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I want to move to Jr. nOOb

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TheBone

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I have brewed 30 gallons so far, bottle 15 of those. All partial boil extract brews, all ales with room temp fermentation. I want to move to the next level. Here are some ideas:

1. Continue partial boil extract brews, move to kegging system.
2. Move to full boil brews, continue bottling.
3. Do a couple of lagers (don't have refrigeration equipment, thinking I can ferment in garage.)
4. Move to partial grain or all grain brewing, continue bottling.

Each of these involves a different investment in equipment and more research, all of which I am willing to do.

However, I'm not sure what the next logical step is for me. I would prefer not to tackle multiple steps. Your comments would be appreciated.
 

RICLARK

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My advice is to skip anymore Partial Boil's and move into all Extract For the same price as a Kit you can make better beer or you can jump to Extract and Steeping Grains which is still very very easy and you have more control even on your brew.Its all up to you!:mug:
 

Blender

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I would move to the partial grain technique and full boils. You should see a good improvement in your brews.
 

BierMuncher

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If you could do anything...what would it be?

I think it better to push the envelope a bit and achieve your real goals, than to take the safe, smaller steps...only to still be chasing the horizon.
 

Beerthoven

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You might want to consider doing something to address the "room temp fermentation." No matter what method of brewing or packaging you choose, controlling your fermentation temperature will result in better beer, especially once summer rolls around.
 

Beertk

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Go all grain. It is not hard and I think it is much more rewarding. Grain to glass.

Personally, I think kegs should be you last move. Get all you techniques right and produce really good beer, then keg. For the record I still bottle and am about to move to the keg.
 

Funkenjaeger

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Blender said:
I would move to the partial grain technique and full boils. You should see a good improvement in your brews.
Beertk said:
Go all grain. It is not hard and I think it is much more rewarding. Grain to glass.
I agree with either of those recommendations, depending on what you find is feasible for you. Going to full boils can mean just buying a cheap turkey fryer. Going to partial mashes can mean just buying a grain bag, or converting a small cooler to a mini-MLT. Going AG can mean just converting a larger cooler to a MLT, if you've already got the capacity for full boils - and it'll start paying for itself immediately.
 

Sir Humpsalot

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How is space at your place?

AG takes up a lot of space. A big cooler, a bigger kettle that no longer fits with the other pots and pans, a convoluted wort chiller that you'll have to hang on the wall somewhere... All in all, I'd say going AG requires a closet's worth of space. By contrast, kegging takes up less space than bottles, it looks less messy, and has a lesser risk of bottle bombs.

As for full wort boils, I personally don't think they're worth the time unless you are doing AG. I started out doing full boil extract beers. Guess what. Now that I'm doing AG, my kettle and burner are too small and I need to buy them again anyway. Guess what else. It's cold here and since I don't often feel like brewing in the freezing temps, but I can't get a rolling boil on my stove top. And a chiller hooked up to a kitchen faucet is a bit of a mess. Honestly, I'd rather go back to partial boil extract batches and use cold water to reduce my pitching temps, than mess with a full boil and a wort chiller. Having done it, I just don't see the value in full wort boils for extract. Some may argue you get better hop utilization that way, but I say you can dilute some of your wort in a small 1 gallon sauce pan and boil that along with your hops to get proper utilization. I just see no value in the full boil anymore unless you are doing AG (or maybe a large PM).

As for lagering, that depends on if you want to lager. Again, it's more space. It's more storage demands. It's more electricity. FWIW, Lagering goes well with kegging (use the same fridge). Full boils go well with AG.
 
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