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Old 05-03-2013, 10:23 PM   #1
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Default Getting Started - Skip extract and go straight to BIAB?

Hi! I've been lurking and reading extensively over the past month or so because I'm going to start brewing over the summer. I'm basically only stalling because SWMBO wants me to wait until after we buy a house, and that's not a terrible idea as we don't really have the space or means to control fermentation temps in our current apt.

Anyway, I'm wondering, are there any reasons why I shouldn't jump straight into BIAB and skip extract brewing all together? I'm very comfortable cooking, and I don't find the process intimidating in the least - I just don't have any experience brewing.

Secondly, I plan on brewing 5 gal batches right off the bat, and I want the flexibility to do big beers. Is a 10 gal BK big enough? I read someone did a Hopslam clone with a 21.5 lb grain bill, in a 10 gal pot with 8.5 gal of water, resulting in about 1 inch of headroom. Am I going to wish I had a 15 gal pot to do recipes with such large grain bills? (I haven't purchased a BK yet.)

Oh, and I plan on using a propane burner.

Thanks for making these forums so welcoming!

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Old 05-03-2013, 10:33 PM   #2
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Congrats on the house! as far as equipment, go bigger than you think you'll need. I have a 7.5gal pot, but now wish I had gone bigger. I'm not able to make big beers unless I do a double mash or two mash tuns.

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Old 05-03-2013, 11:00 PM   #3
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Just tasted my first BIAB beer. I found the process to be no more involved (other than that I did it outside) than extract/PM. If this beer is any indication, the AG is much better for me to produce a good beer. Not saying people don't make great extracts but my AG is better than anything I personally made with extract.

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Old 05-03-2013, 11:02 PM   #4
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I just did my first BIAB, in a 9 gal pot, turned out ok but 10 gal would be better. My first all grain batch was a 1 gallon Brooklyn Brew kit. You can do it all on the stove and its a good learning experience .

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Old 05-03-2013, 11:07 PM   #5
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I would suggest starting out by doing at least one extract batch. Just so you can get the basics of the process done.

How I started out was did 2 Mr Beer kits, then one extract kit from my lhbs, then did 2.5 gallon BIAB, and now I have a cooler mash tun and do full 5 gallon batches.

Ultimately what I would suggest is to start with whatever you think you'll be comfortable with

Also if you haven't already I would suggest watching someone else brew. Should be able to find someone that is brewing this weekend for AHA's Big Brew

Here is a link to a list of some Big Brews going on in CO http://www.homebrewersassociation.or...ig-brew-events

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Old 05-03-2013, 11:17 PM   #6
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Jump in. If you're comfortable just do it. It's not that hard. First batch won't go smoothly I would guess, but it'll be fun to read about. Get a 10 gallon brew pot at least. But if you're planning on big beers get a big mash tun. A cooler is a good, economical way to go. I use a 60qt cube igloo cooler. I do 5 gallon batches (lately 6 gal) and there's plenty of room mash a bigger beer. I'm usually around 6-6.5% abv. Got cooler for less than $30.

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Old 05-03-2013, 11:20 PM   #7
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I've only got 3 brews under my belt but if I cold start over, my first brew would be AG, BIAB and it would be something simple and lighter. That is what I did on #3 and I am now more excited than ever about brewing.

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Old 05-03-2013, 11:32 PM   #8
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Welcome to the obsession Pole. May I suggest that, before you even consider starting into BIAB, do a few extract batches to get your process down and become comfortable with it.

Sanitation is certainly important. Pitching temp and fermenting temp have a much greater influence on the flavor of your brew than whether you mash grains vs. do steeping/extract. I'm glad to see that you mentioned the means to control fermentation temps. If you spend some money up front for a used freezer/fridge and set it up with and STC-1000, your ferment temp worries are over and you will produce better beer.

Also consider that, when doing AG/BIAB you will need the means to quickly chill 5.5-6 gallons of boiling wort to below 68*F. That means a wort chiller of some sort.

I'm looking forward to doing my first BIAB once I finish building my single vessel recirculating E-BIAB rig (control panel 95% done, keggle fittings on the way). I won't mind saying good-bye to 5.5 hour AG brew days.
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Old 05-04-2013, 12:10 AM   #9
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Extract: What if it's bad advice? You feel kind of held back 'cause your really wanted to do partial. Turns out you were right and your could have done extract in your sleep and you feel you wasted time and you convince yourself your extract beer isn't as good as a partial would have been.
What if it's good advice? The whole brewing experience is a bit more immediate than you thought and it takes you a while to get the process down. You get to concentrate an one aspect without having too many factors involved.

Partial: What if it's bad advice? You get overwhelmed by the process and are a little humbled. You get a *lot* of information to mull over for you next batch. It was all a bit too much but you got through it.
What if it's good advice? Well, you get to do what you want and you were right all along.

So do partial. If it's bad advice, well, you'll learn a lot. And it's what you want to do anyway, isn't it?

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Old 05-04-2013, 12:34 AM   #10
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Here is my two bits.

I went to a beginners class at the lhbs. My first home brew was a partial, which went real smooth. My second batch was all grain, it went smooth until my yeast didn't start for 9 days. All have been good and drinkable. I'm on batch 4.

My advice. Watch a brew happen. Then brew what you want. Take notes and then figure out what u can do better. My Brew buddy and I go over our brews while we r cleaning up and discuss what could go smoother/better. Each round has been smoother, quicker, and more efficient. Even on here you are gonna get different advice, find what works for you.

That and always listen to yooper.

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