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Old 01-30-2007, 08:09 PM   #1
Willsellout
 
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Is the work worth it? I just started brewing with three extract brews under my belt. All of them I did with steeping grains. The kits are nice but I want to experiment a little more to expand my horizons. The extract beers are good and everything but with the exception of the Chocolate Stout, they aren't as good as I hoped they would be. They seem to lack a little in body and flavor.
Should I keep experimenting with extracts and hops and steeping grains to figure what I like before I go all grain or should I just go for it? I started reading about it last week and it seems complicated to me. How difficult is the process? Also how expensive would it be to get an AG system to brew 5 gal batches? I need to get a turkey fryer/propane stove setup anyway as my electric stove isn't cutting it any more and I have plenty of room in the garage to set an AG system up. I'm just not sure whether it's too soon.

Thanks!


Dan
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Old 01-30-2007, 08:19 PM   #2
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Get the turkey fryer.
Make a mash tun and HLT

and

DO IT

The hardest part'll be all the reading you have to do.....

www.howtobrew.com.
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Old 01-30-2007, 08:23 PM   #3
stlbasementbrewer
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The switch is definitely worth the work and the money. You'll hear a lot of people talk about the "twang" from extract, and after you taste the extract and the grain side by side you will see exactly what I mean. The proceses isn't that difficult, after 1 or 2 times, you'll get pretty comfortable. As for the price, I think initially I spent about $200 total. That includes the cooler, copper for a manifold and wort cooler, and turkey fryer.

A little hint on the extract kits, if you are doing a partial boil and topping off at the end, the instructions will usually tell you to fill to 5 gal, this is a mistake. What I found out in my early days is that when I filled to 5, the points were always low. This gave me weak beers lacking in flavor and body. Try taking gravity readings periodicly as you fill and stop filling when you hit your numbers. You may lose some volume in the finished quantity, but the flavor improvement is definitely worth it.

Don't be afraid of the grain. Read "How to Brew" by John Palmer, It will help you get over your fears.

 
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Old 01-30-2007, 08:30 PM   #4
BierMuncher
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I just did my first AG on Friday afternoon.

It was worth it. (And I say that without knowing how my brew tastes yet.)

Click on the link below for some quick pics I took...

 
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Old 01-30-2007, 08:31 PM   #5
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You can take it one step at a time too. Start with the propane burner and larger kettle / keggle so you can do full boils. Next, you'll have to add chilling equipment if you don't have it already. Then add the Lauter tun.
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Old 01-30-2007, 08:37 PM   #6
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I jumped in after my first extract. I do only AG now. The level of control is so much better. But, it is more involved. Not hard, just involved. If you love to brew though, this really isn't an issue. It is intimidating the first time. Second you know what to expect, and by the third you are raring to go!
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Old 01-30-2007, 08:51 PM   #7
Willsellout
 
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So what about the AG kits that are sold? Worth it? so besides the MT and LT, turkey fryer, larger kettle, and wort chiller what would I need? Anything or is that pretty much it?

Thanks for the advice guys..I love the hobby so I'm not worried about the work involved or the money...but it is pretty daunting still. The more I read the more I want to do it though.

And thanks for the tip on the extract boils, that will help I'm sure!

Dan
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Old 01-30-2007, 08:54 PM   #8
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If you can afford the equipment I'd say go for it as well. I did and I glad dispite the problems encounter along the way. One of the reasons to do it is the challange.

 
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Old 01-30-2007, 08:55 PM   #9
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I think all that you get with the AG kits are a higher price and some yeast that you don't usually want to use. Find some recipes that you want to try and give it a shot. There are recipes all over this forum and the internet. Plus in that book I mentioned earlier. As for the equipment, that's about it. Pretty simple

 
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Old 01-30-2007, 09:00 PM   #10
Willsellout
 
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So for keeping track of temps during the mash, how do you guys do it? I have a floatin thermometer but is there a better way?


Thanks

Dan
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