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Old 10-15-2013, 05:15 AM   #1
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Default Is being an extract brewer such a bad thing?

I want to make the plunge into AG but I'm nervous about spending the money for new equipment and messing up large batches of beer. Extract brewing is so easy and boring, however I am pleased with the quality of beer I make. I will drink my beer any day over commercial beers.

Is extract brewing such a bad thing? The thought of missing my mash temps, not crushing grain good enough, not meeting expected OG, water chemistry, grain/water ratios, AG partial boils (I only have a 5g kettle), more equipment, adding an extra 1.5 hours to brew days, and overall just more room for error, really is racking my brain. Perhaps I should have started brewing AG and not even messed with the convenience of extract brewing.


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Old 10-15-2013, 05:26 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by BansheeRider View Post
I want to make the plunge into AG but I'm nervous about spending the money for new equipment and messing up large batches of beer. Extract brewing is so easy and boring, however I am pleased with the quality of beer I make. I will drink my beer any day over commercial beers.

Is extract brewing such a bad thing? The thought of missing my mash temps, not crushing grain good enough, not meeting expected OG, water chemistry, grain/water ratios, AG partial boils (I only have a 5g kettle), more equipment, adding an extra 1.5 hours to brew days, and overall just more room for error, really is racking my brain. Perhaps I should have started brewing AG and not even messed with the convenience of extract brewing.
You do what you want and what works. I don't see brewing with extract as being worth the time, trouble, or money. The results, on a good day, are overshadowed by what you can produce with all grain.

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Old 10-15-2013, 05:29 AM   #3
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First I want to start with my background....I started a coupe months helping a friend while doing some extract.speciaty grains batches......I wanted to get into it by myself and ended buying equipment....and wanted to step right in and ended up going for all grain.

I just opened a couple of bottles from my first batch and let me tell you I had a couple of problems while doing it....sparge was a mess but it ended up preatty well...look at my last post it is a pic of my batch. So if you are worried about f**king thins up I wil be the first to tell you it is not a big of a deal....the money on the equipment in the other hand is up to you.

I went all grains because extract is first of all really expensive where I live, grain is not so cheap either but it gave me a little room to play around with malted and unmalted grains to get where I want.
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Old 10-15-2013, 06:10 AM   #4
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All grain is a lot of fun. I would probably be making objectively better beers if I did extract but I'm closing in on perfecting my process.

If you're bored of extract, there's your answer. If you make the leap and the thrill of honing your craft isn't enough to make it worth the time, you can sell your kit and go back to extract.
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Old 10-15-2013, 06:30 AM   #5
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i'm a bit of an AG snob so i'm going to try to hold back the impulsiveness a bit.

i will say that extract is costing you extra money and limiting your brewing by forcing you to use certain ingredients. you can buy specialty extracts but there's a premium there as well.

if you brew frequently then all grain will save you money in the end as long as you don't get GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) and allow you to brew pretty much whatever you want. you'll save about 30% on fermentables, more if you buy bulk grains. washing yeast is also profitable as liquid yeasts cost $7 a vial and the washing process is as simple as sanitizing a few snapple bottles or spaghetti sauce jars and adding pre boiled water. between the two the cost of a burner and mash tun can be absorbed in a year. unless, of course, you're an infrequent or small batch brewer.
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Old 10-15-2013, 06:59 AM   #6
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Extract is great. Don't think that moving to all grain is going to make your beers better or worse. If you can use a thermometer and a hydrometer than you can do all grain. Forget water chem and all that other technical stuff right now. Make a simple all grain pale ale, just a 2 gallon batch, and get a feel for what you are doing. You can use a couple of grain bags and do it all on your existing setup. If you fail miserably then its less than a case and if it is fun and successful then you can make the plunge and upgrade. It probably won't be as big a deal as you think.
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Old 10-15-2013, 07:32 AM   #7
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AG is so much more satisfying, its all your creation, you get real pride from it, so much more than just opening a tin. All my eleven AG brews have been so much better than any of the four extract brews I have done, I am now committed to AG.
When I present a beer I introduce it, I tell of weighing, smelling, tasting the different malts, the mash and sparge, weighing and smelling the hops, the airlock activity, watching the activity in the FV, bottling and kegging, labbeling, pouring. Then admiring the colour and head, now take a swallow hmmmmmmmmm.

OK I am an AG bore!
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Old 10-15-2013, 08:27 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BansheeRider View Post
The thought of missing my mash temps, not crushing grain good enough, not meeting expected OG, water chemistry, grain/water ratios, AG partial boils (I only have a 5g kettle), more equipment, adding an extra 1.5 hours to brew days, and overall just more room for error, really is racking my brain.
If this is gonna rack your brain and piss you off then stick to what you do now. This is the stuff that makes AG more challenging and therefore more rewarding. Plus once you have a couple of AG brews under your belt you will sure get better at it. I started with AG and yes it can be overwhelming at first but the after the first brew/s it all clicks into place.
I guess also it depends on what you want from homebrewing, whether it's just the result of good beer or if you like the process.
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Old 10-15-2013, 10:10 AM   #9
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To answer your question: no, being an extract brewer is NOT such a bad thing. It sounds like you are very content with your beer and your process today. You shouldn't feel compelled to make a switch. Very many homebrewers make very fine beer without going AG. In fact, that was me for about the first 15 years I brewed.

If you are intrigued by the possibilities of AG, but concerned about the time and equipment investment, perhaps you can start with something a little simpler, like BIAB. Try it out for a few small batches to see if the process agrees with you before making a bigger commitment. You can ease yourself into AG. Don't be intimidated by the brew rigs or overwhelmed by technical discussions of all the gearheads on this board!

At the end of the day, this is your hobby. Enjoy it the way you want!
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Old 10-15-2013, 10:18 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CastleHollow
To answer your question: no, being an extract brewer is NOT such a bad thing. It sounds like you are very content with your beer and your process today. You shouldn't feel compelled to make a switch.
Concur. But you should know that it really isn't that spendy to go to AG. Keggle plus MLT cooler is all you need. Either can be built cheaply.


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