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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > does all grain beer taste better than extract? or is it just an experience thing?
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Old 01-04-2013, 07:20 PM   #11
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All-Grain tastes better, except for those times when Extract tastes better.

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Old 01-04-2013, 07:20 PM   #12
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All grain isn't better - but you can control it more exactly.

I brewed some extract beers with friends - all with the same base extract. While we were making varied recipes and styles there's something quite similar about the finished product. Three all grain recipes would have been more different and distinct.

A carefully executed extract recipe can and often does win medals at contests.

Personally I can create a beer that more closely meets my tastes and desires with all grain. It's not intrinsically better, it's just closer to what I want to drink.

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Old 01-04-2013, 07:21 PM   #13
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Does anyone have a easy recipe with instruction? I have wanted to try ag but it is all greek to me!

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Old 01-04-2013, 07:22 PM   #14
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How long does all grain take from start to pinching the yeast? From what i understand its takes a lot longer than extract? How much longer?
Extract takes me about three hours. All-grain takes at least six, but that includes cleaning and hauling my gear up and down the stairs for setup and take down, and hauling other pieces of gear back and forth to the garage, I brew on my back patio.
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Old 01-04-2013, 07:22 PM   #15
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I do partial mash BIAB (with the grain representing more than half of my gravity) but I think that an all grain would be about the same. The mash takes me about an hour and a half from beginning to end. For the majority of that time, I am not actively doing anything because the grains are doing their thing. I use that time to prep for the rest of my brew day. I will use the down time to sanitize my equipment (it is already cleaned but I sanitize stuff then) and collect and measure my hop additions.

My last brew day was right at 3 hours from start to pitching.

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Old 01-04-2013, 07:26 PM   #16
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You can pinch the yeast as early and as often as you like!

But, since you're likely asking how long it takes to pitch yeast... Well, an all grain brew day does probably take a couple hours longer. Look at it this way:

If you brew extract with steeping grains, you're going to bring your water to 160ish and steep your grains for 20-30 minutes, then bring it up to a boil and add your extract, then boil for an hour and perform your hop additions throughout that hour. Chill at the end of the boil, rack to a fermenter, and pitch. Done.

If you brew with all grain - well, I started to describe a brew day and count up the time, but there's really a lot of variables depending on just what approaches you take to several different aspects of all grain brewing. Suffice it to say that all grain brewing can take 1-3 hours longer, depending on a number of factors, than extract.

BUT - and this is important - regardless of what anyone else will say, brewing from grain will not automatically result in a better finished product. If the brewer knows what he or she is doing, is familiar enough with basic brewing and fermenting processes, and is relatively disciplined, then yes, moving to all grain can provide more flexibility and more options. It can also provide at least a few more areas where we can screw things up, sometimes in little ways, sometimes in big ways (I've been trying to chase down a couple of little problems in my process for a few brews now, for instance - nothing really problematic, but definitely irksome to me).

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Old 01-04-2013, 07:26 PM   #17
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Does anyone have a easy recipe with instruction? I have wanted to try ag but it is all greek to me!
Youtube is your Friend. There a bunch of videos of people doing all-grain batches. I watched just about all of them before I did my first all-grain batch. It took a lot of the fear and uncertainty out of the situation.
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Old 01-04-2013, 07:32 PM   #18
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AG gives you more control over the process, which is another way of saying it gives you more opportunities to mess things up. It's certainly cheaper, especially if you buy in bulk; but you use some of those savings on equipment. Extracts almost always contain carapils, and the darker ones a variety of mystery ingredients. These may or may not be called for in my beer, but I like the option to leave them out or vary the amounts, and of course I like to know what's actually in the beer.

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Old 01-04-2013, 07:36 PM   #19
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Man we haven't had one of these ridiculous "which is better Ag-vs-extract?" threads in years. I think most people are beyond such nonsence, and understand, that it is NOT the methods, or whether or not it's extract or AG is not what makes great beer. The Brewer should make great beer with whatever materials at hand.

I've tasted some great extracts and I've tasted some ****ty all grain batches. It all depends on the brewer and his process. Not whether it's an AG or an extract beer. Ag is not the holy grail of brewing. If you refuse to read a hydromter, don't pay attention to temp control, don't make a yeast starter for liquid, or pitch the right amount of yeast, and follow the 1-2-3 rule regardless of whether the yeast lagged for 72 hours or not, you're going to make crappy beer regardless of it being an extract or ag batch..

And if you do all those things that the AG brewer didn't, and use the freshest extract and do a full boil and late extract addition, use proper temp control, you're going to make great if not award winning beers. It's that simple. I think people who blame extract for their crappy beers are copping out, and maybe should considering mastering them instead of thinking ag is going to be the answer to good tasting beer....There's been a few contest winners on here who did so with their MR BEER beers.....so if they can do that, then they're doing something right, and it has to do with their SKILL not whether or not is was extract.

Just try to make the best beer you can regardless of whether you use commercially produced extract, or you do the extracting yourself...which is the only difference between the two, whether you do the extracting/converting yourself, or buy it already done.

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Old 01-04-2013, 07:48 PM   #20
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I'm curious if we've ever had a poll to see what methods people are using? I'd say about 50% of my brewing is all grain, another 40% of the time it's a full boil extract with steeping grain batch, and the rest is divided between partial boil extract with steeping on my stove, an occasional stove top partial mash and...wait for it...Coopers cans.

In fact, I have a Coopers kit in the fermenter right now. I mod them quite a bit, but still just a ten minute boil of DME, add some steeping grains, add some hops, dump the can on top, stir, top off with water, stir again, a packet of rehydrated US-05 and ferment at a controlled temperature, always control your temps. I can brew a very drinkable beer in an hour. Hey, I have kids and other things to do!

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