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Old 04-30-2012, 09:51 PM   #1
Tootall19
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Default Is going all grain worth it ?

I currently do extract brewing with partial mashing if the recipe calls for it. my main question in deciding on if all grain brewing is worth the extra equipment, time, etc. I know the quality is better with all grain generally if you know what your are doing but have never done any all grain brews, so my main question is it worth the extra hour or 2 you have in an all grain brew day vs. doing an extract brew

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Old 04-30-2012, 09:55 PM   #2
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Maybe...I would focus on controlling fermention (temp control, oxygenation, pitching proper amount) first.

If you already have that....go for it. You gave total control over mouthfeel, instead of relying on the extract manufacturer.

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Old 04-30-2012, 09:55 PM   #3
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You can make beer that is just as good as AG with Partial Mash brewing. AG is cheaper but requires full boil (normally) and has more that can go wrong.

Not worth it for ME.

I prefer to brew stove top for time/ability to watch kids and brew.

I prefer to chill by topping off with ice for ease and because I don't want to buy and store a wort chiller.

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Old 04-30-2012, 10:08 PM   #4
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I'm a recent AG convert. I'd say it really depends on what you're after. If you just want to make your own beer and you're concerned about the extra time and cost, you might want to skip AG brewing. If you are fascinated by the brewing process itself and want to learn more, I would highly recommend it.

Do you have any friends or a local club that AG brew? You might want to sit in on an AG brewing session or two before heading down that road.

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Old 04-30-2012, 10:10 PM   #5
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Whether or not it is worth it depends on what you want to get out of your brewing. First off you do not get higher quality by doing all grain. Most extracts out there today are of a very high quality, and you can make beer just as good as with all grain.

Your all grain ingredients (grains) are probably 30-35% less expensive than buying extract, but that comes at a cost of more expensive equipment, and more time required to brew. How often you brew will determine if it is worth it financially.

To me what you gain the most with all grain is pin point control of your recipe. You can choose any grain you want in any percentage and dial it in to the result you want. With extract, and complex recipes, you'll need partial mashing or steeping to get the flavors you need into the wort. I think having to do some grains separately from boiling your extract is a pain in the butt. That's just me.

Some people enjoy the greater level of control and involvement in all grain, and some enjoy the simplicity and shorter brew day of extract and steeping. I'd recommend finding a buddy who does all grain and ask him to let you do a trial batch or two on his system and see how you like it. You can make great beer either way, so find out what you enjoy , and work on your process to perfect it.

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Old 04-30-2012, 10:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hotspurdotus View Post
if you just want to make your own beer and you're concerned about the extra time and cost, you might want to skip ag brewing. If you are fascinated by the brewing process itself and want to learn more, i would highly recommend it.
+1
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:22 PM   #7
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I recently switched from extract and steeping grains to all grain by way of partial mash. First i did a PM by grabbing an AG recipie that interested me, removing half the base malt and replacing it with extract in the correct propostion (not a 1 for 1 swap) then I did a small beer that was AG with about 7 LBS of grains. The last batch was pure AG with an 11 pound grain bill. I really had to add no additional equipment. I already had a 5 Lb paint strainer and a 7.5 gallon brew pot. I did do a dunk sparge and drained the first runnings into my BK to free up the pot to heat sparge. I ended up adding 1 LB extract to get up to my desired OG. I can add a MLT later if i feel like it, but not necessary IMHO. There's all kinds of things in between Extract and AG. No need to jump to a new ship, more like walking along a sidewalk.

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Old 04-30-2012, 10:24 PM   #8
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I only brewed 4 extract batches before converting to all grain and they were Mr Beer pre-hopped kits at that. It was worth it for me becuase I like having complete control over making the beer. I still manage to do full sized boils on my stove and can cool from boiling to pitching temps in 30 minutes with an ice bath. I converted a cooler I had lying around unused to a mash tun for about $15 so the cost to make the change was minimal for me. I agree that great beer can be made from extract, I just personally felt like I was cheating when I did.

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Old 04-30-2012, 10:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tootall19 View Post
I currently do extract brewing with partial mashing if the recipe calls for it. my main question in deciding on if all grain brewing is worth the extra equipment, time, etc. I know the quality is better with all grain generally if you know what your are doing but have never done any all grain brews, so my main question is it worth the extra hour or 2 you have in an all grain brew day vs. doing an extract brew
If you have to ask, then its probably not going to be good for you.
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:40 PM   #10
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IMO, it's 200% worth it...

Benefits (as I see them)...
Recipe control: You KNOW what's in the brew with 100% certainty. With extract, you'll never really know what's in it for grains, or what temperature it was mashed at.
Process control: Mashing at the temp YOU want gives you different results. For one thing, you can experiment with the exact same recipe, mashing at different temperatures to see what you get.
Quality control: 'nuf said.

I see it akin to cooking. Sure, you can get stuff from a jar/can, heat it up and maybe make a side dish and call it your own. But it's not really, and it will only be as good as the canned/jar ingredients. With all grain, you're making it all (the only thing you're not doing is malting the grain). Pasta sauce is a great example. You can do a quick meal from a jar. But you can have an excellent dinner when you make the sauce yourself, from scratch. Having that level of ingredient control means you'll get EXACTLY what you want. Personally, I make my own sauce, so going all grain was a natural progression for me (did it after three extract [with specialty grains] and one partial mash batch). Haven't looked back since.

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