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Old 07-19-2010, 03:39 AM   #1
phecke
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Default How soon is too soon?

Hey there everyone, my question is a simple one. How soon is too soon to make the move to AG brewing? I've been interested in brewing for the better part of the last 5 years. Since I was 20 and in college I've wanted to brew, and since then I've read everything that I could get my hands on regarding it, so I feel pretty confident that I could do AG. Now that I've graduated and paid off some bills I have the cash flow and the space to brew, and I recently just finished my second extract brew.

The first one came out great, and I have no reason to expect the second to be any different. I have done full boils for my extracts so I also have all of the necessary equipment to do AG with the exception of a MLT and hot liquor tank, and the only thing I'm not doing now in the AG process is mashing and sparging. I was only worried about the sparging procedures, but I've read the major threads about batch sparging and I'm pretty sure I can handle that.

So, do you guys think moving to AG after only two extract brews is a good idea or should I wait a bit longer to make the jump?

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Old 07-19-2010, 03:48 AM   #2
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I have a lot of friends ask me to show them how to brew. They'll come over on brew day and I'll show them the ropes. The problem is, I do all grain. It's not the easiest way to jump into the hobby.

Three of the people I've taught are now brewing quite often, and all of them started out doing all grain right from the start.

I say go for it.

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Old 07-19-2010, 03:51 AM   #3
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If you've got a good handle on fermentation and sanitation go for it.

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Old 07-19-2010, 03:54 AM   #4
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You can easily do AG with just a large fine-mesh bag added to your current equip; should run you < $10 easily.

There's no real reason to delay, unless you really want to focus on some other aspect of brewing for a while. But I'd recommend doing at least one partial mash first--that'll introduce you to the basic processes, but with half your OG coming from extract it won't be as big a deal if you get poor efficiency on it. After 1-2 of those, you'll have a little more knowledge of how to move on to AG.

I did 4 extract brews before doing my first PM. Brewing good beer is mainly a matter of getting your reps in to dial in the process and trying to learn as much from every brew as possible. If you're comfortable with the mechanics of the process, there's no reason not to start getting your reps in on mashing/sparging too if that's what you want to do!

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Old 07-19-2010, 04:06 AM   #5
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I really do think I have a good handle on fermentation and sanitation. I have my most recent brew (an ESB) sitting in the primary right now in a converted mini-fridge. Airlock was bubbling away after only 6 hours (I used a 1L starter and a homemade aquarium aerator) and temp of the bucket is holding at 65 degrees. Brew days went just about as smoothly as possible too.

If I can work up the courage and get to building an MLT, I'll probably make the switch soon. Thanks a bunch for the quick replies, if anybody else has a suggestion or two, I'd love to hear them.

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Old 07-19-2010, 04:54 AM   #6
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I wish I had gone the route to begin with. It really isn't that hard. Just some good reading. I had to look up strike water and all that and after that boom. I did about 10 extract batches and have seen my quality grow since moving up. The required equip is a cooler, propane burner and a larger pot. I am doing AG in my condo and it isn't that big. Make the move, ask the questions and do it. We will help.

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Old 07-19-2010, 05:26 AM   #7
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My second brew was AG, and my own recipe from scratch, to boot. It actually turned out pretty well. Not great, or life changing, but enjoyable enough, with no glaring flaws and a couple of nice aspects. Make the jump when you have the equipment, desire, and knowledge each in good enough quantity. Reading over a good book helps, and asking questions here will sure help as well. It's really not that difficult, mainly just more time intensive (especially at first).

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Old 07-19-2010, 06:35 AM   #8
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I did 3 extracts and then made the jump to AG this weekend & I just noticed fermentation/woot! GO FOR IT (John Palmer & HBT are your friends!)

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Old 07-19-2010, 07:20 AM   #9
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you'll need a wort chiller too, but definately go all grain. its like fresh squeezed juice instead of concentrate. i did 3 extract batches before i switched.

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Old 07-19-2010, 08:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markg388 View Post
you'll need a wort chiller too, but definately go all grain. its like fresh squeezed juice instead of concentrate. i did 3 extract batches before i switched.
Since he's already doing full boils, there shouldn't be a difference in chilling needs just switching from extract to AG.
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