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To All Grain, or not to All Grain...

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Hops, Tx

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After reading from this forum and listening to my older brother, I guess I have a question, or a survey:
How many batches of beer did you do before you made the jump to all-grain?
and
What was the initial start-up cost (estimate)?
I have now brewed four batches and wonder if going all-grain will be too much right now, or since I kind of got the hang of it, should I go ahead and take the plunge?
Thanks for your input.
 

Janx

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1 - Hmm...I can't remember. It was about a year after starting brewing at most.

2 - My current setup probably has at least $1000 in it and that's with scrounging. I built a staircase setup, scrounged stainless kegs and had them modified. Had to buy some nice burners. Counterflow chiller. Grain mill. Valves, thermometer, etc etc etc etc. There's always more money going into it. You could get started for a lot less than that and make improvements as you like. Start with a cooler for a mash tun for one cheaper option.

I'd make the switch. All-grain makes better beer.
 

DeRoux's Broux

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Hops said:
After reading from this forum and listening to my older brother, I guess I have a question, or a survey:
How many batches of beer did you do before you made the jump to all-grain?
and
What was the initial start-up cost (estimate)?
I have now brewed four batches and wonder if going all-grain will be too much right now, or since I kind of got the hang of it, should I go ahead and take the plunge?
Thanks for your input.
1. been extract w/ grain brewing 4-5 years.

2. i have spent about $200 to move to all-grain. you don't have to spend alot of money, or you can go nut's with it. in my case, i dont have a lot of extra room to store a three-level brew system like most have. i made a mash/lauter tank out of a rubbermaid cooler (total cost was $30, extra parts and all) and my brew kettle i got at Academy Sports for $75 (42 quart stainless). other things are minimal (tubing, extra buckets, etc). the best thing is to not be intimidated by all these monster brew systems. if there is someone you know that all-grains, watch 'em do a batch. or read all you can about it and give it a whirl! :D

and like janx said, once you get going, you can modify and add higher grade equipment as you go.

Cheers!
DeRoux's Broux
 

satan

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i brewed 6 batches from extract before taking the plunge. my initial all grain setup was a converted igloo ice cube cooler that cost $12.00 at wal mart with a copper manifold that cost about $15.00 to build. i already had a 7.5 gallon kettle. now i have about $600 into my setup and still building. so you can start pretty cheap, and the sky is the limit.
 

masondelux

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Hops said:
After reading from this forum and listening to my older brother, I guess I have a question, or a survey:
How many batches of beer did you do before you made the jump to all-grain?
and
What was the initial start-up cost (estimate)?
I have now brewed four batches and wonder if going all-grain will be too much right now, or since I kind of got the hang of it, should I go ahead and take the plunge?
Thanks for your input.
Get a good kettle and burner. Take a 15 gallon keg and cut the top off or cut a big round hole in the top. Kegs are easy to come by. A burner you can get a propane cheap I see those turkey deep fry kits for under 40 dollars now. With a aluminum 8 gallon pot.
 

info-services

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My setup costs 70 bucks or so....not counting the 22 quart pot that I have. I just mash on the stovetop with the Automasher and use two plastic buckets for the sparging. You know, as mentioned in Charlie's book. The bucket that's inside of the other has a bunch of 1/4 holes drilled in the bottom of it, and the bottom bucket has a spigot so that the juice can come back out and go back into the brewpot. Oh yeah, nowadays, I use another bucket to hold the sparge water and a plastic tube (sealed up at the end) with a bunch of small holes in it for auto-sparging.
 

hawktrap74

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info-services said:
My setup costs 70 bucks or so....not counting the 22 quart pot that I have. I just mash on the stovetop with the Automasher and use two plastic buckets for the sparging. You know, as mentioned in Charlie's book. The bucket that's inside of the other has a bunch of 1/4 holes drilled in the bottom of it, and the bottom bucket has a spigot so that the juice can come back out and go back into the brewpot. Oh yeah, nowadays, I use another bucket to hold the sparge water and a plastic tube (sealed up at the end) with a bunch of small holes in it for auto-sparging.
i would like to know what book by a charlie ? is it insightful will it get me on way to all grain
 

hawktrap74

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Sam75 said:
I believe the book is by a guy named Charlie Papazian.....
is that the joy of brewing cause i have that but it doesnt get into detail
 

info-services

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hawktrap74 said:
is that the joy of brewing cause i have that but it doesnt get into detail
That's the one. All-grain is not complicated enough to require a book...unless you are going deep into it. You can start all grain today if you have a big enough pot and two plastic buckets. With the buckets, you can make what he calls the zapap lauter tun (basically for getting the wort out of the grain after it has been cooked). It's just one bucket inserted into another. The top bucket has 1/4" holes drilled into the bottom of it (a bunch), and the bottom one has a spigot.

In all grain, all you have to do is cook 11 pounds of grain or so in 150 degree water for 1.5 - 2 hours. Be sure to crush the grain first. You can use around 3-3.5 gallons of water...it doesn't really matter for your first batch. The trick is keeping the water at 150...that's where the Automasher comes in. It's best to start with your water at 170 before you add it to the grain, because then it will end up around 150. After the 2 hours are over, pour it into the zapap lauter tun described in the book. Put your now empty pot under the zapap and open the spigot. There will only be a half gallon or so stored in the grain. Then drizzle 170 degree water over the grain until the pot is full. Now continue brewing as usual (with the boil and hop addition). For the drizzling, You can use another bucket with a plastic tube connected to its spigot. Seal off the other end of the tube and drill a bunch of tiny holes in the tube...that's an autodrizzler.
 

DeRoux's Broux

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hawktrap74 said:
i would like to know what book by a charlie ? is it insightful will it get me on way to all grain
Charlie's book is a pretty good read. Give's a little background to the what's and why's from extract to all-grain brewing. Not real deep. Byron Burch's book "Brewing Quality Beers" is an easy, thin book that came with my first brew kit. It covers a simple all-grain process that can get you going. A deep book on all-grain is Greg Noonan's "New Brewing Lager Beer". It's for the serious homebrewer and commercial brewer on all-grain decoction, yeast, lagering, etc. I read part of it before I went all-grain, and it didn't discourage me at all. Made we want to buy lagering equipment!!!!

Cheers!
DeRoux's Broux
 

hawktrap74

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DeRoux's Broux said:
Charlie's book is a pretty good read. Give's a little background to the what's and why's from extract to all-grain brewing. Not real deep. Byron Burch's book "Brewing Quality Beers" is an easy, thin book that came with my first brew kit. It covers a simple all-grain process that can get you going. A deep book on all-grain is Greg Noonan's "New Brewing Lager Beer". It's for the serious homebrewer and commercial brewer on all-grain decoction, yeast, lagering, etc. I read part of it before I went all-grain, and it didn't discourage me at all. Made we want to buy lagering equipment!!!!

Cheers!
DeRoux's Broux
sweet that is what im looking for a insightful book thanks
 

DeRoux's Broux

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hawktrap74 said:
sweet that is what im looking for a insightful book thanks
You can also try "Brew Your Own" magazine. That's where I get just about all my info. They cover techniques, style profiles, recipes for extract/all-grain, equipment, tips, etc. It's saved me a few times! :D ***********.

Glad to help.
DeRoux's Broux
 

uglygoat

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i like the complete joy by charlie, but he gets on my nerves at times... :D

he seems to leave out some key info or is perhaps a bit tipsy when he writes, but i understand his book is like 15 years old.

another book, the brewmasters bible, don't remember the author off hand, but it's a decent book, a little thin in detail, but gives a general account of beer/all grain/ingredients. it also boasts several awesome charts concerning hops/grain characteristics/mashing schedules/beer styles and has over two hundred pages of quality reciepes, many by local microbrews, including the great lakes brewery in cleveland where i grew up.

i have read too, that a bloke named michael jackson, not the paedo, has written several good books about brewing beer, and i'm gonna check out some of those.

i'd suggest hitting the libraries first and reading the book and decide if you like it, then maybe buy it, or photocopy it at work... ;)
 

Janx

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If you want to get into creating recipes and really understand the impact of various ingredients and how to make certain styles of beer, the book Designing Great Beers is good.

It assumes you know how to brew, does not explain technique beyond where a specific method is used in a given style, but if you're interested in getting deep into recipe formulation, it's a good one.
 

BitterRat

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Papazian's book is old ,and Designing Great Beer is more for advanced brewers. Try"How To Brew" by John Palmer. It's free online at www.howtobrew.com.
It is a good read and if you like what you are reading, you can buy at your local bookstore.
 

DeRoux's Broux

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t1master said:
i have read too, that a bloke named michael jackson, not the paedo, has written several good books about brewing beer, and i'm gonna check out some of those.

i'd suggest hitting the libraries first and reading the book and decide if you like it, then maybe buy it, or photocopy it at work... ;)


t1, my wife and i will go hang out at barnes and noble bookstore, or borders books and music, and i'll grab a cup-o-joe, find a different brew book, and read for a while. if i like, i mark my page, pick it up next time i'm in. if i really like, i'll buy it the third time i'm in! :D good way to kill a rainy or scorthcing day......
i may be wrong here, but i think michael jackson is more of a beer connoisseur that a brewer. :confused: don't get me wrong, he knows good beer.

DeRoux's Broux
 
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