Hey guy's! So I am a complete, haven't even taken baby steps, newbie at the brewing game. I am really excited I found a community like this on the Web, so thanks to all that are contributing to this.
I have been reading up on the general process of brewing and am really excited to get started. A family member bought me a small, basic starter kit. Along with an extract ingredient kit to kick things off.
But what I really want to do is what I've seen called an "all grain" brew based on a "Bells Two Hearted" clone recipe I found on these forums. BTH being my favorite ipa I've had the pleasure of enjoying thus far. So I guess what I'm really getting at here are these questions...
What are the differences between doing an extract ingredient kit and an all grain recipe? And what additional equipment will I need based off of the hyperlink I posted, to achieve an all grain brew? And of course, are there any suggestions in any of the brewing processes, all grain and extract, that any of you experienced brews have for a fresh start kind of a guy like me? Any input you guys can lay down will be greatly appreciated in all ways.
Thanks for reading my post and thanks for your time givin.
Buy this book.
I actually just found that link... Thanks for the input and the reference!
This was helpful to me, only covers the mashing process, which will replace the extract if you have brewed kits before. Sub that with this, then good to go. Definitely read the book, but I learn more hands on, and read as i go / learn from my mistakes.
Also, this thread has some good tips.
Everybody has a progression of steps that makes sense for them. There are folks haunting the forums that jumped into AG on the first day. There are others that have been doing extract for years and would never dream of doing anything else. Here's how I progressed:
1. extract ingredients kits from Brewers Best
2. extract recipies from the recipie forum of this site
3. Partial mash BIAB
4. AG BIAB.
For me this progression made sense, since doing extract kits allowed me to make a minumal investment in equipment and concentrate on the steps common to all types of brewing; sanitation, boil, sanitation, bottling and priming, sanitation, conditioning. (did I mention sanitation is important? :) )
Once I was comfortable with the basics, I picked up some extract recipies and started putting my own ingredients together, including steeping grains and then partial mash. That eased me into working with grains.
The next step for me was AG, which is where I am today. While some may say (correctly) that a primary reason to move to AG is expense, (since grains are less expensive per 5 gallon bach than extracts) That's not my motivation. Its repeatability. (If I wanted a cheap drunk I'd go the to the liquor store and pick up a dozen cases of BMC). Extracts vary by manufacturer. If I pick up a kilo of unhopped pilsen extract, I cannot be sure whether it contains 100% 2 row, 100% 6 row, 80/20, 20% wheat, whatever. I haven't yet found an extract manufacturer that published their extract composition. Therefore, if I brew a batch with extract from a different manufacturer, i never know if its different because of something I did differently or something different that came out of the can. By contrast, a 6 row base malt with 1 pound of black patent and 1/8 pound of acid malt will pretty much result in the same beer regardless of who malted the grains.
I started a year ago Christmas with a 'Truebrew' kit that my wife finally got me after years of hinting.
Picked up Snyder's and Palmer's books, and two of Charlie P.s books and studied them.
Read threads on this forum and Northern Brewer's forum at least a couple times a week.
I'm now up to 16 batches in the past year and am doing mostly partial mash batches. I believe I will eventually go to AG, probably BIAB when I get a bigger brewpot and a propane burner. I use the 'Hopville' website to design my recipes.
IMHO I've made some awesome beer, made alot of mistakes especially early on, but everything has been drinkable.
Homebrewing is a perfect combination of cooking,science, and biology. I've had a blast, and you will too. Plus you develop alot of friends willing to exchange empty bottles for full ones.
I do want to emphasize W. Shakes Beers point on sanitation. Probably the most critical step in the whole brewing process. There's plenty of 'Please Help My Ruined Beer' threads that can give you an idea of how badly things can go wrong if you are lax in sanitation.
Good Luck, and Welcome to the fraternity!
To add to my reply,
If you have an All grain recipe, you can convert it to an extract, or partial mash by using the formula that in general
1 lb. grain mashed = .75 lb LME or .6 lb DME.
Substitute for all or just some of the base grain, keep the specialty grains and hop schedule the same.
Just since it hadn't been posted yet, NorthernBrewer's Dead Ringer IPA kit/recipe is a Two-Hearted clone (the kit used to be called Three-Hearted before a cease-and-desist!)
If you want to source the ingredients yourself they have just the recipe posted at http://www.northernbrewer.com/documentation/allgrain/AG-DeadRingerIPA.pdf
Thadass, we're on the same page you and I. I just went out an got home moments ago from a trip to the brew shop. I took a peak at the Dead Ringer IPA extract Kit and took it upon my self to build my own with a little help from the awesome staff at Brew and Grow, my local brew haven. Check out these ingredients we threw together and tell me what you guys think!
- Northwestern Gold malt extract 6row, 9.3lbs
- 1oz 60min
- 1oz 20min
- 2oz 5min
- 1.5oz dry hop
- Briess caramel, 1lb.
Looks great! The extra half ounce of dry hops will be nice I'm sure :)
My first two extract brews were from recipes on brew supply websites and I gathered everything at my LHBS, too. As far as tips for your first brew... the biggest improvement I've seen (especially in something like an IPA!) would be getting a big pot to do my boils in, especially in a recipe with all those hops. Boil as big as your stove/burner/etc will allow.
And once it's in the fermenter, don't touch it for _three weeks_. If you get antsy and go out and buy another $15 bucket to ferment a new batch in a week or two (a highly suggested move) you might even consider leaving the IPA to sit for a month before bottling.
For the record, those first two extract batches were the last extract batches I did. I don't have anything against it, and it was a nice way to learn the basics of brewing, but once I did an all-grain batch I was just that much more hooked on brewing. I do a modified brew-in-a-bag process, very similar to DeathBrewer's very popular guides (All-grain and Partial Mash). I have an 8 gallon pot ($30 aluminum tamale steamer from amazon) that needs two burners on my stove PLUS a heatstick I made (example instructions here) to boil 6+ gallons.
Plenty of online shops have a wide variety of liquid and dry extracts, ranging from british pale to rye to pilsen extract. My local shop though has "light, medium, and dark. you want that in liquid or dry?" haha. Moving to all-grain really opens the doors to being able to vary your base flavor as most local shops do carry a fair variety of base malts (at least an american pale, british pale, and german pilsen).
The all-grain BIAB with a batch sparge only added like an hour onto the brewing process versus the extract batches I did, and it was super satisfying and delicious! (and the all grain ingredients are less expensive as well)
To sum up and answer your "what equipment?" question, what I added to my kit between extract an all-grain were:
A big pot (mine is 8 gallons). Aluminum is cheap, light, and wonderful.
A way to heat the pot. My solution was the heatstick. Many use an outdoor propane burner.
The nylon BIAB bag. Mine is wide enough to fit over the mouth of my pot. Common are the paint strainer bags from home stores. Mine doubles as a hop bag (I dump the grains post-mash and rinse it out before my boil starts)
A better way to cool your wort. My kettle barely fits into my sink, so I set it in there and use a DIY immersion cooler in the wort that then drains into the sink cooling the outside of the kettle as well.
And that's it really. The kettle, heatstick, and cooler were all about $30 each, and as far as I'm concerned, I'm set.
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