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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Is all grain supposed to be hard?
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:09 PM   #11
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Let's be honest here, all grain brewing is pretty dang easy but is also a lot more stuff and a lot more to think about when stepping up from extract. With a good extract recipe with stepping grains you can make good beer so long as you can read the directions. With all grain there is a bit more planning, more equipment and just more to do on brew day so I'd say it is a moderately big step up that isn't for everyone.

Is it a difficult step? No, I don't think so, but it is quit a bit more to do and keep on top of. But again, so long as you can read you can read up on it and do more than fine on your first go round. It just might be a bit more reading.

I hate Walder Frey...
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:09 PM   #12
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If someone in a shop copped an attitude like that, I'd run like hell. Some folks need to cool their jets and lose the attitude.

I think a lot of people (me too?) over-complicate AG brewing because they're people who really like tinkering...endless tinkering. Some people just want to make beer and don't enjoy building gizmos or solving puzzles. Tinkery people are attracted to AG. At the shop I part-time at, many or most of our AG customers are engineers, machinist/fabricator types, and the like. Many or most of our kit and extract customers are people who are more looking for fun and also hand crafted beer, but just don't care to fiddle with things to make 'em work. There's enough room in the world for all of us, and the world needs more homebrew!

I can see why some people just plain don't want to do AG- a bit more equipment (takes more space), full boil instead of partial, more wort to chill before pitching, more temp measurement, more calculations. Some people just don't want the fuss, which is fine. Buy an ingredient kit, throw the pot on the stove, and have an easy and fun time of it. The last time I helped a friend with an extract kit, it was easy and fun hanging out. It's exactly what many people are looking for in a hobby. It really didn't feel like "brewing" though...but that's because I really enjoy taking lots of measurements, scribbling lots of notes, and controlling every aspect of the final product.

It's kind of like bread from a bread machine and a mix or making it from scratch. Choosing proportions of different flours, perfecting kneading and rising, getting the texture just right- compared to "dump it in and turn it on." Both methods make tasty bread.

Recent brews: Amber ale w/ honey malt, Dunkelweizen, Oktoberfest, Alt, Kölsch, English Brown, Rye IPA, Amarillo IPA. 55 gallons so far in 2013.
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:13 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by beergynt View Post
Yes. If it's soft then you're more than likely going to have to buy new grain...

No. I started out all-grain and haven't looked back. Just read up on techniques, use this forum and it's inhabitants, and don't be afraid to make mistakes. You'll learn from them.
And 100% of my mistakes still made beer. Go figure.
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:14 PM   #14
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To me all grain was not about easy or hard, nor equipment. It was not about time or cost. For me all grain brewing was about CONTROL. I am am a CONTROL freak (just ask my wife.... she will tell how much of a control freak I am). So 1 extract batch with a Mr Beer kit and 1 book (How To Brew by Mr. Palmer) I was all grain. Thing is no one ever told me that I should use an all grain kit to start out so I invented my own recipe. No one told me lagers were difficult to get right without a bunch of off flavors and took a long time. So my very first all grain was Black Lager using a german lager yeast and since it was winter and the basement is cold it fermented fine and I lagered it secondary by packing it in snow in a cooler in the basement. Heck I was newby what did know. That beer turned out great. So to answer your question no all grain is not supposed to be hard...

It is supposed to be FUN!
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:14 PM   #15
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I brewed 2 extract batches, and like others have said it just didn't feel like MY beer using someone elses I got curious about: Where does extract come from? What did primitive people brew with before extract? Why is is so expensive to buy extract?

I started planning out a material list to make a cooler mash-tun when I stumbled across the HBT sticky BIAB thread and decided to try that out first since the only investment required for me (already had a 10G pot and a stove that can boil 7g+ no problem) was a paint straining bag for $2.50 at Lowes... Originally it was supposed to be a test and a way to practice before upgrading to MLT, but it turned out so well, and was so stinking easy, I just never turned back.

Bonus: My 2nd extract batch boiled-over, resulting in a BIG mess to clean. Never had that problem with AG/BIAB.
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:31 PM   #16
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some people can't tell their arse from a hole in the ground....jus'sayin...carryon
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:43 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by beergynt View Post
Yes. If it's soft then you're more than likely going to have to buy new grain...

Glad I'm not the only one who thought that when I saw the title
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:52 PM   #18
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There's nothing hard about it. It's pretty much just like making coffee. You grind it and soak it in some hot water then drain it out.

-you can't really screw it up so bad that you have to dump it, there are very few if any times you would dump out a beer.
-you learn each time you do it, and your process is largely dependent on your equipment.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:03 PM   #19
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AG is not inherently difficult, but then everyone's definition of difficult is different. IMO nobody should find the basics of AG difficult after a few extract batches to get the hang of temperatures and liquid transfers. And a lot of people would probably not find it hard to start right out with AG.

As far as needing more equipment, that is false. You can do AG brewing with a nylon paint strainer bag!

Brewing with proper techniques takes some time to learn. How much depends on how much of the right information you can find. There are only a few rules for making good beer. Just learn what they are and try to follow them using whatever equipment and processes you prefer.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:44 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by zippyclown
I was an extract brewer for a bunch of years. Then I walked into the LHBS and asked the guy for suggestions on a recipe for all grain IPA, not realizing it required a separate setup from what I had. In front of several people in line, he laughed and started lecturing me on the equipment and the time involved, etc etc. "You just can't suddenly decide to brew all grain!" he hollered. Most of the people in line were laughing hysterically at me. I seem to remember even a man's german shephard laughing as well. I will never forget that sound as long as I live. I blacked out for the remainder of the hazing but do remember screaming "FEET DON'T FAIL ME NOW" as I sprinted from the store.

After 2 years and 4 Anothony Robbins courses, I decided to revisit, and have been all grain ever since.

And looking back now I have to ask WHAT'S THE BIG FRIGGEN DEAL?

I skim over the message boards and it confuses me. People seem scared or imtimidated by the concept. It's like these people are deciding whether or not to have another child. I see the YouTube videos... 30 minutes of a guy trying to explain in great length how to convert a 10-gallon igloo cooler to be a mash tun, which by the way is pretty much all you need (hmm that took me under 10 mins using a wrench and a valve I bought online). Then there's the 60 minute step-by-step guide on how to fabricate your own false bottom ($15 on Amazon). A 3 month course on the chemistry of water you'll need to take before you can make an IPA (you trying to win a beer competition or make some good beer for your friends?).

Always been confused about all that.

Ok, bye!

Great post! I have always wondered why the first dozen people I talked to made it so confusing until I found someone who said, stop by, have a beer and watch me with my $50 worth of gear make some beer. Been all grain ever since

I use the same method to explain it to new brewers RDWHAHB

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