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Old 03-14-2013, 05:09 AM   #1
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Default A question to "all grain" brewers

Hello all. What kind of beers can only be brewed all grain or at least with a large amount of grain? I am an beginner extract brewer and I don't have a drive to jump into all grain. At least not comparable to the drive I had to get into brewing in general. Thanks.

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Old 03-14-2013, 05:41 AM   #2
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I may be wrong, but here are the benefits I see to it. #1: its cheaper. #2: you have more control of the beer, ie making it maltier, sweeter, drier etc by controlling the mash temp and variety of grain. #3 its cheaper, and #4, its cheaper.

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Old 03-14-2013, 05:45 AM   #3
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You can make nearly any broad style of beer you'd want to with extract and steeping a bit of specialty grain- but you can be much more particular with all grain. Very few people regret going to all grain, but there is certainly no reason to do so if you aren't interested, especially with all the new malt extracts available these days.

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Old 03-14-2013, 08:16 AM   #4
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As mentioned, with extract, and especially partial mashes, there is very little you can't do. Having said that, the jump from "partial" to "all" is a small one. It's how I did. On your next batch of extract, just steep a few ounces or so into your wort of some appropriate to style crushed grain and see for yourself. Once you can do this, and read a thermometer, you can all grain.

Also, did he mention cheaper?

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Old 03-14-2013, 12:25 PM   #5
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With extracts you do not always know what you are getting. What crystal and how much is in the pale extract. What mix is used in the amber. Etc. You can control the subtleties of the finished product a little more by going AG. It tends to be cheaper as well as you are not paying for the wort to be made and concentrated for you. It is more of a time investment. I will still make some partial mash brews, especially when it is too cold to be outside brewing. You also need more storage space for your grains as you would be buying in bulk, not to mention the up front equipment costs.

In my opinion, it is worth the added time and effort because I feel more connected to my beer, and brewing for me is very zen like. Not to mention the fact that I am retentitive and really enjoy being exacting in my process. It all boils down to what you want to do. Try a partial mash or a 1 Gal AG to experience the process and see if it is what you want to do. If not stick with extracts. Remember. Its your beer. As long as it tastes good to you, and you enjoy it, there is no wrong way to make it.

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Old 03-14-2013, 12:29 PM   #6
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i feel the comparison is really extract is like baking a batch of brownies with a box mix.. all grain is like making them completely from scratch.. you'll get great products with both, but going all grain will give you more choice, control, and a more variables to control resulting in a better overall experience/product

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Old 03-14-2013, 12:40 PM   #7
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to answer the question directly, here are some styles that can only be brewed all-grain

rauch bier (50-100% smoked malt in place of base malt)
vienna lagers/ales (50-100% vienna malt)
dunkel (75-100% munich)

mostly german styles came to mind. it is an interesting question. anyone else?

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Old 03-14-2013, 12:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by progmac View Post
to answer the question directly, here are some styles that can only be brewed all-grain

rauch bier (50-100% smoked malt in place of base malt)
vienna lagers/ales (50-100% vienna malt)
dunkel (75-100% munich)

mostly german styles came to mind. it is an interesting question. anyone else?
You can make any of those with extract, whether you win awards is a crapshoot. You can get both Vienna and Munich malts in extract. A quick Google found me some peat-smoked extract kits, I would imagine that beechwood smoked is available or easily pulled off. Extracts have changed since I went on my sabbatical and there's a wide variety available. I don't think there's any "taste alike" beers you can't make.

One thing you will never make with extract though is a very pale colored beer such as an American Lager. You might be able to make a taste-alike, but you will not get a taste-alike that is also a look-alike in the lighter colored beers.
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Old 03-14-2013, 01:01 PM   #9
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Hey nobody said its cheaper

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Old 03-14-2013, 01:09 PM   #10
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Anything with Oatmeal. Also I know they make extract for basically any type of base grain but they aren't always easy to find(like Vienna). Rye, Munich and even Maris Otter are available through Northern Brewer now. You don't need to go all-grain though. You can always do a partial mash without the need to buy a mash tun and extra pot for all-grain.

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