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Old 03-10-2006, 05:17 PM   #1
cweston's Avatar
Feb 2006
Manhattan, KS
Posts: 2,014
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I'm relatively new to brewing. After several successful extract batches, I've been somewhat surprised that I enjoy and am fascinated by the process almost as much as I enjoy drinking the beer. I've been my family's primary cook (and a good one) for decades, so I'm very comfortable in the kitchen and with basic food chemistry.

I'm a pretty good candidate for all-grain brewing, I think, except that I'm really trying not to break the bank with this hobby, and since the LHBS is an hour away, I'd pretty-much need a mill in addition to all the other gear, bigger kettle, etc.

Anyway, for longtime extract brewers, what keeps you from going all grain?

Completely satisfied with your extract batches?

Don't have time for longer brew sessions? (I worry about this one, too).

Don't want the expense of purchasing and hassle of storing the gear?

Seems too complicated?

Don't want to become one of those d_cks that accuses others of not being a real brewer?

Primary: none
Bottle conditioning: Robust Porter
Drinking: Saison Dupont clone, tripel
Coming soon: Columbus APA, Rich Red ale

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Old 03-10-2006, 05:44 PM   #2
I use secondaries. :p
Walker's Avatar
Sep 2005
Cary, NC
Posts: 10,987
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I've been an extract brewer (with teeny half-assed mini-mashes and steeps) for about 8 years or so.

The only thing stopping me from going AG is time. I have a 3 year old and a 1 year old at home, and I can't take a huge chunk of my weekend to devote to brewing an AG batch. I only get to see my kids for about 3 hours/day on the week-days, so sat and sun are my real times to be Dad and do fun stuff (the 3 hours a day on weekdays is focused mainly on feeding and cleaning the kids, with only about a hour of play in there.)

When my son gets a little older, I'll probably start doing some AG batches here and there that he can help with. He things my beer is cool, and likes to try and decide what the stuff looks like in the fermenter (kraeusen is "pizza" and dry-hops are "salad"). He's eager to help me out with it, but really only gets to chip in on bottling day right now (he's my bottle rinser, iodophor soaker, and bottle-tree assembler.)

Ground Fault Brewing Co.

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Old 03-10-2006, 06:28 PM   #3
2nd Street Brewery
2nd Street Brewery's Avatar
May 2005
Castleton NY
Posts: 1,192
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Been extract for about 3 years now and for me the issues are in no particular order.

1) Cost- have been working on a keg system for the house as priority #1
2) Space - Don't really have a good spot to set up/store the gear.
3) Becoming an A-hole beer snob Only kidding. I really respect you all grain guys and you should be proud of the brew you produce.

Time and complexity aren't a problem really and I am very happy with the quality of my extract batches. Once my keg system is up and functional I am sure I will graduate to all grain at some time if only to have the option of doing 10 gal batches in the future.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, then to speak and remove all doubt.

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Old 03-10-2006, 07:39 PM   #4
SkewedBrewing's Avatar
Jan 2006
The Middle East
Posts: 1,001

Partial-mash is still a really good alternative to All Grain. There are a lot of positives to going AG but to me its nothing that I need to get into right now. Most of us extract guys on here will probably say the same thing; that AG requires a large investment, a large amount of space and a large amount of time. The way I look at it is this: its like making a salad (or something like that) you can grow your own vegetables and make your own dressing from scratch, or you can get certain things that are premade from a store and put it together. But at the end of the day, its still fresh and its still something you made, thats what really matters. And its a great alternative to salad in bag...

Hope that makes sense?
"All other nations are drinking Ray Charles beer and we are drinking Barry Manilow."

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Old 03-10-2006, 08:13 PM   #5
Jim Karr
Jim Karr's Avatar
Dec 2005
SW Michigan..Bangor/Covert area
Posts: 1,259
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I guess I have to concur with most of everything the other guys are saying. I can find many, many more additions to my brewing setup without going AG.

A 30-gallon conical fermenter, a bigger kettle for a full boil, other stuff.

I just don't have the time for AG brewing, and I'm still amazed at how good my beer is!

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Old 03-10-2006, 09:20 PM   #6
timdsmith72's Avatar
Aug 2005
Carrollton, Texas
Posts: 369
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Simple answer for me. Time.

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Old 03-10-2006, 09:46 PM   #7
Aug 2005
Philadelphia area
Posts: 1,573
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Time...and a general dislike of added complexity if I do not perceive the need. I am beyond pleased with the product of my simple system. For my taste, my beers are better than anything I've bought commercially. Well, almost everything. My raspberry ale was not as good as one I had at a local brew pub, but it was my first try at a fruit beer, so come on, give me a break!

But I digress!

As long as I am happy with the product, I won't add any process complexity.

Product > process!

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Old 03-10-2006, 09:58 PM   #8
Jul 2005
Posts: 209

Personally, it's space. Living in an apartment right now with my girlfriend with not enough space. Hopefully in a couple years we'll be ready to buy a house and then I plan to start assembling all the right equipment.
----- ahop -----

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Old 03-10-2006, 10:20 PM   #9
Kaiser's Avatar
Nov 2005
Pepperell, MA
Posts: 3,895
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Originally Posted by Imperial Walker
When my son gets a little older, I'll probably start doing some AG batches here and there that he can help with. He things my beer is cool, and likes to try and decide what the stuff looks like in the fermenter (kraeusen is "pizza" and dry-hops are "salad"). He's eager to help me out with it, but really only gets to chip in on bottling day right now (he's my bottle rinser, iodophor soaker, and bottle-tree assembler.)
I hear you Walker,
I like doing AG batches outside when the weather is nice and my daughter can just play in the yard. Except for decoction mashes I can still devote enough time to her. Once in a while the brew has priority. A big gate around the kettle and burner helps to.

Soon I will try to make a Malzbier. This is pretty much dark, lightly hopped wort that is carbonated. This is something kids can enjoy too and they can even learn how to make it. Teaches them mashing, lautering, boiling, sanitation. When they are 21, you can give them a pack of yeast.


Edit, I meant "Imperial Walker"

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Old 03-10-2006, 10:47 PM   #10
Beer Snob
Beer Snob's Avatar
Dec 2005
Posts: 2,041
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It's always seemed soo complicated. Actually... it still seems soo complicated. I just started putting together equpment to do PM. Going to take that step first then as soon as I get some money to get a good brewpot I'll do AG. But dont know... I keep reading over and over again materieal I have. Extract was comlicated the first time you do it too, I guess I should keep that in mind.

"Don't worry, have a homebrew." ,"The "Bible"

Cherries in the wheat
Michael's Wheat

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