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Old 03-01-2011, 04:04 AM   #11
DannPM
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I did two extract batches and then jumped into all grain. You sound like me, thinking of it all day and night. You won't regret it, your options multiply immensely and become simpler to achieve when going to all grain.

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Old 03-01-2011, 05:34 AM   #12
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Welcome to the endless, obsessive spending spree. I foolishly wonder if it will end some day........

Went Ag and i love it, and like an earlier post I wish I had done it sooner. My first AG brew went smooth as silk, for two main reasons I recommend:

1) Take time and think about your equipment. Are you going to jump next to 10Gal batches? Do you prefer a counterlow IC, an regular IC, or a plate chiller? How big will your grain bills be? What type of beers do you like? If you're an Imperial Stout / Barleywine kinda guy, consider a bigger tun, Etc., Etc., Etc.

2) I have the fortune of having a friend who was an avid AG brewer come over and supervise. Pretty sure something would have gone wrong if he weren't there. If you know an AG brewer, I highly recommend that step.

This all comes with the caveat I'm an obsessive, efficiency chasing, tinkering freak-a-zoid. I'd sell a kidney for 5 efficiency points.

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Old 03-01-2011, 06:47 AM   #13
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I went straight from doing kits beers to all-grain. No regrets, never looking back. Every time I brew, I rack the wort into the fermenter thinking to myself... when and what will I brew next. I jumped in two feet in. As soon as I built my mash tun and picked up a turkey fryer, I did 3 brews in a week. Now I have no more space for carboys. I have to put off my next batch till Friday.

It is like an addiction. Not in the "I like to booze up" kind of way, but the satisfaction of brewing beer I can call my own, give away to people and see them enjoy it as well. It is a hobby that is more satisfying than most I say. It is a hobby where it is easy to put a smile on someones face when you can pass them a pint and say, "Hey! I made this one for you." Cheezy? Sure, but I'll be damned if someone could ever be able to take those kinds of moments away from me.

It is an adventure in creativity, both in process and in product. Almost every brewery I have been to does things a little differently, just like every home brewer does things a little differently. Doing your beer from grain to glass allows you to truly own your process, as well as owning your own beer.

I say at this point, there is no reason you shouldn't be doing all-grain. Brewing from scratch is as much a science as it is an art. Learn by doing, and do while learning. Invite your friends over to help you brew. Make them part of the process. Spread the joy of home brewing and the desire for better hand crafted beers.

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Old 03-01-2011, 11:53 AM   #14
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I'm basically in the same boat you are. I started brewing about 3 months ago and after 3 extract beers, I just brewed my first AG 3 weeks ago (i couldn't stand knowing there was an entirely different method to learn and I wasn't learning it). I'm bottling it this weekend and after hitting all of my numbers on brew day, I pulled a sample a few days back and it's delicious (made a SmAsH ale).

It wasn't nearly as complex or difficult as I thought - was actually more relaxing than my previous brew days.

I was also hesitant because I boil on the stove top and only use a 5 gallon pot. No problem though - like one of the others suggested, I just did a 3 gallon batch from a 4 gallon boil.

The only extra cash I forked out was for building the mashtun - roughly $50 from a rubbermaid cooler, and a good thermometer- spent about 30 on that.

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Old 03-01-2011, 12:35 PM   #15
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You might still be able to do full 5 gallon batches in an apt.

I have a 48 qt igloo cooler MLT, and a very lightly used 7.5 gallon turkey fryer setup i got on craigslist (i only use the kettle from this setup). I am able to bring damn near 7 gallons to a good rolling boil on my stove top (i just need to make sure the kettle is straddling two burners).

It just takes a litle more time getting to a boil than a banjo burner or something similar would.

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Old 03-01-2011, 05:07 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by tdogg View Post
i recently started doing all grain on the stove top. i cant boil more than 4 gallons, i dont guzzle tons of beer, and i like to experiment. so my answer was to do 3 gallon batches. i have a mashtun, and my 5 gallon boil kettle and it works great. it gets your "per batch" cost down quite a bit too. learn to harvest yeast and you can brew a batch for under $10.
This is what I've been toying around with doing. I mostly do extract brews with grains, and I've done 2 PM brews as well. The price is a factor for me as well. I brew with a friend who isn't interested in doing PM or all-grain, he just started out and is more than happy doing extract brews. He'd be more than happy letting me brew at his place however I like, though. He's now got all of my equipment there (my tiny 2 bedroom apartment, now with a 2.5 year old and another on the way doesn't work for brewing)

I like the idea of experimenting a bit more, personally. But a 5 gallon IIPA or Imperial ryePA wouldn't do well with many of the people we're around (I'm not a guzzler either)

I could use some tips on how to do a smaller all-grain, though. I've only done PM before, would there be a difference doing a small batch all grain? Other than not using DME or LME?

We were thinking more like 2.5 gallon batches, but 3 sounds reasonable as well. I just insulated the mash in the brewkettle with my last one. But how much would it be to put together a mash tun for these smaller batches?

I'm getting excited (sorry, not to ransack the thread)
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Old 03-01-2011, 05:23 PM   #17
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http://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/ind..._to_a_mash_tun

I followed that for the Rubbermaid Cooler - got everything accept the Stainless steel fender washers (got them online) from Home Depot. It totaled around $50 for everything and after i had all the parts it only took about 15 min to assemble everything. I figure I could drop 50 bucks and for the amount I'd be saving per batch, I'll make that up quickly, and have some good beer in the mean time.
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Old 03-01-2011, 05:38 PM   #18
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I see.

That's the tough part for me right now. Just spending another 50 bucks on something, although it would make brewing more fun and cheaper in the long run. Smaller batches will be great for me, and that's probably what I'll end up doing. My buddy may even help out with a few bucks towards the mash tun.

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Old 03-01-2011, 05:40 PM   #19
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My two cents (which is, after taking into consideration the exchange rate, is worth considerably less than two cents)....

If you wanna go AG, fire it up... I would highly recommend reading Palmer's How to Brew if you haven't already. Unless you're some kind of insanely wicked smot person, a lot of it won't make total sense. I would then highly recommend just making a couple stove-top brews per Deathbrewers tutorial... then... after each time you do a brew like Deathbrewer demonstrates... go back and skim through How To Brew again... a TON more will make sense. Each time you brew and then refer to the book, a LOT more will click.

The ONLY reason I am suggesting this method is that it seems like a lot of folks (I did it too) dive into AG and immediately want to build all sorts of equipment... again... I did it too. And that's not a bad thing except if you take just a little bit of time up front, brew a couple "simple" batches and really get a grasp on some of the nuaces of AG brewing, then you'll be able to REALLY decide what kind of equipment you want... a RIMS, a HERMS, neither... how many gallons? gravity? pumps? single, double, triple teir, etc etc etc.

I would recommend get just a little practice and then building something you really want as opposed to building something you might grow out of in three months.

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Old 03-01-2011, 05:48 PM   #20
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I went all-grain after 3 extract batches including one bad extract batch (IPA kit didn't have nearly enough hops in it).

AG is the way to go.

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