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JimE 02-03-2010 01:02 PM

More thoughts on trying all-grain..
 
I've made my MLT, and am basically ready to give all-grain a try. I am a "process" guy and always want to learn more. That is one of the big reasons to try it out.

I've made a few extract beers, and they have all been pretty good. Apparently I have that process and sanitation nailed. There are some extract process alternatives I ought to try, such as late extract additions. I think I want to explore ways to make my extract beers better.

I will try an all-grain beer soon, but I'm not dying to do it this afternoon. I know I can make all-grain with a cheaper ingredient bill, and I've heard that there will not be an "extract" taste. What else can I expect from all-grain beer? I'm not even sure if I know what the "extract" taste is.

I have decided upon a Northern English Brown Ale as my first all-grain beer. I will also make an extract version so I can a good taste comparison.

Your comments are appreciated.

DrDirt 02-03-2010 01:08 PM

For any given grain bill you'll have much more control over the sweetness/dryness of the beer based on your mash temp. You'll be able to make several different beers with the same ingredient list just by mashing at, for example, 148, 152, 158...

Yooper 02-03-2010 01:14 PM

To me, one of the greatest advantages of all-grain is being able to use grains or other ingredients that you can't use with extract brewing.

Oatmeal, corn, rice, etc, all have to be mashed. Also, some specialty grains must be mashed.

Making an oatmeal stout can be done with a partial mash, of course, so a partial mash would work as well as AG brewing.

Many of us who brew all-grain do it because we really want to. If you don't have a strong desire to do it, and you're happy with the beer you're brewing, I don't see any advantage to all-grain brewing. Many brewers continue brewing extract beers and I'd hazard a guess that overall extract brewers (either PM or extract) are the majority of homebrewers. Nothing wrong with it at all, and it probably does save a bit of time on brew days!

JimE 02-03-2010 01:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by YooperBrew (Post 1857387)

Many of us who brew all-grain do it because we really want to. If you don't have a strong desire to do it, and you're happy with the beer you're brewing, I don't see any advantage to all-grain brewing.

I really want to brew all-grain. I'm kind of going through a mental exercise to curb my enthusiasm before I set up a commercial brewery in my garage!!! :)

Yooper 02-03-2010 01:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JimE (Post 1857402)
I really want to brew all-grain. I'm kind of going through a mental exercise to curb my enthusiasm before I set up a commercial brewery in my garage!!! :)

Well, then do it!

A few things you'll notice that surprised me: the amount of break material! In my first AG batch, I was shocked by the amount of hot break during the boil. It looked like egg drop soup- totally different than my extract batches. Also, way more cold break. Big huge goobers of cold break.

I also noticed that my wort going into the fermenter was clear. That never happened to me when I was an extract brewer. Also, my first AG batch was a very light colored IPA- and it was so LIGHT! The same recipe in extract was signficantly darker.

The flavor changes were positive, but I wouldn't say a huge difference. The same beers were subtly different, at least at first. Fermentation was about the same, and the OG/FG were also usually about the same in the end. The best part was being able to use malts like rye malt, Vienna malt, Munich malt, maris otter malt, etc, that are impossible or difficult to find in an extract. So, I could do many more recipes and beer styles.

It's fun, that's for sure. But it's not necessarily for everyone. I've had plenty of great extract beers, and plenty of terrible AG beers. It's the brewer that makes the quality of the beer, not necessarily whether it's all-grain or extract.

JimE 02-03-2010 01:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by YooperBrew (Post 1857413)
...The best part was being able to use malts like rye malt, Vienna malt, Munich malt, maris otter malt, etc, that are impossible or difficult to find in an extract. So, I could do many more recipes and beer styles. ...

This excites me. My 1st all grain will have Maris Otter, Crystal 40L, Chocolate malts. Can't wait!

Beernik 02-04-2010 01:09 AM

"extract taste" is kind of a cloying twang. Your more likely to get it with old/stale LME than anything else.

jdp 02-04-2010 02:13 AM

Having just gone through the same process,
 
I have my 4th AG batch in primary now. I think My extract batches came out a little closer to what I was intending to make, but with a few adjustments at a time I will get exactly what I want. That is something I haven't been able to achieve with extract. I have noticed it is kind of a trade off, there are more variables with AG, so there are more things to potentially go a little sideways, but with all of those variables, you also get to fine tune a lot more to get the desired final product.

Instead of comparing your first AG batch to the extract batch, maybe save a few bottles to compare to later AG batches as well.

JimE 02-05-2010 04:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jdp (Post 1859449)
...Instead of comparing your first AG batch to the extract batch, maybe save a few bottles to compare to later AG batches as well.

That is a good idea, except my pipeline is empty... and I need to have beer.


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