Making the Jump to All Grain. - Home Brew Forums
Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Making the Jump to All Grain.

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 08-07-2013, 01:37 PM   #1
TheMagicHatter
Recipes 
 
Nov 2011
Bethlehem, Pa
Posts: 45
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts



Is this really as hard/difficult/problematic as a lot of these threads makes it out to be? I have yet to brew my first all grain batch, as I recently(yesterday) found the proper bulkhead for my 10gal cooler. I've brewed about 15 extract batches and have been reading up on all grain from day one. It seems like a pretty straightforward process so long as you follow the rules of your mash and sparge volumes to your grain bill weight.

If I didn't know any better, I'd think this process were a complete nightmare based off of a lot of the threads I'm reading. What gives? User error? Lack of preparation?

I'm planning on fly sparging to start, but may give batch sparging a go if I can't get the fly sparge under control.


__________________
Experience the warmth before you grow old. -Incubus

 
Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2013, 01:52 PM   #2
duboman
Recipes 
 
Jul 2011
Glenview, IL
Posts: 6,368
Liked 508 Times on 470 Posts


AG brewing is definitely not as hard as it may appear to be but there are a lot more variables to take into account of and you should definitely read and prepare before embarking in this adventure to minimize having to post many of the same issues that are already on this site.

Things to think about: quality of crush, good calibrated thermometer, calibrated hydrometer, keeping track of your water volumes, temperature correcting your readings, aerating your wort properly, proper chilling and pitch temps and starting with proven reliable recipes.

If you are a stove top brewer then consider moving outdoors with a turkey fryer. You can also read up on BIAB brewing to start as a way to simplify the process a bit. As for fly or batch, IMO batch sparging is the way to go. It is easier and takes less time and I see no difference in efficiency at all.

Also consider brewing software, there are many to choose from. Some are free, some are not but they all help in keeping recipes, notes, calculations and making your brew day easier.


__________________
Nothing Left to do but smile and drink beer.....

The Commune Brewing Company-Perfecting the "art" of beer since 2010

FermentedTed Likes This 
Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2013, 01:57 PM   #3
Moose1231
Recipes 
 
Mar 2011
Montreal, Qc
Posts: 143
Liked 8 Times on 8 Posts


Quote:
Originally Posted by duboman View Post
Things to think about: quality of crush, good calibrated thermometer, calibrated hydrometer, keeping track of your water volumes, temperature correcting your readings, aerating your wort properly, proper chilling and pitch temps and starting with proven reliable recipes.
And even if you are a few degrees off, or you don't have the perfect volume, don't worry, the beer is still gonna be very good. You will get better at those things anyway.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2013, 02:16 PM   #4
FermentedTed
Recipes 
 
Feb 2011
Villa Park, IL
Posts: 191
Liked 21 Times on 18 Posts


Once you have your equipment ready just pick a straightforward recipe and brew it. At least that's how I made the switch. As you already know, there are a lot of variables you can play with, but it helps to get that first batch under your belt so you have a baseline to use when you start tinkering. But that's the beauty of all grain.

As duboman mentioned, I also would recommend starting with batch sparging... keeps the process easier in the beginning and effeciency is very good. And another +1 on brewing software... I'm a Beersmith user and love it.

Good luck, and congrats on making the switch! Switching to all-grain was when I reclassified my homebrewing activities from "hobby" to "obsession".
__________________
absentem laedit cum ebrio qui litigat

 
Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2013, 02:16 PM   #5
Brewrifle
Recipes 
 
Jun 2012
Austin, Texas
Posts: 231
Liked 11 Times on 9 Posts


All grain can be as difficult as you want it to be. With that given, start with mastering the basics as mentioned above and over time you'll start to embark on tweaking every detail of your process in order to improve. I would never go back to extract brewing simply because I enjoy the challenge and complexity that arrises from AG brewing. I say give it a whirl!
__________________
Kegged 10 taps - Citra Pale Ale, Session Saison, Blonde ale (Nitro), Cascadian Dark ale - X2 variations, German Pilsner - X2 variations, Vienna lager, wheat, Bourbon bbl aged RIS .
Primary - Lacto/Brett Saison, lacto/Sacch Saison, Lacto/Sacch Sour Stout.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2013, 02:50 PM   #6
DrunkleJon
Objects in mirror are closer than they appear
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
 
DrunkleJon's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Jan 2011
Alexandria, Virginia
Posts: 8,101
Liked 2504 Times on 1762 Posts


It is not really all that difficult. True, it is more time consuming, though not really all that much more time consuming than PM. Once you go to full boils the time takes longer anyway. Then you have the BIAB/Cooler debate which I will not get into. Temperature control of the mash is a little more important but is not as hard as it is made out to be and after a batch or two you will have your equipment dialed in.

I think people just consider it more of a rite of passage and put it on a pedistal as if it is the hardest thing ever. Some people even start with AG.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2013, 04:11 PM   #7
fmr_army
Registered User
Recipes 
 
May 2013
Centreville, Virginia
Posts: 162
Liked 25 Times on 20 Posts


From my experience, it's not difficult. There are certainly more steps - which provide more opportunity for control, as well as error. I did ten extract brews, and switched to all grain. Futzing and fiddling is one of the things I enjoy about brewing, and all grain has provided the venue or that.

Besides giving a more fun experience, I think that AG has given me higher quality beer than with extract. Of course, it takes more time but it has been a worthwhile endeavor for me. Plus, over the long run it's cheaper, since grain (at least where I am) is way cheaper than extract.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2013, 10:02 PM   #8
TheMagicHatter
Recipes 
 
Nov 2011
Bethlehem, Pa
Posts: 45
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts


Quote:
Originally Posted by duboman View Post

If you are a stove top brewer then consider moving outdoors with a turkey fryer.
What's the reasoning behind this? Greater chance of boilovers at this point?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FermentedTed View Post
Once you have your equipment ready just pick a straightforward recipe and brew it. At least that's how I made the switch. As you already know, there are a lot of variables you can play with, but it helps to get that first batch under your belt so you have a baseline to use when you start tinkering. But that's the beauty of all grain.

As duboman mentioned, I also would recommend starting with batch sparging... keeps the process easier in the beginning and effeciency is very good. And another +1 on brewing software... I'm a Beersmith user and love it.

Good luck, and congrats on making the switch! Switching to all-grain was when I reclassified my homebrewing activities from "hobby" to "obsession".
Thanks for the input on the batch sparging. Definitely sounds like it will be the better way to go in starting out. Definitely a time saver!


Overall, I'm looking for greater control and quality of the beers that I produce. My extracts have turned out really well, though darker than what I've expected. Hopefully the AG brewing will give me the color I've been looking for.

Thanks for all the advice!
__________________
Experience the warmth before you grow old. -Incubus

 
Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2013, 10:39 PM   #9
gwapogorilla
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
 
gwapogorilla's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Mar 2013
, Jackson County, Iowa
Posts: 533
Liked 70 Times on 52 Posts


Try a few partial mashes just to get the hang of things. Thats what I did...and when I went full AG...it was like a walk in the park. Plus, you'll get a better idea of how your equipment operates and what types of efficiency you'll have when you go AG.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2013, 11:44 PM   #10
TheMagicHatter
Recipes 
 
Nov 2011
Bethlehem, Pa
Posts: 45
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts


So I'm going to go ahead and put my foot in my mouth(it's something I'm accustomed to), now that I've started this thread.

I'm trying to formulate a grain bill for a black IPA and am having a hard time trying to figure out how the percentages of each ingredient will play out.

Am I correct in that the base malt should be no more than 70% of the bill for most, if not all grain bills, aside from SMaSH brews?


__________________
Experience the warmth before you grow old. -Incubus

 
Reply With Quote
Reply
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Making the All Grain jump dano1086 All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing 29 03-25-2013 11:08 PM
All Grain Brewing, Making the jump and how YOU found it Graeme All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing 28 12-02-2009 02:14 AM
Thinking about making the jump to all grain - several questions Auspice Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 21 07-01-2009 04:13 AM
Partial Mash Brewer-Making the jump to all grain keelanfish All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing 3 09-20-2008 03:54 AM


Forum Jump