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Old 01-22-2013, 01:52 PM   #1
andy6026
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Default All Grain For First Batch?

So I'm entirely new to home brewing other than bottling batches at my local U-Brew. I've bought a 15 gallon kettle, I splashed on the blichmann burner (that was a tough decision) and I built my own wort-chiller (50' of 1/2" copper). I've assembled the rest of the necessary equipment and have plenty of empty 500ml bottles on hand from my time doing the U-brew. I have yet to build a mash-tun, but I've got a cooler to use, and from what I've seen on youtube it doesn't look particularly difficult (although I said that about the wort-chiller and that was harder and more expensive than i anticipated).

Having gotten this far I want to get straight to making a simple but excellent beer.

Is it a crazy idea to go straight to attempting an all-grain? Are they that much better than using the extract kits? Are they significantly more difficult if I'm a bit wet behind the ears?

Any experience you have at this or advice is much appreciated! Any recipe suggestions that are perhaps comparatively simple would also be helpful - I'm partial to IPAs without an extremely overwhelming 'hoppiness' and relatively low on the alcohol content (i.e. closer to 5% rather than 6%+).

Thanks everyone!

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Old 01-22-2013, 02:13 PM   #2
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Is it a crazy idea to go straight to attempting an all-grain? Nope, not crazy at all. Ambitious? Yes. Crazy? No. Are they that much better than using the extract kits? they can be, but if done right you can make terrific extract beer too Are they significantly more difficult if I'm a bit wet behind the ears?I wouldn't say more difficult. More work for sure. And more can go wrong so you need to know more to begin with but more difficult is subjective. I'd say a steeper learning curve

Any experience you have at this or advice is much appreciated! Do it! They cooler will work great and is easier than a wort chiller Any recipe suggestions that are perhaps comparatively simple would also be helpful - I'm partial to IPAs without an extremely overwhelming 'hoppiness' and relatively low on the alcohol content (i.e. closer to 5% rather than 6%+). Start with a pale ale. A bit easier to begin with than an IPA just because of the lower alcohol levels

Thanks everyone!
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Old 01-22-2013, 02:16 PM   #3
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Also, it seems like this is the direction you want to go so why not just go there. If someone is getting into the hobby kind of unsure about themselves I'd say start extract to try it out because it is cheaper upfront. But you're already more than halfway there so I'd say just do it.

It would also be way easier if you could snag someone from the forum from around the area to help you through that first brewday.

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Old 01-22-2013, 02:16 PM   #4
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I'm partial to IPAs without an extremely overwhelming 'hoppiness' and relatively low on the alcohol content (i.e. closer to 5% rather than 6%+).
I think those are just called Pale Ales (if using North American hops) or Bitters (if using European hops).

Welcome to the obsession, no it's not "crazy" at all, though it is ambitious. If you're like me, you learn by doing, so as long as you accept that you'll make a few mistakes along the way, then it's a great adventure! Read as much as you can and dive in with both feet!

Let us know how everything goes. Take pictures! Good luck, and have fun!
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Old 01-22-2013, 02:27 PM   #5
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You are not crazy for going all grain for your first batch. I have never done a extract beer. My very first was all grain and I have brewed right at 100 gallons in less than a year.

My suggestions are make the owner of the local home brew supply a good friend and read this fourm hours, and I found some you tube videos that also helped. On your first brewday have lots of notes on what to do. On your first batch you will very likely mess something up. Beer is harder to mess up than you think. Just have fun.

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Old 01-22-2013, 02:46 PM   #6
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I started brewing all grain from my first batch and its not as hard as it seems. Heat your mash in/strike water to 170 and give it a few mins in the cooler. Mash in your grains(should leave your temp at about 155), leave it for an hour, fly sparge to pre boil volume then get started on your boil. It's that simple really. As long as you start with a solid recipe and you ferment cool you shouldn't have a problem. It's learning to design recipes and the proportions each malt should be used that can be tricky. Other than that its like I always say.... Brewing is like baking, its all about the times and temps.

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Old 01-22-2013, 02:55 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone. Sometimes that little confidence booster is all that's necessary. I've also been scouring recipes and think I may have found one that looks fairly simple and appealing (Askims Pale Ale), although I am going to look around more at recipes before deciding for sure.

I'm itching and b*#ching to get this equipment fired up. I'll be sure to take lots of notes and photos as I go.

Thanks again!

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Old 01-22-2013, 03:05 PM   #8
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Id say if youve got the gear and are confident in your abilities, go for it.
Its cooking, not rocket science.
If you understand the process you should be ok.

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Old 01-22-2013, 05:28 PM   #9
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I brewed a single extract kit before trying my hand at AG this weekend. Frankly, I found both processes fairly easy and wouldn't have had a problem doing the 1st batch All Grain, just plan a FULL DAY. It took me from 7am to about 2pm to be completed and mostly cleaned up my Belgian Dubbel all Grain. Your superfast burner will probably help that speed up a little, my stove takes a long time to heat water and boil.


Building a mash tun is easy. The calculators work. Here's the ones I used to get my mashing procedure down:

http://www.brewheads.com/batch.php


I use RO water, so I used this to get a basic profile to build to with salt additions.

http://www.brewersfriend.com/water-chemistry/


There is a LOT more to learn or understand with AG... like a LOT More.... but I ended up going all grain because it was, in a way, easier to fully understand - the information is there, the recipes you find, the podcasts, the videos that get into the technical details are all based on AG brewing.

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Old 01-22-2013, 05:33 PM   #10
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I have never brewed a extract beer. Well a buddy wants to try and get into brewing and wants to brew extract. Needless to say I have been scouring the forum trying to learn how to brew extract beer.

Go for the all grain if you want. It really is not very hard at all

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