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Old 02-28-2007, 03:19 PM   #1
AleHole
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Default All Grain brewing is simple

I am posting this thread to describe my first few AG batches after several extract batches.

After much research on various websites, books, and forums I decided that I wanted to give All Grain brewing a try and decided on the batch sparge method. I figured the worst that could happen is that is I would be out 20 bucks for grain and a few bucks for material to convert an old cooler into a mash/lauter tun. I felt like most extract brewers that have never brewed AG before that it was very hard and I was actually kinda intimidated. Well after my first batch I seriously asked myself why all the fuss? It really is simple and in my opinion easier than extract and lots more fun because you are not making beer using premade syrup.
Basically all you are doing is soaking crushed grain in hot water for an hour (the mash) and draining the runnings into your boil pot. After that you perform the sparge wich is basically soaking the grains in more hot water for 15 minutes and draining again. You have just made AG wort. Simple. The hardest part about the whole process is making sure you have the right temperature water and adding the correct amount of water per lb of grain (1.3 quarts water per 1 lb of grain is a good number). So I am encouraging anybody that is intimidated by All Grain brewing not to be. It really is easy. Here are some great resorces that completely helped me understand and brew my first AG wort.

http://hbd.org/cascade/dennybrew/

http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/index.html

My advice is keep it simple and and don't worry. It really is hard to screw up beer bad enough not to drink. Chances are it will be your best batch ever. One downside for some people however is that you do have to be able to boil full 5 gallon batches, so getting a keggle or bigger brewpot is essential.

CHEERS

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Old 02-28-2007, 03:20 PM   #2
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Old 02-28-2007, 03:29 PM   #3
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Nice. AG rules the night! Getting the process is indeed simple and is more daunting in perception than it is in reality. You could spend a lifetime perfecting it though Also, you could spend a lifetime being too afraid to ever take the plunge.

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Old 02-28-2007, 03:33 PM   #4
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nice post. it realy can be as easy as you want to make it. i did a 2 step mash with an IPA the other day and it was like my spreadsheet could do no wrong. more importantly, it was the smoothest fly sparge i've ever done. it was one of those beautiful days where everything works perfectly. (good deal, because two weeks ago a pilsner clogged up by FB THREE times during the sparge. my efficiency was horrible - i needed an easy brew day!)

good stuff!

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Old 02-28-2007, 03:36 PM   #5
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I basically agree.

The biggest barriers to AG, IMHO, are the time investment and the need to be able to boil larger amounts of water and wort. As you say, the equipment costs can be modest, and it's not rocket science.

The biggest issue for me is time. Whe I did extract batches, I could brew in the evening. I get up at 5:30 in the morning, so brewing until past midnight just simply isn't a viable option for me more than a few times a year.

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Old 02-28-2007, 03:41 PM   #6
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I must say that after my first reading of CP's description of AG in The Joy, I was confused as all hell about it... This forum has resolved a lot of that confusion, so much so that I'll be doing my first AG batch on Friday. So many thanks to all you, and may I never have to buy LME again.

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Old 02-28-2007, 06:47 PM   #7
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thanks for the encouragement! I'm seriously considering starting AG brewing too. I'm about to move, so I'll at least wait until then, but I'm looking forward to it. That thread with the discussion of batch vs. fly sparging is great too.
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=23379

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Old 02-28-2007, 11:34 PM   #8
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One other advantage is that an AG batch is cheaper than extract. I was spending close to 30 dollars for 1 extract batch. Now my batches are under 20 bucks and that includes liquid yeast! And for those that say they do not have room....if you have a small patio or front porch or something similiar then you have room. All you need is room to boil outside and thats not much space. As far as storage, 1 Boil kettle, 1 hot liquor tank(to heat your hot water for the mash and sparge) ,1 converted cooler and a burner.

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Old 02-28-2007, 11:57 PM   #9
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If I can go AG, ANYONE can go AG.

I didn't have any help outside of this forum either. I just made a decision to go for it after I got my equipment. I was intimidated (like most new brewers) about AG and thought it required all kinds of equipment and calculations and scientific knowledge. Boy was I wrong.

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Old 03-01-2007, 12:28 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoatFarmersInternational
I must say that after my first reading of CP's description of AG in The Joy, I was confused as all hell about it... This forum has resolved a lot of that confusion, so much so that I'll be doing my first AG batch on Friday.
Yeah, reading that was like reading a chemistry textbook.
I like reading about AG here, cuz it's put in more laymans' terms. Now, if I go back and reread that book, I'll probably understand a lot more, but no where near what I would learn from here.

My biggest hurdle is the equipment, cuz when it comes to DIY or mechanical stuff, I suck! I'll really have to have things spelled out for me. I'll probably end up printing off the photos of the devices needed, and showing that to the employee at the hardware store and saying, "here, this is what i need."

I'm still at least a month from doing my first AG batch (or getting the equipment), but at least I can educate myself about it by then.
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