To all grain or not to all grain

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Well-Known Member
Jan 12, 2008
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Richland, WA
Just found this forum last week and I got to say this place is awesome! Anyway I have been doing extract and partial mash brewing for the past 3-4 years and I'm thinking it's time to expand my skills. I'm thinking I should get into all grain brewing but I'm a little scared by how complicated it seems to be in process and also in equipment. Also I'm wondering what the benefits are for going to all grain (I seem to be fairly good at making beer although a lot of the recipes I can't do because of all grain). So I guess I'm looking for a little encouragement, especially since the wife isn't too happy about me expanding my brewing area.
Piece of cake. Do it. I can't speak as to the difference between extract and pm because I never did them. But I'm real happy with my beer. And it is only as complicated as you want it to be. The wife is another matter.
If you've already been doing PM, AG is not much more complicated. Just start with Single-infusion mash and batch sparge, get a chiller, and some brewing software, and it'll be easy!
I would say go for it as I did the switch last year. Little more time consuming but worth it if you enjoy brewing.

I did the change because I was sick of the taste of dextrose in my beer as I always had some left over after fermentation. Very little but enough to taste. I don't get that with my homebrew

Cheers and best of luck
Sea said:
If you've already been doing PM, AG is not much more complicated. Just start with Single-infusion mash and batch sparge, get a chiller, and some brewing software, and it'll be easy!
Sounds good to me, I obviously need to acquire a few things but I'll give it a go.
yeah, it's not that much different than PM except for temp control and more equipment. i do it in my kitchen now!

i'd say the best thing to do would be read as much info and books on the process as you can.

my first batch was a decoction mash...i did some things wrong, but it still was pretty easy and turned out great!
farmbrewernw said:
............. Anyway I have been doing extract and partial mash brewing for the past 3-4 years and I'm thinking it's time to expand my skills.

You answered your own question. You want to expand your skills. It is not that what you have been doing is wrong. Or, that it is not brewing as it is.

All Grain for you is a challenge. Gathering the equipment in an orderly and inexpensive manner is the challenge. Learning the process is a challenge. Tying it with the knowledge and the equipment you already have is the challenge.

I think you are up to it. Otherwise you would not have stated the challenge yourself.

Enjoy the process and even the part of the process that is not obvious.
I skipped partial mash entirely. I was under the impression that partial mash was pretty much a comprimise for space - I mean, the mash is the "hardest" part, so the only reason (I saw) to do partial is if you don't have room to do full.

That said, you're already just on the edge of being "there" (Why do I feel like Chris Rock?) so just take that final step and join the dark sid... I mean, go all-grain.
I say go for it. It doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. Just take a peek at this website on how to make a really simple AG brew:

I was a little afraid myself, but now that I have done it I almost wish I had been doing it right from the start. I enjoyed drinking my extract brews, but the AG ones seem to taste more like, well, beer I guess.
Don't do it! It sounds like you are happy with the extract beer that you make. Going AG will only cause you to make more, bigger batches more often for less money and get more enjoyment out of it.

In all seriousness, I did 3 extract batches before my first AG batch with the help of "How To Brew". No problems what so ever. I have seen some threads recently where people are skipping the extract batches all together and going straigth to AG. Don't fear the AG. Check that site out and dont freak out, It is very simple I think now that I have jumped to it, But I have got years of improvements to make, that being said though It is a lot of fun and is not a frustrating as extracts IMO because of extract's lack of color and final product.
Well, I am of the opinion that if I can do it, anybody can! I'm definitely not mechanically inclined, or mathematically very bright. But I can make some great beers- and love the entire process!

Reading is a great way to learn, and ask whatever questions you want to. I learned more from the other brewers on HBT than I ever dreamed possible! You can do it, and it's not at all difficult. Like someone on here once said, "It isn't brain science or rocket surgery". You can definitely do it!
I didn't expect this kind of response so quickly! It seems as though maybe I was overreacting a bit to how hard AG could be but it sounds like it may be easier than I thought. Some of the setups I have seen here look quite complicated but I think I'll start with the water cooler or something similar and see how things go. I guess I need to do some shopping and hit the brew store. Thanks
My set up is totally simple- if you look in my gallery, there is a picture. A couple of pots and a cooler MLT. Nothing fancy at all, but it works for me.
The fancy brew rigs are cool to look at, but you can brew award winning AG brews on your stove top with a 5 gallon igloo cooler and chilling in an ice bath in your sink (as you've probably been doing with extract)

It's a hobby. Expand your hobby and be glad your hobby isn't collecting stamps or beanie babies for f*** sake. Of course, if you enjoy your extract brews, carry on and enjoy your great beer. If you want to see what else is out ain't hard.

Not to mention 15 bucks for 10 pounds of grain from your LHBS vs. 28-30 bucks for 6.6 pounds of extract. You dont' have to be a math wizard to figure it out. (average costs)

The link to the guy brewing with a corked bung and Igloo previously is a great start. Very little money involved and a sound process.
I have never done an extract batch. My first brew was all grain. I really only went this route as I was given a bunch of all grain equiptment. We made a few mistakes but ended up with a pretty decent beer. I just tapped the keg today. I know it will only get better with furthur batches.




Just remember this is suppose to be fun, so relax. The next piece of advice is really for any hobby. Once you are set up, and you have your equipment, use it, and become one with it. Because once you know your equipment you can start making some fabulous beers, or rather making fabulous beers becomes a lot easier. You do not need a fancy rig. A lot of award winning brew is done with simple equipment manned by brewers who know their stuff and their equipment. So let her rip! Jump in! It will be fun. S.
You should definitely make the jump to AG if you're looking for more beer adventure. I'm originally from Salem, too! Have you ever been to Hop Madness? It's about 2 miles from my house:
I'll have to check out Hop Madness, I grew up around the hop harvest and I always thought there should be some sort of festival. HoV is a nice idea and to be honest I've checked into them but I'd have a hard time making it to meetings during the week. Anyone know of any good clubs up this way?
If you've been brewing extract for 3-4 years, and you have a decent number of batches under your belt, and if you do your homework to prepare for AG brewing, you might be disappointed with how easy it is to switch to AG. Have fun!