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Old 04-27-2006, 02:10 AM   #11
Glibbidy
 
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Is this a trick question?
It's not difficult, it's just different.
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Old 04-27-2006, 02:17 AM   #12
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I've stayed away from AG mainly because of the time requirement I thought it would take. However, I've seen several people on here state that with a single-infusion mash and batch sparging, an AG session can be done in 4 hours.

It already takes me about that long to do an extract batch anyway, so I'm probably going AG after I move into my new house in a few months.

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Old 04-27-2006, 03:01 AM   #13
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Here is my .02 after recently doing my first all grain batch. I will agree that its not really dificult to do but there ARE a lot more steps to it and thus more things that can go wrong. Now that doesn't mean that you will ruin your beer. I think it was a good idea for me at least, to do extract a few times before I went all-grain. All-grain is like doing extract but adding a lot more steps at the beginning. Its like starting at the half way point in the process. I don't mean to say that extract brewing is any less BREWING in general, its just sorta starting in the middle of the whole all grain process. (at least thats how I picture it in my pea brain)

Even though I had to 'feel my way through' getting temps right etc. I was very comfortable because I had done a TON of reading on the subject, both books and the internet, beforehand to have a good feel for how to do things. I think this is important for someone going all-grain for the first time. If all it takes is someone who is an accomplished brewer to show you how things work then that is great. Judging by the number of posts asking 'is my beer ruined?' or 'is this normal?' it is a good thing to not throw more steps into the process to confuse people even more.

No matter how many batches are under your belt, when you feel comfortable with the process, you will have a good time brewing all-grain.

I will add that IMHO, there really is a lot more equipment required to do all-grain batches. It takes a lot larger commitment in funds to brew that way. With extract you can get away with a plastic bucket to ferment, a 3 gal pot and some ingredients. With all-grain you need a mash tun, a larger pot etc. Even if you rig it all yourself its gunna cost ya more for equipment.

You may be able to batch sparge in 4 hrs but but I bet thats for someone who is very used to their equipment. I bet the first time it takes longer. I fly sparged so that will obviously take longer. and it took me at least 1 hr 20 min to sparge. All told it took about 7 hr from first cracking the grain to ploping my ass down on the couch after cleanup. I bet once i get more comfortable with the process it get a bit faster but at this point, I am happy with the results.

Hey, it just comes down to people are proud of themselves and want to brag. I don't think thats a bad thing.
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Old 04-27-2006, 05:35 AM   #14
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Much of this has been said before, but here's my take on it:

AG brewing gives one many more variables to work with as opposed to extract brewing. While few should increase your chances of ruining a batch, the little details can make the difference between a great beer and a mediocre one.

On top of that is the time requirement. If I recall correctly, my quickest AG was about 5hrs. I had my last extract batch done in less than 2hrs, from start to fermenter.

Finally, you've got the additional equipment requirement. There are so many options available out there, just deciding what you want can be a big chore.
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Old 04-27-2006, 02:13 PM   #15
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AG is as difficult as you want to make it. I think that's one of the attractions. AG homebrewing is the perfect hobby for OCD-types. It also works fine for people as lazy as I am. You can have a $4000 computerized system or a big mesh bag, a bucket and an old quilt and still make good beer. It sounds difficult, because people who do it the easy way don't write multi-page posts about HERMS vs. RIMS.
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Old 04-27-2006, 03:01 PM   #16
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The question is not what makes AG so difficult, but what makes extract easier (or at least less time consuming).

 
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Old 04-27-2006, 03:13 PM   #17
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i wouldnt recomend a newbie do a triple decoction, or continuous infusion mash...but a single step is managable for a virgin.

(im still weary of doing either of those...)
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Old 04-27-2006, 03:36 PM   #18
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I'm still an extract brewer. Why? Time, Money and Space.

1) First off, it takes more time. But let's say that that's not an issue.
2) Money. AG requires more equipment. I'm not broke, but I spend money efficiently even when it's on a hobby.
3) Space. I live in a townhouse, so I don't exactly have a great back yard to set up my equipment to brew all day. Even if I did have a backyard, it's too darn cold most of the year.

It's the same reason I don't keg. I'm sure I'd like it more, but I'm enjoying the hobby enough as-is. It gives me something to build up to and look forward too. When we move to our next house, I'm going to look for a house with a space conducive to brewing and a bar where I can serve my homebrews.
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Old 04-27-2006, 04:29 PM   #19

I allow myself seven hours. I'm in no hurries. I usually average about six hours. I think my quickest brew day was five hours, but I did a lot of prep work the night before.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheesefood
... I don't exactly have a great back yard to set up my equipment to brew all day. Even if I did have a backyard, it's too darn cold most of the year....
I'm in a townhome, too. My AG set up doesn't require much in the way of space. I like brewing in the backyard and try to whenever I can. But, for most of the year, I'm in the garage. It really isn't bad! If the forecast is for frigid weather, I'll skip brewing.

 
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Old 04-27-2006, 09:45 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheesefood
I'm still an extract brewer. Why? Time, Money and Space.

1) First off, it takes more time. But let's say that that's not an issue.
2) Money. AG requires more equipment. I'm not broke, but I spend money efficiently even when it's on a hobby.
3) Space. I live in a townhouse, so I don't exactly have a great back yard to set up my equipment to brew all day. Even if I did have a backyard, it's too darn cold most of the year.

It's the same reason I don't keg. I'm sure I'd like it more, but I'm enjoying the hobby enough as-is. It gives me something to build up to and look forward too. When we move to our next house, I'm going to look for a house with a space conducive to brewing and a bar where I can serve my homebrews.
Don't get me wrong here- I'm not trying to bash extract brewing in any way, nor do I think anyone here is. I can certainly agree with your points about time and space being a hindrance, but I must disagree on the money issue. True, there is an initial investment, but the cost of brewing goes waaaay down. If I recall correctly, I spent around $25 for a high-gravity belgian ale, and a good bit of that was on the yeast and candi sugar. I would venture to guess that that belgian would have easily cost me over $50 to brew from extract. So in the end the money issue is moot, because you'll get that back and more.

Oh and BTW I don't think it's ever too cold to brew!
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