Why Do I Have This All-Grain Urge?

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JimE

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I am questioning my sanity. With only two extract brews under my belt, why do I have this strong urge to make my next beer all-grain? I have 4 cases of wine and 4 cases of beer at home. How can I want to brew more beer? This really is a wonderful affliction!
 

moger777

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All grain is not that bad if you start out with batch sparging. I still think it may be a good idea to ease into it though. Get the equipment needed to do a full boil with your extract beers (I assume you use the method where you add water in the end). Try out a partial mash maybe. Its always a good idea to start with extract to get the basics of fermentation down before going AG but if you are good with instructions AG may work.
 

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I'm still very new to the whole home brewing process with only 3 batches aged, 1 bottled/aging and 1 in the primary. I dove in head first by starting with all grain mainly because I had an unused Gott cooler and this is typically how I roll:) Beersmith, this site and other web resources made the processes much simpler than I initially anticipated. The third batch, which was an Amber Ale similar to Fat Tire, turned out very nice. The first batch is a decent IPA that would not win an award, but is very much drinkable. The second, I'll just leave it at drinkable, but that was because of some hop mistake. I'm excited about my 4th batch that is a Stone IPA clone. It actually had a good taste when transferred from the primary to secondary. These instructions are what I followed for my tun. Go for it man!

http://www.beersmith.com/blog/2008/03/05/all-grain-beer-brewing-with-an-infusion-mash-setup/
 

azscoob

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Well little JimE, when a boy reaches a certain age some changes start to happen inside him, he no longer looks at grains as "just grains" he begins to want to do things with them on a deeper level, to be intimate with them, this is a normal change that we go through at some point in our lives, some of us faster than others, some never go through this change. I say go for it you little whipper, show those grains a good time!!
 

Montanaandy

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If I had to do it all over again I would probably take the leap to AG if I was in your position (2 batches completed). I would not jump right into AG from the start as some have done but there is not a great deal of difference between extract and AG other than adding grain rather than extract and having to monitor your temp during the strike and sparge. There is also a bit more room for error (stuck sparges, etc.) but the more batches you brew the easier the process becomes and the less time you spend brewing a bath. Last night I had a growler of an an AG IPA that I brewed recently - my first AG batch. It was much smoother than my extract batches which I feel are also very good.

I had about 5-6 extract batches under my belt (I did a few extract with steeped grains too) before my 1st AG. I initially had the LHBS mill my grain but I recently purchased a mill and began buying grain in bulk.

There is also a certain zen involved in taking grain, milling it yourself, adding it to water + yeast and producing a fantastic tasting beer. No you are not crazy - just following the normal course of brewing progression. BTW - I have about 500 bottles of fine wine in my basement cellar and since I returned to homebrewing I have only opened a few bottles because the beer is so good. Montanaandy
 

PseudoChef

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Because AG is more fun than extract? (IMO, of course)

My second batch as an AG, more or less (maxed out my 5 gallon MLT, had to supplement with some extract). It's not hard at all. Some people out there have never even made an extract batch and started right away with AG.
 
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JimE

JimE

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Well little JimE, when a boy reaches a certain age some changes start to happen inside him, he no longer looks at grains as "just grains" he begins to want to do things with them on a deeper level, to be intimate with them, this is a normal change that we go through at some point in our lives, some of us faster than others, some never go through this change. I say go for it you little whipper, show those grains a good time!!
Now THAT cracks my ass up! Yes, I know it was cracked up (as opposed to sideways) before.:D
 

Bernie Brewer

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All grain is not that bad if you start out with batch sparging. I still think it may be a good idea to ease into it though. Get the equipment needed to do a full boil with your extract beers (I assume you use the method where you add water in the end). Try out a partial mash maybe. Its always a good idea to start with extract to get the basics of fermentation down before going AG but if you are good with instructions AG may work.

I don't want to sound like a jerk, but that's crap. You don't need to "ease into" anything. I know plenty of people that never brewed an extract brew in their life- they started out with AG, and they make great beer. And partial mashes? A big waste of time, unless you have some kind of space limitation. You go through all the motions of mashing, sparging, etc, and then you add extract????? HUH???

Jim, if you are serious, get the equipment you need, do some research, maybe find a recipe you think you might like, and jump in. It's easy.
 

Stuntman

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I am questioning my sanity. With only two extract brews under my belt, why do I have this strong urge to make my next beer all-grain? I have 4 cases of wine and 4 cases of beer at home. How can I want to brew more beer? This really is a wonderful affliction!
I know where you are comming from JimE, I cannot stop thinking about brewing, every day, several times, it's like sex.... Mental note to self, sex while brewing (I may have just invented a new sport).

As usual someone beat me to it:

http://intercoursebrewingcompany.com/default.aspx


I just commited to only AG after almost six years of brewing. I did a few AG's but was a pain with my equipment. Now I got the Corona Mill for twenty bucks, made a MLT out of an old Igloo (with a copper manifold, next time will be the metal mesh, cheaper) 8 gallon pot added....And I will never go back. IMO brews are better, clones hit the mark better (with my short cut brewing).

Carry on! :mug:
 
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JimE

JimE

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I don't want to sound like a jerk, but that's crap. You don't need to "ease into" anything. I know plenty of people that never brewed an extract brew in their life- they started out with AG, and they make great beer. And partial mashes? A big waste of time, unless you have some kind of space limitation. You go through all the motions of mashing, sparging, etc, and then you add extract????? HUH???

Jim, if you are serious, get the equipment you need, do some research, maybe find a recipe you think you might like, and jump in. It's easy.
I agree with the partial-mash point. If I have the equipment, I would just do AG. I could see having to add some extract if I just can't get the OG high enough (1.083 - 1.085). I do like Belgian Tripel.

Cash is a constraint, however. I don't anticipate ever making more that 5 gal at a time (the older I get, the less I drink). Currently I use my gas cooktop. I'll test to see if I can get 5-6 gal of water to boil. I'll need to find a larger brew kettle that doesn't cost $300. Any ideas for the kettle?

I will make a 5 gal cooler MLT. I'm thinking a round beverage cooler with a ball valve and stainless supply line cover on the inside. I've read countless posts on MLTs.
 

Shooter

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I don't want to sound like a jerk, but that's crap. You don't need to "ease into" anything. I know plenty of people that never brewed an extract brew in their life- they started out with AG, and they make great beer. And partial mashes? A big waste of time, unless you have some kind of space limitation. You go through all the motions of mashing, sparging, etc, and then you add extract????? HUH???

Jim, if you are serious, get the equipment you need, do some research, maybe find a recipe you think you might like, and jump in. It's easy.
However, you can do a partial mash very easily on a stove top and sparge in a second kettle. So, if that's the equipment you have, I think you can do a PM with minimal effort and equipment. Granted, it's only SLIGHTLY less time and effort than all grain, but I do think a stovetop PM is nothing to be simply waved away if you don't currently have the equipment to do all grain.

Not to sound like a jerk or anything! :p
:mug:
 
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JimE

JimE

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However, you can do a partial mash very easily on a stove top and sparge in a second kettle. So, if that's the equipment you have, I think you can do a PM with minimal effort and equipment. Granted, it's only SLIGHTLY less time and effort than all grain, but I do think a stovetop PM is nothing to be simply waved away if you don't currently have the equipment to do all grain.

Not to sound like a jerk or anything! :p
:mug:
Good point. The stove is a limiting factor, I suppose.
 

northernlad

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I don't want to sound like a jerk, but that's crap. You don't need to "ease into" anything. I know plenty of people that never brewed an extract brew in their life- they started out with AG, and they make great beer. And partial mashes? A big waste of time, unless you have some kind of space limitation. You go through all the motions of mashing, sparging, etc, and then you add extract????? HUH???

Jim, if you are serious, get the equipment you need, do some research, maybe find a recipe you think you might like, and jump in. It's easy.
Yes, but it is a good idea to make a couple extract batches so you can find your rhythm with your space, your tools, and sanitation without the added work of AG. Especiially if you have never even seen the process.
 

RichBenn

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I am questioning my sanity. With only two extract brews under my belt, why do I have this strong urge to make my next beer all-grain? I have 4 cases of wine and 4 cases of beer at home. How can I want to brew more beer? This really is a wonderful affliction!
I have 25 cases of wine at the house! They take time, unlike beer, so you have to have a huge volume so you don't drink it up when it's young. Beer on the other hand, goes pretty fast. At 4 cases, you'll just be finishing them when your next beer hits it's peak!

If you think you are in it for the long haul, buy the all-grain equip and go for it. You can get a 9- gallon pot for under $50, a burner for under $50, convert an old cooler for under $30, and you are good to go. Then you can buy bulk grain instead of expensive extract, so eventually you'll pay for your all-grain equipment in savings.

But it does take more time, so I didn't really go all grain until I retired (in spite of brewing my first in the '70's!).

Rich
 

Bernie Brewer

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However, you can do a partial mash very easily on a stove top and sparge in a second kettle. So, if that's the equipment you have, I think you can do a PM with minimal effort and equipment. Granted, it's only SLIGHTLY less time and effort than all grain, but I do think a stovetop PM is nothing to be simply waved away if you don't currently have the equipment to do all grain.

Not to sound like a jerk or anything! :p
:mug:
As I said, if you have space limitations, then it makes some sense.

Yes, but it is a good idea to make a couple extract batches so you can find your rhythm with your space, your tools, and sanitation without the added work of AG. Especiially if you have never even seen the process.
Again, I disagree. if you are just doing the extract or partial mash just because you want to take baby steps, well, it's unnecessary.You "find your rhythm" either way. That part is minimal, IMHO
 

blackwaterbrewer

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you'll never look back. all grain is to extract as sex is to masturbating: they both aceive the same goal, but one is just more satisfying (and better tasting.)
 

RichBenn

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Yes, but it is a good idea to make a couple extract batches so you can find your rhythm with your space, your tools, and sanitation without the added work of AG. Especiially if you have never even seen the process.
He's already done a couple of extract batches.

I will caution, however, that one needs to study the process(read/watch the stickies), make a detailed list, and follow it carefully. Fortunately, there are great resources here and elsewhere to make that easier.

Rich
 

Stuntman

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AG is a whole lot easier, and cheaper IMHO. All you are doing is using more grain....it doesn't stick to bottom. Everything else is the exact same.

Not to mention the smoother brews you get from all grain.
 
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JimE

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If you think you are in it for the long haul, buy the all-grain equip and go for it. You can get a 9- gallon pot for under $50, a burner for under $50, convert an old cooler for under $30, and you are good to go. Then you can buy bulk grain instead of expensive extract, so eventually you'll pay for your all-grain equipment in savings.

But it does take more time, so I didn't really go all grain until I retired (in spite of brewing my first in the '70's!).

Rich
Alright! I know how to make the MLT from a cooler. I read lots of threads on how to do that. I most interested in the 9 gal kettle for under $50 and the burner for under $50. Where can I find those? I did a test boil on 5 gal of water on my stove. With out a lid, it just doesn't do the job. I certainly need a burner and the larger kettle.

I appreciate all replies. Thanks.
 

Stuntman

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Mash Tun I will go the wire mesh method next time (20 bucks?), I bought close to a 100 bucks worth of copper/valve/flux and such to fix my cooler up.

Oh and nice avatar you got up since last night.
 

CodeRage

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Sounds like you've got the itch... SCRATCH IT BABY.

Brew in Bag seems to be an inexpensive way to get into AG, don't even need a MLT. Just a strong back :)
 

samc

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Some people like the process more than the end product and others like the beer more than making it. Nothing wrong with sticking with extract, PM's are a step up and for the truly time constrained you have no boil kits. Done em all and prefer the process of AG. Could I have jumped right into AG, most likely but I assume the first few batches would have not been as good as the AG batches I made after being comfortable with the process. Not everyone has time for AG in their lives so extract, pm & no boil have use to them.

Enjoy AG, I predict you will be growing hops this season as well so you might want to think about what rhizomes to order!
 

ghpeel

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Brew in Bag seems to be an inexpensive way to get into AG, don't even need a MLT.
+1.

You want to go all grain for $25? Get a 5gal cooler and a $2 paint strainer bag. Mash in that. No vorlauf, no stuck sparge, no braid or false bottom, no bull****.

There's quite a few Tea Baggers here:
http://groups.homebrewtalk.com/TheTea_Baggers

Its the ghetto prophet way to brew. Throw in the No Chill technique with a $12 no-chill vessel and you can drop the $40 chiller too. You've got the easiest way to brew all grain ever invented.

Having said that, there's a lot that can be learned from doing several extract batches. I've taught one person to do all grain from scratch, but she still needs me to help with recipes and general tips and such. I taught myself all grain via Tea Bagging from the awesome people on this board.
 

RichBenn

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I most interested in the 9 gal kettle for under $50 and the burner for under $50. Where can I find those?
I actually bought a stainless one for, I think, $75. It was a Bayou Classic one. But you can use aluminum, which is under $50. Look on Amazon dot com. Also, I saw a thread here about Sam's Club that had an online-only big pot for, I think, about $35!

I highly recommend going with a larger size, not the 7.5, as the head space on that can get you boil-overs without using that stuff that reduces boil-overs and/or watching it carefully. (Lot's of opinions on this topic). If you are OK with 7.5 gallon, you can get turkey fryers with the pot AND the burner for $75. But it's worth the extra for the separates, IMHO. I lived too long with too small pots and too few BTUs in my burner.

And you certainly can buy really nice pots and setups if you have the cash, but it's not necessary.

Oh, and the burners are on Amazon, too! A lot of opinions on those, as well. Get something with at least 45,000 BTU.
 
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JimE

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I actually bought a stainless one for, I think, $75. It was a Bayou Classic one. ...

I highly recommend going with a larger size, not the 7.5, as the head space on that can get you boil-overs without using that stuff that reduces boil-overs and/or watching it carefully. ...

Oh, and the burners are on Amazon, too! A lot of opinions on those, as well. Get something with at least 45,000 BTU.
Thanks for the info. I was just looking at Bayou Classics, and they have some good burners. Any thoughts on the following double and triple burners, respectively from Bayou Classics: Bayou Classic Double Burner and Bayou Classic Triple Burner.

These burners can hold two and three 60 gal kettles, respectively. I think that would cover anything I would want. I'm thinking of a 32 qt stainless kettle. Purchasing these will have to wait several months.

I plan to my go ahead and use a cooler for a MLT. I will look into brew in a bag.

I think I can do AG using my stove and two kettles. I will collect the first and second runnings from the tun in a 8 gal bucket. I'll shoot for 5-6 gal of wort from the tun. I'll pour halve in each of my kettles. I'll boil each and divide my hops evenly between the two. I should have enough head-space, and my stove will be able to handle the boil. I'll chill each in my usual ice bath and be good to ferment. Does this make sense?

Can't wait to get the new kettle and burner.
 

RichBenn

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Thanks for the info. I was just looking at Bayou Classics, and they have some good burners. Any thoughts on the following double and triple burners, respectively from Bayou Classics: Bayou Classic Double Burner and Bayou Classic Triple Burner.

These burners can hold two and three 60 gal kettles, respectively. I think that would cover anything I would want. I'm thinking of a 32 qt stainless kettle. Purchasing these will have to wait several months.

I plan to my go ahead and use a cooler for a MLT. I will look into brew in a bag.

I think I can do AG using my stove and two kettles. I will collect the first and second runnings from the tun in a 8 gal bucket. I'll shoot for 5-6 gal of wort from the tun. I'll pour halve in each of my kettles. I'll boil each and divide my hops evenly between the two. I should have enough head-space, and my stove will be able to handle the boil. I'll chill each in my usual ice bath and be good to ferment. Does this make sense?

Can't wait to get the new kettle and burner.
What I do is use my old, smaller kettles on the stove for sparge water, and the 36 quart kettle and single burner outside for the initial mash water and boil. That way I can start the stuff boiling after the first runnings.

One thing about the burners -- if you want more than one, you may want to consider whether you will do gravity feed or not. Buying a two burner system with a stand and both at the same height means an expensive pump will be in your future. OTOH, you can pick up SP-10 burners for $39 ea. and put them on your own stands (like one on a table, and one on the ground). Full boils are not easy to move around in 5.5 gallon batches and pretty much impossible in larger ones.
 

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Do it. I only did a few extract batches(maybe 3) before I switched to all grain. Definately more time and effort but its worth it. Plus its cheaper. Extract just doesnt do it for me. Boil water and can contents, add cold water, pitch yeast. AG is a totally new experience and allows you to your preferences.
 

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What I do is use my old, smaller kettles on the stove for sparge water, and the 36 quart kettle and single burner outside for the initial mash water and boil. That way I can start the stuff boiling after the first runnings.

One thing about the burners -- if you want more than one, you may want to consider whether you will do gravity feed or not. Buying a two burner system with a stand and both at the same height means an expensive pump will be in your future. OTOH, you can pick up SP-10 burners for $39 ea. and put them on your own stands (like one on a table, and one on the ground). Full boils are not easy to move around in 5.5 gallon batches and pretty much impossible in larger ones.
Ditto. I still use all three of my kettles. The 15 gallon boil kettle is reserved for boiling only. My old 8 gallon boil kettle heats the strike and sparge water on the indoor range next to my original 4 gallon kettle, which boils the infusion water to bring the bed up to 168.
 

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For me, the urge to switch to AG started about 20 years ago while I was in college, but it took until now to have the space and time to do it. I like to do things from start to finish myself. Although I made lots of really good beer using extract, I still felt like I was taking a can of Campbells Soup and adding a few things to it and calling it homemade. I make my own BBQ sauce, SWMBO and I make all of our own jams and jellies, and I've been making my own mustards for years. My grandfather was a baker, and I still use his recipes and his loaf pans. It's a great feeling to sit down to a ham sandwich on fresh baked bread, slathered with my own beer mustard (made with homebrew, of course!). It's good to be the king.......

And when the zombies come, I will be able to eat!
 

RichBenn

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For me, the urge to switch to AG started about 20 years ago while I was in college, but it took until now to have the space and time to do it. I like to do things from start to finish myself. Although I made lots of really good beer using extract, I still felt like I was taking a can of Campbells Soup and adding a few things to it and calling it homemade. I make my own BBQ sauce, SWMBO and I make all of our own jams and jellies, and I've been making my own mustards for years. My grandfather was a baker, and I still use his recipes and his loaf pans. It's a great feeling to sit down to a ham sandwich on fresh baked bread, slathered with my own beer mustard (made with homebrew, of course!). It's good to be the king.......

And when the zombies come, I will be able to eat!
LOL! Not to mention the bread made from the spent grain, the eggs from the chickens who ate the spent grains, the home made spagettii sauce made from the tomatoes grown in a garden fertilized from the compost made from the spent grain..... the gardeners, farmers and bakers in my family definitely see the benefit to all grain brewing, in more ways than one!:mug:
 
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JimE

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LOL! Not to mention the bread made from the spent grain, the eggs from the chickens who ate the spent grains, the home made spagettii sauce made from the tomatoes grown in a garden fertilized from the compost made from the spent grain..... the gardeners, farmers and bakers in my family definitely see the benefit to all grain brewing, in more ways than one!:mug:
And if everyone is fat and happy, we have achieved world peace through all-grain brewing! Wonderful! ;)
 

Tmeister

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Ya all grain is the way to go. I'm kinda obsessed with brewing and if you get into all grain you will become more obsessed. I only ever brewed 2 batches of extract, then I jumped into all grain. I think the hard thing about all grain is finding the equipment and system you like. I have spent lots of waisted money on equipment that I tossed for something better. Find a all grain brewing friend and do a couple brews with him so you can see what he uses, and what might work for you.
 

jjones17

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+1.

You want to go all grain for $25? Get a 5gal cooler and a $2 paint strainer bag. Mash in that. No vorlauf, no stuck sparge, no braid or false bottom, no bull****.

There's quite a few Tea Baggers here:
http://groups.homebrewtalk.com/TheTea_Baggers

Its the ghetto prophet way to brew. Throw in the No Chill technique with a $12 no-chill vessel and you can drop the $40 chiller too. You've got the easiest way to brew all grain ever invented.

Having said that, there's a lot that can be learned from doing several extract batches. I've taught one person to do all grain from scratch, but she still needs me to help with recipes and general tips and such. I taught myself all grain via Tea Bagging from the awesome people on this board.
+1000

Brew in a bag is the only way to go when just starting. I don't even use a cooler, but I do 3 gallon batches :mug:.

One question: What is a $12 no-chill vessel?? Do tell, maybe this is a good thing for me.
 

samc

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For me, the urge to switch to AG started about 20 years ago while I was in college, but it took until now to have the space and time to do it. I like to do things from start to finish myself. Although I made lots of really good beer using extract, I still felt like I was taking a can of Campbells Soup and adding a few things to it and calling it homemade. I make my own BBQ sauce, SWMBO and I make all of our own jams and jellies, and I've been making my own mustards for years. My grandfather was a baker, and I still use his recipes and his loaf pans. It's a great feeling to sit down to a ham sandwich on fresh baked bread, slathered with my own beer mustard (made with homebrew, of course!). It's good to be the king.......

And when the zombies come, I will be able to eat!
What's your recipe for zombies? Broil or Bake? LOL

I feel the same way, and try to make everything from scratch!
 
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JimE

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What's your recipe for zombies? Broil or Bake? LOL

I feel the same way, and try to make everything from scratch!
Me, too. Hunting: made my own cartidges. Photography: made my own developer with component chemicals. Sausage: make my own. Basement: finish myself. Engines: rebuild myself. Fishing: made my own rod from blanks. List goes on.... Hmmm, I am nuts! Ha!
 
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