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Old 09-15-2008, 09:33 PM   #11
TimMcTigue
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First of all, it's "wort", not "wert" or "wart". Hope that opening doesn't sound peevish, it's just that I care so much about my product, I don't want it to sound unnecessarily gross in print. It's a very old word, but not one in common use lately, except among us brewers.

Anyway, on the topic of cost comparisons, you don't really get the FULL benefit of going all-grain unless you're buying your grain in bulk, imho. Buying grain by the batch, as in AG kits, is a relatively expensive way to go. Even though the cost of all ingredients has gone up quite a bit in the past year, I can still buy a 55# bag of Canadian 2-row for $35. Specialty grains are more, for example a 55# bag of Munich is going for $60 here, but I split a bag with a buddy, so I recently bought one 55# bag of 2-row and half a bag of munich, total cost $60. Given that a 5-gal batch will typically (for me) use about 10lbs of base malt, that's about $6.36 per batch for the base malt. The hops for a batch will typically run me around $5, and if I use a specialty malt, I could add another few bucks. So my cost for a 5-gal batch would normally be around $11-15. On a per-bottle basis, that works out to around $0.22 - $0.30. I'd be paying a lot more per batch if I were buying extract, or even buying grain on a per-pound basis...

Tim

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Old 09-15-2008, 10:39 PM   #12
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awesome responces thanks guys.

the price difference in bulk definatly seems to be in my favor. BUT you say it takes another TWO HOURS to brew the same 5 gallon batch in AG vs extract ?? My free time these days is rather slim, and I honestly don't think I can afford that much extra time to brew my beer. I will probably stick with extract for a while until I feel I have become much more comfortable with just how certain sugars(brown, corn, dextrose, honey, molasses) effect dryness, and the right types of yeasts to use for different consistensies, as well as learn to how better use hops.

But I definatly see all grain in my future....just not anytime soon

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Old 09-15-2008, 11:00 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by illnastyimpreza View Post
... BUT you say it takes another TWO HOURS to brew the same 5 gallon batch in AG vs extract ??
I think it very much depends on exactly how you brew - there are lots of variations. For instance, a friend of mine brews using the "fly sparging" method, whereby the sparge is accomplished by continuously draining the mash while adding water in the top at the same rate, until the runoff gets to a certain pH level. Actually, I think he's been doing it so long he doesn't bother testing it, he just goes for a specific volume, and then boils down to his target. At any rate, he spends all day brewing. He says he starts around 8 in the morning to finish by 6pm. OTOH, I find my brew day consumes about 5 hours start to finish (including cleanup). I batch-sparge, so the sparge itself doesn't take a lot of time.

One part of AG brewing DOES take more time than extract: the mash. If you're brewing with extracts, you basically pick up the AG brew day after the mash is drained and sparged (i.e. that's where an AG brewer's extract comes from), so any time prior to the boil would be in addition to the extract-brewing experience. Basically that 2-hour "premium" is the time it takes to heat the strike water, plus the time to mash and sparge (batch sparging, that is). I find it's worth it, since even when I was extract brewing, a brew-day would take up most of the afternoon, by the time I measured everything, got the water heated up, did the boil, etc. Plus, at that time, I was brewing indoors, and the family was complaining about the, um, aroma.

One thing, I'm curious about your comment re: sugars. Do you mean sugar added to the wort, either during or after the boil, or are you referring to priming?

Tim
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Old 09-15-2008, 11:12 PM   #14
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Tim, it really isn't even a 2 hour difference since even the extract kits require some steeping of the grains. My first extract kit required me to heat the water and steep the grains for something like a half hour. When I realized that I was already doing a partial mash I figured I would just save the money and do AG. I think you may save an hour by doing extract, but it all depends on the flame source you are using. Some people can get the water going in 15 minutes but it took me nearly an hour to get to boil on the stove I was using. Add more BTUs and the time drops.

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Old 09-16-2008, 02:32 AM   #15
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I think a lot of brewers would see it as at least two hours more and here's why.

You can steep grains for extract on the way up to temp so a 15 minute steep between 150-170 is enough. The partial boil also allows for very quick temp ramp up after that and faster cool downs afterwards by using cold topup water (or ice).

All grain requires a lot more heat time because of the volumes involved. Assuming the same burner:

Ex: heat 2 gallons to 150F 15 mins, steep 20 minutes, heat to boil 15 mins, 60min boil, 10 minute chill with cold top up. Total approx 2 hours plus cleaning of kettle.

AG: heat 3-5 gallons to 175F 30-40mins, mash 60 minutes, sparge minimum 20min (batch sparge), Bring to boil 20 min, 60min boil, 15-30min chill, Total approx 4 hours plus cleanup of kettle and mash tun.

I kinda take my time and enjoy the day so tack on an extra hour or two. Even when I brewed extract, I took my sweet a$$ time too.

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Old 09-16-2008, 05:12 AM   #16
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Cost of ingredients per batch? About 1/3 less. And that's what I tell the wife.

But I'm always buying/upgrading something. Plus, consumables like LP, Star-San, etc. It probably isn't really much cheaper than syrup beer, but it's better, way better, and more fun.

Going to 10 gal you would probably notice an appreciable savings.

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Old 09-16-2008, 05:26 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BuffaloSabresBrewer View Post
It is SOOOO much more fun! There is a huge amount of satisfaction when you brew AG..
Yeah basically thats it, its just more fun. Plus you've got a lot more different choices for ingredients to play around with.

As far as saving money, well maybe you will and maybe you won't. The grain will be cheaper than the extract, but then you're going to want to use a liquid yeast sooner or later so whatever you saved in grain you'll be spending on yeast before long. Then of course the propane isn't cheap, and you'll be heating mash water, sparge water, doing a 60-90 minutes boil...

I wouldn't count on saving too much money, which is not to say that you can't save money - but when you do All Grain there is a whole nother world of possibilities to spend money on... chillers, stir-plates, etc...

Bottom line is that its just more entertaining to make beer from All Grain. Usually what I do is make both - what I mean is that if I'm going to make an All Grain beer, then I will also make an extract batch or partial mash beer at the same time since there is a lot of sitting around waiting time where you're not really doing anything but killing time when making All Grain beer. Its always good to have an extra batch anyway - I can drink 20-30 gallons a month pretty easily by myself, and thats way more than I used to drink when I bought beer at the store.
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Old 09-16-2008, 02:17 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by illnastyimpreza View Post
reaaaaally? so its cheaper to make my own wert then boil it just as I would with malt extract ?
In case you didn't know, malt extract is made by making wort using the same mashing process all-grain brewers use (albeit on a bigger, industrial scale) and then evaporating most (LME) or all (DME) of the water from it. Really, you're just paying someone else to do the mash from you, but you don't have any real control over what grains go into it (other than to pick from light, dark, amber, or wheat malt extract) or what kind of mash profile/process is used (for attributes like body, head retention, maltiness, etc).
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Old 09-17-2008, 03:05 AM   #19
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I can get an AG batch including washing, cleaning and sanitizing all done in 4 hours.

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Old 09-17-2008, 05:40 AM   #20
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Some can do it in 3 hours. 4 hours is very achievable.

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