate what Dude said. I like a maltier brew- so I can control the temperature and thickness of the mash to give me a less fermentable wort. Well, I try to do that but still have some bugs to work out with the strike temperature. If I wanted a drier, more fermentable wort I can do that too. It's not that AG is necessarily better- but you do have more input into the outcome.

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Old 03-20-2007, 10:36 PM   #4
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The reasons I switched over initially were because I felt like allof my extract beers kind of had the same underlying taste. I felt like I was making ragu spaghetti instead of home-made spaghetti.

I was also fascinated by the fact that I could take freaking grain, add hot water to it, and make my own extract. It amazed me then and does even moreso now.

All of that said--I am STILL trying to replicate (in AG) one of my first extract beers. I've yet to make it as good as that first batch of LWPA. You can make damn good beer by doing extract. You can make world class beer by doing AG.

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Old 03-20-2007, 10:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BarryNL
I've been reading a lot on the techniques of all-grain brewing but I've not really come across anything which gives a good reason for why you should go all-grain. Is it mainly just wanting to really feel like you've produced you own beer, or can you actually produce a better beer or types which cannot be produced with extract+specialities.

I don't really feel the desire to do more of the work myself (though I can understand why some people do), but if I can make a better beer by going all-grain then I'd consider it.

Any words of wisdom?
Extract brewing yields great results, but AG just takes the brewer to the purest form of the art.

I compare it to buying fresh tomatoes from the road side produce stand, or growing your own tomatoes from seed in soil you tilled in your back yard.

Both will taste great but those tomatoes you grew from seeds are just going to make a little bit better salsa or pasta sauce becuase you controlled the soil, the water, the fertilization the pruning...etc. You essentially created something from nothing.

AG brewing is an ancient art. Extract brewing is good, but let's face it, your simply cooking up something that someone else canned.

That said, I do extracts in the winter when I can't get outside. I mean...c'mon...I gotta brew.
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Old 03-20-2007, 10:58 PM   #6
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Going All Grain is a life changing experience. Once you go All Grain, you'll never feel pain.

Actually, the proof is in the results. Life is good!

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Old 03-20-2007, 11:06 PM   #7
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Some beers are easier to make (and are executed better) using extract.

Here's my analogy:
Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska is probably impossible to improve upon with more instrumentation or studio work. Extract at it's best.

Pet Sounds or The Dark Side of the Moon needed the full palate of studio work, arrangement and instrumentation. All Grain Masterpieces.

Most musicians favor having a full assortment of tools available. They may decide at various points to go minimal, but it depends on what they are trying to accomplish.

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Old 03-20-2007, 11:23 PM   #8
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I have yet to do AG but that is my next batch. The biggest reason is to repeat what Dude said, all my beer tasted about the same. The only differences came from the yeast and hops. Oh and I got tired of making brown beer. I would like to control the color more. Plus as a chef I really want to control every aspect of the process. Don't get me wrong brewing from extracts is a good way to start, because you learn the basics. After 9 batches in as many months, I am going to do my first all grain as soon as I can get a day free.

Al

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Old 03-20-2007, 11:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shot Drive
Oh and I got tired of making brown beer. I would like to control the color more.
Ahh, me too. My AG Haus Pale Ale is not brown, but a lovely golden color, and now thanks to a bulk buy, costs less than $8 for a 5 gallon batch.

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Old 03-20-2007, 11:50 PM   #10
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Ed, that picture makes me thirsty! Great looking beer.



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