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Old 01-03-2008, 07:38 PM   #1
daholl01
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Default Thoughts on newbie going straight to AG

Hey Everyone,

I am new to homebrewing and am contemplating going straight to AG brewing, skipping extract and mini mash.

The thing is, I love beer. I enjoy the many different styles of beer as well as sampling beer from various craft brewers/micro brews. I also do quite a bit of entertaining and have a bunch of friends to drink with that also enjoy good beers as well. Basically I think this is a good hobby for me.

While I have been out of the country for about the past 5 months or so, I had the opportunity to follow this forum quite a bit, and I also have read "How to Brew" cover to cover, so I have a good understanding the AG brewing process.

The way I look at it, for the cost of a couple extract kits, I would be able to add all the necessary equipment to a starter kit to be able to go AG. Any reason why I shouldn't?

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Old 01-03-2008, 07:41 PM   #2
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Other than possibly biting off more than you can chew, I say do it! In retrospect, if I had the money and foresight I would've gone straight to AG. Extract brewing is good for learning the basics of brewing and sanitation procedures. If you're not into baby steps, then go for it!

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Old 01-03-2008, 07:43 PM   #3
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The price increase for equpment is more than the cost of a couple extract kits. If money isn't a huge concern I say go for it, you may make some mistakes but you'll learn from them and you can always get ask questions here if you run into a problem.

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Old 01-03-2008, 07:46 PM   #4
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If I knew then what I know now - I'd probably have gone straight to all grain. Certainly there is quite a bit of extra stuff required (and if you are putting equipment together, my advice would be to think about 10gallon batches from the start - a lot of people who scale for 5gallons end up upgrading later on) - likely to treble or quadruple the cost of your basic kit, at least.

One thing to consider, though - it takes a lot longer to brew AG - from what I read here probably 6+ hrs is a reasonable brew time for a 10gallon batch. I'd probably struggle to allocate whole days to brewing so partial mash is probably as far as I'm going for a while (at least till it gets warmer outside!!).

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Old 01-03-2008, 07:51 PM   #5
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If you have the money and you're willing to learn as you go then I also say go for it. You can get a basic setup without too much of an investment.

It's a few months AFTER you start doing AG that you blow your budget on new brewing toys.

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Old 01-03-2008, 07:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cd2448
If I knew then what I know now - I'd probably have gone straight to all grain.
+1

Also once you go all grain there is nothing to stop you from trying out extracts and PMs with the same equipment ( as you will already have it ). If your going to go for it you may as well also go large. If it were me Id want to be able to deliver 12 gallons of wort to 2 fermenters at the end of my brew day. Can always experiment with smaller batches but once you find a session brew... well it goes too fast.
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Old 01-03-2008, 07:54 PM   #7
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Go for it. It's just not that hard. It's a great hobby. I just love the beer I make and I can make what I like cheap once I had the equipment. Don't bottle either, just go strait to the keg and tap. It is way easier.

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Old 01-03-2008, 08:33 PM   #8
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If you have the money and time, go for it. It also helps if you done any kind of cooking before. I think experience in baking is really relevant. You have to be precise when you bake and you have to understand things like leavening. If you can do that, you can do AG with no problem. It's a fun hobby that you can constantly grow in. Always something to learn or try.

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Old 01-03-2008, 08:38 PM   #9
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I'd agree with everything posted in response so far... except for the kegging. Yeah, if you have the money for it all, go for it, but kegging could add a lot to your set-up costs and I'm one of those that thinks bottling isn't so bad. I started right off with AG. I've never brewed any other way and every batch (inclucing my first) has been good. HowtoBrew.com and this forum were pretty much my mentors. The only bit of advice I can give is to be patient, don't get discouraged if something doesn't seem to go right, and really try to understand WHY you're doing each step... not just that you're doing it. For my first batch, I wrote out a step-by-step procedure of what I was doing and I had done a lot of research to understand why I was doing each step. It actually went pretty smooth and was a very rewarding day. Start off with a tried and true recipe with a simple mash schedule. If you're thinking of going right into AG, you're probably the kind of person that likes to do things right the first time (nothing against extract and PM!), so apply this same principal to your set-up. You'll save money in the long-run. Go for it!

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Old 01-03-2008, 08:39 PM   #10
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I started out AG. I had a buddy who had been brewing for many years show me the ropes. I think it was a great help putting what I had read with what I was doing. Where are you at? I bet there's another brewer close by that would be willing to help get you going. If not, I'd say the reading you've been doing is probably enough to get you through.

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