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Old 10-17-2010, 07:23 AM   #21
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Temperature control is definitely important. I made the switch to all grain this summer and discovered the hard way that my thermometer was off on the first couple batches. Now that I got that fixed, I really enjoy AG brewing.

Although, this week I made an extract batch because I had an idle fermenter and didn't have time to do a normal batch.


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Old 10-17-2010, 10:07 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by jetmac View Post
Thanks for the replies. I have read John Palmers book. I agree keeping things sanatised is important and I am working on getting a free fridge for temp control during fermentation. I have a Ranco temp controller I used for my salt water aquarium. AND...I plan to keg to keep things simple. I hate washing dishes and washing and sanitising dozens of bottles plus trying to get carbonation correct is more work.
I don't see how getting the carbonation correct with AG is easier than with extract (unless you are kegging as well).

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AG seems pretty simple. Boil some water, mix it with your grain, let it sit, drain it, add more HL, let let it sit again, drain it, boil the wort, chill it fast, pitch yeast, let it ferment, keg it. Of course I'm leaving out some steps but basically that's it. I expect the early batches to not turn out very good and that will be my experience.
I hope you mean heat some water, rather than boil. Nothing wrong with boiling if you let it cool, but you don't want to use freshly boiling water for the mash.
IMO, AG is only slightly more difficult than extract (it's like the difference between making coffee with ground coffee rather than instant), but it does take a lot longer because of the time taken for the mash and sparge, and the fact that you will have to boil the full amount.
Before starting, I would make sure that you can boil the required volume of water. If you have a turkey fryer, that should be no problem. If you're heating on the kitchen stove, it could be a problem.
As you don't know what efficiency you will get, you may also want to get a pound or two of extract so that if your efficiency is low you can use that to bump up the OG if you feel the need.

Good luck,

-a.


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Old 10-17-2010, 10:26 AM   #23
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I really wish I had just gone straight to AG when I started out, but going straight to AG AND kegging? I'm jealous!

I know its already been said earlier, but brewing software makes life so much easier. I'm sure there's a way to figure out your strike water temp for your mash without the software, but Beersmith makes it so easy that I've never had to do it. I just plug in my recipe and equipment, and it gives me a temp to heat to.

Maybe it'd be helpful to post the equipment you have and plan on getting so members here who've been doing AG for a bit can give you some pointers?

Either way, good luck and have fun!
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Old 10-17-2010, 10:35 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by dummkauf View Post
.... As far as quality, if you are doing full boils, which I am assuming you have the equipment for if you're planning on doing AG, there's not much difference between AG and Extract other than being able to control the malt profile better with AG.

Personally I brew both ways. I have a few recipes, especially IPA's where it's not about the malt but about the hops, that I always brew as extract, simply because it makes for a much shorter brew day.
Very interesting! Since I am primarily a hophead I would be more than happy to stick with extract. I have a 40qt pot but on other advice I've been mostly boiling up 3 gal in order to more quickly cool the wort. I'm wondering about the effects of increased cooling time for the full boil .... but no matter... with winter just around the corner I will have tons of ice and snow before long.

dummkauf, have you tried the NB 3-hearted recipe? (instructions are posted on their website) Past week bottled the first of 2 batches... won't be long now....
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Old 10-17-2010, 10:55 AM   #25
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I jumped straight to all grain after doing an extract with the people at bxbeerdepot (basically they did it all and I took notes and watched.)

I suggest getting beersmith to calculate water temps/volumes needed for mash and sparge. My first 3 beers I flew by what the recipes on here called for and missed my temps because my cooler size, grain temp and I wasn't familiar with how much heat I would lose to the two.

Just four suggestions.

1. Campden your tap water otherwise you'll have chlorophenols
2. Mash temp
3. Ferment temps
4. After sparging and all good and boiling, stir the grain to cool it faster. Otherwise you'll melt the trash bag.
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Old 10-17-2010, 11:14 AM   #26
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I don't see how getting the carbonation correct with AG is easier than with extract (unless you are kegging as well).
This is why I hate trying to post in a forum rather than talking. What I mean is carbonating with bottles is probably harder to get the carbonation consistantly where I want it, over force carbonating a keg which is another reason not to bottle. Not AG is easier to carbonate than extract.

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I hope you mean heat some water, rather than boil. Nothing wrong with boiling if you let it cool, but you don't want to use freshly boiling water for the mash.
Ya, I was just trying to put it simply.

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As you don't know what efficiency you will get, you may also want to get a pound or two of extract so that if your efficiency is low you can use that to bump up the OG if you feel the need.

-a.

Good idea. I would add that prior to pitching my yeast?
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Old 10-17-2010, 11:16 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by TheDom View Post
Maybe it'd be helpful to post the equipment you have and plan on getting so members here who've been doing AG for a bit can give you some pointers?

Either way, good luck and have fun!

Good idea.

You guys are great. I love this forum.
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Old 10-17-2010, 11:21 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by SwampassJ View Post
I suggest getting beersmith to calculate water temps/volumes needed for mash and sparge. My first 3 beers I flew by what the recipes on here called for and missed my temps because my cooler size, grain temp and I wasn't familiar with how much heat I would lose to the two..
Good insight.
Sort of like following a recipe when they tell you to cook something for a certain period of time but they don't know how big my chicken breast is, what temp it started at and maybe my oven temp is off 15 degrees. You need to cook to temp not time.

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Originally Posted by SwampassJ View Post
Just four suggestions.

1. Campden your tap water otherwise you'll have chlorophenols
2. Mash temp
3. Ferment temps
4. After sparging and all good and boiling, stir the grain to cool it faster. Otherwise you'll melt the trash bag.

I have RO water system I was going to use for my fish tank.
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Old 10-17-2010, 12:35 PM   #29
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For what it is worth, I debated the same decision a couple of months ago. I decided on BIAB with no regrets.

As stated in an above post, getting water temp and efficiency correct is my biggest challenge. My first two batches I didn't use a hydrometer or any of the technical stuff just to concentrate on process. I didn't calculate efficiency. (Took the ingnorance is bliss road) I did keep the batch in fermenter for 3 weeks to insure complete fermentation. It still turned out as beer even without all the calculations.

Good luck
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Old 10-17-2010, 12:40 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by jetmac View Post
What I mean is carbonating with bottles is probably harder to get the carbonation consistantly where I want it, over force carbonating a keg which is another reason not to bottle.
Sorry, I missed the reference to kegging. I agree completely. Cleaning and sanitizing a keg is much easier and quicker than doing ~50 individual bottles. However, I usually carbonate the kegs naturally rather than force carbonate, and don't have any consistency problems.

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Originally Posted by jetmac View Post
Good idea. I would add that prior to pitching my yeast?
I would add the DME (if required) to the last few minutes of the boil, but I know how much I am going to boil off, and use a refractometer to calculate the pre-boil SG, so I know how much would be required. For your first brew, you won't have that luxury as you won't know your boil off rate.
Take notes, and for subsequent brews you should have a pretty good idea.
I would cool the wort, take a gravity reading, andrack to the fermenter. If the gravity is low, then you could boil up some DME in a small amount of water for 10 minutes, then add that to the fermenter and stir it well before pitching the yeast. 1 lb DME added to a 5g batch should raise the gravity by about 9 points (i.e. 1.009).

-a.


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