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Old 11-30-2012, 12:20 PM   #1
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Default Extract or All Grain?

What are the pros and cons between the two? I'm on my second batch of extract kit....and it seems like a very simple process....I see most of you do All Grain. That being said if I were to go AG, am I going to need additional equipment?

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Old 11-30-2012, 12:48 PM   #2
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I wouldn't think that "most of us do AG". Many extract with specialty grain brewers,kit-n-kilo brewers too. Many partial mash brewers. Then those that do some combination of AG,PM,& AE (my new letter designation idea for All Extract I came up with the other day on here).
Sometimes you have time for mashing,other days you don't. Still others,like me,are moving up at our own pace.
So I blieve it's a combination of brewing styles we all do.
But you'll need a bigger BK,& some kind of mash tun vessel mainly. Then a kettle for heating water in for sparging,etc.
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Old 11-30-2012, 12:51 PM   #3
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If you have to ask this question, the answer is always Partial Mash

Full volume boil of course!

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Old 11-30-2012, 12:57 PM   #4
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I did partial boil BIAB for my 1st PM & it worked out great. Just used a cake cooling rack in the bottom of my 5G BK. 3 gallon SS stock pot to heat sparge water. No extra equipment needed.
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Old 11-30-2012, 01:01 PM   #5
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Buy and read "How to Brew" or "The Complete Joy of Homebrewing". Best analogy I can come up with is it's like baking a cake. Extract is like buying a box at the store and following the directions on back. You'll end up with a cake that will probably be pretty good and enjoyable but a lot of times maybe lacking something. All grain is like baking from scratch. You have complete control over every ingredient and aspect. It's more involved and there's more that can go wrong but the potential is there to make something truly great and all your own.

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Old 11-30-2012, 01:06 PM   #6
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But with so many new extracts coming out nowadays,that gap is closing. Plus as a brewer progresses & gets better at their craft,extract brews can be really good & win medals. Or at least compare just as well to AG beers to friends,club members,whoever. Good beer is good beer,regardless of how it's made.
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Old 11-30-2012, 01:11 PM   #7
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This again?

Yes, you will need additional equipment to brew all-grain.

All-Grain:

Pros: Cheaper per batch cost, more fun (IMO), flexibility of recipes
Cons: Takes longer on brewday, more upfront cost, more cleanup

Extract:

Basically all of the oppposites as all-grain.

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Old 11-30-2012, 01:11 PM   #8
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Pro's:
1) You have an unlimited number of variables to play with for your beer recipes. i.e. you can tweak the flavor with small adjustments to grain bill, you can modify the amount of fermentable versus unfermentable sugars by adjusting mash temperature, etc.

2) Less expensive for materials per batch

3) Brew session takes longer....so more time to drink beer while brewing

4) You will be doing a full boil so better hop utilization

Con's:
1) Need more equipment (mash tun, stand)

2) Need bigger brew pot than for extract (need a 10 gallon brew pot for 5.5 gal batches...though you might want to just get a 15 gallon in case you ever want to do 10-11 lb batches )

3) Inconsistency in OG depending on how well your mash and sparge go ...until you fine tune your process (more in the learning stages of all grain during your learning curve)

The following, depending on your own attitude, could be pro or con:
1) Need to do some learning about mashing, sparging,and you will should get a brewing software program like Beersmith ($20) etc....(I love this stuff so this is a Pro to me)

2) More planning required before brewing (Pro to me....cause it is part of the fun)


I am sure I missed some points...but others can chime in.

Bottom line....if you really enjoy extract brewing....and want to have more control over process and have a reason to spend more time preparing to brew as well as brewing....then you should start doing all grain! (And....you can still do extract brewing when you want!)
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Old 11-30-2012, 01:14 PM   #9
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There are different ways to do either PM or AG brewjng. Look st BiaB to see if you can handle it without additional gear. Then get what makes it easier for you.

Personally I did three extract (with specialty grains) then one partial mash (BiaB) before going all grain. I love the recipe control you get with all grain that you simply can't get with "all extract". I wouldn't brew with just extract, you should at least have some specialty/steeping grains in there.

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Old 11-30-2012, 01:21 PM   #10
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Time for a dummy to chime in here.

I did kit brewing some 16 years ago and quit. 2 Months ago I got back into it and for me it's extract kits for now.

What I do is find a kit I want and figure out I'm going to make it better as in adding my own stuff.

Examples are coffee in my porter, a little whiskey in my redned redale, coconut in my imperial stout, and recently spices in my German Ale.

I'm still new and will moving on to partial mash after I get 6 extract kits under my belt. Will I never do a kit again, hell yeah I will. It's easy and takes probably half the time, which is something I dont' have much of.

So doing just a kit seems a little boring to me but still makes good beer. 16 years ago there was not near the amount of kits that there are today so for what it's worth I think it has to do with time and how deep do you want to get into brewing beer. I'll go to all grain sometime next year but if it seems that I'm making my home brew just a little better than an extract I'll go back to extract but we will see. I forsee doing extract, partial and all grain depending on my time.

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