• We have a new forum and it needs your help! Homebrewing Deals is a forum to post whatever deals and specials you find that other homebrewers might value! Includes coupon layering, Craigslist finds, eBay finds, Amazon specials, etc.

Anyone go from all grain to extract, and how was it?

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

SMOKEU

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 27, 2009
Messages
320
Reaction score
9
Location
NZ
I have a Robobrew but I'm looking at giving up on all grain and going back to extract. My all grain journey started off well enough, but now I've thrown out 4 mashes in the past week because it's nothing but problems such as incomplete conversion and a stuck mash. I'm just over the waste of time and grain and then having nothing to show for it.

Anyone else here that used to do all grain give up on it and go fully back to extract? How was it, and what was the quality of the final product like in comparison to all grain? I've even seen crystal malt LME at the brew shop.
 

NightFlight

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2019
Messages
52
Reaction score
21
I went from no success with extract - undrinkable swill. I’m not being picky either. Something went terribly wrong with all my extract kits.

Got a brewzilla and finally success2nd batch in the fermenter now. It is still more work, and I’ve made mistakes but seems much better for me.

how do you know your mash is stuck?
 
OP
S

SMOKEU

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 27, 2009
Messages
320
Reaction score
9
Location
NZ
how do you know your mash is stuck?
In 18 hours it's managed to drain about 2L (about 4 pints) from the grain bed. Usually the whole sparge process is over in 20-30 minutes.
 

bracconiere

Jolly Alcoholic
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 19, 2018
Messages
6,430
Reaction score
2,750
Location
S.AZ
LOL, i've recently gone back to buying malt, instead of malting my own......and i'm making more cider now too......
 

davidabcd

Detroit, Mi.
Joined
Jul 19, 2018
Messages
1,448
Reaction score
1,327
I'm sure there is some fairly easy, doable solution to your issue if you wish to fix it--many knowledgeable brewers.
As to your question, properly made extracts compare favorably to professionally made styles.
 

bill from lachine

New Member
Joined
May 19, 2020
Messages
2
Reaction score
2
I've always done the the kit versions and find them mostly more flavourful than commercial beer so that's good enough for my tastes. I might give some dehydrated malt a chance it up in the future though.
 

TheMadKing

I've Got One Rule: Don't Bang the Shiny S**t
Joined
Jun 17, 2015
Messages
3,265
Reaction score
1,240
Location
Gainesville
Take a step back and go back to the fundamentals to solve your issue.
Brewing with all grain is easy once you have a thorough grasp of the fundamental steps.

Do a few single infusion mashes at 150F, once you get a few good batches of beer out of it, try a new method like a mash out. Then see what effect that has on your next few batches. Then add a new method like a hockhurz schedule... Don't add any new complications until you feel comfortable that you are doing something repeatable and that consistent.

If you play golf, you're doing the equivalent of going out and buying an expensive set of professional level clubs and then considering quitting golf after going to the driving range and not hitting perfect shots.

I would recommend going back and reading John Palmers how to brew as a good first step.

Stop brewing with wheat for a bit because that adds more difficulty to the mash.

Really get to know your robobrew and how it behaves and how to get the best performance out of it using simple recipes before trying something harder. Brew a single malt and single hop beer or two.

Gotta learn to walk before you can run. Babysteps friend
 

fun4stuff

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2012
Messages
829
Reaction score
193
Location
West side
I have a Robobrew but I'm looking at giving up on all grain and going back to extract. My all grain journey started off well enough, but now I've thrown out 4 mashes in the past week because it's nothing but problems such as incomplete conversion and a stuck mash. I'm just over the waste of time and grain and then having nothing to show for it.

Anyone else here that used to do all grain give up on it and go fully back to extract? How was it, and what was the quality of the final product like in comparison to all grain? I've even seen crystal malt LME at the brew shop.
All of your problems would be solved by switching to BIAB. You wouldn't have those issues with BIAB and your brew day would simpler, faster, cheaper, and less complicated. Here are the steps:

1. Mill grain finely while you heat water to strike temp.

2. Put bag of milled grain into water and stir for 5 mins. Wrap pot with heavy blanket/sleeping bag.

3. Go grab a beer or two for 60-90 mins.

4. Hoist bag out of pot. Ideally done with a pulley suspended from ceiling or large ladder. Let bag drain while heat wort to boiling. Speed up draining by twisting bag on itself and squeezing. Can press bag of grain dry with 3 bucket system where bag is placed in middle bucket of 3 nested buckets (multiple holes drilled in side and bottom of this bucket) and top bucket is pressed down with body weight so that squeezed wort is collected in bottom bucket.

5. Boil wort as normal (e.g. 60 mins) and follow hop addition schedule. While spraying off buckets above.

6. Cool wort, aerate, and transfer to fermenter. Add yeast.

7. Clean pot and rinse biab bag.

8. Relax and drink a few more homebrews.

Never get stuck marshes or poor conversation again.
 
Last edited:

kh54s10

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Aug 6, 2011
Messages
18,636
Reaction score
5,398
Location
Edgewater
I do both. About 95% all grain to 5% extract. I get similar results from both. I like the process of brewing all grain and like knowing exactly what is going into my beer. It is like cooking. You can cook with canned or packaged ingredients or use all fresh ingredients. I can get similar results, but using fresh ingredients is fun and I know what I am eating

Work on your processes. Examine your problems and fix them. All grain brewing is not at all difficult. It requires a little more attention and takes more time, but it gives most people better beer and in the long run is much less expensive.
 

NightFlight

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2019
Messages
52
Reaction score
21
I haven't sparged yet, mainly because I simply don't have a HLT. It was suggested that I just start out and do a no-sparge to start out. I think perhaps it was the best advice I've gotten with my shiny new robobrew. Time and cleanup are hard enough without a batch failure. I'd be frustrated as well.

No sparge method works for me. Its a hair under target, but... who cares? I made beer. Really really good beer!
 

bkboiler

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2015
Messages
748
Reaction score
220
Location
San Diego
I went from extract to all grain and then in order to keep brewing after having each of my 3 kids, I'd go back to extract for a few batches...
Noticable difference, but it matters *less* for some styles (IPA for one)...
Just be relentless about the freshness of the extract and the water quality.
Take the time to be sure you understand the yeast health too, since you've removed the mashing variable from your quality outcomes...
 

Transamguy77

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Apr 18, 2011
Messages
1,774
Reaction score
326
Location
Perkasie
If you are having a stuck mash and incomplete conversation you may have other issues, what is your crush like? Do you crush your own grain? Are you using rice hulls? I’ve never used a robobrew but doesn’t it have a basket? So you could just stir it couldn’t you?

Do to a move I did some extract batches but they were also kits, and some advantages are kits are no thinking, just brew and I can knock one out in 2 hours.
 

NightFlight

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2019
Messages
52
Reaction score
21
It is basketed, you should stir it a few times during mash, and I'd imagine you could during sparge. I just don't see how it could be stuck during sparge, as you would notice any issue during mash if you are running the recirculation. You should be running the recirculation pump during mash... :)

I've found that recirculation flow improves over the duration of the mash.
 

The_Professor

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2010
Messages
250
Reaction score
26
Location
Calif, USA
......My all grain journey started off well enough, but now I've thrown out 4 mashes in the past week because it's nothing but problems such as incomplete conversion and a stuck mash....
Interesting. Well enough as in 1 all grain brew, 10 all grain brews, 100 all grain brews......then something changed and there are issues?
 

ncbrewer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2011
Messages
4,113
Reaction score
1,033
Location
New Bern
I had to give up all grain brewing because of a back problem - had to shorten the brew day. I'm still very happy with the quality of the extract batches. I do agree with the other posters who said your issues can be solved. You're good either way.
 

eimar

Brasserie Montfort No NEIPA brewed here
Joined
Oct 11, 2009
Messages
146
Reaction score
106
Location
Montreal, Canada Eh
As bkboiler mentions, the freshness of the extract is very important. It depends on the style , 10% of my batches are brewed using extract and steeping grains: stout, porter , belgian dubbel ( with homemade candi syrup ) are good candidates. I prefer using fresh liquid malt extract
Jacques
 

davidabcd

Detroit, Mi.
Joined
Jul 19, 2018
Messages
1,448
Reaction score
1,327
I've always done the the kit versions and find them mostly more flavourful than commercial beer so that's good enough for my tastes. I might give some dehydrated malt a chance it up in the future though.
I think giving dehydrated malt (DME--dry malt extract) is a great approach since the DME isn't affected by air like the liquid extract (LME).
 

eimar

Brasserie Montfort No NEIPA brewed here
Joined
Oct 11, 2009
Messages
146
Reaction score
106
Location
Montreal, Canada Eh
I think giving dehydrated malt (DME--dry malt extract) is a great approach since the DME isn't affected by air like the liquid extract (LME).
Fresh liquid malt extract has more flavor than DME , it looks like the drying process removes some flavor. ( just my opinion here )
DME is better than oxidized LME
About beer kits, how many months ( or years :) ) have they been on the shelf ?
DME is convenient for adjusting OG and making canned starters.

Jacques
 
Top