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Old 01-08-2009, 07:04 PM   #1
JoeMama
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Default Say it isnt so! AG Brewing really THAT simple?

I mean, I almost feel like a fool for ever being intimidated by the notion of going AG! Mind you I have only brewed 2 batches - 1 was the kit on the stovetop. (Mighty tasty)

2nd was a full boil gathered from a recipe (Cheeses Carmel Cream Ale) - Just bottled it.

Now I have 2 mini mash kits in the mail from AHS. (Yay me)

Well, for some odd reason it just 'clicked' with AG brewing for me. In a nutshell...

3 tiered system is there but not entirely necessary (just easier) Ill get to my thoughts on this in a sec.

AG brewing consists of the following - Taking your crushed grains and throwing them into your MLT. (A picnic cooler with a spigot and either false bottom or SS braid to filter out the extracted malts from the grains) throw some hot water on top of it and let it sit for an hour. (Mashing)
Rinse the grains to maximize 'efficiency' (Sparging)

From here it is identical to how you would conduct your normal full boil or otherwise extract brew (minus the LME/DME this time)
Boil your wort as you would normally. (Without having to focus on late extracts etc)

Are you kidding me? Thats it? Thats all it takes (simply put) to brew the ultimate beer?

Sure the extra tier to control the sparge speed (or rate at which the sparge water is let into the tun) and or a simpler way to mass heat the water used for it all.

Thats it???!! I know the science of it all lies within the procedures used within to gain target efficiencies etc, but is the process REALLY this simple?

I guess now I understand why you hardcore AG brewers all but insist that others convert to AG not only because of the quality, experimental, cost savings etc - but because in a nutshell its ridiculously simple?

Somebody pinch me please, or throw me something that will make the mystique and fear of AG brewing come back! I almost feel silly for going mini-mash and not AG for these upcoming brews.
Wow Im excited!
-Me

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Old 01-08-2009, 07:08 PM   #2
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Thats it... hitting temps and volumes is the only "complicated" part of it.

*throws something*

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Old 01-08-2009, 07:14 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by JoeMama View Post
but is the process REALLY this simple?
in one word: yes.

keep in mind though that AG does NOT always equal "better."

The best beer I've made was an extract with specialty grains.

There's more to "good beer" than just the wort preparation.

heck, just read revvy's blog

http://blogs.homebrewtalk.com/Revvy/Why_cant_we_all_get_along/
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Old 01-08-2009, 07:22 PM   #4
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It's that simple in theory. You'd be surprised how many people (no one on this board of course) can't-

measure out water
read a thermometer
hit proper temps
properly cool wort
read a hydrometer
properly clean and sanitize

All of which are crucial to all grain brewing. So simple, perhaps. But there are a hundred things that can go wrong and will go wrong.

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Old 01-08-2009, 07:22 PM   #5
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Somebody pinch me please, or throw me something that will make the mystique and fear of AG brewing come back!
well, the very first time I poured the strike water into the MLT, the braid fell off. Great - now I have 175* water and a braid floating in my MLT. Of course my first instinct is to reach in grab it. Well 175* water and a 175* braid is hot!

Then the second AG batch I forgot to stir the grains after the mash (not a huge deal, but a step I should do that I forgot).

3rd AG my efficiency sucked so bad I missed my OG by like 12-15 pts - realized my thermometer was a piece of crap and I really needed an HLT.

Regrouped for my 4th and 5th (bought a new thermometer, bought a new MLT and converted the old one to an HLT to hold sparge water at ~188; bought a refracto to take quicker readings during the runnings; took better notes).

so, the longer answer is that AG is pretty easy; but still not easier than opening a can, pouring into water, and boiling...
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Old 01-08-2009, 07:23 PM   #6
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...Wow Im excited!
-Me
Keep it down would ya!

You're going to remove all the mystique.
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Old 01-08-2009, 07:23 PM   #7
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I see the logic in Rebbys blog, and thats precisely why I want to go AG. My extract brews have been downright delicious. In fact, before I grabbed a commercial version of my very first batch (to witness how wonderful my beer WILL taste when I let it finish its conditioning) I was convinced that I brewed the tastiest beer I have ever tasted.
Call it being overly proud of your accomplishment, call it being a noob, but even others I have let drink it (green) have said 'Damn thats a good beer!'

Nothing like many expect for a 'homebrew' (Yes Ive heard many a horror stories) But in my short 2 batches I have seen amazing results and comparisons between the kitinabox/stovetop partial and my Planned and prepped FG recipe brew.

I think that going AG will be that much more rewarding as it will be breaking it down even further. (I like to learn how things work)

IMO, my beer is tits now. I anticipate what AG might present (In challenges and rewards)
-Me

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Old 01-08-2009, 07:25 PM   #8
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AG brewing consists of the following - Taking your crushed grains and throwing them into your MLT. (A picnic cooler with a spigot and either false bottom or SS braid to filter out the extracted malts from the grains) throw some hot water on top of it and let it sit for an hour. (Mashing)
Rinse the grains to maximize 'efficiency' (Sparging)

From here it is identical to how you would conduct your normal full boil or otherwise extract brew (minus the LME/DME this time)
Boil your wort as you would normally. (Without having to focus on late extracts etc)

yep.
time was my main consideration, followed by the availability of adequate equipment. I am glad I made the switch.
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Old 01-08-2009, 07:30 PM   #9
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With a little attention to detail, AG brewing is quite simple really. I remember being completely and utterly intimidated by all-grain with all this talk of calibrating temperatures, tiered systems, march pumps, hopscreens, plate chillers, etc.- and then I played assistant brewer to a local HBer who has since moved to the PNW. Suddenly I realized how simple and straightforward it really was. Of course, there's lots of room to make it as mind-bendingly complicated (or expensive) as you'd like!

Think of it this way: all-grain brewing came first! Early brewers weren't using space-age equipment, rather they were exploiting naturally occurring processes and manipulating them to make beer!

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Old 01-08-2009, 07:34 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by flyangler18 View Post
With a little attention to detail, AG brewing is quite simple really. I remember being completely and utterly intimidated by all-grain with all this talk of calibrating temperatures, tiered systems, march pumps, hopscreens, plate chillers, etc.- and then I played assistant brewer to a local HBer who has since moved to the PNW. Suddenly I realized how simple and straightforward it really was. Of course, there's lots of room to make it as mind-bendingly complicated as you'd like.
You can make the process as simple or as complicated as you like and the end results can be the same. It all depends on what you want to do.

Personally I like to be somewhat hands on and have a relatively bare-bones operation. The only thing that is complex in my setup is my mash tun (flyguy version) and malt mill. It works for me and makes great beer so I'm happy.
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