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How long did you extract brew before going to All Grain?

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Fadeux

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I assume most people on here do all-grain brewing. I am just curious as to how long you did extract brewing (if at all) before understanding the process enough to do all-grain. I have done two batchs, a hefe, currently in bottle stage, and a lager, still in secondary. Basically I am just reading and following instructions. I am wondering what really gets people to that next step of all-grain.
 

TeufelBrew

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I think I went 8 months brewing extract and steeped grains before going AG. I just wanted to control the next step in the process after controlling fermentation temps. It's a personal thing and you can go AG or not as you choose. See what you like and what works for you.
 

Fingers

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I think I went about 4 or 5 months. I started in the middle of winter so indoor brewing was most convenient. By summer I was all grain.
 

nowise

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2 extract batches and I was done. AG is a lot easier than it appears, at least to get started. I'll never admit to being a master
 

Revvy

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I don't do any one type of brewing...I'm not elitist and believe that All grain is the Holy grail mecca of brewing...It's not the type of brewing you do that makes good beer...it's YOUR PROCESS...

I'm a homebrewer, not an extract brewer or an allgrain brewer...I make beer. And depending on the recipe or the mood, the ingredients I use are different for each batch...AND except for a couple of exceptions, they all have been either pretty good or freaking amazing..

Some of my recipes taste great as extract so there's no need to spend 6 hours brewing it as ag...

You might wanna consider reading this..

http://blogs.homebrewtalk.com/Revvy/Why_cant_we_all_get_along/

If you suck as an extract brewer, it doesn't mean you will "Magically" make great beers becasue you now became an All Grain Brewer...be the best damn brewer you can be, with whatever you have in front of you, whether it's a can of extract or 10 pounds of 2-row...
 

cuinrearview

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I'm a bit of copper away from going all-grain, but I've been collecting the stuff to go there for 4 months. I'm in no hurry. Since getting serious about the hobby, I've made 20 batches of extract with grains. The beer mostly tastes good, some really good. When I get my equipment together I'll try an all grain batch, but I'll probably still make some of my beers from extract as well. I've yet to taste a beer from an all-grain brewer (other than the micros) that has me stepping on myself to brew this way. I'd like to have the equipment to lager much more than than a MLT. Don't get me wrong, I know that the best beers are made this way, I just make stuff that's too close to "get after it". Hope this helps answer your question, even though I haven't done it yet.
 

The Pol

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I am not an elitist... but my point is that going All Grain, isnt hard. There are a lot of people that do it and never do extract. It is talked up to be some big thing... it isnt. The toughest part, making sure you have the room to brew outdoors with a burner and a large pot.... that is about the hardest part for most ppl.
 

cuinrearview

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I am not an elitist... but my point is that going All Grain, isnt hard. There are a lot of people that do it and never do extract. It is talked up to be some big thing... it isnt. The toughest part, making sure you have the room to brew outdoors with a burner and a large pot.... that is about the hardest part for most ppl.
And the time, it takes a minimum of two hours longer to brew with all grains. But yah, you gotta be able to brew outside. Moving outside made my extract brewing so much more enjoyable anyways.

And anyone that capitalilizes "All Grain" and shortens people into "ppl" is a snob, or maybe a cop, who knows??:ban:
 
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I assume most people on here do all-grain brewing. I am just curious as to how long you did extract brewing (if at all) before understanding the process enough to do all-grain. I have done two batchs, a hefe, currently in bottle stage, and a lager, still in secondary. Basically I am just reading and following instructions. I am wondering what really gets people to that next step of all-grain.
I did 1 extract batch and 1 PM batch before I switched to all grain. I have done a total 10 batches. Since going to all grain I have developed 2 of my own recipes that are similar. 1 is an IPA and the other is an APA. I like them both very much. They are better than any beer I have had elsewhere. I believe that all grain gives me more control over the overall product.
 

JacobInIndy

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6 months...tops. Then I switched to all grain half batches because I'm an indoor brewer and lack the space and ability to do full boils for 5 gals.

Is the beer better? Maybe a little. But I like the process much more. Like Dude said, I felt like I wasn't really making my own beer as much as I was just assembling ingredients.
 

GrumpyJed

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14 years......with a 12+ year gap. Started with extract in college and brewed 4 or 5 batches. Didn't even know that all grain was an option.

Got back in to the hobby last spring and have done 6 batches of extract. Will probably stick with extract for this year and focus on getting better at what I am doing now, possibly build a kegerator and get away from bottles. My neightbor does AG and I might try a few batches with him this spring. I would like to try t doing the same beer on the same day, mine extract with steeping grains and his AG and then compare. Should be interesting.
 

Bobby_M

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I don't do any one type of brewing...I'm not elitist and believe that All grain is the Holy grail mecca of brewing...It's not the type of brewing you do that makes good beer...it's YOUR PROCESS...
.
Revvy, settle down man. No one claimed AG was a holy grail in here. I completely understand your point but maybe wait until someone makes a claim that extract brewing is for losers...
 

ohiobrewtus

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I believe that I did probably 10 to 12 extract batches before going AG.
 

Eskimo Spy

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Revvy, settle down man. No one claimed AG was a holy grail in here. I completely understand your point but maybe wait until someone makes a claim that extract brewing is for losers...
Hey, I like Revvy, so I'll back him up...

Extract is for losers! ;)
 

dontman

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I'm like Grumpy. I have had two brewing lives. The first was extract and steeping grains and it lasted for 5 years back in the '90s. After a long break and renewing my skills by rereading the classic books on the subject I went pretty much straight to AG for several reasons but primarily because I am a geek ( and a trained chef.) I love the science and math of AG. I love the control. I love mashing, I love sparging. I love defining my beer through ingredient selection and refining it through technique.

I equate Extract vs AG to cooking with canned stock vs homemade stock. You can get good results from each but when I have clients over you can bet I'm pulling out the hand crafted veal reduction and a few of my AG ESBs to serve before dinner.
 

The Pol

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I am a tinkerer, so all grain allowed me to tinker endlessly
 

Revvy

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Revvy, settle down man. No one claimed AG was a holy grail in here. I completely understand your point but maybe wait until someone makes a claim that extract brewing is for losers...
Actually some people on here (mostly new converts, and quite a few EAC's ) have said stuff to that effect...I can find you the threads, there's plenty of those on here, especially with titles like "Extract Vs Allgrain" or Extract Sucks...There are a few threads that even say that extract brewers aren't real brewers....

They're not hard to find...

Funny how touchy SOME people have gotten about the comment. I didn't name names....or allude to anyone in particular on here...and I'm not saying anyone on this thread is that way...

Though "Methinks some people doth protest too much"...;)

I just expressed my opinion just like everyone else did...I just suggested he work on his process and be the best brewer he could be...regardless of the method he chooses...

:mug:
 

Shonuff

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Revvy, settle down man. No one claimed AG was a holy grail in here. I completely understand your point but maybe wait until someone makes a claim that extract brewing is for losers...
extract brewing is for losers
 

BrewDey

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I did extract for about a year. Nothing at all wrong with extracts, but AG is cheaper and IMHO, more fun. It requires some more equipment, and more time. I could do extract after work if I wanted...with AG, I need to block out a good chunk of a weekend day. But it makes the brew day more of an event. If you can do extract-you've got the main stuff down. Vorlauf, sacrafication, decoction, etc. are scary sounding words, but the actual process is pretty simple...and it doesn't require the same level of sanitation that you need for post-boil operations.
 

dontman

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To be honest my biggest problem with extract is the color shift, and yes I know how to minimize it but there is no way around the fact that an extract and steep is going to be a few shades darker than an AG version of the same beer.

On New Year's Eve, I had someone say "I am not a big fan of dark beers like that in general, but that one is really good." A nice compliment usually but it was a pale ale with only Extra light LME and DME and 1 lb of 15L crystal.

I didn't say it but I chuckled when I thought "pay no attention to your eyes, this is a light beer."

As far as extract twang, I trust my supplier (Morebeer) to provide extract that is fresh enough to avoid this.
 

The Pol

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EDIT EDIT... you guys crack me up. No one in this thread has mentioned any brewing technique being superior, and yet the thread turns to elitists and holy grails. Why did you have to bring Monty Python into it?

My buddy did some extract brewing, his porter was very nice. Honestly that is the only extract brew I have ever tasted, so Id say that extract is fine. The only "not so good" properties of extract brews that I know of... you guessed it, were posted by extract brewers on here. :)

My wife thinks baking a cake consists of opening a box and adding water, oil and eggs. I think it starts with flour...

To each thier own...
 

homebrewer_99

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extract brewing is for losers
...then I must be an award winning loser...

I won Best of Show and Best of Style on my first time out with an extract HW, beating out over 100 other brews. ;)

All I can say is many/most of my brews taste better (to me) than some of the pubs I've been to.:mug:

I went to one the other night and couldn't finish 1/2 pint of the crap they were selling...stay away from the Bent River in Moline, IL. ;)
 

dontman

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EDIT EDIT... you guys crack me up. No one in this thread has mentioned any brewing technique being superior, and yet the thread turns to elitists and holy grails. Why did you have to bring Monty Python into it?

My buddy did some extract brewing, his porter was very nice. Honestly that is the only extract brew I have ever tasted, so Id say that extract is fine. The only "not so good" properties of extract brews that I know of... you guessed it, were posted by extract brewers on here. :)

My wife thinks baking a cake consists of opening a box and adding water, oil and eggs. I think it starts with flour...

To each thier own...
I beer fart in your general direction, you silly english kaniggit!
 

Rezilynt

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It took me 8 months to start brewing using all grains. Notice I said start not switched to:). I still brew really good beer with extracts as well. It's kind of like sex - sometimes you have the time to plan it out, take it slow and try new things. Other times you just want to get down and do what you know works. Either way, it's enjoyable. :mug:
 

spriggan486

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Whether extract or all grain.... the end result is beer.....

doesn't really matter how you get there.

at least IMHO
 

tom777

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I've been brewing (all extract) for a year now. I had hoped to have the first AG batch under my belt by now but haven't gotten around to it. I still need that chiller, bigger pot etc...
 

Bobby_M

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I didn't mean for it to turn into a extract vs. all grain thing and that was my point. There are plenty of people who do think one is better than the other and that's for a different thread. Revvy, I just thought your post was a bit preemptive for the conversation that was going on in THIS thread thus far. I thought the OP asked a simple direct question.

I started extract brewing and ended up going all grain because that's the process that I enjoy. I like taking it back to a more raw-goods level just as one might prefer to go back even further by malting their own grain or grow their own hops. Though I don't feel any contempt or superiority for those that brew extract, I decided it wasn't for me.

I agree that you can brew great beers with extract and ****ty beers with all grain methods.
 

pjj2ba

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I did extract plus specialty grains for ~18 yrs and have been brewing AG for about 3 yrs now. Back in the old days it was much harder to come by the equipment for AG, at least where I was living at the time. The LHBS were really geared to the extract brewer.
 

Yankeehillbrewer

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I probably did extract for a couple years total, not including the break I took from brewing. Made some very tasty beers that everyone enjoyed. Since I've been brewing AG, I'm constantly tweaking my process, and recipes. That's the fun of AG for me and it really doesn't leave time to do both extract and AG.
 

NZGirl

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I'm on my third batch of plain old extract... I have no plans to go AG... especially if the extracts taste good. :)
 

99blackgt

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i'm still new on the forum, i brewed extract once, and didn't like it. I went to partial mash, with some extract, some adjunt and various other things. Partial mash we did for about 9 months and then went all grain

I started school, so slowed down a LOT on brewing, in the past 3 months i've only done 4 a/g's and a few meads, but it's comming along
 
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Fadeux

Fadeux

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I really didn't mean to start anything on here, and it really is pretty cool how civil everyone has been. I don't see that on any of my other message boards. I didn't mean to elevate AG to being superior to extract. Good beer is good beer is good beer. But I honestly feel like I'm baking bread, using a bread machine. Just throw all the stuff in, and push a button. As opposed to making it all from scratch.

Now, it was said earlier about a wife thinking that baking a cake is opening a box, and adding eggs, oil, and water. Now, if you love that cake, congrats, you are a cake baker! I guess my goal is to ultimately manipulate all of the flavors in the beer, so I can truly call it my own.

Remember, I am a NEWB extract brewer. My hefe turned out great, but I don't feel like I really did anything. The whole purpose of my original post was to see how long one feels they should use extract before going all grain?

I guess to better phrase my question, I would ask, "If your goal is to be an all grain brewer, how much extract can you do to learn about the process before you are just wasting your time?

I want to go AG, but it's expense, and I don't understand ANYTHING about it. I feel I have a pretty good grasp on extract brewing. If I extract brew 12 more times, will that help me get any closer to the process of all grain? Or, am I stuck making a dozen box cakes, expecting it to help me learn how to do it from scratch. I'm not saying either way is better, I just want to know if I'm wasting time to get to where I want to be.
 

The Pol

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All grain isnt better than extract... it takes more equipment, more time and in some cases has many more flashing lights and switches. I have spent $2k to brew AG... if I were only out to make good beer, Id be brewing extract, but I am trying to fill my time with projects!

Pol
 

pava

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This has already been pretty well covered, but I will add my .02 . . .

I have never brewed extract . . .not because I think it is inferior or AG is superior, but because when I decided to start brewing and started reading up on the processes and procedures I knew right away that I would want to brew AG and I figured if I was buying equipment, I might as well do it right (right for my purposes) from the start and buy the bigger pot for full boils, the chiller and all the other equipment. The other thing for me was that while the equipment is more expensive the per batch cost is lower especially if you can buy in bulk. Saving money was never my objective when I started brewing, but I did like the idea of having lower per batch costs. In any case, it sounds like you have also decided that AG is the direction you want to go and if that is the case I say go for it whenever you want to, there is no set time that you should wait and no magic milestone batch that means that you are now ready. In my opinion the only way to learn is by doing . . .you can read and read and read, but until you actually do something it is only abstract theory. Oh yea, and remember if you go AG it doesn't mean that you can't still do extract. . .as others have mentioned many on here do AG and extract depending on the beer, time, cost, etc. Good luck and whatever direction you go you will find the answer to any question you have on this forum, there is a wealth of knowledge here and everyone is very willing to share it.
 

kevinkaseykizer

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been doing extract for 2 years and doing my first partial mash today. i know its not all grain but its my first step towards it
 
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