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Old 10-19-2011, 06:30 AM   #1
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Default Thinking about going all-grain? DO IT!!!

I started brewing in May, 2011. I dove in headfirst. I got a 7.5g stainless steel pot with propane burner in order to do full-boils, made a 50ft copper immersion wort chiller, and everything else needed to make the best possible extract brews.

But, they were still extract brews.

I made 6 extract brewkits from Northern Brewer. I'm not trying to bash NB at all, I genuinely feel like they produce some very quality LME and DMEs. No matter how quality an extract is, it has still been sitting on a shelf somewhere for who knows how long...

I made the switch to all-grain about 6 weeks ago, and WOW! What a difference. I constructed a MLT out of a round 5 gal cooler from Lowe's for about $60 (including the copper manifold).

I made Biermuncher's OktoberfAst ale, and finally tried it tonight. Absolutely phenomenal.

There is no extract twang or weird aftertastes WHATSOEVER.

Since switching to AG, I've made a Pumpkin Spiced Ale, and an Oatmeal Stout. Can't wait to keep producing FAR superior brews! I'm trying to get all my friends to drink my extract brews that I have in bottles just to free up space for the AGs...

I wish I could go back in time and switch to AG sooner! By far the best improvement I've made in my brewing process..

So, for all you extract brewers out there, MAKE THE JUMP! As long as you have the process down with extracts, there is absolutely no reason not to go AG..

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Old 10-19-2011, 08:16 AM   #2
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Agreed. IMO its what really got me hooked on beer making. Doing extract is fine, and since the market for it keeps us AG'ers alive i wont knock it, but there is no depth to it. No pinpointing certain tastes or body characteristics. AG all the way baby!

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Old 10-19-2011, 12:08 PM   #3
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Applaud your enthusiasm, and in general I agree and prefer AG for several of the reasons you stated. However, I think the biggest variable to control when making great beer is yeast pitching rate and control of fermentation temps.

You can get all the AG steps down, then pitch too little yeast hot and end up with mediocre to terrible beer. I'd take the extract brew with excellent yeast/fermentation management any day over the former.

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Old 10-19-2011, 12:40 PM   #4
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Im doing my first all AG batch this weekend, but im glad I did the extract batches I did. It help me get a better feel on the whole process and work on stuff like yeast pitching rates and fermentation temps, without some of the complexity that all grain adds. It was a great learning step, one I think everyone should take.

I probably shouldnt be doing a lager for my first all-grain, its going to be hard to wait for it to be ready. I might have to do an ale right after this.

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Old 10-19-2011, 12:48 PM   #5
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Just want to chime in that it's probably MUCH easier to brew AG than many people think. if you are on the fence, do it. you can try it with a simple BIAB beer with the same equipment you are using for extract, but with a 5 gallon paint strainer bag added.

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Old 10-19-2011, 12:58 PM   #6
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How many extracts did you do first? What kind of burner are you using? Cost savings alone is enough to make me consider making the switch.

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Old 10-19-2011, 01:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Homercidal
Just want to chime in that it's probably MUCH easier to brew AG than many people think. if you are on the fence, do it. you can try it with a simple BIAB beer with the same equipment you are using for extract, but with a 5 gallon paint strainer bag added.
+1 on BIAB. It brews great beer, has a low equipment and cleanup quotia, and is an easy to follow process.

I might suggest a few partial mashes first before totally AG. It is a noticeable increase in quality and helps you dial in your mash processes before you completely depend on the mash for all your fermentables.

It allows you to use your existing equipment. With simple brewing software you can start with smaller partials of 2.5 to 3 lbs grain and work all the way up to a full mash.

Doing a lot of partial mashes gave me the confidence to move to all grain without hesitation. Once I did a 7 pound 90 minute mash, kept my mash temperature steady, and achieved conversion, I knew I was ready to do full mashes.

There's nothing wrong with moving straight from extract to all grain. I thought I'd offer a useful intermediate step that for some, including me, made the transition to all grain easy, effective and natural.
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Old 10-19-2011, 01:41 PM   #8
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I brewed extract then recently switched to AG. I went batch sparge with 10g Rubbermaid cooler. Love it. I think AG is a bit more fun, but, really I switched because I wanted to start from grains rather than extract. I feel more like a brewer now.

PS. In no way do I mean to denigrate extract brewers. I still have a world of respect for you.

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Old 10-19-2011, 01:43 PM   #9
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I did the same, but started in August and went to AG in September. I win.

AG is 100x better - plus your friends think you're way cooler when you're mashing grains rather than pouring goo in to a pot.

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Old 10-19-2011, 02:32 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kehaar View Post
I brewed extract then recently switched to AG. I went batch sparge with 10g Rubbermaid cooler. Love it. I think AG is a bit more fun, but, really I switched because I wanted to start from grains rather than extract. I feel more like a brewer now.

PS. In no way do I mean to denigrate extract brewers. I still have a world of respect for you.
Same here. Extract brewing was fine, but when I switched to AG brews it was much better. I am also not denigrating extract brewers, but my AG brews taste much better than my extract (kit) brews, and I have more fun doing them. I did do a couple of BIAB batches though, and then switched to a Rubbermaid mash tun for mashing and if you have the space, having a mash tun is far superior. More fun, in my opinion, and a cleaner process.
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