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Old 01-09-2013, 07:18 PM   #41
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The problem is that you're asking the wrong question. "Advanced" doesn't mean anything in making beer. Advanced can mean technique, volume, specialized equipment, difficult recipes, lagers instead of ales, etc. Advanced compared to never having brewed before is even more subjective....so when you want to start "a little more advanced" then someone might advise you to start with partial mash instead of full extract, or they might say to brew 10 gallons instead of 5, or they might say to make an open-fermentation wild brew, or they might say to make a lager instead of an ale, or they might say to build an all electric eHERMs with a fermentation chamber and full digital PID-doohickies everywhere.

Do yourself a favor and take the time to look up BIAB. Just look it up before you go any further because I sincerely think that's a better path for you then trying to dive into building a brewing sculpture, especially when you can make essentially the exact same beer on a much smaller investment that can grow into a three tiered system if you ever need that.
BIAB sounds perfect. Didn't mean to get ahead of myself, but no one suggested that. Looks like it will give me more control with less expense. Thx bro
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Old 01-09-2013, 07:21 PM   #42
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Also, don't get hung up on the extract thing. A good beer made with extracts is still good beer. Mashing all-grain is just making sugar water which is essentially super diluted extract. I enjoy mashing, but it's a huge pain in the ass and adds tons of time for absolutely minimal returns. All it really does is save a few bucks and it will take me years to recoup enough to cover the difference in equipment costs.

Remember that your job is just to make flavorful wort - the yeast makes the beer. If you make an extract beer, pitch a healthy amount of good yeast and control your fermentation temperature well, your beer will be better then any All-Grain brew shoved into a hot closet.

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Old 01-09-2013, 07:33 PM   #43
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BIAB sounds perfect. Didn't mean to get ahead of myself, but no one suggested that. Looks like it will give me more control with less expense. Thx bro
what exactly do you want to "control?"

The only thing not controllable with extract is "exactly" how fermentable it is, but I bet it is normally pretty good for the majority of recipes.
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Old 01-09-2013, 07:35 PM   #44
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As for your suggestion that bottling equipment is a waste, I tend to disagree.
I do as well. What is "bottling equipment" anyway? Maybe $25 and some reused bottles? That's less than the cost of one beater keg... I'm not saying you have to bottle first as a rite of passage or anything, but unless you know for sure you're going to be sticking with the hobby (or have a brewery nearby where you can get your kegs filled with someone else's beer), I think it makes more sense to start off with a wing capper and minimal bottling setup.


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Not trying to take a shot at anyone. I've said multiple times that I'm greatful for everyone's responses. Just looking for some recommendations on how to start "a little more advanced" like the thread title states.
I'm not sure I understand your reason for wanting to start "a little more advanced." Sometimes the best advice answers the question that should have been asked, not the question that was asked...

Obviously, do what you please and ignore this if you're dead set on jumping in with both feet, but I think you're mistaking "simple" for "simplistic." Like bottling vs kegging, you're looking at skipping a very small outlay to instead jump right to a huge upfront investment. As was noted above, there's very little in a basic kit that's not likely to come in handy in the future, so you're not really spending a whole lot on equipment that will become obsolete.

If you're fairly confident that your interest in brewing will be long-term, my suggestion would be to put together a simple basic kit with components that can be adapted to your more sophisticated ambitions. This will get you up and brewing faster, and the sooner you start making mistakes, the sooner you're going to stop making them (or, more accurately, learn how to mitigate them).
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Old 01-09-2013, 07:36 PM   #45
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You need to get your feet wet before you even start to entertain the idea of going pro (Nano). There's a million ways to skin this cat, and rushing into it will probably only hinder your progress. I recommend getting a 9 or 10 gallon boil kettle, a descent starter kit, a wort chiller, and a burner of some kind. This will allow you to brew extract and all grain BIAB with ease. You could upgrade that by adding a cooler mash tun down the road. You'll have minimal money invested this way and even if you upgrade to a larger system later, most (if not all) of this euipment will still be useful to have. If not, you can always sell it. Once you get some experience under your belt, you'll be much more capable of deciding where you want to go as a brewer and how to make that happen equipment wise.
Of all the advice given, I think this best accomplishes the goal of the OP. The only thing I would add is to make sure your boil kettle has a valve. If you want to up the size of the kettle, that would be another option.

Brew clubs are a great source for used equipment.
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Old 01-09-2013, 07:44 PM   #46
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what exactly do you want to "control?"

The only thing not controllable with extract is "exactly" how fermentable it is, but I bet it is normally pretty good for the majority of recipes.
I'd go so far as to say that, when you're starting out, you sure as hell don't even want that control. Extract is all but guaranteed to be adequate quality for making most of the beers you might want to make. The same cannot be said for your own mash.

There are a lot of steps involved in going from grain to beer. None of them is complicated, and it's really easy to properly sanitize for each step. But when you put them all together, there are enough of them that you're not likely to get through the whole process without screwing something up. If you're exceptionally lucky, you will know what mistake you made. In most cases, you'll come back and post one of these, "My beer tastes like sweaty armpit, what did I do wrong?" threads. Starting with extract lets you prove your fermentation ability and gain some confidence in that without worrying that maybe your mistake was in the mash.
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Old 01-09-2013, 07:46 PM   #47
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Not trying to take a shot at anyone. I've said multiple times that I'm greatful for everyone's responses. Just looking for some recommendations on how to start "a little more advanced" like the thread title states.
If you really want to start a little more advanced and want to avoid buying stuff that will be useless later, go with Barnesie's suggestion of BIAB. You can easily do a partial mash BIAB (say using 3 lbs of DME to supplement a mash of about 5 pounds of malt). If you want to avoid spending money on things that will be a waste now, just make sure the kettle you get is large enough to grow with you. There is a great sticky at the top of this forum about partial mash BIAB. I reviewed it before my first partial mash, and I have hit my expected OG every time.

A partial mash pretty well gives you as much "control" as you need. Every beer recipe will include a large amount of base malt. You can simply swap some of that out with extra light DME. If you decide that you really love brewing, you may decide it's worth moving to all grain after a while, but you will not need to.
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Old 01-09-2013, 07:50 PM   #48
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Have you considered induction burners? They are about 300/each and use electricity rather than gas to boil, strike.

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Old 01-09-2013, 07:50 PM   #49
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I'd go so far as to say that, when you're starting out, you sure as hell don't even want that control. Extract is all but guaranteed to be adequate quality for making most of the beers you might want to make. The same cannot be said for your own mash.

There are a lot of steps involved in going from grain to beer. None of them is complicated, and it's really easy to properly sanitize for each step. But when you put them all together, there are enough of them that you're not likely to get through the whole process without screwing something up. If you're exceptionally lucky, you will know what mistake you made. In most cases, you'll come back and post one of these, "My beer tastes like sweaty armpit, what did I do wrong?" threads. Starting with extract lets you prove your fermentation ability and gain some confidence in that without worrying that maybe your mistake was in the mash.
Listen to Zeg. . .

Just yesterday, I was getting advice from him on how to reduce the residual sweetness in a dry stout recipe because I had neglected an important part of recipe formulation.
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:13 PM   #50
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I've been watching this thread off and on most of the day. Your quest for a decision on how to start has somehow captured my attention more than usual. I posted earlier and gave you my opinion and I stand by it. But, I have to tell you that my heart sank when you posted that you had made your decision to build a three tier "system". I have more hope for your brewing future now that you are heading towards BIAB. So, why am I posting again? There are a few things I think you can get out of this thread:

1. This place is a deep and vast knowledge resource with countless knowledgeable members full of countless experience-based opinions. Some of them contradict eachother and some of them confirm eachother. I cannot begin to quantify what I have learned on HBT over the past couple of years.

2. Most on HBT post because they care about homebrewing and they care about your question. They want you to make the "right" decision in their eyes.

3. No matter what you decide, someone will tell you to do differently (i.e. you can't make everyone happy). This is about making you happy.

I hope you enjoy homebrewing and I hope you become "obsessed" with it like so many of us already are. It's about the process and the product (BEER ). By process I mean the learning process. For me, that's what makes it so enjoyable (and the great BEER )! My first batch was a Mr. Beer extract. That's about as simple as you can get. Put some hopped extract in hot water, cool it down, pitch yeast, and wait. I felt like I screwed up a million things doing that batch. I learned! And I loved every minute of it. I still do (which is why I am on HBT). I guess my point is, don't be afraid to start off simple and learn.

BIAB may be a good starting point for you. But, you still need many of the tools you will find in a good homebrew starter kit (I still prefer my buckets over carboy's for fermenting). Try an extract kit with specialty grains. Learn. Then up the ante (BIAB). Learn some more. You will make good beer, get more enthusiastic about it, and become obsessed.
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